After leading independent team We Win When We Can through to some fantastic wins in the opening months of 2018, Nathan “Cyrix” Baxter is setting his sights on winning everything possible this year — something that’s alluded him during his three years in Rocket League.

A positive step in that direction came when his side was signed by Adelaide Crows-owned esports organisation Legacy Esports, dropping their old Rocket League roster for Cyrix, Delusion, Siki, and substitute Helio.

Signing for Legacy, Cyrix was, more than anything, delighted to finally reach an agreement with an organisation.

“Before signing with Legacy, I found the whole process of negotiating with organisations — [going] back and forth — somewhat taxing,” he said. “So after we finally signed with Legacy it was just a massive relief.”

“The boys and I were extremely happy with the signing and we’re proud to represent an organisation that invested in Rocket League from the early stages.”

Cyrix says the org has been instrumental in keeping them focused, coaching them through matches and ensuring a positive mindset is kept no matter the result.

“They’re very supportive when it comes to tournaments,” he said. “During the [Throwdown OCE] Open Series we had Soma, our manager, alongside us in voice who helped us keep a positive mindset during the series.”

“Throughout the RLCS [OCE] League Play we’ve had both Soma and MJ, the business manager of Legacy Esports, chat with us after our games just to see how we’re going and either congratulate or console us.”

“Outside of tournaments, MJ and Soma are always there if we need something — they definitely make you feel like you’re a part of the org,” he continued. “We have also had some encouraging words from members of the Adelaide Crows which is really nice to see.”

As for team preparation, Cyrix says the side’s been bonding fairly well, with a fantastic result from the OCE Open Series — which saw Legacy win three best of five series in a row to take third place overall in the tournament — giving them momentum going into the OCE Championship.

“Coming into the gauntlet I think we had just come off six losses and no win the week before, which put us at 5th after being 1st or 2nd place,” Cyrix said. “So at the start of the week our confidence was definitely low, and after watching over the games we knew we had to change something.”

“We changed the play style up and worked on a few things during the week in the Gfinity tournaments to prepare for the gauntlet,” he continued. “When the gauntlet came around our confidence was way better than it was at the start of the week and from there we just took it one series at a time.”

“After a solid run we ended up finishing 3rd, but to be honest after the game (against Chiefs) [we] felt pretty shit — we did a lot better than everyone expected but it was such a close series! We couldn’t help but be sad and angry after the loss.”

While disappointing to the team, the run they put on in the Open Series was hugely impressive from a spectator standpoint and has carried them well into Throwdown’s OCE Championship, with the side currently sitting second on the ladder after four League Play rounds. And with the team losing to closest rivals Chiefs in League Play Week 3, Cyrix thinks the side still have a lot of work to do to get to a playing level they’re happy with.

“Right now we’re playing at an ok level, but it’s definitely not the level we want to stay at,” he said. “I feel like we’ve improved individually but as a team we still have a lot to work on in terms of our rotations and defensive positioning.”

As for improvement and practice, Cyrix insists nothing’s out of the ordinary for the side, with scrims, replay analysis, and individual practice at the core of gelling and becoming better as a team. Further, he feels that criticism levelled at one another during scrims helps eradicate problems from the side’s play, and he believes it’s an important way of shaping the side into a formidable opponent.

And while Cyrix spends a lot of time refining his play in Rocket League, he says that he also spends some time outside of the game in order to break from what can be a fairly full on practice regime. Games like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, League of Legends, and Arma 3 are played on the regular, and helps him break away from the strain of hours upon hours of practice that competitive Rocket League requires.

That said, the reason he got into the game was through his interest in soccer — something that has been key to pulling a lot of people into the game.

“I’m really into football (soccer), as I watch and play it a lot, so after finding a game based around soccer I was immediately interested in it,” he said.

Having been playing since July 2015, he’s spent thousands of hours refining his craft, and results are certainly showing.

Something Cyrix really wants to see, though, is for more Rocket League competitions and tournaments to come to fruition in Australia. He believes this would benefit not only players and teams involved in the big competitions, but also those that are new to the competitive scene altogether.

“I think we definitely need more high level tournaments/leagues,” he said. “Right now we only play 1-2 series a week and that’s for the OCE Championship.”

“To me it’s a little boring and I wish we at least had a mid-week game to play, as it would be another series that we could analyse before the OCE Championship games.”

Of course, Throwdown’s OCE Championship remains the most important tournament in Australia right now for Rocket League, giving the top two teams a chance to play in the Rocket League World Championships overseas, in turn competing for a share of the $250,000 USD prize pool on offer. The prize, as Cyrix put it, should be the goal for every competitive OCE player in Australia.

“Chiefs doing well overseas has put OCE on the map in the Rocket League scene, and if other teams that go overseas do well enough to take games off of international teams, it will bring a lot more attention to us.” – Nathan “Cyrix” Baxter

As for the Gfinity tournaments — and with Elite Series details yet to be announced — Cyrix is still a bit unsure as to what the comp holds for Rocket League players.

“I don’t really know much about Gfinity at the moment as they haven’t given out much information, so I don’t really have an opinion,” he said. “I think the concept is nice but whether they produce the goods or not is to be determined.”

The Legacy man believes more tournaments and more high quality events would lend well to developing Rocket League and its players into a force on the international stage.

“I feel like the most obvious answer would be ‘more high level tournaments’, and even then I think the quality of the tournaments could be a lot higher in terms of production quality, gameplay, and casting,” he said, when asked how we could grow knowledge and recognition of high level Rocket League play in the country. “Adding onto this, more LANs are needed even if we need to piggy back off of other events.”

“Doing better internationally is another way to grow the knowledge of this skill level in the OCE scene,” he continued. “Chiefs doing well overseas has put OCE on the map in the Rocket League scene, and if other teams that go overseas do well enough to take games off of international teams, it will bring a lot more attention to us.”

I also posed the question to Cyrix about what the most important thing to him is in terms of growing competitive Rocket League here in Australia, with his reply focusing around continuing to foster new talent in the scene.

“I think it boils down to developing new talent alongside the old,” he replied. “I’ve always believed that ‘talent breeds talent,’ which is hard for our scene since our talent pool is a lot smaller when compared to the European and North American regions.”

“The more new talent that begins to come through, [though], the more our region will improve.”

“The 6-man’s discord has definitely helped with this, as it has allowed newer players to strive for a goal — that being Rank S — as well as being able to play with top tier talent,” he continued. “Throwdown has [also] done a great job of trying to bring newer talent into the spotlight.”

“Another important factor would be international experience, but that’s a lot harder to achieve because of our geographical situation.”

With so much left to play for — and with Legacy Esports currently sitting pretty in second spot on the OCE Championship ladder — Cyrix is setting his sights high for the year ahead, with a focus on making the RLCS finals as a player for the first time.

“My obvious goal is to attend the RLCS finals as a player — it’s pretty much been my goal since the start,” he said. “Right now, to the public, I’d say we still look like the underdogs against the top 3 [in the region] (Chiefs, Dark Sided, Tainted Minds) and by the end of the season it would be nice if we were going into matches as the favourites.”

“To get to the RLCS finals, we just need to put in the effort and keep doing what we’ve been doing,” he stated. “[There’s] no point in drastically changing things when we’ve gotten this far already.”

“So until the end of the season we’ll just keep grinding it out and hopefully we’ll be prepared.”

Cyrix and his Legacy side are setting their sights on making RLCS this year.

He also said he’s keen to start creating some kind of content for Rocket League too — something that isn’t seen too much in the local scene.

“Another goal of mine is to start producing some kind of Rocket League content and hopefully build a brand for myself. Unfortunately not many higher level players in Australia produce Rocket League content, [so] most likely I’ll just stream on Twitch and go from there.”

2018 is shaping up to be a huge year for both Cyrix and his Legacy Esports side. With so much to play for — and with a new lease of life in his constantly-improving team — Legacy should be aiming for the highest possible goals, and Cyrix should well be the anchor in making that all happen.

You can catch Legacy Esports in the Throwdown OCE Championship, with the final League Play round set to kick off this weekend at 11am AEST on Sunday. Tune in via Throwdown Esports’ Twitch channel here.