Ethan ‘RizRaz’ Wombwell, Fnatic’s residential hypebeast and pro Rainbow Six Siege player talks their Milan performance, the road ahead and Operation Phantom Sight.

During the Rainbow Six Siege Pro League finals in Milan, Italy – Fnatic came short of the grand final after losing against Team Empire who took out the event against Evil Genuises. Coming hot from Milan, I talked to Ethan ‘RizRaz’ Wombwell from Fnatic about their team’s performance, the road ahead for the squad and the upcoming introduction of operators.

When touching on Milan and RizRaz thoughts on the overall performance from Fnatic, it was all met with expectations. Against the remodeled Nora-Rengo, Fnatic went 2-0 against the Japanese squad but ultimately fell 2-1 against Team Empire in the semis.

“I think a lot of people expected us to get quite far leading off the APAC finals where we beat Nora-Rengo. A lot of people expected us to do the same coming into Milan seeing as we had no roster change whilst they did.”

However, during the Team Empire game – Fnatic did manage to take a map off the Russian team going 7-3 on clubhouse.

We followed expectations again falling to Empire – a lot of people didn’t see us beating them but in saying that we did take a map off them and did quite well in the first one.”

On the road ahead, Fnatic will be competing in the next Pro League season as well as the upcoming Six Major in Raleigh, North Carolina.Looking at the taking their finals performance one step further, I asked RizRaz about the improvements they’ll be looking into.

“A lot of it will be playing as a team – together and not being as scared. When we played Empire, we’re playing too scared a lot of the time and too afraid to face the one on ones. I think we’ll be working a lot on those issues, working on those little things like re-frags and such.”

Source: Fnatic Website

The squad has also been bootcamping in London, this has opened the mindset of team looking at new ways to approach the sites.

“Playing with teams from that region has helped tremendously. The European teams are arguably the best region currently. They’re teaching us a lot about the executions, strategy and a lot of new ways to look at the bomb sites. Teaching us team coordination and working together – so it’s been quite well.”

After delaying the integration of new operators by a season, the Australian Burnt Horizon operators Gridlock and Mozzie are set to make their debut in pro league. With a whole season to deep dive into the operators, I asked how the team integrates them into the structure (or if not at all)

“A lot of times, we think about where people are commonly positioned. Myself and Virtue, we’re usually roaming or playing aggressive. Mozzie as an information operator wouldn’t suit us but would suit players like Acez or Lusty who sit on site who are generally quite safe and are able to move the drones around and scout areas.”

Source: Fnatic Twitter

Touching on Gridlock, RizRaz admits they quite unsure about her. “She’s quite situational at the moment. She may not even get picked a whole lot but if I was to say now – she might be put onto one of the flex players like Magnet or myself. Someone who can throw them into the room, take control or flank ”

RizRaz has mentioned that Mozzie will be an addition to the current meta when the new pro league season starts. “Defenders are quite large on the information gathering so Valkryie, Echo and Maestro are picked a whole lot plus banned a whole lot. Mozzie is just another addition. He can also play mind games with the attackers and place drones on positions where they have to think twice. He’s definitely another addition to the meta but I don’t think Gridlock will change the meta a whole lot”

During Pro League Milan, the next finals for Season 10 will take place in Tokoname, Japan – a first for the APAC region. With such a massive fanbase for Rainbow Six in Japan, RizRaz expressed his thoughts about having the finals closer to home.

“Japan is gonna be amazing. It’s going to be good to have a short flight and the Japanese fans are extremely passionate for Rainbow Six. I think when the international teams see how passionate the fans are, they wouldn’t want to leave. I’m super excited.”

Japanese fans are extremely passionate for Rainbow Six. I think when the international teams see how passionate the fans are, they wouldn’t want to leave.

Being in Japan recently, it’s definitely an esports culture that’s high revolved around Rainbow Six esports. Most of the PC gaming shops had Rainbow Six running as well as streams of influencers playing the game on the screen – it’s a no brainer to have the next finals within that region.

The Season 10 finals is not the only big Rainbow Six event happening in the APAC region towards the later months of 2019, the Melbourne Esports Open (MEO)will play host to the Six Masters where the best ANZ teams will compete $50,000 AUD (doubled since last year). Talking about the current scene and MEO, RizRaz admits the scene has improved and that an event like Six Masters at MEO helps improve and recognize not just Rainbow Six but esports in Australia which is still lacking.

Source: MEO Website

“I’ve definitely seen improvements to our local scene. I’ve been around since the start of Pro League in Australia and comparing then to now, there’s definitely more competitive teams. For it to improve, it’s hard to say as Australia doesn’t really allow room for esports teams and players to grow – like esports isn’t really recognized in our country. However, something like Melbourne Esports Open is a good step in being recognized and with ANZ being quite competitive, this event coming up will be quite good.”

Melbourne Esports Open is a good step in being recognized and with ANZ being quite competitive, this event coming up will be quite good.

Lastly, we have the new Operation Phantom Sight and the Kafe rework being introduced this week into Rainbow Six Siege. While pro league won’t see the operators for another season, players will be able to get hands-on the new operators: Nøkk and Warden. With several hours of hands-on prior to launch with the new operators, I asked RizRaz his early opinions on the new operators and the role they will play down the track.

“I think both of them are quite good. Nøkk will be quite strong I think, she will be picked a lot due to the information meta for defenders. She counters all of it. This might resurface the trap meta with operators like Lesion, Ela & Frost. However, I don’t think Warden will play a vital role as much because the Glaz and Ying meta has died down a lot. You don’t see those operators get picked a lot especially with the new Glaz changes coming in – I don’t think he will get picked at all anymore.”

Nøkk is definitely one operator to look out for this season, the 2 speed 2 armour defender that has the same traits as Caveira but on the offensive side will definitely shake things up this season.

The Kafe Dostoyevsky rework also comes into play this operation and sets its eyes on improving one of the most abused (spawn peeking) map in my opinion. After a few solid hours, the Kafe has welcoming changes especially for the less skilled casual players who hate getting picked off at spawn on this map. Most of the windows have either been moved, removed or modified to limit the amount of trades happening outside the Kafe. From a pro’s perspective, RizRaz has mentioned that the rework is excellent.

“It’s been done really well. Most of the spawn kill spots have been blocked or removed. There’s four bomb sites and each one seems viable. Previously, Kitchen/Bakery bombsite – you would lose as a defender. You had a 10% chance of winning that and the rework has made it quite even in my opinion. All bomb sites being viable means on a competitive level, you would not be as easily predicted.”

With Operation Phantom Sight kicking off this week, you can get hands-on with the new operators Nøkk and Warden plus the Kafe Dostoyevsky rework. If you’re interested in heading to Melbourne Esports Open to catch the Rainbow Six Masters on the 31st August and Sunday 1st September 2019, tickets & info is available here.

Thanks to Ubisoft Australia and Ethan for the time and interview. You can follow everything Rainbow Six ANZ here and RizRaz on Twitter here.