On September 3rd 2017, Season 1 of the Gfinity Elite Series wrapped up with three epic playoff finals, and Epsilon clinched the inaugural Franchise Championship. For Reason Gaming however, they were nothing but interested spectators. Their season had ended a fortnight earlier in disappointing fashion. None of their teams came close to making the playoffs, the SFV team failed to register a single win and they finished the season dead bottom of the Franchise Championship.
Just over two months later and things couldn't be more different. After six weeks of Season 2 they lead the Franchise Championship by four points, two of their teams are locked into the playoffs, and their Rocket League team have won all six games so far this season. As dramatic turnarounds go, Reason's meteoric rise to power has been perhaps the defining story of Season 2 so far.
Understandably, one person who is delighted with this is Reason owner Adam Heath:
'I am so thrilled with how Reason has done in Season 2 so far. After what can only be described as a three-way battering we took in Season 1, it was important to me to make sure the same thing didn't happen this season. The CSGO and Rocket League teams have both performed amazingly and I can't even knock the performance of our Street Fighter players.'
So what made Season 1 such an uphill struggle for Reason? Heath points to a lack of preparation time and experience as perhaps the biggest factors.
'The start of Season 1 was very rushed for us. I had a lot going on outside the world of esports and I wasn't fully prepared for how much work something the Elite Series would require. Combining that with my lack of experience in both Street Fighter and Rocket League made it was very time-consuming process. I think as the deadline rolled in panic started to set in a bit and I rushed the decision-making process.'
But even in the dark times, valuable lessons were learned which shaped their approach for Season 2:
'I don't regret any of the decisions I made in Season 1, because it was a learning curve. It gave me insight into scenes I wasn't well versed in and meant I had a better understanding of what to look for in Season 2. Season 1 also gave me two stand-out players who were both key parts of making Season 2 work, Rix Ronday and Steve "Undacuva" Allen. I would have struggled again this season without their help in building the Rocket League and Street Fighter rosters.'
The decision to rebuild the Rocket League team around Rix Ronday has paid massive dividends; Borito B and Tigree have combined to form a devastating trio who have so far proven to be unstoppable in Season 2. Similarly, the CSGO team has been revamped from the ground up using Reason's Danish roster, and players like Teses, KS and Basso have taken the Elite Series by storm. Heath had a sense right away that both teams would perform strongly this season – and he's only been proven right:
'We knew going into Season 2 that Rocket League and CSGO were going to have a great season. I have known several of the players in our Danish CSGO team for a few years and know what they are capable of, and Rix_Ronday had been making waves online in Rocket League before the start of the season. Both teams have been a pleasure to work with over the last 7 weeks and I wouldn't change them for the world.'
Frustratingly, the SFV team haven't quite had the same turnaround in fortune. However, two wins and the uncovering of new stars like Ki113r_7, SaltyKid and Boltstrike means Heath is still happy with the team's progress:
'We knew that we would still be seen as underdogs in Street Fighter, so we went into Season 2 with the aim to do as much damage as we could. 6 weeks in, and I think that damage has been done. We may have a tight grip on the lower end of the table, but we've had some very close games and our two wins were against the two finalist franchises of Season 1. They have never let their spirits drop, and even when they aren't on the roster for that week, most of them make the journey to the arena to cheer the team on. They have a real team spirit about them that can't be dampened.'
There’s no doubt that the Reason SFV team is talented, but it’s clear they’re still missing the final piece of the puzzle when it comes to working together and grabbing those victories. Work is already underway to find that winning combination.
'Undacuva has been working his magic and been talking to some very impressive players in the scene who we hope to rope into Season 3. We have also had long talks about the future of the current roster so everyone is on the same page and knows what to expect. They are all a great bunch of guys and it's been amazing working with them, and from what's been said so far, they all seem onboard with the plan moving forward.'
It looks inevitable that Reason will end Season 2 with at least some silverware, but regardless of what happens, Heath and his team are here to stay in the Elite Series – and that's worrying news for their rivals:
'So far I have only missed 3 weekends over two seasons. It may be murdering my weekends, but I've loved every second of it. The most enjoyable thing for me so far is being thrown into two new esports scenes, Rocket League and Street Fighter V, and meeting all the players. I'd never have considered moving into either of these two games if the Elite Series hadn't pushed me into it, but now that I'm there, I'm a fan!'