Bliss have gone from strength-to-strength in 2021, proving themselves as a real contender among the APAC South talents in OCN. Having come close to glory multiple times in 2021, Mahdi “Repix” Khoshnam wants the reward for the hard work — both in the form of an OCN title and APAC South 2022 promotion.
Bliss were the standouts in OCN 2021, as far as surprises go. Few hopes were put on the former Ferox roster, which had a tumultuous past in Oceanic Siege to say the least.
However, they finally found clear skies and waters, and managed to stick together (mostly) for the entire year. One roster change — an undeniable upgrade at that with Jack ‘Jigsaw’ Gillies — saw Bliss catapult from a fringe playoffs hopeful to a powerhouse in the OCN.
That expectation was set immediately after Bliss managed to push through Relegations and cement their spot in the top-flight for all of 2021.
“We have always believed in ourselves and have always ensured that our goals are set high,” Repix stated to Snowball.
“After winning Relegations we all knew we had what it takes to not only be in the OCN season finals but to also have a shot at making APAC South. The team has improved dramatically by just sticking together and having built a strong bond.”
They were the kings of BO1s in OCN, and their Stage 2 unbeaten run will go down in history as one of the most dominant regular seasons in Oceanic Siege history.
However, there’s been some signs of cracks forming — at least from the outside. The first is their recent 7-0 thumping at the hands of ORDER in the Six Invitational 2022 qualifiers, eliminating them in the first round.
Bliss hadn’t lost to ORDER all year, and have always been the favourite in a BO1 setting. Repix dismissed it, saying the team was more focused on getting ready for APAC South Relegations and not giving too much away to their final opponent (ORDER will play Bliss for an APAC South spot if Bliss wins their first game).
“The 7-0 loss against ORDER didn’t really affect any of us — it’s almost like the game didn’t happen. I would be lying if I said we were trying as much as [usual].
“We hoped we could go far in SI quals, but our main focus was APAC South Relegations and they are one team we [are playing against] heading into APAC South. As much as I hate to say it, it’s pretty obvious we [weren’t] trying.”
The second though is their struggles outside of BO1s. While they haven’t had the easiest benchmark — playing against the Chiefs twice and ROFLCOPTER once — they have a 1-7 map record in BO3s and BO5s in 2021.
However, Bliss have been making in-roads to that, expanding their map pool to try and become a more competitive BO3 and BO5 side because that’s what they need to make it to Relegations.
“I believe we have what it takes to become a BO3 and BO5 team,” Repix said. “The main reason in which we haven’t succeeded much is mainly because we’ve mainly played the Chiefs and they are known to be an extremely strong team in BO3 and BO5 situations.”
They have a chance to put those concerns to bed with a strong performance against Knights first up in the OCN 2021 Season Finals. Bliss and Knights have been a surprisingly close match in 2021, but there’s a gap between the APAC South team and their Relegations counterpart, as expected given the competition gulf.
Much like ROFLCOPTER, Bliss are wary of showing too much in Season Finals with the big Relegations test around the corner. However, they are going to give it their all — even if they hide some of the stratbook.
“We don’t wanna ruin the fun for the viewers, but it’s pretty obvious that we will be saving most of our strats for APAC South Relegations. However we will still be trying in the OCN Finals,” they stated.
“Heading into gameday we are always confident regardless of the team we are playing against. With Knights being the first team we play against, I think our standards are high.”
After falling short at the last hurdle so many times in 2021, an OCN Finals win is the perfect boost Bliss needs ahead of their bigger APAC South Relegations campaign.
The achievement will be neat, but the celebrations will only kick off once they get a spot in APAC South for 2022.
“After being so close to winning all three Stages, it would mean a lot to win the OCN Finals. Although our main focus is APAC South, it would still be an achievement for not just me but my team to win.”
Bliss will take on Knights to kick off their OCN 2021 Season Finals campaign on Saturday, December 11, at 6pm AEDT. You can watch the action live on the Rainbow Six ANZ Twitch channel.