DarkZero achieved the ultimate upset victory against NA's best.
DarkZero have managed to achieve the impossible. Team SoloMid, Oxygen Esports, and Spacestation Gaming were unable to stop these players from acquiring the Major trophy in stunning fashion.
At the North American Rainbow Six August Major, they were the absolute underdogs. They had made it to the event as the last seed and almost lost to Soniqs in the qualification tournament. In our preview for the event, we highlighted them as the weakest team of the bunch - and rightfully so. We still stand by our prediction. The team that had objectively been obliterated by SSG and TSM during the North American League should not have stood a chance against these teams at the Major.
But that’s the key point. At this event, we witnessed a completely different team play Rainbow Six: Siege. They were better prepared, individually stronger, and played off each other more. The players knew exactly how to counter Spacestation Gaming and Team SoloMid. Because of this, they mounted an insanely dominant tournament run, beginning with their opening match against SSG.
When Spacestation Gaming only narrowly scraped by on Consulate, the analysts started to worry about their form at the event. They were right to do so, because DarkZero easily took a 5-1 lead on Clubhouse. SSG tried their best to mount a comeback and keep the DZ offence at bay, but the team decided to go for a rush. Within mere seconds, they had opened the wall to the CCTV site, and quickly eliminated the Spacestation players. Troy “Canadian” Jaroslawski was the last player to fall at the hands of DZ, who managed to take down SSG and send them onto a third map. At this point, the analysts were asked to reconsider their picks for the match-winner. Loviel “Velly” Cardwell eventually decided to switch to the DarkZero camp, which, in retrospect, was a wise decision.
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Spacestation Gaming kicked off their Kafe affair quite well. At half-time, they had managed to tie the score at 3-3. But as DZ got on the defence, they sealed the bomb sites shut. In four consecutive round wins, they didn’t show a single opening for the SSG players to attack. Finally, they had overcome the beast that was Spacestation Gaming. Remember, those guys won the Six Invitational just half a year ago.
With the opening match in the books, DarkZero proceeded to the Upper Bracket final. There, they had to face Team SoloMid. At that point, analysts and fans had dismissed the previous match as an upset victory. After TSM had been comfortably able to win their opening engagement, they didn’t think that DarkZero could take down yet another North American juggernaut.
But DZ wanted to prove them wrong. They began on Consulate to similar success. Taking three straight attack wins, they had TSM with their backs against the wall. The TSM players would soon need to find some rounds in the first half for themselves, or else, DarkZero would run away with the first map. So Team SoloMid went back to the sites they had previously lost on, readjusted their defence, and finally got their round wins on the board. At halftime, the teams looked to be evenly matched. But as soon as DarkZero got on the defence, TSM were hopelessly outmatched. The underdogs ran straight towards a 7-4 victory, even winning the last two rounds by the round timer.
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There’s honestly not much to say about the last map - Clubhouse. There, DarkZero mounted a ridiculous 5-1 attack half, and after winning two more rounds on defence, they had successfully struck down the TSM players, sending them to the Lower Bracket.
TSM eventually rebounded against SSG, booking their ticket to the Grand Finals alongside DZ. But this devastating match loomed over their heads. Would they be able to overcome DarkZero after having suffered such a crushing defeat? They were already one map down by default, as DZ had entered the Grand Finals via the Upper Bracket.
TSM made the wise choice to pick a different set of maps for this engagement. On Kafe, they were finally able to take a convincing lead against the DarkZero side. A 4-2 at halftime should have sealed the deal for them, but again, the DarkZero defence was watertight. TSM didn’t manage to win one single round, as DZ kept eliminating them before even reaching the sites. With a 7-4 victory going onto the second map, the team was one win away from Major victory.
And what a map it was! This match has thoroughly answered the question of whether DarkZero really are the best North American team right now. They didn’t just win against TSM - they completely demolished them. As if they were playing a ranked match, they stormed away with a perfect defence half. With a 0-6 deficit leading into the second half, Jason “Beaulo” Doty did his best to keep TSM in the game. He clutched a 1v3, but just one round later, his team was done for good. With a 7-2 victory on Oregon, DarkZero had proved all the doubters wrong.
How can we possibly explain this incredible tournament run? If you take a look at the recent performances of Spacestation, their downfall seemed to be a long time coming. While they did win most of their matches in NAL, they often let them go the full distance or won them in overtime. SSG and TSM underperformed at this event, but that doesn’t take away any of the glory for DarkZero. It’s not as if they only narrowly won the event - they showed every other team the exit door. We can’t wait to see them compete again in the second stage of NAL. Will they be able to retain their #1 position in North America?
Images via SiegeGG