Pro League Week 4
This week saw just one playday from NA and EU on Monday as the remaining play days were delayed to make time for the Six Major open qualifiers. Nevertheless, we got some stunning action across these games as Rogue held Evil Geniuses to a draw and GiFu eSports got their first point of the season against Chaos Esports. For a full rundown on this week’s games check out our Pro League roundup here or watch our highlights below.
Six Major Qualifiers
After a series of open qualifiers and a best-of-three map, double elimination closed qualifier, the top teams from each region still vying to make it to the Raleigh Major faced off this weekend on the Rainbow6 Twitch account.
First, we saw the European games, in which Vitality faced the Russian underdogs of forZe led by the ex-Team Empire player of Artyom "Shockwave" Simakov. While the game itself was very close, it ultimately was forfeited by Vitality due to connection issues in what is probably the worst way they could’ve possibly gone out, ending their Major hopes.
Next came the grand final between forZe and Chaos which, while close once again, was pretty much defined by forZe. Map one was tied after forZe’s defensive half on Border however they won three rounds in a row, including two 1v1s to close it out on the attack while map two of Club House saw three 1vX victories by forZe once again as Artyom "cawkx" Morozov, a player with next to no competitive experience shut down the Pro League roster of Chaos time and time again.
This now means that Europe will be represented by both a Challenger League team in Team Secret as well as a “Tier 3” roster in forZe in what’s quite telling about the quality of teams in lower-level EU.
The following day initially saw the Latin American qualifiers as both NiP and Liquid aimed to make it to another Major. Liquid’s dream, however, ended early as they failed to top Team oNe in the lower bracket finals as they fell in a somewhat decisive 2-0 scoreline. Team oNe took control straight away as they went up 3-0 on Villa as their victory here was never really in doubt. Liquid managed to win round four thanks to a botched execute by oNe, however this was immediately followed up by a 4k in round five before the map eventually ended 7-2 to the recently promoted team of oNe.
Next came Coastline, which looked to be going Liquid’s way after a 4-2 first half, but as they moved onto the defence, things fell apart. Liquid took the first round on Hookah/Billiards, however, this was followed up by five consecutive victories by oNe as Liquid seemingly had no response to them, ending the map 7-5 and knocking Liquid out from the Major.
This led to a NiP vs oNe matchup in the grand-final as NiP attempted to reach their fourth Major running while oNe wanted to be yet another surprise team at the event. Map One, Border, was perhaps one of the most remarkable maps in recent months as oNe proved they really wanted the title after three back-to-back 1v2 victories -- two by SKaDinha and one by LuKid -- pushed them to match point after being down 4-1 earlier in the map before a 1v1 victory by Faalz locked it out 7-5.
This underdog story was not to continue though, as NiP managed to shut them down over the next two maps. Muzi went 14-3 on Kafe as they won the map 7-1 while a 13-6 performance by Pino helped NiP win Villa 7-3 and book their tickets to Raleigh. The Ninjas showed themselves to be a very different roster than the one that was first rounded at the 2019 Six Invitational and will have to repeat performances like this as they, FaZe Clan, and Immortals represent the LATAM region at the Six Major 2019.
Finally, the last online qualifier saw Spacestation Gaming, Luminosity Gaming, and Team SoloMid fight for one of the two remaining North American spots. While the first game had a close scoreline -- 7-4, 7-5 to SSG over LG -- Luminosity was struggling throughout. None of LG’s players went positive across the two maps while we saw multiple flawless and 4v1 rounds on behalf of SSG in what looked very much like a repeat of their Pro League matchup earlier this month.
This led to a final game between SSG and TSM, who were playing with their coach of Owen "Pojoman" Mitura in place of Tommy "Krusher" Samuel. While on paper this was perhaps the worst possible time to make a change such as this, it definitely paid off and Pojo looked pretty unstoppable on the second map. On the first map of Kafe, though, Spacestation showed they had some bite. Bosco had famously never lost an open qualifier before and was keen to continue this record. However, it was ThinkingNade that was getting most of the early kills with eight in the opening three rounds including a 1v3 4k on round two
SSG did eventually cool down, however, as TSM managed to pull it back and spent most of the map tied before a 4k by Merc on match point ended Kafe, 7-5. Next came Clubhouse where SSG out-fragged TSM overall as Bosco finally woke up, but they still lost the map due to an amazing 12-7 performance by Pojoman that included two clutches.
This led to TSM taking the 15th spot to the Major while SSG and Rec are left hoping they have done enough to earn the Host Invite spot to meet them there. The TSM we saw this weekend is drastically different from the one we see every week in the Pro League and, with another strong showing back at DreamHack Valencia, it is fairly likely they’ll impress at Raleigh.
Finally, there was the offline APAC LAN which saw Aerowolf, 0RGL3SS, Cyclops Athlete Gaming (CAG), and Cloud9 meet in Sydney, with the winner booking themselves as the third APAC team at the Major. The undefeated Japanese team of CAG eventually won the event after a long three map ordeal against 0RGL3SS, meaning a new APAC team will be attending an international final for the first time. For a full roundup for the event, check out our write up here or watch the highlights below:
Spain Nationals 2019
In Spain, the twelfth game day of the Spain Nationals and the postponed match between Giants Gaming and Cream Esports were played.
The game-week kicked off in Border, a game that featured Movistar Riders and x6tence. During the first four rounds, both teams were on a similar level. Wispy saved the first rounds for the Aliens with a great 3k, finishing the round deactivating the defuser. After the fourth round (2-2) everything changed: what seemed like a very tough match finished with a very strong performance by x6tence. The team captained by WeskeRR won the following five rounds finishing the match with a 7-2 result, mainly thanks to Wispy and his 11 kills, in addition to a 0.66 KOST.
The following match saw another team winning by a wide margin, this time in favour of Giants Gaming against Efficiency. The giants dominated the match from the very beginning
and showed off, again, the lack of skill in the team after the departure of M4dman and SETzz.
This time, on Clubhouse, and after a peculiar operator ban phase -- Efficiency banned Montagne, something normal if your opponent is Giants, but in the end nobody banned a hard breacher -- Giants destroyed Efficiency in attack, mainly thanks to the previously mentioned bans.
Giants Gaming won the first four rounds of the match and only a 3k by Ju4mp4 stopped their streak. Nevertheless, Giants Gaming went to defence with a favourable 5-1, finishing the match with two strong rounds in defence.
Tuesday’s matches concluded after the game between Arctic Gaming and Cream Esports, on Consulate. The match was a crucial one as both teams have the same objective: escape from the relegation zone. Arctic Gaming, sitting in the 8th place, faced Cream Esports, the only team left to win a match in the league. Until that game. The Hispanic-American organization had a poor start to the match, losing two of the first three rounds. However, they improved and finished the first half of the match with a positive 4-2. In defence, the team captained by Basily, felt more comfortable and finished the match with a great performance, winning the game by 7-3.
The best player of the match was Escrivaz, who finished the match with 14 kills and a 0.9 KOST. This result puts now Cream Esports two points away of the LAN spots.
On the following day, Wizards and Team Heretics were featured in Wednesday's first match. The game was played in Villa, a map that is well known for being defender sided. The wizards started on defence and finished the first half of the match with a tight 4-2. However, on attack, they could do nothing to penetrate Team Heretic's defence and they lost the following two rounds. After Wizards won the following round, Heretics ended their hopes to get a point and won the following round to win the match by 7-3.
The second match of the day followed the scripts of the other games: quick matches. The game between Team Queso and Ramboot Club only lasted for 9 rounds, mainly thanks to Team Queso's strength in Consulate defensive rounds. The team of the quesos won five of the first six rounds, finishing the robots with two attack victories.
In what was going to be the last round of the match, Aquiles faced a 1v4 clutch situation, getting the first kill with his C4 and killing two of the three next operators, but losing the final gun fight to Reina.
The day ended with a match between Cream Esports and Giants Gaming, a postponed match. The game was played in Villa and it was closer than the viewers expected: after winning their first match in the Spain Nationals, Cream seemed more confident. They ended the first half of the match being ahead by two rounds, mainly thanks to a 1v2 clutch by Scorpion and a 1v3 clutch by Basily with the defuser planted, getting the first kill with the
SMG-11 and the last two kills -- DriD and vASS1LYY -- with the shotgun.
However, Giants Gaming woke up for the second half of the match and, in defence, they liquidated Cream Esports, winning five of the following six rounds, completing the comeback to get all the points.
With these results, x6tence, Team Heretics and Giants Gaming make sure of their presence in the LAN Finals, after twelve game-days played (Team Heretics has only played 11 matches). We will likely see these three teams playing in the following Challenger League qualifier, which will kick off on the 25th of July.
6 French League
While most of the games went the way you’d expect -- Supremacy, LFO and GameWard Team all secured victories -- the French Nationals this week saw one key game between the Pro League teams of Team Vitality and PENTA that drew most of the attention.
While billed as the top quality matchup between some of the top teams in Europe, it failed to deliver in some ways as it was apparent from the beginning that it wasn’t being taken at all seriously -- the very first round saw a knife fight which ended in an absolute slaughter by Vitality.
Later on in the game, Vitality also brought out a questionable pick in Tachanka, but this was less of a throw as Stigi did successfully get a kill with the turret -- the league’s first -- which, alongside AceeZ’s Tachanka kill earlier in the season, make the operator a fairly successful one so far. In the end, the match ended in a draw, which is a result I assume both teams are perfectly happy with, as both of them sit right in line for a spot at the LAN Finals in November as we near the halfway point of the season.
Elsewhere in the league, alongside Supremacy’s and LFO’s unsurprising victories, we saw GameWard Team increase the gap from Bastille Legacy and push themselves up to fourth thanks to a standout performance by Leo "M4DMAN" Kukielka once again, who is really proving himself to be one of the very top players across Europe’s “Tier 3” teams.
And so, there’s the roundup of everything that happened in R6 over the last week. Check back here next week for more coverage of R6 action at all levels of play!