Bliss almost went through the entirety of Oceanic Nationals Stage 2 undefeated. Despite one small hiccup at the end, they’re proving that Oceania’s best aren’t just the four teams competing in APAC South, and a trophy in the cabinet will be testament to that.
Wildcard, Knights, Chiefs, and Order (or Okami) have become names synonymous with Oceanic Siege and their success is now starting to cross into international circles.
Bliss are looking to become the fifth name on that list, and a win in Oceanic Nationals Stage 2 will go a long way towards that.
Their near-invincible season was one map away from going into the record books. They were only forced into overtime once by Order, and lost on the final game day to Chiefs. However, they made light work of everyone else in the region, including the APAC South contingent.
It was never the goal, according to Todd “Todd” Francis though. They just had one team in their sights: ROFLCOPTER.
“It was never a goal to finish first this season. We didn’t set out at the start of the season with many goals,” he told Snowball.
“We just took every game as it came, one game at a time, and focused on playing the best we could every week. It worked, and the results played out in our favour.”
Then, he swapped things around.
“I lied, we did have one goal this season: It was to finish above ROFLCOPTER,” he laughed.
“We want to give ourselves the best possible chance of qualifying for APAC South, and they’re our main competition with the Top 4 already over there. We have scrimmed the APAC South teams, but officials are very different from scrims.”
So, getting that regional pedigree, and the all crucial points in Stage 2 to distance themselves from their rivals, who finished fifth, is key for Bliss.
The trump card in their pocket has been Jigsaw. Formerly of LFO, he’s made waves in his second season with a league-topping 1.72 KD, as well as 600 MVP points.
“Jigsaw is just a reliable, consistent fragger. Every team benefits from a player like him. Even when he has an off-game, he’s still near the top of the scoreboard,” he said.
However, it’s not just Jigsaw. The young gunners in Repix and Odah have also proven to be worth their weight in gold. Todd has the strats, and now he has the aimers to make everything click.
“For them, especially Repix, this team is all they’ve known [when it comes to competitive Siege]. They can learn our structure and style of play, and they’re really malleable,” Todd added.
“We’ve just been able to practice more [since getting a solid core]. We don’t have to worry about roster changes, so having that stability means we can implement more strategies.
Despite the slight setback against Chiefs (they had secured first place, but Todd assured me that “we did really want to win, but we’re a completely different team when we’re playing under pressure”), Bliss are mentally preparing themselves for the best-of-five slog.
They’ve already proven to be the kings of best-of-ones. But experience comes in handy in these longer series. Todd has it in spades, but his younger squad mates are running in blind with nerves.
Whether they face Chiefs or Knights is still up in the air, but just having the one series to worry about is helpful.
“It’s a lot nicer only having the one best-of-five to worry about and not the rest of the Gauntlet. We can ease into the series on Sunday,” he said.
“Knights can run the entire gauntlet if they wanted to. However, they’ll probably be hiding strats and preparing for the Mexico Major.
“While Chiefs are probably our main competition, it’ll be tight between them for who makes it to the Grand Final.”
Getting silverware is big for Bliss. The Oceanic Nationals title and the prestige that comes with it, heading into an international league where they’re looking to make their mark, is important.
But the points are the big play, and winning just means more points for Relegations.
“Winning the title is huge regardless, but it’ll be good to just get the extra points for Relegations,” he said.
“I’m hoping for a quick 3-0, if I’m being honest. Keep the heart rate down. Hopefully it’ll be a good series, but we don’t want it to be too close.”
The Oceanic Nationals 2021 Stage 2 playoffs wraps up today, Sunday August 1, when Bliss takes on the winner of Knights and Chiefs at approximately 4pm AEST. You can catch the action live on the Rainbow Six Bravo Twitch channel.