Spacestation Ashn on the Six Invitational 2024: "Just know we can never be counted out"

Matheus Veras
category_image Rainbow 6
    Reading time  ~8  mins

    In 2023, Liam "Ashn" Paz has been a highlight of Spacestation's roster since joining the squad in June. He has also proven himself to be a great prospect for the North American region as despite his limited experience in major tournaments, he has managed to stand out. In his very first stage, he played a crucial role in his team reaching the Top 8 at Six Major Atlanta, after a rocky start in the regional tournament.

    His rise has been so rapid in fact, that Spacestation had to delay their debut in the North American League Stage 2 to allow Ashn to turn 18 years old and compete in the league.

    In light of his impressive year in professional play, BLIX's Matheus Veras spoke to the American his origins as an esports player, his first year at the professional level in Rainbow Six Esports and the team's upcoming appearance at the Six Invitational 2024, among other topics.

    The Start of His Career

    Like many prominent figures in Rainbow Six: Siege, Ashn also started his journey on console, specifically on Xbox, similar to one of the region's stars with experience at SSG, Alexsander "Skys" Magor

    "I started on Xbox, it was the very first year of the game. I was the big Call of Duty fan at the time. I was playing a lot of COD and then some of my friends got Siege. We just started playing it and then eventually I fell away or I stopped playing COD. I fell in love with Siege and then in late 2021, I got a PC. Then me and all my console friends, we switched to PC together."

    Among his friends from the Xbox days, there's also Connor "Azian" Felux, who has played professionally for teams like Parabellum and, in the last season, competed for Luminosity. Another is Jualin "Kixhro" Velazquez, currently playing for the notable North American tier 2 team Karn & Co:

    "So, on console, we played a lot of go4, like weekend tournaments, and then once we switched to PC, we were looking for competitions and Azian actually, he found all the tournaments and stuff. Our first team was called Aggro, we played under an org called Aggro. Then we played against them, and we played, I think it was SCS5. The quals were coming, and we played the quals. That was our first competitive game together."

    His professional debut was marked by two significant organizations, Wichita Wolves and Arial Academy:

    "There are two different orgs, but it was pretty much the same team almost. It was Wichita Wolves and Arial Academy. We won SCS season 6 back-to-back under Wichita Wolves, and then on Arial Academy, we won pretty much every other T3 league, like SFCL and a bunch of other, like, smaller ones. And then we also made it to the finals of SCS7, where we lost 3-2 in a best-of-five against Oxygen."

    Becoming a Tier One Player

    Ashn and SSG at the Six Major Atlanta Media Day. Credit: Ubisoft/ItsKirillVision

    Before securing his first big opportunity, the player had to showcase his skills, and in SCS Season 7, with Arial Academy, he believes it was a significant turning point in his career:

    "I think that the tournament changed my career because I remember back then when I used to care about stats. I think personally, I performed very well against a pro team. Because I know, like, I was a big up-and-comer at the time still and people questioned how I would do in pro league.

    I played really well on the entry, and I just overall played really well. Along with IGLing during that entire final and tournament just as a whole. IGLing my team and, we went five maps against, at the time, a top four invite team. We were proud of that. So, obviously, a hard one to lose. But it definitely boosted all of our careers."

    According to the player, before finalizing the deal with Spacestation, he received a total of four offers from teams interested in signing him, one of them being Oxygen:

    "I remember my first pro league trial. It was with Oxygen and I was pretty nervous, I didn't play too well the first map or the next map and I felt very excited and nervous.

    I had that trial with Oxygen and I was really hoping to be contacted by SSG. Eventually it happened and so that was my second pro trial. I was a bit more loose and not as nervous. But, now it's a dream come true and It was very exciting at the time."

    He also discussed the reason for choosing Spacestation as his new home:

    "I remember saying in an SCS7 interview, whenever they asked me what team I like to go to and I said Astralis just because of the culture. I'd been in talks with Callout [Seth Mik] for a while. The culture [of the team] in and out of the game, I think honestly, It's so rare. It's so rare in esports to have something, like a team that's an actual brotherhood and we do everything together.

    It showed at the Six Invitational and during the whole year, Astralis was a really dominant team during NAL. Moving forward to SSG, they have still the players from Astralis [and the same culture]."

    First Six Major

    The team secured its spot in the playoffs with a lot of effort, having to overcome tough battles after two initial losses in the second phase of the competition:

    "Honestly, the hardest games might have honestly been the Bliss game and he SCARZ game. The Bliss game, that was an 8-7 burner.

    Then that SCARZ game. We lost the first map, Nighthaven, 7-4 and when we went down 5-1 on the second map and had to come back and reset after that map... It was such a long game. Then on the third map, they kept in it, before we won 7-5, but [overall] it was just a really close game.

    Ashn celebrating a round won in the second phase of the Six Major Atlanta. Credit: Ubisoft/ItsKirillVision

    However, in the first playoff game, the team lost to the Brazilian team FaZe Clan and were eliminated at home, just when they were the last hope for local teams. Ashn shares his perspective on what he believes was lacking for the team:

    "We won Consulate, but on Skyscrape I remember, were just catching us off guard. They, were a very slow team. But they were still getting, I guess, the picks on us and, we couldn't come back in the rounds. On Clubhouse, I think we had a 3-3 split and honestly, it just, it might have just came down to us just not playing the advantage well once we, had the advantage.

    I think we were really, really well prepared. It was honestly just us [failing] in the server. Just, you know not fighting back against a great team and while both shooting back they just had a slight that day.They came out better, and, their gunfights and timing and just little stuff like that."

    Six Invitational 2024

    With the two good international placements of Spacestation, the team secured its spot in the season's main tournament, and Ashn is confident about the championship, responding to who would be the team's biggest challenge:

    “No one's our challenge. we will play our game regardless of who we play. And, you know, we lose, we lose, we win, we win. On to the next game. We don't care who we play. Give us, give us the best team in the world. Doesn't matter. We're still gonna play SSG's game, SSG's style”

    But the player emphasizes that the team is correcting its past mistakes:

    "We're trying not to throw these advantages anymore. We've had rounds in our grasp with massive advantages and we've lost some pretty winnable rounds that were in our grasp. Just know we can never be counted out. I think it can be shown with Astralis at last invitational. The great run they had and the run we had in NAL and Atlanta. Starting at the depths of defeat, and then always coming back and making it to the main stage or to playoffs."

    The Six Invitational 2024 will begin on February 13 and will take place for the first time in Brazil, specifically in the city of São Paulo.

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    CS Virtual Trade Ltd, reg. no. HE 389299 Registered address and the principal place of business: 705, Spyrou Araouzou & Koumantarias, Fayza House, 3036, Limassol, Cyprus
    Copyright © 2024 BLIX.GG. All rights reserved.