The Sydney Drop Bears have been Australia’s best team all year long.
Let’s take the hypothetical situation that they 3-0 Heist and then 4-0 the winner of Order and Athletico on Sunday. This pushes them to 30-0 for the season – the first ever true perfect season in Contenders globally.
Not only that, it means that the Drop Bears only lose one series all year long – to Masterminds in Week 4 of Season 1. It means that the Drop Bears only lose six maps during all three seasons of Contenders – four to Masterminds, one to SereNity, one to Dark Sided.
Two of those teams don’t exist anymore. The third has rebranded.
Clip: Hus shows us that DPS characters are still played sometimes during GOATS meta with a nice 4k Deadeye against Legacy in Week 4.
For players like Dario “Akraken” Falcao-Rossokha and Lachlan “Bertlog” Main, that means they’ve gone the entire year winning everything domestically. Both players were taken from teams well outside of the dominant top teams like Masterminds, Kings Gaming Club and Blank Blue before their time on Sydney Drop Bears.
Bertlog started on with Sin Gaming in 2017 alongside players like Bus (Heist), Locus (Heist) and Jordation (Order). Akraken was on Default with Colourhex (Boston Uprising) and Dalsu (Heist), but didn’t make his first major appearance until Week 1 of Contenders Australia Season 1. Their first LANs as professional players were during the same season.
While their names were known within the inner circles, their rise into the public forefront encapsulates the story of Sydney Drop Bears’ dominance of 2018. Not just their names though, players like Colourhex, who was a critical element of the team’s success in Season 2, have moved onto the Overwatch League.
Face, a mainstay of the team since the beginning, now coaches in NA Contenders with NRG Esports. Even as recently as this season, Trill and Punk have moved onto NA Contenders with Envy and Uprising Academy respectively. Dave Harris is putting something in the water at the Esports High Performance Centre.
The super team of Australian World Cup players has split up since the start of the season, they have still shown extreme skill with ex-Kanga main tank ChroNoDotA and player-turned-coach Shoyo. Hus and Ckm have performed exceptionally well after returning home from Pacific and will certainly be turning the heads of scouts internationally.
With the final chapter of 2018 set to be written tomorrow, I sat down with Akraken and Bertlog to talk about the journey back to ESL Studios and what it would mean to have the perfect year.
Your group in Season 3 was labelled an “easy group” by most. Even with the perfect season, how do you think you performed as a team?
Bertlog: I mean, it was the easier group. I feel like the only hard game was against Blank, and that was at the start, and they weren’t at their peak then.
Akraken: Yeah, our group was definitely the easier one. A lot of the teams we considered good, like Order, Heist and Mavericks, were in the other group, so we didn’t really have as much of a challenge. We still played well though.
The team dynamic has changed a lot during the season, with Trill, Face and Punk going to NA. Has this affected preparation or confidence heading into LAN?
Bertlog: It definitely affected both our preparation and confidence.
Akraken: I don’t know, we are a completely different team right now. You can’t change three people and keep everything the same, right? It’s changed everything from how we learn, how we talk to each other, how we adapt, what’s our sort of game plan going forward. Even just changing your coach will do that to you.
How has Noxious been?
Akraken: Yeah he’s been super good as a coach. He’s been vocal, he’s really open to advice and works really hard.
Bertlog: He has a really deep understanding of the game and he’s a nice guy, so I like him.
You two are now the longest standing support duo in Australian Overwatch – how has the synergy between you built up over time, and is it a key part of your success?
Bertlog: I think in previous metas, like Zen-Mercy, our synergy was very good. I don’t know, would you agree?
Akraken: Yeah I would agree. Obviously this season, with Lucio-Zen-Brig it’s a bit different, but I think synergy – and talks about synergy – are heavily overrated. They can happen, but I think most players can kind of slot in and play a similar role. However, we’ve definitely worked on it, like with our ultimate usage and being sure not to stack our beats and transcendences.
Bertlog: I guess in that sense it’s more about communication and not just pure synergy, or like setting rules like “I’ll beat this and you trans this.”
No team has as much #Undefeated histroy as SYDNEY DROP BEARS ?
— Sydney Drop Bears (@Dropbearsgg) January 14, 2019
For you both – eight months ago you were going to ESL Studios for your first ever professional LAN. What were the feelings like back then, and how do you feel after your experiences at MEO, or abroad, heading back there for Season 3?
Akraken: For me, the first LAN was pretty nervewracking because I hadn’t met anyone from gaming ever and I was nervous. However, now I’ve done this a few times, to go from BlizzCon stage back to here is a step down but I don’t think I’ve ever stressed at LAN and I’ve always performed well.
Bertlog: First LAN is always nervous, but once you get there it’s not that bad. I just play the game and hope it goes well.
Akraken: I’ve never really had a dream of “yeah I want to get on that stage and play” or whatever, especially considering these LANs are pretty small, but it’s nice nevertheless.
If you win this season, you’d have only lost one series as a team all year long and all three Contenders seasons, almost securing the perfect year. What would that mean to you?
Akraken: It would just be the culmination of everything. All that hard work and all that practice would have paid off, and we would get that hat trick. That’s what everyone wants, right? This season will be the hardest of all though.
Bertlog: This season has definitely much harder than the last ones.
Would it be the most rewarding win then?
Bertlog: I guess. It’ll be good to lose three players and then show that we can still win it all.
Akraken: It’s definitely not clear cut. Last season, we could feel that everything was a lot more clear, because every team just stayed within Australia and scrimmed Australian teams. This season, people are going overseas, doing bootcamps, team houses, et cetra, and it’s a lot more competitive.
After winning in Season 2 against Dark Sided at Melbourne Esports Open, you go up against the team which took their slot, Heist, in the first match. Who do you think will stand out for them?
Bertlog: I think Heist are very good. Their standout player is definitely Dalsu, their Zen player, but their whole roster is very solid. There’s no weak player on their team.
Akraken: Yeah I agree, I think their roster is pretty good and all of them are hard grinders – Bus and Locus especially. I’d be really interested to see how good they are in the lead up to LAN – because we haven’t been scrimming them – but the biggest question mark for me is Dewboy and how he can perform.
Bertlog: They are a scary team for sure.
“He’s quite a new player to the OCE shuffle that happens in the top 4 teams, but I’m excited to see how he performs.”
-Akraken on Dewboy
You guys have a chance of going up against old team mates Jordation and Quatz in the final, what would it mean to beat them in the grand final to claim the title?
Bertlog: There’s no bad blood between us, and for me, it wouldn’t mean anything extra to win over them compared to anyone else.
Akraken: Even with the shuffle and all, and people moving teams, there isn’t any sort of negative opinions between players and most of us are still friends, so beating them would be like beating any other team.
Surely you’d want to show one up on Jordy’s ego?
Bertlog: That would be nice!
Have you planned anything new and interesting over GOATS for LAN with games on 1.30? Maybe some Ashe?
Akraken: Obviously we can’t speak about what we have been trying out in scrims, but I think Ashe is a hero that has some impact…
Bertlog: I think we will see her on LAN. One of the four teams will want to try her out. But we can’t say much.
Aside from you, who do you think has the best chance of winning LAN and why?
Akraken: I think it’ll be us versus Order in the grand final. It’s basically the perfect meta for them and I don’t think they have a weak player in their line up and Rqt is a great coach. They’ll get up over Athletico and we will be playing them in the final.
Bertlog: I think whoever wins out of us or Heist will win LAN.
Bold call! Thanks for taking time out after scrims to chat and see you at LAN!
The Sydney Drop Bears will be looking to retain their title tomorrow at the Season 3 Contenders Australia LAN. They face off against HEIST Gaming Club at 11am AEDT in the first game of the day. You can catch the action live on the Overwatch Contenders Twitch.