Heading into Oceanic Nationals 2021 Stage 3, Overt have nothing to lose. Being promoted in place of the disbanded LFO, there’s absolutely no expectations on the OCL leaders. Jesse “Soya” Lando is using that to his advantage as they play for a permanent berth in 2022.
Overt were rueing their OCL Stage 2 loss to rivals Fury earlier in August. Having gone into the playoffs undefeated, only dropping 17 rounds across seven maps, the 3-1 loss was disheartening.
Then came a lifeline, from seemingly nowhere. OCN stalwarts LFO were disbanding after two years, and someone needed to take their place. It was Overt’s place for the taking — even if they were actually expecting it to happen a bit differently.
“There was one point during Stage 2 where we thought Rhythm were disbanding. We had heard rumors and whatnot and so we thought ‘oh maybe we’ll get promoted’, and then we knew they weren’t going to disband so we refocused onto Stage 3 of OCL,” Soya told Snowball.
“We lost the Grand Final [to Fury] and that was a bit depressing, but we found out four days later we were getting promoted because of LFO disbanding. We were pretty happy, to say the least. We’re excited to test what we practice in a more intense environment.”
It’s a big boon for Overt, who now get at least a six-week head-start on their OCL compatriots in the lead-up to their “big dance”: OCN Relegations.
Overt have practically no chance to avoid relegations. They need to finish in the top 2 and have other results swing in their favor (primarily praying on Wildcard and Rhythm’s downfall). So, they’re not getting too excited about making waves in Stage 3, but the benefits from being in the top-flight will make the year of grinding worth it in Soya’s eyes.
“There’s a lot more coverage on OCN. It’s the pinnacle of the ANZ scene, so you’re playing against the best seven teams in the region,” he explained.
“There’s bonuses with promotion, viewership, so we don’t need that attention but it’s nice to have more people appreciate your work — even if you don’t get the results you want.”
If you are tuning in to watch Overt for the first time when they take on the Knights in OCN Stage 3 Week 1, you can expect to see a very frag-heavy, but adaptable playstyle. This has obviously been a hallmark of many of Oceania’s successful teams, with Bliss most recently proving that newcomers can pose a threat to the big four when they focus on being “guns-up”.
“We’re very adaptive. We play off our calls and intel, and we’re quite loose in terms of being in a position to always find a solution and then collapse onto our opponents,” he said.
“It’s quite a frag-heavy playstyle. It can be both, but you have to win your gunfights to make this style of play work.”
It’s a statement we’ve heard quite a lot recently, especially with the 20-second meta being a relic of the past. At Mexico, it was LATAM who shone with their frags, dismantling the more methodical European and NA teams.
Even domestically, it’s the twitchy flicks of Jigsaw and Worthy that get headlines more than some play out of the G2 stratbook of old.
“Each region has their different styles, but in APAC, frag-heavy teams will always beat out the teams who try and play methodically,” Soya added.
Even with all this optimism, under the surface, this Overt squad knows they’re in for a struggle. It’s a tall order to come into the top-flight with no experience and try to show up the big guns.
Historically, there’s been very few examples of this actually working. You could maybe point to the LFO of old, or Stage 1 Roflcopter. Both those squads crumbled in playoffs.
Overt have also made a bigger jump, in the middle of a season, against teams who have plenty to fight for with Relegations (or Promotion) on the table.
It made Overt’s first goal in OCN not to grab big scalps, but rather improve for the long run and try and bridge the gap as quickly as possible.
“The gap [between OCN and OCL] is massive if I’m being honest. OCN teams have experience at a higher level to adapt quicker and fix issues within their team. They see Siege differently. It’s these little things, and because OCL teams don’t have that experience, it takes them a lot longer to identify issues and put a solution in place,” Soya said.
“None of us have played OCN before, so the expectation should be low because we don’t have that experience. Us and Fury have a better idea than the other OCL teams, but you can tell from scrims there’s a big gap.”
“I want the expectations to be low, I want to overachieve!”
Up against Knights first, Overt are ready for the challenge. They’re taking things one round at a time, and Soya is keen to play against the “very advanced” APAC South champions.
But the longer goal isn’t just for Stage 3, but 2022. They’re going to take this OCN headstart and put it to use by distancing themselves from their OCL rivals as much as possible, and make Promotions later this year a walk in the park.
“Everything starting from our game against Knights is preparing for Relegations and putting ourselves in the best situation to keep our spot. We think Top 6 is achievable. I couldn’t tell you the two teams under us, but that would be a huge achievement for us.
“Making playoffs would be insane, but we want to beat Rhythm’s one point last Stage — an overtime win and we’re happy. I’m hoping to get an interview or two so hopefully we win a game, but we’re not too bothered as long as we’re learning.”
Overt kicks off their OCN campaign against the Knights on Friday, September 10, at 7pm AEST. You can catch the action live on the Rainbow Six Bravo Twitch channel.