Dgtl on Chiefs’ OCN victory: “It hasn’t really settled in yet”

The Chiefs’ roster finally have some silverware in their cabinet after years of falling short.

It’s been a long time coming, but the Chiefs’ trophy cabinet is no longer a dusty shelf ⁠— at least, as a squad. They have finally claimed their first major Siege title by taking home Oceanic Nationals Stage 1 2021 in a historic moment showcasing how close the competition is nowadays.

The Chiefs may have only been in Siege for less than a month, but they’re already starting to fill out their trophy cabinet with an Oceanic Nationals title.

For the roster as a whole though, it’s been a long time coming. 

The Chiefs roster has its roots dating way back to the Onyxian days of 2017, when Mindfreak, Athletico, and Corvidae were the big three going around. They had always played second fiddle up until 2020, when their fortunes started turning around under Elevate.

They could never net that win though. First it was a second place in Pro League Season 11 ⁠— right before COVID hit and shut down the LAN finals in Sydney. A mediocre 2020 forced them to make big changes heading into 2021, but it clicked at the Omen Gauntlet when they finally made another final.

You know what they say though ⁠— the third time’s a charm. That’s what it felt like for Chiefs when they took down their domestic rivals Knights 3-1 to finally claim some silverware for their own. For Raine “Dgtl” Wright, the win hasn’t even settled in ⁠— although, it’s only one part of a big puzzle Chiefs are trying to solve in 2021.

“It hasn’t really settled in yet. I think all the boys felt the same way. We won, but it didn’t feel as big as it meant to be and that’s because we have much bigger aspirations,” he told Snowball after the victory. 

“It feels nice, I can’t sit here and act like it’s nothing, but our focus is APAC South and beyond that.”

The Chiefs had to push through a very competitive Roflcopter 2-1 before they could face off against the Knights in the Grand Final. However, once they reached the final opponent, it seemed like a cakewalk for the Chiefs roster.

Although they dropped their pick of Coastline 7-5, the Chiefs ran it back from there with three dominant performances on Oregon, Coastline, and Chalet. They looked miles ahead of the Knights, who were shambolic on their attacks. It seemed like the Chiefs had the secret sauce, and Dgtl gave me the recipe.

“When we started playing the Knights, we kind of flicked a switch, but it was more like ‘alright boys, we’re here for fun.’ It was so weird that when we were just playing for the sake of playing ⁠— I wouldn’t say we weren’t trying ⁠— but we went out there to have fun and play well,” he said.

“I think a big factor in going out there to have fun is you take away the importance of the games. You get caught up in the nerves and playing so seriously, so once we got in the groove, the day just seemed like another day.”

“Once we floored them on Oregon, and we knew that was a very strong pick for them ⁠— that’s where we though ‘we could easily win this.’”

Whether it was Trent “Worthy” Rose dropping 22 kills on Villa against Roflcopter, or Jake “GodLegion” Harris carving up the Knights on attack and defense, the Chiefs looked world-class.

Without a shadow of doubt, they made a name for themselves as a fierce title contender for the rest of 2021 in wider APAC, not just Oceania. Just one performance gave everyone a new perspective on a squad that has failed to convert in the past, and it’s equal parts exciting and scary.

Their defenses were secure. Their attacks were lethal. While Dgtl admitted that the Knights weren’t playing totally up to expectations, that shouldn’t take anything away from what the Chiefs managed to do.

“It’s always about making sure you’re winning the defenses you’re meant to win, and winning as many attacks as you can. With time, our attacks have gotten better, we’re synergizing way better, and when we’re on defense, we’re extremely confident. 

“Knights couldn’t do anything to our defenses, which I think is a credit to us, but it’s also a discredit to them. They know where they went wrong, and they’ll go back to the drawing board to work on it because some of their attacks were poor.”

The Chiefs vs Knights rivalry now is brewing to be one of Oceanic Siege’s most iconic. As time goes on, the margin between these two teams gets slimmer as they rise up to the top. It’s not a ‘rivalry’ in every sense of the word ⁠though — it’s friendly, and there’s a lot of respect.

“I don’t think it’s a rivalry, but a sign of respect. We know the Knights are a really good team, so going up against them will always be a good game,” he said.

The win at OCN has validated the team’s trajectory for the rest of the year as a real title contender in APAC. They will join Knights in the APAC Playoffs, which kicks off on April 23, and they are in with a shot of taking it home.

“Before I joined this roster, this roster was always top four in APAC, and we came second [in my first season], but after that we tried to make changes to elevate that even more. We had troubles along the way, but the ideology is still there,” Dgtl said.

“We’re happy that we’re competing at a high level, and really glad to just be able to make playoffs. We can now set our new goals, which are simply to win APAC.”

“We sometimes scrim [APAC North] teams, and we know we’re confident in taking it to those teams. It’s just about playing well on the day and coming together well. The goal is definitely to make the Granny and go from there.”

However, Dgtl’s eyes are set on one thing bigger. The Six Invitational is within reach for him and the rest of the Chiefs boys now, and they’re going to spend 2021 making that dream a reality.

“To play in front of a crowd at the biggest Siege event of the year, it’s 100% something you dream about. To think that I could be doing that just doesn’t seem real, but it’s the goal. With enough time, it’s definitely achievable.”

PhotographyESL
Andrew Amos
After joining Snowball in mid-2018, Andrew "Ducky" Amos has fast become one of our region's best esports writers. Cutting his teeth in Oceanic Overwatch, he now covers all kinds of esports for publications globally. However, his heart still lays at home, telling the story of Aussies trying to make it big.

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