It doesn’t take a genius to recognise how far behind Oceania’s eSports scene is. With 2014 being the first year players have had a reasonable financial incentive to play the game competitively, the rise of eSports is only a recent phenomenon, however, its growth is exponential. Unfortunately, this lack of development has left our teams fighting from behind when they compete on the international stage and often isn’t taken into consideration when Australia and New Zealand’s representatives are criticized over gameplay.
Oceania Rewind is a series where we are reminded of all the outstanding moments Oceania has had thus far in an attempt to shake off this depressing undertone of self-hate and inspire some support towards both the region and its competitors.
Contrary to what many assume, the Riot Wildcard Qualifiers was not the first time we saw an Australian team on the world stage. Additionally, despite The Chiefs almost unrivalled dominance over the scene, they weren’t the first team to represent Australia internationally.
“He’s Your Mate” (later to be known as Sequential Gaming) was a rookie team, who unexpectedly won the Queensland segment of the WCG Australian Qualifiers back in 2011. Being unknown to everyone at the time, HyM caused heads to turn when they surged through the Queensland qualifiers in astonishing fashion.
Arriving at the Gold Coast, HyM kicked off the day in nothing less than stellar fashion. Pulling through Round 1 with ease in a competition where many assumed they would falter, He’s Your Mate were set to play off against 2nd highest seed, Team LoLA. Continuing their run, they eliminated LoLA and thus qualified for the Grand Final against Frenetic Array (later to be known as Team Immunity, with two of the members currently playing on The Chiefs).
Fray weren’t an ordinary team. Going into the tournament they had remained undefeated in all competitions and were simply viewed by many as being untouchable by the rest of the scene, especially HyM.
“With them being undefeated for so long in Australia, it felt like we were vsing the gods” – Estonian, HyM Jungler.
It was a battle of new blood vs. relentless veterans. On one of side of the table sat HyM, a team who had been together less than four months without LAN experience, who weren’t even expected to actually make it through the Queensland qualifier, let alone reach the Grand Final of the Australia-wide section. Facing them, an experienced and mature Frenetic Array roster, featuring well renowned names like Raydere, Rosey, Heavenzcurse and Domo (later to be known as Elysia, playing in the 2013 Wildcard Tournament).
Game 1 kicked off and Frenetic Array put on the pressure from the beginning. Domo invaded Estonian’s jungle – but became overzealous, which quickly secured a gold lead for HyM as Dale roamed down from the top to claim first blood. It was He’s Your Mate’s game to lose, but ahead on gold they slowly pulled further away, snowballing out their lead in Game 1 for a convincing victory.
The room erupted. What was essentially considered unthinkable had happened. Eliminated players and spectators surrounded HyMand early watched Australia’s first challengers to the throne as they prepare for the second game.
The second match began on a similar path. HyM pulled ahead with a slow lead, running a “Double AP” composition which was pretty popular at the time, featuring Rusty on Cassiopeia and Dale on Akali. As late game approached, a baron fight ensued which ended in an incredible pentakill by Dale, scoring the win and overthrowing Oceania’s titans.
Screaming and yelling began from the crowded area around He’s Your Mate’s computers, emotion spewed through hugs, high-fives and handshakes as Frenetic Array remained stunned on the opposite side. Two things had been settled that day, He’s Your Mate was going to WCG Korea and Australia had new contenders.
Shortly after their victory, HyM were guided off to meet organisation owners and management who were at the event scouting out the talent. Sequential Gaming were among the organisations present at the event and would end up being the name HyM would sign under and formally represent in Busan for the World Cyber Games.
Once the dust had settled from the qualifiers of other regions, groups were arranged for the event. Being placed into the aptly titled “Group of Death” which featured both the first seed, Chicks Dig Elo and the third seed who were playing under the name Counter Logic Gaming. Both teams were mixed rosters of top NA teams, in order to comply with the WCG rulings (entire roster having to be from the country they are representing).
Remember, this was a time when other regions, including Korea, were still drastically behind NA. CDE and CLG featured rosters of the best individual talent globally. Alongside the two North American representatives, Italy’s Team Redbyte and the Philippines’ Bida Gaming rounded out Group C.
Game 1: Sequential (Australia) vs. Team Redbyte (Italy).
The first game of the event for SQL was nothing less than a stomp. All lanes came out significantly ahead and by the time the first dragon fight came around, Sequential already had a noticeable lead. A fight broke out and Rusty scores a quadra kill, securing both an ace and the dragon shortly followed by the game being closed out in a mere 26 minutes.
Game 2: Sequential (Australia) vs. Chicks Dig ELO (USA)
An invade by CDE gone unnoticed left SQL behind quickly and without a blue buff, followed shortly by a first blood on Dale. An intelligent lane swap allowed CDE to maintain their lead, leaving Yorick in the mid lane to deal with Kassadin as the already 1-0 Karthus was able to bully Renekton.
It was a different story in the bottom lane, however, as Denian and Gin dominated Xpecial and Chauster, Denian quickly boasting a 4-1 score. Unfortunately, it was too little too late as Saintvicious and Reginald took control of the game, CDE ensuring their victory.
Game 3: Sequential (Australia) vs. Counter Logic Gaming (Canada)
Game 3 proved to be nothing less than a whitewash. Tactical lane swaps guaranteed Ryze was denying Fizz whilst Galio was unable to help the team, due to Skarners presence. This allowed CLG to take a stranglehold over the game, letting Bigfatjiji carry the game with complete ease. Having immense impact across the map, he ended the game with an impressive 15-1 score, something capable of speaking for itself.
Due to visa issues, the Philippines couldn’t show and this evened out Sequential’s record, resulting in a balanced 2-2. However, this wasn’t enough to pull them through the group, with the top two teams moving forward. With CDE and CLG ending the group stage 4-0 and 3-1 respectively, they would be the teams heading into the playoff stage.
An unfortunate ending to what was an almost Cinderella-story for Australia’s underdogs. From being a team of unknown players to competing on the world stage over a matter of just a few months, Sequential’s journey will always be one of the most memorable within Australian, League of Legends history.
Special thanks to Estonian And Rusty for their time investment into helping me piece this story together.
Image Credit: LoL Gamepedia, WCG
Article by Zeror