Fnatic vs Wildcard (and its renditions) move aside, there’s a new rivalry in Australian Rainbow Six. The Chiefs and Knights duked it out in the latest instalment in Oceanic Nationals this week with the former prevailing again, which Isaiah “Vast” Patterson is using to turn the team’s slight slump around.
After emerging from OCN Stage 1 as champions, the Chiefs have had a sluggish start across both APAC South and the domestic league in their title defense.
A 8-7 loss to Roflcopter on Gameday 2 backed up by a closer-than-hoped 7-5 against cellar dwellers Rhythm put the Chiefs on notice. Not all the stars had been aligning as they looked like they lacked the spark — and the firepower — that finally put silverware in the core’s cabinet.
However, Vast says that’s finally turning around. The slump in form wasn’t brought on by a roster change — the Chiefs escaped the Stage 2 roster lock unscathed — or a definitive change in tactics (although that has been adapting with the meta shifts).
It came with a real hard look at themselves, and really bringing the “energy” to each and every game.
“There were a lot of things last season that we were missing. We’ve spent the last couple of weeks trying to get things clicking, and this week was a huge step for us — not just the performances, but with our practice,” he told Snowball.
“In the QConfirm game we noticed when our energy is not there, we notice teams start rolling over us. We rely a lot on being at our optimal level for energy and that was a big focus this week — not too high, not too low, and we made dramatic improvements on that this week.”
The introspective led to a win against two tough wins against Invictus Gaming (8-7 in APAC South) the Knights (8-6 in OCN), with that energy “carrying” Chiefs according to Vast.
While the former is critically important for their playoffs campaign in APAC — and a chance to earn a spot at the August Major — there’s just something about Chiefs vs Knights that makes it feel like the match of the stage nowadays.
It’s got that flair of the Fnatic vs Wildcard of old. The region’s two definitive best teams, who no matter what form they’re in leading into the game, always provide a spectacle. The teams themselves feel that too.
“I don’t even know how to explain it. We’re building a rivalry with Knights, and even the boys said after the game that when we play them, it’s the best game of the season. It’s back and forth, round for round, a lot of aggression,” Vast said.
“To win it, and the conditions that we won it, it was a really good feeling. It’s an important win because it helps us build a lot of momentum and consistency when it is really needed.”
Vast himself has had a pretty solid season individually, having moved off the IGL role since Morgan “Fishoguy” Ishizaka’s arrival in Stage 1 — something that helped lift “a lot of pressure off [his] shoulders”. He also picked up the MVP award against Rhythm.
However, more uniquely to Siege in Australia, he’s one of five players in Chiefs’ shared team house, with Fisho and coach Patrick “Turtle” Gleeson joining him, as well as League of Legends players Matthew “Mboma” Desa and Tristan “Lived” Fulcher.
It’s a different experience — although it would be nice for the whole squad to be under the one roof, Vast admits, with the team’s practice still primarily happening online — and has helped break down some walls between the team.
“I stick to myself quite a bit because I’m always busy with gym and doing other things. The League guys are always scrimming. Everyone is night owls too, and I’m an early riser, so we don’t really see each other too often.
“Talking about issues in person still helps. It also strengthens the bond when you finally meet your teammates. It breaks the online barrier and a lot of awkwardness.”
It’s the small little things — the energy, the environment — that could push Chiefs over the hitch they hit in Stage 1, at least in APAC South with their two close games against Fnatic and Cyclops, to try and push for that ultimate goal of making international play.
“I’m still pretty happy with how we performed — we lost but they were big names, strong teams, and we took it to both of them and we played with confidence and we just fell short in the end,” Vast said.
“We learned how we can adapt in the future against those teams, the more ‘random’, aggro playstyle. If we do make the playoffs for APAC, we should be able to bring a better performance this stage.”
No matter whether it’s in OCN against Wildcard this week or a big LAN game though, Vast and the Chiefs are just taking it week by week to try and regain their momentum, so they can hit the ground running when it really matters and prove they’re more than just the Australian champions.
“We just try to take it day by day and keep focused. We need to play like last season where we got a lot of results off of our momentum, which will hopefully carry us to the playoffs.
“[Making it international] is why we want to win every game, so we can break out of Australia and show the world what we can do. Being able to travel overseas is the dream for everyone. We don’t really talk about it, so it doesn’t affect day to day practice, but on an individual level, all the boys are thinking about what it could mean.”
The Chiefs play Wildcard next in Oceanic Nationals Stage 2 2021 on Saturday, July 10 at 8pm AEST.