NaVi, Tempra, Secret, And Vitality Looking To Grab The Last Open Spot For SI2021
The Six Invitational is Rainbow Six: Siege’s most renowned and competitive event. At the start of every year, it brings together all the top teams and puts them through a tough-as-hell bracket. But in the end, the best rosters are rewarded by playing in front of an ever-growing crowd of die-hard Siege fans.
So far, this event has taken place every single year - and Ubisoft won’t let a global pandemic ruin that perfect streak. However, this time around the tournament will not be held in Montreal. Europe, most likely the Paris studio, has been chosen as the location for this mega-event. There won’t be any fans and audience on-site, but at least we can see our favourite players back on the actual battlefield once again. As the North American November Major has already demonstrated, it is much more enjoyable to have the teams compete in an offline environment.
At this point, BDS, G2, Team Empire, and Virtus.pro have already qualified through the European League system. One more spot is still up for grabs in this region though. The Closed Qualifier playoffs will see Team Secret, Chaos, Team Vitality, Rogue, MnM Gaming, and Cowana Gaming compete against ten Open Qualifier winners. The two winning sides of this competition will then head to a Single-Elimination bracket alongside Natus Vincere and Tempra. While there are some interesting rosters going the long route, the biggest fight will arguably take place between the six EUL teams. So what has been their story so far?
Rogue kicked their first European League stage off with a first-place finish. The German team was heralded as the new kings of Europe, until they suddenly collapsed in the August Major. Playing without Maurice “AceeZ” Erkelenz in their first few Stage 2 matches, they were unable to post any wins. Even after his return, they continued to underperform so massively that they may now face relegation from the EUL.
But this is old news. The league phase officially ended in Mid-October, and they have had lots of time to rethink and reinvent their approach. Even if there is no way to know whether they’ll be on par with their colleagues, they should at least be able to survive the onslaught of Open Qualifier teams.
Chaos have come to the very end of the line. If they manage to qualify, the Six Invitational 2020 will be their last stand as a roster. The organisation has announced that they intend to lay off both their Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) and Rainbow Six: Siege divisions in the near future. The R6 roster was just recently auto-relegated from EUL, which makes it incredibly unlikely for another organisation to offer them a permanent and stable home. Mattias Johannes "Renuilz" Nordebäck has already announced his retirement from the scene, leaving a gaping hole in a roster that is already bound to fail. If they were to make the Six Invitational through the European Qualifier, this would be an incredible success story - but don’t bet on that happening.
KEEP YOUR EYES ON SECRET AND VITALITY
Secret had an amazing run through the first half of Stage 2. They upset a ridiculous number of top teams and would have made it to the Major themselves if they hadn’t choked throughout the last couple of play-days. When they were defeated by Tempra Esports and Virtus.pro, their headstart was basically gone. With all their strength, they couldn’t stop Empire from making it to the November Major, while they themselves had to swallow the loss and watch their opponents win the entire thing. What makes this story even sadder is that their core gameplay was just fine. Peter “pacbull” Bull has proven to be a great in-game-leader, and Kevin “Prano” Pranowitz continues his dominance of German Rainbow Six. If they have managed to escape this choking mentality they displayed throughout the last few weeks of competition, they might actually make it out alive at this qualifier.
Vitality landed in second-to-last place of EUL Stage 2, but that placement doesn’t do their performance justice. They secured a total of four draws, one of them against BDS Esports. Had they just won one additional round in each of those games, they would have made the November Major as the second seed. But since they only got four points overall for all their 6-6 matches, they almost dropped down to relegation territory.
So Secret and Vitality are, all things considered, very much en route to the last stage of this qualifier. Natus Vincere and Tempra await them, and the two should really not be underestimated. NaVi have managed to stay just outside of the Top 4 in both EUL stages, which unfortunately kept them out of the Majors for the entire year. But they defeated both Vitality and Secret on 7-4 score lines during Stage 2, which makes them the obvious bet in this scenario - if it weren’t for Tempra Esports. These Frenchmen surprised virtually everyone when they qualified for the November Major, but they had actually been performing well throughout the entire league phase. All it took for them to make it was an upset victory over G2 Esports, which deservedly put them in the Top 4. NaVi and Tempra have the highest seeds in this qualification bracket because they are arguably the best teams in attendance.
But it would be foolish to discount the likes of Secret and Vitality, as they certainly pack the skill to easily best any of the teams in this qualifier if they have a great day. Only one European spot remains at next year’s Six Invitational. For any of these squads, it would be a milestone achievement to make it to this coveted competition. The Best-of-Three format will likely keep them safe from upsets at the hands of the Open Qualifier teams, who will be looking to strike any of the favourites down. Provided that Secret have fixed their choking issues and Vitality can win just one more round than they usually do, these two are the likeliest prospects to make it to the final stage against Natus Vincere and Tempra. But do they really stand a chance against a team that played in the November Major just a month ago?
Images via SiegeGG