The Chiefs enter the OCN Stage 1 2021 playoffs as somewhat of an enigma. They lay somewhere between the lines of good and great. This playoffs will determine whether they are worthy of contesting the top dogs, or are just another “Top 4” team.
Undeniably, making second place in the OCN regular season and third in APAC South is an achievement the Chiefs should be proud of. However, they’re a squad that has individually fluctuated in form quite a bit.
Well, everyone except for Worthy.
While he’s not the first name that springs to mind when you think of the Chiefs, Worthy has been the quiet performer in OCN Stage 1 2021. He has been the Chiefs’ most reliable fragger while playing more supportive roles.
Worthy says the boost in performance has come from a change of mindset. Last year, he felt the pressure to overperform and prove his spot in OCN. Now, he’s just going with the flow, and the results are coming.
“I think the reason I’ve performed quite well this season is having full confidence in both my teammates and myself. It’s the complete opposite to the past year where I lacked a lot of self confidence. I would always worry about doing something wrong,” he said.
“This year I’ve been trying to focus a lot more on simplifying the game, playing my role to the best I can and just helping the team in rounds whenever possible.”
This team-orientated playstyle has been the key to Chiefs’ success in 2021. They don’t have the starpower of like an “ItBeStyle” or a “Vincere” other squads have. What they do have though is a group of well-rounded individuals who are willing to do anything for the team.
They secured that identity with the pickup of Morgan “Fishoguy” Ishizaka before the start of OCN 2021. The former Noble star took a while to find his footing, but things are starting to click, with Chiefs wiping out Wildcard in OCN plus QConfirm and Order in APAC South.
“Fishoguy definitely feels like the final piece to a puzzle. You can see it in the way we play; we have become a much smarter and more strategic team overall with just the small amount of time he’s been with us.
“I still think we are yet to reach our full potential, especially given the inconsistencies in our performance. We are aiming to reach a standard where we can consistently play at a high level.”
However, like many of the other APAC South teams who are playing three gamedays a week throughout Stage 1, Worthy is starting to feel the burnout of the harsh schedule. Making into the playoffs of both leagues is a big confidence boost, but they want to convert on their standing.
“It’s without a doubt been the most stressful time I’ve experienced as a player. To be constantly grinding by having either practice or an official every day, for over a month straight there is a big mental toll,” he admitted.
“One positive is that it does make playing officials a lot easier. I used to get really nervous before playing in important games, but now that I’ve experienced an overload of them I find myself going into them a lot calmer.”
The intense schedule has made the Chiefs battle-hardened for the OCN Gauntlet though. A fated matchup against Knights awaits them in the Grand Final if they can break through Roflcopter.
Worthy’s original pick was APAC South compatriots Order, who fell 0-2 in the first match of the Gauntlet.
“I see [Order] as a leg above the other teams,” he explained, “but there could definitely be an upset come game day.
“I also see Roflcopter as being a really strong team.”
Regardless of what happens in playoffs though, Chiefs are here for the long run. They have a lot of growth left, and second is a big improvement. Now they’ve got to try and cement their standing up there for the rest of the year.
“To be honest, I’m really happy with the progress we’ve made as a team. However, since we’ve come this far, we may as well keep pushing. I think we have what it takes to be a top team, but we still need to beat a top team like Knights to prove it.
“I see us tied second with Order [in the power rankings], with Knights being above both of us. Maybe depending on how playoffs go I would change this but we’ll see.
“I don’t think it would last for too long anyway, as next season we will undoubtedly see a very strong Wildcard side come back into the top four of ANZ.”
The Chiefs kick off their Oceanic Nationals Stage 1 2021 playoffs campaign on Sunday, April 18, at 1pm AEST against Roflcopter.