The Rainbow Six Siege Invitational is less than three weeks away. Sixteen of the world’s finest R6 teams will gather in Montreal for the largest event in Siege esports. Let’s have a look at some of the best 2020 Six invitational story lines from each group.
Team Empire Strikes Back – Team Empire, Group A
The finals of the 2019 Six Invitational started off fierce. Team Empire and G2 Esports battled back and forth, neither team chaining more than two rounds together. After 22 rounds on Coastline, G2 managed to squeeze past Empire for the first map win. It looked like the start of one of the best Invitational finals ever.
But the Russian machine broke. Empire rallied back from a 5-1 deficit on Border, but didn’t have enough gas to secure an advantage, ultimately losing 7-5. G2 then went on to take seven straight rounds on Bank to win 7-1. After a strong run leading up to the finals, Team Empire walked away from SI2019 with a silver medal and a final match spanking from G2.
Since then, the team has been nothing but dominant on LAN. Empire has a 29/10 map win / loss ratio after SI2019 on LAN. Despite mediocre online results in the last half of 2019, Empire still won every LAN event after SI2019 they attended. Empire won the S9 finals, Russian Major League S2 and S3 and took revenge against G2 Esports at the Six Major Raleigh.
But the Invitational is the biggest tournament in R6 esports, with $3 million as this year’s prize pool. Team Empire has a chance at redemption in Montreal. If the team continues the LAN dominance that has been on display, they’ll break free despite being placed in the “Group of Death.” Who knows, maybe Team Empire will get the chance to play G2 in the finals again. This time, they’ll hope for a much different outcome.
When’s TSM Playing? – Team SoloMid, Group B
If you listen to Twitch chat (pro tip: Don’t), you would think Jason “Beaulo” Doty is the only player on Team SoloMid. His fans swarm the Pro League Twitch channel on North American play dates, often asking the same question; “When is Beaulo playing?” The question turned twitch chat meme turned schedule website is honestly an insult to TSM as a whole. The NA mix team has the brains and brawn to back up the hype this Invitational.
Doty, team captain Matthew “Achieved” Solomon and Bryan “Merc” Wrzek are the remaining core from when TSM first entered pro R6 in June 2019. Both Solomon and Wrzek are stars in their own right, capable of putting big numbers up on the board when they need to. Owen”Pojoman” Mitura came along as head coach before moving to a player role. He’s been a big veteran presence alongside TSM’s newest addition Emilio “Geoometrics” Leynez Cuevas. Speaking of which, Cuevas has been coming up big for his new team after leaving Evil Geniuses in a trade for Aaron “Gotcha” Chung. Most recently, he fragged out online against his old team, going 16-3.
This team is exactly what R6 esports needs, regardless of whether you believe in the hype about “Beaulo”, TSM or NA’s chances at SI2020. Team SoloMid has a great mix of young talents, seasoned vets and likable personalities. With Doty’s massive presence between Twitch and YouTube, he’s been bringing a ton of attention to both Rainbow Six Siege and its pro scene. That kind of surge is exactly what R6 could use to push even farther as top tier esport. Fans watching Doty and TSM go far on stage will have far more impact than online Pro League matches. Who knows, soon Twitch chat could be spamming “When’s TSM playing?” alongside Doty’s name in chat.
Brazilian Brawl – Team Liquid, Ninjas in Pyjamas and MIBR, Group C
A cruel twist of fate hit the Latin American scene during the group selections. By pure luck, three of the four Brazilian teams ended up locked in Group C together. The matches that will come out of this group have the potential for fantastic Invitational story lines.
FaZe Clan escaped this group and ended up in the “Group of Death.” However, Group C will be no walk in the park either. Team Liquid, MIBR and Ninjas in Pyjamas are all flying North for the Invitational. These teams are full of some of Brazil’s top R6 talents, all hungry for a share of $3 million. This group will be a heart breaker for Latin America, with only one team being eliminated at best.
NiP were a powerhouse heading into the Season 10 finals of Pro League, boasting a 10-3-1 record online. But captain Gustavo “Psycho” Rigal and the Ninjas fell in the first round to a strong Reciprocity team. Since then, they’ve looked average online, sitting in the middle of the pack in Pro League Season 11. MIBR sits right next to NiP in the standings. While they looked really good in SI qualifiers, MIBR did not look strong on LAN in 2019. The team’s biggest accomplishment was third at OGA Pit S3.
Team Liquid is probably Brazil’s best hope for this group. The team is top of the LatAm Pro scene right now, narrowly ahead of FaZe. Thiago “xS3xyCake” Reis and his team are coming off a a win at OGA Pit S3 and second at DreamHack Montreal in late 2019. However, Liquid will still have to go through NiP, MIBR and Giants Gaming to push forward to the quarterfinals.
While they’ve had their struggles, these three teams are not to be underestimated. Three LatAm teams in the same group is sure to lead to intense battles and fierce rivalries. Brazilian R6 is a fast growing, passionate scene with a promise of growth. There are even rumors that the next major will be in Brazil. With the hopes of Latin America on their shoulders, expect all three teams to strive for greatness in Montreal.
G-peat – G2 Esports, Group D
One of the best Invitational story lines by far this year is focused on G2 Esports. Niclas “Pengu” Mouritzen and Fabian “Fabian” Hallsten have the opportunity to become back-to-back-to-back Six Invitational champions, having won in 2018 with Penta Esports and in 2019 with G2. Meanwhile, Juhani “Kantoraketti” Toivonen can join the back-to-back club and G2 can become the first org to repeat at the Invitational. After a dominant run at last year’s Invitational, it comes as a surprise that G2 didn’t even qualify for SI2020, the team was invited.
That’s because G2 has tumbled since last February. The Six Major Raleigh and OGA Pit S3 were the only LANs the Euro squad qualified for in 2019 after the Invitational. While they came second at Raleigh, G2 has had rough showings online, often losing matches against teams they should have reasonably beat. Many fans were dismayed that G2 received the final Invitational slot, believing it should have gone to more deserving teams.
They replaced Joonas “jNSzki” Savolainen in May and Daniel “Goga” Mazorra Romero in November. Since then, replacements Aleksi “UUNO” Työppönen and Pascal “Cryn” Alouane have faced blame from team fans and critics alike for the team’s woes.
But don’t underestimate G2 esports. The main core of Hallsten, Mouritzen and Toivonen are R6 veterans with a pedigree like none other. What would make for a better Invitational story line, than for G2 to win it all in Montreal? Bouncing back from a rough few months, shutting down the haters and making history with another Invitational title would be the perfect Cinderella story run for G2.