Why LFO brought in a rookie in its highest pressure phase yet – SiegeGG
Image via Ubisoft/@Kirill_Vision
On February 11, 2022, Vitality – one of the biggest French esports organizations and one of the first organizations to invest in Rainbow Six Siege – abruptly left the scene.
Vitality, now LFO, had just failed to qualify for the 2022 Six Invitational via the Closed Qualifier. They were a major participant from Sweden, but only had this international result to hang their hats on after two long years of lackluster regional performances.
Upon release, Vitality the organization left the roster a small blessing: players and support staff retained their license to compete in EUL, meaning they were available to any organization that wanted to pick them up for free. The roster wouldn’t be relegated by default, they would have a stage or more to market themselves to potential teams.
But it wasn’t easy, according to Valentin “risze” Liradelfo: “We had rent to pay and stuff like that. Having two months off was a bit stressful for us to be honest.”
Risze said he was fully confident that Robin “Robz” Planus would be able to find a new team in the roster: Robz took on the brunt of negotiations with several teams that risze could not name for confidentiality reasons .
If the team didn’t play well, their negotiations wouldn’t go very well. Currently, LFO is on the verge of qualifying for the Charlotte Major – a great achievement considering the circumstances. Ironically, LFO’s newest and arguably biggest addition didn’t feel the financial crush.
Dahmani “Mowwwgli” Yanis, 19, brought on to be the tip of the LFO’s spear, still lives with her parents for now and never considered turning down the LFO’s offer when it came. He played Siege on PS4 before seeing a future in Siege and bought a PC five years ago. Mowwwgli also said his performance in the PG Nationals and Challenger League was the main factor in LFO’s decision to sign him.
“I know we’ll find another family, you know?” Mowwwgli said. “…I wanted to play in EUL.”
Risze said the decision to leave Medhi “Kaktus” Marty wasn’t personal and he still thought he was a good player. The LFO needed more firepower, however, and Mowwwgli has plenty of it. The move gave Axel “Shiinka” Freisberg a strong comeback and gave Nicolas “P4” Rimbaud more map space in his important lurker role.
“For us, it was pretty obvious that we would be a better team with Mowwwgli, and it didn’t matter that we didn’t have an organization,” risze said.
P4 and Mowwwgli currently lead the team statistically, but LFO are the only team still in major contention without a player in the league’s top ten statistics. Respectively, P4 and Mowwwgli occupy the 12th and 13th ranks in the SiegeGG ranking for the stage. Although their firepower has been improved, their strength still comes from a team effort.
“I can take positions, make plays that they couldn’t before, you know? There’s only two people [on the team] with the ‘big bullets’ to take tough positions,” Mowwwgli said with a laugh. “I just follow drones and take a lot of tough positions with my firefights.”
Above all, Mowwwgli is fearless. Risze said he played exactly the same way he did in the domestic leagues: the proverbial bright lights of the EUL gave him no doubts or worries.
In Siege, the only thing that really matters is getting a Major.
Price reductions in domestic leagues are acceptable, and some domestic leagues offer relatively prestigious achievements, but if you don’t make the Major, you only play nine EUL-caliber games in three months. This often goes unnoticed, but one of the only ways for organizations to get adequate ROI in the short term is to have a roster that consistently qualifies for Majors. While Mowwwgli and risze say no organization they’ve spoken to about the future has explicitly said they have to do a Major to be signed, it’s “understandable” that this is a concern.
LFO had several opportunities to land their ticket to Charlotte for the May major. They bottled up a great start against MNM Gaming: a 3-3 attacking half over Villa turned into an 8-7 overtime loss. One round was the difference again in another max overtime loss to Rogue.
The final game of the LFO leg is against the league’s worst team by record: ex-Empire PWNZ, which emptied its roster in the offseason. A regulation victory, followed by an expected heroic victory over Rogue, should allow the LFO to advance to the Major. If they do, they’ll almost certainly have a home in the end.
On May 2, LFO will play PWNZ. If they win in regulation time, they will more than likely qualify for the Charlotte Major. If they don’t qualify, it doesn’t seem like the end of the world – they can still find an organization – but the tension and stress will certainly escalate.
Indeed, the LFO roster bet on itself, and in about a week that bet might have paid off. Faced with the prospect of not receiving a salary for a while and the added stress of not knowing who would sign their next check, they went out and took a risk on Mowwwgli, a young gunner. They’re one regulation win away from a Major, and so far that’s the only thing in sight.