Roflcopter made a name for themselves by exploding onto the Oceanic Siege scene in Week 1 of Oceanic Nationals 2021. While their rise has been a surprise for spectators, it’s been a long time coming for Mathew “OJ” Grech and co, who’s ready to prove Roflcopter are worthy of sticking around by taking it to the region’s best in playoffs.
The much-beloved red and yellow helicopter of the OCN broadcast has really taken flight in 2021, soaring to the skies at a stunning pace.
When I spoke to Lachlan “Boydy” Boyd after Week 1 — when they beat Rhythm and Knights to sit atop the OCN ladder — first place on their mind. However, things went awry after that.
It’s to be expected from a rookie team, who are currently in their first Pro League season. They weren’t even a full squad until two weeks before OCN started, when Joe “Hotshot” Deane joined to fill in for Thomas “Deptra” Larder.
On reflection, OJ believes that first place prediction two games in might have been a bit optimistic, but what’s the point in not shooting for the stars?
“We knew the goal of first place was a little bit optimistic, but for a roster like ours that is still learning as we go, every loss just made us stronger. I don’t believe we faltered when it mattered,” he told Snowball.
“We knew what we had to do and we went out and did it pretty convincingly. I still believe we have what it takes to become the number one team in time, we are getting stronger and learning more about ourselves every week.”
Playoffs in his first proper season in Pro League is a big achievement for OJ, who has spent a bit of time down in OCL. He was thrown into the deep end in pro play back in 2019, playing Six Masters for Rhythm and qualifying for the Melbourne Esports Open.
That bit of experience on stage not only lit a fire under OJ to keep pursuing Siege, but helped establish himself when Roflcopter pushed through relegations to make Oceanic nationals.
“While this would be considered my first season at this level, I don’t really think there was much of a learning curve for myself individually or my teammates. We cruised through the open qualifiers because there weren’t any teams near our calibre,” he said.
“We’ve been scrimming the T1 ANZ teams for a long time, so coming into OCN we definitely already knew what the standard was.”
It’s one thing doing it in scrims. It’s another thing putting it into practice on gameday.
After going two weeks without a win in this topsy-turvy season, Roflcopter pulled out all the stops to smash LFO and Order at the tail end to secure their spot in playoffs, even managing to leapfrog the old Okami roster to nab fourth seed.
Roflcopter (and Bliss, who deserve a mention here) have managed to break down the walls within Oceania to prove that it’s not just the big orgs — Wildcard, Chiefs, Knights, and Order — that have to win everything.
If anything, the gap between the supposed “Top 4” and the rest is now closing. It might not be closed yet, but Roflcopter’s rise is testament to a fact that a new dawn could be on its way in Oceanic Siege.
“Our region is definitely getting stronger and more competitive, and I do believe that the gap between those top and bottom teams is starting to get a little bit closer. However there is no doubt in my mind that the entire Top 4 / Bottom 4 dynamic is still there,” OJ admitted.
“Teams like Chiefs and Knights structurally are far better than the rest of ANZ, and I would obviously have Wildcard in that group too once they pick up a new fifth player. Order are a decent roster too.”
Roflcopter will put that theory to the test come playoffs when they face off against Order. They did just manage to thump them 7-2 on Consulate in the final playday of OCN off the back of a huge two-pronged defense from Joshua “Campo” Camplin and Bouncin, but OJ said they aren’t reading too much into the win.
“You have to put some perspective on it: They had a substitute player on a map they haven’t touched this season.
“The real statement would be made if we could do it to them in a best of three where the stakes are a little bit higher for them, we’ll embrace that challenge.”
Speaking of that best of three on Saturday, it’d be a disappointment for Roflcopter to lose here. They want to make a statement that they’re here to stay — maybe channel a bit of LFO from OCN 2020 and take down one of the giants. Getting here was meeting expectations. Winning would only solidify their goals for the future.
“Playoffs wasn’t a goal; it was an expectation. We aspire to be a lot better than a top 5 team in ANZ. If we lost to Order, I wouldn’t be too happy with the stage we had, but I wouldn’t consider it a failure either.”
If there is one goal OJ and Roflcopter can try to meet in playoffs though, it’s not one in the server. It’s securing a long-term future for a squad looking to break into the top four of Oceanic Siege.
“We’d love to be signed by an organisation if we can find one that can support us, so hopefully we can go deep in playoffs and attract the attention of some decent ones.”
Roflcopter take on Order to start the Oceanic Nationals Stage 1 2021 playoffs on Saturday, April 17.