The South Asian Rainbow Six esports scene has been on an upwards trend for a while now. From Ubisoft's decision to release an Indian operator to then moving onto adding South Asia as a region to their global esports structure - the community has been blessed with one good news after another in recent months. The region's addition came at a difficult time because of the ongoing pandemic, which effectively cancelled any plans for LANs and limited team to playing other local teams. Despite the limitations, the South Asian R6 community has been witness to Union Gaming's rise to the top as the number 1 seed for the region. The team have established dominance among a host of familiar faces and kept the momentum going into the November Major. The team's recent win at the TEC R6 Pro League proves that they are indeed the team to beat in the region. We speak to UG's captain, Tasabbir 'Sparko' Easraq to get his take on all things Rainbow Six ...
Interview with Sparko
Hey Sparko, congratulations on the win and cementing your place as the top team in South Asia. How has the last few months been for you and the team?
To be honest, the last few months were kinda rough as we have multiple tournaments going on. We were playing TEC R6 Pro league/Loco Battle Zone 6/Skyesports 2.0 R6/ROG Battleground & along with that we have to prepare for the upcoming November Major.
Also, we had a very rough time in the South Asia National Stage 2 where we were 1 map down in the Loser bracket and 2nd Map 2-6 Kira Esports was leading and we were only a round away from being eliminated from the Nationals and the November Major but then we did the epic comeback from 2-6 to 8-7 and then won the series.
We recently got a coach & an analyst for our upcoming Major but lot of work has to be done and we have such less time as the Major starts on 26th November.
Can you tell us a bit about how the team was formed and how you went about picking the players and the roster?
I used to play Siege from Year 1 Season 1 back then I had a Bangladeshi Team played a couple of tournament & LANs. But things didn't work out as my aim was to take the game seriously. Then I met EX7 through online games & we picked up the rest of the players through his reference. W e got Beat, Jittery, Sandy, Poseidon.
Later we met each other at LAN events which took place in India & we kept practicing for the future.Though we had some bit roster changes, we didn't change our core roster. I guess people call us the old OGs.
The team marked a perfect run at the Pro League Division 1, Season 1. However, quite a few games were not played and handed over as forfeits. Does it pain to see this level of unprofessional ism at the top tier in the region? Or do you think there are factors beyond the players’ control?
TEC is our favorite as the format is really amazing. I mean last TEC Rainbow Six Siege League straight from Season 1 to Season 4 we became the Champion nd now we also secured our 1st win in TEC R6 Pro League Division 1
However, a lot of teams forfeit which actually is annoying. Imagine its TEC Divison 1 gameday & you do all the warmup for the game day & just after few minutes before the game you came to know the game is not happening as the opponent forfeit
I think at this level a team should not do that which makes the South Asia esports environment unhealthy.
UG are set to play in the second Six Major later this month. What will be the team’s approach going into the tournament? Since the teams play each other frequently, is there a need to constantly adapt and come up with new strats and does it add additional pressure?
Well, people will be keeping eyes on us as we are the team who can make a big change for South Asia R6 Scene if we win November Major. We may have 275 SI points in the bag, but we still need the points from the November Major to reach the Six Invitational.
Also, we are facing L2K and they are pretty good. We have played each other couple of times so pretty much the strats are similar and we are trying to focus more on gameplay & timing
And on the other side, Monkas vs MrcZ; one of them will make it to the Final. The whole team is trying their best as this is our biggest chance to make a debut from South Asia to the International stage
The current meta is one that is under constant criticism from pro players and analysts, globally. Being the IGL, what do you think is the biggest problem in the current patch and what do you think should be done to rectify it?
Yeah, the current meta is not so friendly. A lot of pros are getting annoyed as it's taking a lot of freedom from a lot of players. But the new season Operation Neon Dawn will be a big change R6 already released their patch notes & revealed the changes
I think new Meta will bring big impact on Siege also the devs are seeing the pros are not happy with the current meta
What’s the most difficult part about being an IGL in Siege?
The most difficult part of being IGL is making the right decision in the right moment as the decision can cost the round or can make it. Making decisions alone is kinda tough as it creates a lot of pressure. In uG we don't have specific IGL, we make moves according to players call outs
Which is/was a more difficult task? Being the best team in the region or maintaining your place at the top?
I believe in maintaining your place at the top as most of the team's main goal is to beat uG. So they keep countering us in different methods & gave us always tough fight in almost all tournaments so we have to look out for our opponents & maintain our performance
What do you think UG’s chances would be if they were to play at an international LAN event such as the Six Major or Six Invitational? Where do you think the team would realistically be able to stand among the established names and rosters?
As I said, we have been playing this game for a long time just for passion but when official Ubisoft / R6 Esports announced South Asia as their new addition we started taking this game more seriously.
Also as we got our new coach & analyst we are learning a lot of new stuff which we lacked earlier. We can see the improvements & if we work more hard in right way. I think we make a good debut for South Asia in International scene
How important are regional leagues and tournaments to the Siege esports ecosystem?
Extremely important as competition at this level brings forward the next group of talented players. Developing a local/regional R6 siege is the first step towards pushing this talent to be more competitive internationally.
Siege in South Asia has been on an upward trend in recent months. What do you think led to this change and how can we see more teams, players and fans becoming a part of the community?
Firstly I believe the main thing which kick started the trend of increased popularity in R6 has to be the increased popularity of Esports overall. However another important aspect is the hard work and dedication of the entire South Asian R6 community who have worked tirelessly to get their talent recognized and the fact that there is a South Asian Ubisoft sanctioned Major now proves that this dedication has been fruitful.
In terms of attracting new players and fans first and foremost there needs to be a pipeline of exposure. More events, increased news coverage and more advertising and partnerships with local, regional and international brands that are popular with the youth. In order to be a fan you need to learn about the game so organisations and those involved in the R6 ecosystem should actively promote the game they play to these potential fans and players.