After a big 2017, Dark Sided’s Nathan “Shadey” Logan is now setting his sights on making the Rocket League Championship Series in 2018, something that’s just managed to elude him a handful of times throughout his competitive career.

“It’s been a pretty big goal of mine and it has been since I started,” Logan said.

“I’ve come close a couple of times and just need to close it out and make it!”

The former JAM Gaming player saw a lot of success last year, culminating in a couple of first-place finishes in a handful of major Australian Rocket League tournaments. In late November, he left JAM Gaming and joined up with Dark Sided alongside long-time buddies and teammates Jonathon “Express” Slade and Connor “MontyConnor” Montgomery. After just a few days, MontyConnor left the team and was replaced by Phillip “Dumbo” Donachie in December to form a side that’s aiming to really shoot for the top placements in the Australian majors.

Just a few months in, and Logan only has good things to say about Dark Sided.

“They’ve been very good actually, probably one of the best organisations I’ve ever played for.

“The team’s been meshing pretty well lately, so it’s going well!”

Though Express, Dumbo, and Logan are all long-time mates and have known each other for quite some time, a lot of practice is still a key component in ensuring the team can be the best it can be, and Dark Sided have been right there to help out when necessary.

“The support [from Dark Sided] has been amazing to be honest — it’s more like a family rather than an organisation.

“All the teams [in the organisation], we kind of get along with each other too, which is good.”

Logan, who has been playing Rocket League since its initial launch back in July 2015, says the team regularly looks for scrims at night to practice and get prepped for competition, which has benefited their new play style — something they only implemented at the beginning of the year. He believes that because of the new style results might not show for some time, however.

“We’ve been trying to find our own feet, as at the start of this year we made some very big changes to how we play.

“The results probably aren’t going to show for a while for us but that’s the hard truth about changing stuff, is that it’s going to take time but hopefully it pays off in the end.”

The team plays a dynamic play style, and according to Logan it’s all about positioning, active communication, and trust.

“We theoretically all play the same role, but it depends on the ball position as there’s no set roles,” he said.

“We have really good positioning in the sense that we always have someone ready to hit [the ball] and we always have someone ready to receive that hit — we kind of all do everything!”

With London-based organisation Gfinity launching at the beginning of 2018 in Australia, focusing on weekly Street Fighter V, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, and Rocket League tournaments, there’s a tonne of time for Dark Sided’s Rocket League side to gel and bond, and Logan thinks the new teams coming through thanks to the competition have been good for the local scene.

However, Logan’s still a bit unconvinced about Gfinity properly working in the Oceanic region, and he believes the company has a lot to do to get full support from all players.

“It [Gfinity coming to Australia] seems like a pretty big step, though honestly I feel like it wasn’t really scaled for our region in some senses, just due to the fact our player base [is different] and I’m not sure how it’s going to work.

“The announcements have been pretty lacklustre from Gfinity in terms of information, but it’s good they’re trying to bring it [to Australia], but I’m not sure how it’ll go — I’m a bit sceptical on that part but we’ll have to see what happens.”

Even in doubt, he does believe the recently-announced Hoyts partnership with Gfinity and its Elite Series is a big step for esports and its reach in Australia.

“Having big companies like that involved and hearing the esports ads on the radio and stuff, I think it’s definitely a good step forward.”

Gfinity isn’t the only major Rocket League competition in Australia this year, though, and Logan is a firm believer in the work Throwdown Esports has done for the scene, with regular major competitions and tournaments laid out throughout the year a massive step for competitive Rocket League in Australia.

“The support from Throwdown has been more or less really good for our scene and helping us progress, so it’s good to see even more support this year than last year,” he said.

Throwdown’s first major tournament, the OCE Open Series, is currently on with eight teams vying for a share of $15,000 AUD in prize pool money, and a chance to get in some practice before the OCE Championship kicks off next month, where teams will compete for a share of the $25,000 USD prize pool and two spots in the Rocket League Championship Series in America. 

No matter what happens, in order for Rocket League’s local competitive scene to grow Logan believes there needs to be some more support, though he thinks the scene is certainly getting there.

“We’ve already got a few top tier organisations in Rocket League, but just to see a few more getting behind it and getting more people playing and more people interested, as well as watching it would be good.”

He’d also like to see the teams that eventually go over to the Rocket League Championship Series in America get some good results, in turn showing off the Oceanic region as one that’s beginning to become a serious competitor in the international scene.

“I hope that if we start to show a little bit more promise as we go international with the two teams being sent to RLCS in the middle of the year, we can get some results there.

“I think people will start to see that we’re serious as a region, that we’re improving steadily, and that we can beat those international teams.

“So hopefully [the local scene] grows even more and just keeps steadily growing, but I guess we’ll see at the end of the year!”

Logan’s Dark Sided team are currently ranked 2nd in the OCE Open Series, with that new play style certainly showing some promise against some of the Oceanic region’s best teams. The team are regularly competing in Gfinity’s Competitors Cup, too, and will hope to take the momentum and practice gained from both competitions into their run in Throwdown Esports’ OCE Championship in March.