GGRecon sat down with KS to discuss his team's development amidst the pandemic.
Niklas “KS” Massierer is a professional Rainbow Six: Siege player. Hailing from Berlin, he is part of the all-German Team Secret lineup. He has competed with various rosters under the “OrgLess” banner for two years. Recently, the team has managed to qualify for the biggest European league, EUL.
Niklas took some time off from practice to talk to GGRecon about his team’s journey through EUL, the benefits of being signed to a Major esports organisation and the effects of Covid-19 on the professional Rainbow Six scene.
You have recently been able to secure the support of a professional organisation after playing as “OrgLess” for quite some time. Apart from the obvious monetary benefit, what is the difference between playing with and without support?
The biggest difference between playing with and without an organisation is the financial aspect, by a huge stretch. Without an org, we had two players who were working full-time, every working day. We didn’t even have the chance to scrim twice a day!
So, for example, the stratting was really hard to do. Just because some had to do work from, like, 6 AM to 6 PM. We basically had half an hour to an hour to do strats, and then we had to scrim. After that, they had to go to bed in order to be ready for the next day of work.
Now, with an organisation, we’ve been able to quit those jobs and play Rainbow Six: Siege full-time, which means that we now have entire days to prepare for our upcoming games in EUL, for example.
Speaking of the European League, you signed with Secret as soon as you got into Pro League, which is now the European League (EUL). Is playing in Challenger League different from playing in EUL?
It’s actually not that different. The European League is still played in Best-of-Ones, just as Challenger League. But you had both rounds on the same day. That was the only difference, in my opinion. I would argue that the Challenger League was even harder, just because you had so many good teams fighting to compete in EUL. The first few teams especially were so close to each other. So I’d say that there’s no real difference, apart from Challenger League having been more stacked.
Our performance in EUL was poor, in my opinion.
Unfortunately, your performance in EUL hasn’t been up to par with your Challenger performance. How would you rate your presentation in EUL?
Our performance in EUL was poor, in my opinion. We were throwing a lot of games. The start of the season was actually quite good. We played against NaVi and Vitality, I believe. But we could only secure one point each because we tied the matches. We were leading against NaVi, and then we threw, ending on 6-6. The same happened with Vitality, and from that point on, we kind of lost our momentum. We couldn’t end the rounds in our favour.
Now we are in a relegation spot, which means that we must work hard in the next stage to get out of there.
The August Major was meant to take place on offline soil. Do you prefer playing from your home computer or do you wish to go back to offline events?
In my opinion, offline events are much better for Rainbow Six: Siege. Just because there’s almost no latency. Right now, the coronavirus pandemic makes our pings jump higher. Generally, we feel that online play has been unstable and inconsistent recently. This means that sometimes, you don’t kill someone when you should have. I’m pretty sure that most other players will say the same!
Playing in front of a crowd gives a lot of energy, as well. It’s a huge push to play for an audience. Everyone wants to achieve that.
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Well, for the time being, your audience will be restricted to online streams, because the ongoing pandemic won’t allow for most venues to open back up and for all teams to attend. How has the coronavirus pandemic affected you and your team in particular?
I wouldn’t say that it has affected us too much. We’re mostly playing from home anyways. We strategise and manage everything from home. But it’s really hard to bootcamp, for example. We wanted to do one as soon as we signed with Secret, but that’s just not been possible so far. We did everything online.
But you’re not in the environment of a bootcamp. So you don’t see each other, you see a screen. You can’t pull back from the PC, huddle together, and look at a strategy paper together. You’re easily distracted, and not 100% focused on the things you do.
As a fun gimmick, Ubisoft has recently released a new game mode for Siege. Do you play stuff like that in your spare time or is R6 only a ‘job’ for you?
Rainbow Six is not just a job for me. Starting out, everyone starts playing this game for fun. That’s still the way that I see Siege. Of course, I don’t play it a lot outside of my job. I do on my stream, which is completely different to the competitive side of Rainbow Six: Siege. But you need to play other stuff sometimes.
Apart from Rainbow Six: Siege, do you play any other games? Or do you try to avoid the computer aside from your job as a player?
I spend a lot of time in front of my computer, and I play lots of games, mostly the ones that are being released. Right now it’s Fall Guys, with my community and friends.
What do you think Rainbow Six Esports will look like in five years?
If it hasn’t died in five years, I’m pretty sure that Ubisoft will have done the work to fix a lot of issues. I think it’ll be more polished than ever. Rainbow Six will probably grow in terms of player base, and the esports side will fill real stadiums.
Alright, one last question. The European Major is coming up shortly. You’ve played against all of the teams in attendance, so who’s your pick for Major winner?
I think that BDS have the highest chance of winning since Rogue still have work to do with their new players. BDS have the highest potential, but only if they have a great day. Rogue are really talented, so it won’t be easy.
Images via Ubisoft Brazil | Twitter/Secret_nKS