The petrol-powered men at ROFLCOPTER have a big challenge ahead of themselves in the OCN 2021 Season Finals, facing The Chiefs first. However, for Matthew “OJ” Grech and his side, the playoffs are prime time to get ready for the bigger challenge of APAC South Relegations, and what use is there being scared of the best if you want to be the best?
ROFLCOPTER burst out onto the scene with a high-flying third-place finish in OCN 2021 Stage 1. Since then, the engines have spluttered out a bit.
Part of that is because of roster instability. Heading into Stage 3, they made their most drastic changes, and it didn’t pan out too well, missing Stage playoffs for the first time in 2021.
“Obviously when you make two roster moves so close to the season you’re gonna be a bit underprepared to play at the level you’d like to, and we were probably a bit too naive of that heading into the season,” OJ admitted to Snowball.
“With more time to play together and practice in the off season we feel a lot more comfortable in our team since OCN Stage 3 finished.”
A lot of those challenges ROFLCOPTER have faced have been brought on by the fact they are still looking for an organization. Unlike the top teams in the region who are salaried — or at least have some sort of backing — they have gone at it entirely alone.
That has led to the litany of roster changes from Relegations last year to now, including two big swaps ahead of Stage 3 with Issac “Wettables” Moore and Nicholas “KKin” Peterson jumping onboard for Joshua “Campo” Camplin and Kelton “Bouncin” McLachlan — the latter considered the star of the roster.
The constant flux was expected for OJ, and something he tried to manage well. No matter who’s on the roster though, he still remains confident in his team — else he wouldn’t be here.
“The ROFLCOPTER roster has evolved as you’d expect any unpaid video game team to go in a year long format. Keeping up that same level of drive and intensity is near impossible for a whole year when the incentive feels like it’s non-existent,” he said.
“That isn’t a reflection of the attitudes of Campo or Bouncin, or why they are no longer on the roster, but it did make it hard to perform all year. Bouncin is obviously a great player and losing him was a bit annoying, but I felt that Kkin and Wettables did what they could to fill that void in such a short period of time.
“If I didn’t feel confident in the roster that we had assembled after Stages 1 and 2 then I wouldn’t bother playing any more.”
It does make for a great David and Goliath story heading into the OCN Season Finals. ROFLCOPTER fell to their lowest finish in Stage 3, missing out on playoffs. However, earlier heroics in Stage 1 saw them edge out over the crumbling ORDER and the surging Rhythm.
They now stare down the barrel of facing the back-to-back-to-back OCN Stage champions, The Chiefs, fresh off a campaign at the Sweden Major. Community expectations are low on ROFLCOPTER, but inside the team they’ve got the winners mentality: “You have to beat the good teams in order to be a good team.
“We don’t really care that we are playing Chiefs first, and it doesn’t add any pressure either. It’d be a bit of a loser mindset to go in wanting to play all the weaker teams and hope you can get away with not being tested for as long as possible,” OJ stated.
Heading into these big series, there’s always these questions put on the underdogs. In Siege, the most common is looking at map pools. It’s always highlighted as the main difference between those at the top, and those pushing to overtake them.
Playing BO1s all year has allowed ROFLCOPTER to keep a few maps sharp, but heading into the OCN Season Finals, they’ve had to broaden the scope.
“Map pool isn’t a concern for us. Obviously we’ve got stronger maps and we have got weaker maps but we are more than comfortable to go to any map in our pool.
“Our map pool has definitely gotten better during the off season as you have that luxury of banning 3 maps in BO1s, but now that BO1s aren’t the format for OCN finals and APAC South Relegations, we’ve managed to expand that pool in order to be ready for different teams.”
That last point is important, because while OCN Season Finals and its $15,000 grand prize is certainly appetizing, a spot in APAC South 2022 will pay that and more. It’ll give ROFLCOPTER the chance to finally get recognized by an organisation and get signed. It’ll spur them on to bigger and better things, building on the solid foundation they made in 2021.
“APAC South means making money to play the game, so that in itself says enough about the driving force of qualifying. If we miss it, I don’t know what will happen and I haven’t thought about that yet.”
OCN Season Finals are a chance to get match-ready for Relegations, but it’s also a chance for their direct rivals to scout their VODs and get the counter-strats ready. So, OJ and ROFLCOPTER are taking a safe approach to their OCN Finals stratbook.
“We obviously want to win OCN Finals, but we will make sure it doesn’t come at the cost of revealing too much for our opponents in the bracket for APAC South relegations,” he said.
“Solid foundations and teamplay will take you a long way though, especially in the current state of Siege. Just because we might be trying not to show everything doesn’t mean it will serve as an excuse for not performing at our best.”
That overarching goal — of APAC South qualification — is what it all comes down to for ROFLCOPTER. A good performance at OCN Season Finals is just a stepping stone to that, and they feel confident now is their time to strike.
However, don’t expect to see the petrol-powered men celebrating like it’s the World Cup. There’s a bigger game right on the horizon.
“Winning OCN season finals would be cool because you play to win, but in saying that it wouldn’t really be much more than that.
“Chiefs have just come back from a Major and won’t play another competition for a long time. Knights would be focused on SI quals and Bliss are obviously in the same boat of Relegations as us.
“We haven’t really placed an expectation on ourselves. If you are going to bother playing in any tournament though, then your expectation should always be to win.”
ROFLCOPTER will take on The Chiefs to kick off their OCN 2021 Season Finals campaign on Saturday, December 11, at 3PM AEDT. You can watch the action live on the Rainbow Six ANZ Twitch channel.