Next week, Mindfreak will embark on their second journey to the Rainbow Six Invitationals held in Montreal, Canada where they’ll face some of the best teams on the international stage. This also marks the second time Mindfreak will make an appearance at the Invitationals and a first for the PC platform as the pro scene transitioned over from the Xbox.

The Mindfreak roster started competing on the Xbox One and made a name for themselves as the best team in the scene dominating the competition. However with the move to PC, the team basically had to start from scratch again. Last time I spoke to Mindfreak player now coach and manager of the team – Jayden ‘Dizzle’ Saunders, the team only had been playing on PC for three weeks. Dizzle mentioned “Transitioning from console we had to learn an entirely new play style including the use of tight pixel angles and quick peeks which we had never come across before on Xbox.” The team overcame the transition by training extensively every day to adapt to the platform which Dizzle mentioned it was almost up to 10 hours a day.

“We initially had spent up to 10 hours a day in the terrorist hunt game mode, as well as online mini games to improve our aim. This is an ongoing process and I always encourage about an hour a day of this still. On top of our personal development, we also had to study the meta of the ANZ PC Scene.”

This is not the only challenge the team faced when learning the game again from the basics. With a massive growth in the scene for Rainbow Six Siege and international opportunities for the ANZ scene – the team had to study how the rest of the world played especially after the APAC LAN event where the team was knocked out by South Korean team, mantis FPS.

“It became more challenging when we were exposed to how the rest of Asia played at the first APAC LAN event. We made it our mission to study and scrim the rest of the world to learn how they played to further develop ourselves and understanding of other ways to play the game.

Once again we applied the Win or Learn mentality and were determined to evolve our game and the results certainly prove it.”

Mindfreak’s roster had also undergone some changes since its inception. Dizzle has mentioned that “The early roster changes were a mix of people being unable to commit to what was necessary to achieve where we are today.” citing that it’s “tough to build a team where everyone fills designated roles, share the same goals, are as dedicated and all get along.” Dizzle himself was also involved in a roster change to push the team to the next level.

“Due to work commitments and study I approached a player, Kngz; as he had some qualities that would be instrumental to our success. He was interested in joining but his only caveat was that Lusty had to come with him. They were both team mates in a recently disbanded team.”

Dizzle wanted to take in Kngz so he committed to removing himself from the roster to fit in Kngz and Lusty into the team. “Rather than cut or bench another player I fell on the sword and whilst started out mostly managing the team, which I had done since we formed on console 2 years ago, I have recently tried to take on more of a coaching role also. This has been a mix of reworking and developing strategy, player mentality, team synergy, managing timetables and personal development for the players; both as players and personally as people. In game and out. I still have work to do here so often seek input from professional sources as well as my friends and peers in Rainbow 6 around the world.”

The recent changes saw Punisher being moved into a substitute role with ex-Corvidae RizRaz joining the roster.

“RizRaz had a solid qualifying performance, but was the single standout from ANZ at the first APAC lan for his team; Corvidae. An opportunity was presented to me with both himself and us needing to change and adapt. Bringing RizRaz into the team was not just a roster shuffle but also a role shuffle for the players. It allowed us to not only have a quicker, more aggressive and synchronised playstyle to be able to compete with the rest of the world, but allowed other players more suited to leading be able to flourish and take the team to another level. Almost every player changed their role when this current roster formed and after qualifying for 6 Invitational with a redeeming effort at the most recent APAC Lan, I feel justified in every decision.”

The 2018 Six Invitational qualifier saw Mindfreak sealing the deal for the spot at the Invitational beating SEA Team CryptiK and mantis FPS, whom knocked them out at the APAC LAN showing the improvements of the roster.

Rainbow Six Siege esports has seen quite the boom lately especially locally within the ANZ scene. We recently saw Darksided entering Rainbow Six Siege picking up some of the ex-players from Corvidae after the team disbanded and rumours of another organisation entering the scene. Dizzle is very excited for the road ahead explaining that the game will continue to see more years of support and he’s not wrong. Ubisoft has been actively promoting the game, it’s local scene and is backed with a larger prize pool this time around. This year’s Invitational will see a $500K USD Prize Pool, growing from the $100K USD featured in the last Invitational Mindfreak attended.

“Rainbow 6 Siege is growing exponentially all over the world. On the global scene we have seen FaZe, Team Liquid and CLG all pick up teams from America, both North and South; within the last month. The game has generated so much interest all over the world and the developer, Ubisoft is just getting started. They have already announced multiple more years of support for the pro scene and outlayed the next 2 years already.”

Looking to face their second Invitational, I asked Dizzle how the team is preparing to make a stance on the world stage next week. He mentioned the team has stepped up their scrims pushing it to a daily routine of 3 hours in the morning before work/or uni and another 5-6 hours at night. The best in the country still have day jobs and study commitments as esports isn’t their full-time job but they’re actively levelling up their experience. The team has also been proactively trying to compete in local tournaments where possible.

“We also try to compete in local tournaments where possible. It is hard to keep developing strategy hidden locally when we play casted matches but use them freely for 8 hours a day in practice. We have also scrimmed more teams internationally from several countries all around the world where ping and latency permit. We don’t put much stock in gunplay at such latency, but helps to understand and develop our own game as you can still change, adapt and develop in Siege without even firing a bullet.“

With the Invitational in their sights, Mindfreak are confident to make waves on the world stage next week. Mindfreak will be facing teams such as Team Liquid and Rogue in Group B. The 2018 Six Invitationals begin from February 13th 2018. The games will be streamed live on Twitch here:

Photos via Mindfreak and ESL Rainbow Six Twitter.