The Rainbow Six Invitational 2020 recap is here! This year’s tournament was one of the most exciting yet, with plenty of upsets, dominant performances, and heartbreak. Most importantly, a new world champion was crowned this year, with North America’s Spacestation Gaming coming back from the brink of defeat against Brazil’s Ninjas in Pyjamas to lift the hammer trophy high. Let’s go over some of the best story lines for the top three teams in this Six Invitational 2020 recap.
The Guardians of the Galaxy – Spacestation Gaming
Spacestation Gaming came in as a hidden gem for the North American Rainbow Six scene. They were overshadowed by the star power and top team status of Team SoloMid and the pedigree of DarkZero. While they certainly weren’t underdogs, they were seen as an afterthought from predictions and analysts. Many saw them getting out of groups, but didn’t see much past that.
They started off with a strong win over NaVi before taking a huge scalp from Team SoloMid in group stage. Spacestation steamrolled to the finals by taking out MIBR and DarkZero, and sending TSM to the losers’ bracket finals. With a one map advantage, the stage was set for Spacestation Gaming to lift the hammer.
NiP and SSG took the stage with a passionate NA crowd favoring Troy “Canadian” Jaroslawski and the rest of Spacestation. Then suddenly, the Ninjas in Pyjamas sucker-punched everyone in the arena with two fast map wins. Despite having a one map advantage, SSG was now on the edge of defeat. The arena was somber, as the two teams fought on Clubhouse, with NiP up 5-3 and sitting in the driver’s seat.
Then something amazing happened.
Montreal, we have lift off!
— ESL Rainbow Six (@ESLRainbowSix) February 17, 2020
The crowd pulled out their phones and turned on their flashlights, creating a galaxy of stars in support of SSG. Chants of “SSG, SSG” filled the stadium and drowned out NiP fans as the North American team took off. Spacestation took victory on Clubhouse, and evened up the map score by winning four straight rounds. The atmosphere in Montreal was electric as the two teams setup for Bank.
Spacestation Gaming blasted off by winning three straight rounds to start the map off. The Ninjas managed to sneak a few round victories in, but Javier “Thinkingnade” DeAndre Escamilla and his team secured the victory and the SI2020 title with a dominant 7-3 performance. The SSG that showed up in the final two maps was a very different team from the start of the series. This SSG was confidant, dominating, and most importantly, winning rounds and the championship along with it.
— ESL Rainbow Six (@ESLRainbowSix) February 17, 2020
The win for Spacestation meant so much to both the players and the NA crowd. Jaroslawski became one of the few players to lift the hammer trophy twice. It also meant redemption for the Canadian star, after dropping the 2018 Invitational finals when Evil Geniuses was reverse-swept by Penta. Often criticized for being overly passionate and vocal while he plays, you could see that Jaroslawski wanted that trophy more than anyone on stage that evening.
Meanwhile, Dylan “Bosco” Bosco became the first player to cross platforms and win an Xbox One (SI2017 with Elevate) and PC Invitational trophy. This is the first major LAN tournament since SI2017 that an NA team has won, over 1,000 days apart.
In several esports, North America is often overlooked as an underdog region that cannot compete with the best teams of Europe and Asia. It’s a region hungry to prove itself to the world. Spacestation Gaming proved that North America is much more than stream teams and personalities. It’s still full of champions just waiting to shine.
The BRA71L Curse – Ninjas in Pyjamas
The scoreline “7-1” has plagued Brazilian fans across all sports and esports since the 2014 FIFA World Cup. It’s commonly used as a meme to poke fun at the failures of Brazilian teams. With a finals victory, the BR team would have gone 7-1 through the tournament and reclaimed the meme for themselves. Unfortunately for them, Spacestation Gaming defied the odds and left NiP with a 6-2 record and a second place at SI2020.
NiP kicked off the tourney looking dominant against the other Brazilian squads in Group C. They pulled off an upset against Team Liquid, and managed to hold off MIBR to take top spot in their group. After being relegated to the losers’ bracket by TSM, captain Gustavo “Psycho” Rigal and his squad looked even more deadly with each series they played. NiP stunned the world by upsetting top teams like G2 Esports, DarkZero and BDS Esport. The BR team’s aggressive play style stunned TSM and the North American crowd in the losers’ bracket finals. NiP had booked their ticket to face off against SSG in the finals against all odds.
The Brazilian Villains
Ninjas in Pyjamas became the perfect villain for the North American crowd at Place Bell. The passionate group of Brazilian fans did their best to be just as loud as a full crowd of NA supporters. Despite being down one map automatically, the Ninjas came out swinging. They manhandled SSG on Villa, hiding their strength on the map for the entire tournament. All hope looked lost for SSG as the Ninjas took Border in a dominant fashion. NiP kicked off Clubhouse with a 5-3 start and the series looked all but secured.
Suddenly, SSG pounced on NiP and won five rounds to take Clubhouse. Then Spacestation Gaming dominated on Bank to win and lift the hammer, leaving the Brazilians with a heartbreaking second place finish.
Still, the Ninjas run at SI2020 sets the stage perfectly for the Pro League Season 11 finals in São Paulo this May. NiP proved to the world that South American R6 is competitive, passionate and able to go toe-to-toe with North America and Europe. LATAM has certainly earned the right to a top tier LAN event and all of the excitement that comes with it.
You know when they play – Team SoloMid
Team SoloMid were one of the most exciting yet polarizing teams coming into the Six Invitational 2020. To many North American fans, they were a top tier team ready to go far in the tournament. To others, they were a flash in the pan team, only getting attention because of their star player and Twitch sensation, Jason “Beaulo” Doty. Team SoloMid managed to prove both groups correct in some ways in Montreal.
But, when it was time to win, Team SoloMid faltered. Their rematch against NiP in the losers’ bracket finals ended much differently than their win in the quarter finals. Only Doty could keep pace with the pure fragging power of the Brazilians, at one point having twenty kills in the series while his next closest teammate was at 10. Despite Doty fragging out for his team, it simply wasn’t enough to take down the Ninjas. The haters immediately jumped on the rest of TSM for not keeping up the pace. However, kill counts don’t tell the full story for a team. TSM simply couldn’t adapt to NiP’s gameplay quickly enough to stop the bleeding. At the end of the day, the whole team’s success or failure cannot be placed on one player alone.
Even a third place finish should be considered a victory for Team SoloMid and their fans. TSM proved they can back up the hype behind their roster. TSM’s run at SI2020 proved to the world that the team isn’t just “Beaulo plus four.” Players like Owen “Pojoman” Mitura and Emilio “Geoometrics” Leynez Cuevas showed they can step up for TSM in big ways. This loss gives the whole team the opportunity to step back and adjust to the spotlight. I have a feeling the TSM hype train isn’t going to be derailed any time soon.
The Six Invitational 2020 Recap: More to come
This year’s Invitational gave Rainbow Six Siege fans everything they could ever ask for. Amazing upsets, heartbreak, dominant performances and Cinderella runs. However, there are still plenty of teams from this tourney who deserve the spotlight on their efforts. Stay tuned for more breakdowns, analysis and Six Invitational 2020 recap stories at SQUAD.