Esports News UK's Craig Robinson interviews Thomas "Shasoudas" Lee, the British head coach of Penta Sports' title-winning Rainbow 6 Siege PC team.
Craig spoke to Shasoudas ahead of Penta's match in the final against Evil Geniuses. He asked about their semi-final victory against Black Dragons, their path to the final, the UK scene, grassroots esports and console Siege.
Tell us about your recent semi-final victory and playing in front of the crowd in a high-stake series.
Well, we were very focused going into the match and we knew what we needed to do to get back to the top.
My role as the team coach is very theoretical. My job is to make sure the team knows the strategies that we have practiced for and they are paying attention to set-ups, counter stratting and adapting to win the rounds.
As long as we know what we are doing and are focused, LAN nerves don't set in and we can play our best.
Last season, Penta suffered a big knockback as the most decorated siege team to date. But this week Penta beat ENCE esports and have taken out the other top team of Season 3 in the semi-final. What is it like taking down to big foes and making it to the final?
We have put a lot of time into practicing, analysis work, VoD reviewing our games, and we still have even more to do tomorrow. It's only then that we can say that the work we have done has truly paid off and that we are back to form we want to be in and know we can be in.
— ESIX | FRANCE (@ESIX_FR) February 18, 2018
What are your thoughts on the UK scene in competitive Siege?
Well, there really aren't that many UK players good enough to play siege at the highest level.
I can think of Meepey, Lacky, Leon and Tank Ninjaz as the only 4 UK players good enough to compete at the top level from the top of my head.
It's such a shame hearing that team IDK lost their ESL Pro League spot, but the team they have now should be good enough to get back in through the qualifiers.
From what I can see, the UK has a culture issue when it comes to esports. Many of my real life friends simply don't know or don't get the appeal of esports. But my EU PC friends are really into esports and are getting involved when and where they can.
What's your views on improving grassroot esports?
I don't really have the time to check on the smaller competitive leagues since I have a full-time job and then try and do my coaching role at Penta full time.
Although, from what I do know about the smaller leagues is the Nordic regions have a good idea on how to improve players.
The Nordic cups have some really good LAN environments, they are playing on stage against small crowds and they get streamed. Being in that environment as a player is what matters.
Getting that LAN experience will help amateur players a lot as it is a really valuable experience which will help them compete in high-pressure matches as they improve.
— Rainbow Six Siege (@Rainbow6Game) February 18, 2018
How has Siege grown, and what should aspiring players be aware of?
The game growing well - it definitely encourages more people to get involved with the game.
With the game growing it means more people are getting exposed to esports and that may make some people come to events, support teams and get involved with grassroots competition.
With the game growing and the expansion Ubisoft is doing for Siege's esport competitions, it is creating more and more space for people to become professional players, coaches and so on.
What are your thoughts on console Siege and the UK's success in those fields?
I don't really know that much about console esports either as I spend more time focusing on top-level PC esports for my job.
I do think its good that Ubisoft is catering to the console competitive scene, and I'm glad some people are enjoying it so much that they are competing in the grassroots cups and premierships.
Although, I think its even better that some console players are transitioning or have transitioned to PC. ENCE Enno was playing on console six months ago and now here he is getting into the quarter-finals of the games biggest tournament. The same goes for CLG's team that transitioned from console to PC as a unit.
In general, I do think PC is the way forward as the competitive benefits of a mouse and keyboard are much better than the skill ceiling of console esports.
Image source: Rainbow Six Siege Twitter