gorgoNa “EUL teams are more than welcome to underestimate us (cowana)”

Cowana Rainbow Six interview
GorgoNa from cowana talks EUL, UKIN and their journey through 2020 ahead of the UKIN Finals.

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Rainbow Six Esports is ramping up across the world, with several announcements of competition coming and going, and more. However, there is one region that has been active for some time: the UKIN league. The United Kingdom and Ireland league is one of the national leagues in the European grassroots initiative

Ubisoft UK’s esports division is home to several Pro League and Challenger level talent. One of those teams is cowana Gaming, the recently promoted team heading into the second season of the European League. While they are new to the European League, they are now the most dominant UKIN team. The roster is poised to take it all this weekend, as the UKIN League Season 2 comes to a close. 

The narrative for cowana is at an interesting point. The team was generally considered an underdog all the way through its UKIN and Challenger League Season, yet they are one of the hottest teams in Europe and are the current top dogs of the UKIN League.

Esports Verdict had the opportunity to speak to cowana Gaming’s, Georgi “GorgoNa” Stoyanov. We spoke all things 2020, his thoughts on the European League and the current state of the UKIN League.


As a team, you only really formed partway through 2020. In that time, you have gone from strong potential to a top ten team in Europe. What would you say have been the biggest learning experiences for yourself and the rest of cowana? 

GorgoNa: I think our biggest learning experiences have been from losing the ESL Premiership 2020 Spring Finals and the UKIN S1 Finals. Despite failing, we managed to reflect on what stopped us from being on the next level and we were hard-working enough to make it count for the next time. Our biggest changes came from those failures – bringing Sloth after the ESL Prem Finals and Kayak + Mrofficer after the UKIN finals.

Are there any specific moments in the last year you can think of that really made you and cowana improve? I.E any crazy in-game moments, scrims that made you think twice, etc?

GorgoNa: Half-way through our CL season when we lost to “Homeless”, we realized that we had a couple of flaws in terms of team philosophy and consistency. That loss kinda slapped us in the face and showed us that we’re still not good enough. To be fair to us since we picked up Kayak in early September 2020, we didn’t really have enough time to sit down and set up our basics as a team and to get on the same page in terms of how we want to play the game because we didn’t have the time or space to fit it in our schedule. We were playing the CL qualifiers in the middle of the month and when we made it, we had to start the season in less than 2 days. And after that, it’s been prepping really for the enemy teams and learning how to play with the new operators, instead of reflecting on our own flaws.


In a recent interview with the UKIN League, Sloth mentioned that cowana learned about military composure exercises to keep cool in the big moments. Where did the idea come from, and is this something unique to your team?

GorgoNa: Mrofficer used to be in the military, so he has a couple of tricks up his sleeve in terms of how to build up individuals and make them the best they can be. He was the first “real” mental coach we’ve had in this team, so yes – these type of techniques were something new and unheard of from our side and as you can see they’ve been doing wonders. Murat doesn’t get that much recognition, but I can see him easily being top 2 or top 3 in EU, when looking at how much he’s elevated me and my teammates.

I think Wylde have pushed their luck a bit this season. I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but they’re highly overrated in my opinion, because of the UKIN ranking during the group stage.

You were generally considered an underdog for the most part of the Challenger League, yet you managed to make it to the European League. What would you consider your expectations to be now you have qualified to the European League?

GorgoNa: In my opinion having Kendrew has definitely gotten us to the next level, because of his experience and leadership. He was in our shoes basically 2 years ago, when he made it, so he knows what it’s like playing in the big leagues. In terms of our expectations, I can 100 % rate us as a top 4 team with the possibility of making top 2, if we play our cards correctly. I think any other result would be a disappointment for us.


When you made it to the Challenger League Playoffs, you found yourself upsetting some of the more high profile favourites I.E PENTA. What makes you a team capable of taking down teams perceived to be better than yourself and how relevant is this to teams in the EU League?

GorgoNa: It comes down to mentality and philosophy. We’ve been underdogs for our entire careers and we don’t mind that, because it works in our favour. As soon as you start doubting others and overrating yourself, this is going to be your downfall. You begin making mistakes and get punished for it. We didn’t have the flashiest CL regular season, because of the reasons mentioned above, but we definitely made sure we were prepared for the finals. That’s one of the reasons for others to underestimate us and the second one is because we had no experience playing in a T2 or T1 league, so from a numbers’ perspective, we never really had the odds in our favour. For EUL the other teams are more than welcome to underestimate us and push their luck. It’s only going to hurt them because at the end of the day this is a T1 competition. You got the best teams in EU, so everyone can win or lose given the day.


Ubisoft announced some big changes coming to the European League, such as overtime. What are your thoughts on the new look of the league?

GorgoNa: Draws were very boring to begin with, because you had no winner or no loser. If you drew, it favoured more the teams that you were in competition with for that top 2 or 4 spot, because two teams drawing meant 1 point for both of them, stagnating their rise up in the rankings. I am definitely looking forward to the new points system they’ve added.


Are there any teams, in particular, you are looking forward to facing when the new season kicks off?

GorgoNa: The teams I’m really looking forward to playing are G2, Empire and BDS. They’ve been in the scene for god knows how long and they have that reputation of being some of the best. There won’t be a better feeling than winning against major and invitational winning teams.

I think he (Kendrew) is probably the best player that we could have gotten when we lost Kayak. I just can’t wait to show how good we’ve become with him.

When it comes to the UKIN, you are currently at the top of the standings. Out of the teams people would have guessed as top two, your counterpart appears to be Wylde. What are your thoughts on this UKIN newcomer?

GorgoNa: I think Wylde have pushed their luck a bit this season. I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but they’re highly overrated in my opinion, because of the UKIN ranking during the group stage. They’ve had three OT wins and one that was 7-5. If things didn’t go their way, we could have seen them at the bottom of the table closer to relegation. I’d go as far as to say that Demise, Audacity, and even Vexed’s old roster have been more promising and showed at least to me a decent level of Siege for a T3 team. And also all the giants – us, MnM and Na’Vi have had to make roster changes and Wylde still struggled playing against subs, coaches, and teams that don’t scrim with their full line-up. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love it if they can prove me wrong in the finals, but until that happens, this is what my opinion is.


In your final game of the regular season, you 7-1 Na’Vi. While both teams didn’t have their full rosters, you smashed them. Was this a game of raw aim, or was there a bit more work going into it?

GorgoNa: Speaking for myself I never want to lose or have the mentality that UKIN doesn’t matter or that a match doesn’t matter, because we’ve secured the finals. Because of that, I force my teammates (with the help of the support staff) to always prepare, even if it’s the slightest bit. Davil (our analyst) predicts the map bans and has all the statistics to help us figure out what operators we want to remove from play. In that game, it wasn’t deeper than counter-banning some of their players with the Ash and Melusi bans. For defence we have our basic site setups and strats that are on a T3 level because we wouldn’t want to show our real strats for EUL, right? And I think from there we just managed to counter their playstyle and in the end have the momentum swing in our favour to close out the game.

With the Finals around the corner, cowana is the most likely to reach the Finals. Who do you expect to be your opposition and why is that?

GorgoNa: Even if MnM is losing Nathan, I still think right now they’re our biggest competition for that UKIN title. Because of their synergy and raw mechanical skill, they’re going to be the most difficult team to beat in the finals.


With the UKIN Season 2 on its way to a close, what are your thoughts on the National Leagues so far, and how strong is the UKIN scene compared to others?

GorgoNa: National Leagues are a great way to develop regional talent and have teams fight for their countries’ titles. They’re also a great way to get experience and improve your skill level, when playing against the better teams. In my opinion, in that scenario, the UK has bred the most talent compared to any other region. You look at teams like ex-Secret, Na’Vi, MnM, cowana and they’re all just great achievers. We see British talent everywhere – Shas, CTZN and Kayak in G2, LeonGids in Rogue, Astro in Gamma and etc. Every season we get to see stronger teams, a higher level of competition and players slowly becoming superstars in their own region. I am very excited to see hopefully some of these young UK teams reach CL and walk in the shoes that all of the mentioned teams have.


It was recently announced that Kayak is heading to G2 Esports. In his place, you have signed Kendrew to the cowana starting roster. What are the values and qualification he brings to the roster that you desire?

GorgoNa: Kendrew has a lot of experience in being an IGL and having to play at some of the highest level of competition ever. With these qualities, he’s been teaching us to not repeat the same mistakes in and outside of the game that he has and to be one step ahead of everybody. I think he is probably the best player that we could have gotten when we lost Kayak. I just can’t wait to show how good we’ve become with him.

That is all from me, is there anything you’d like to say to the fans, friends, or your opponents ahead of the weekend?

GorgoNa: I want to thank all the old and new cowana supporters. If you think 2020 was a crazy year, then I don’t know what to tell you about 2021. There is a lot of good stuff coming and there is even more room to be greater. For my opponents – even if we’re with Mrofficer, we’re still coming for that UKIN title and if you want it, you’ll have to fight for it.