The Six Invitational will soon be upon us. Headed into the event there is much debate over who should be considered the favorite, or a contender for the title of world champions. While Team Empire has claimed the #1 spot for the last 9 months, it is impossible to know who will have it in just over two weeks' time. What we do know is that due to the high number of high-quality teams in attendance, the new double-elimination playoff format, and the prestige of the world championship, the winner of the event is highly likely to move into the #1 spot. Who do you think it will be?
1. Team Empire (-)
After a lapse following their poor performance post-Raleigh Major, Team Empire seems to be back and fully functional again. Many had speculated that their mini-era was over after they choked a first-split lead and ended up narrowly missing the Season 10 Finals in Japan. While all other teams were playing at the Season 10 Finals, OGA PIT and its qualifiers, and the Six Invitational Qualifiers, the Russian machines sat quietly preparing. In their return to competitive play, the team once again looked strong, ending in 2nd place in European Pro League after the first split.
Placements: (last six months)
ESL Pro League 11 EU - First Split (2nd)
2. Team Liquid (+1)
Team Liquid, who historically perform better on LAN than online, have managed to translate their strong performances at the end of last year into success at the beginning of 2020, finishing the first split behind only a strong NiP team. Anything other than a deep tournament run would be a disappointment for Liquid, who look to have finally put it all together, and pose the best opportunity for a LATAM team to win a Tier-1 tournament since they themselves first won the Season 7 Finals in Atlantic City.
ESL Pro League 11 LATAM - First Split (2nd)
3. Spacestation Gaming (+1)
SSG have historically had an extremely tough time in online Bo1s specifically. In Bo3 qualifiers, they have traditionally done well, as well as on LAN in all contexts. In this light, their 3rd place in the first split of Pro League looks to be a positive continuation on the form of the team that got second place at the OGA Minor, won the US Nationals finals, and finally won the Six Invitational qualifiers. Losing a Bo1 to TSM and DZ should not change the fact that this team is North America's best hope of winning the Invitational, the first for NA since Canadian won the very first ever Invitational with Continuum.
ESL Pro League 11 NA - First Split (3rd)
4. Team SoloMid (+4)
Nobody was sure what TSM was going to look like. After winning Dreamhack Montreal in september, they were never really able to put things together, but that was largely because of a transitional roster that did not finally materialize until the beginning of this Pro League split, not even being fully active for USN where they were not allowed to play with Pojoman due to his Canadian citizenship. In this PL split, however, the team has looked like the best in the world. The team is undefeated, with their lone blemish being a draw against Luminosity. They might be the hottest team in the world right now, but it's hard to say whether this will translate to the Invitational stage, in more rigorous formats and once teams have had the time to study their playstyle. Still, TSM is one of the most exciting teams in Siege right now.
ESL Pro League 11 NA - First Split (1st)
5. Rogue (+6)
Rogue (the roster formerly known as Giants Gaming, Looking for Org, LeStream, and more) makes a return to the Top 10 after dropping out following an embarrassing loss to Aerowolf (now under Giants Gaming themselves, totally not confusing, right?) in Japan, causing yet another first-round exit. Still, Rogue has looked very strong since adding Ripz to the team, being the only undefeated team in all of Pro League aside from TSM. What remains to be seen is whether the team will be able to finally break the LAN curse with their new roster, or if they will continue their cycle of moving up the ranks during the online seasons, only to be sent back down after a disappointing LAN performance.
6. Natus Vincere (-4)
NaVi right now is one of the great question marks in R6. The team looked absolutely unstoppable in their run through EUPL and the S10 finals, hardly dropping a map. The Invitational was set to be a showdown between them and Team Empire for the world title. Since winning in Tokoname, something changed, though. The team has looked lost, uncoordinated, and underwhelming, resulting in a sixth-place finish in the first split of Season 11. Will they be able to regain their form in a LAN environment? Only time will tell, but right now the former #2 team in the world is not looking their part.
7. DarkZero Esports (+2)
Darkzero's new roster got off to a rough start. After swapping two players following the core's best-ever finish of 2nd place at the S10 Finals, their first game as a new roster was against NA's then-hottest team of SSG in the midst of their end-of-year run. This should not be a knock on DZ, as they historically take a long time to reach their full potential after a roster change (see exiting the Allied Minor with a 1-3 record immediately after adding Hyper). After much more preparation the team has once again looked like one of the best in NA, with the only cause for concern being a 2-7 loss to TSM in the final playday of NA. Can DZ once again deliver on LAN and make a deep run?
8. G2 Esports (-3)
G2 seems to be in freefall right now. The best in the world for two years, since winning the Invitational they have not been able to put much together. A desperation roster change saw long-time support player exit the lineup and despite public outcry was replaced by up-and-coming German talent Cryn. The experiment was a failure. After less than two months with the team, Cryn was removed in favor of SirBoss (on loan), a journeyman pro that was formerly a member of PENTA, the team relegated from EU last season. Now the former world champs will play the biggest event of the year with a player who isn't even confirmed to be the long-term answer and may end up being replaced after just one showing with the team.
ESL Pro League 11 EU - First Split (4th)
9. Ninjas in Pyjamas (+9)
NiP has been a LATAM powerhouse for a long time, but have been unable to translate local success into international acclaim. The team has exited in last place in each of their three big international tournaments: last year's Six Invitational, the Raleigh Major, and the Season 10 Finals (though S10 was at least partially due to visa issues). Once again they're back in the top ten because of strong online performances, but it's unclear whether they'll be able to make a deep run in the tournament. Their group features two familiar LATAM opponents and an unproven Giants Gaming (formerly Aerowolf), so the team may see their first international playoff in a long time.
10. Team Secret (-4)
Team Secret only barely keeps their spot in the top ten, and is likely going to be headed much further down after the Invitational is over, as they're passed by the many teams below them who managed to make it to the event. Secret will once again miss the Six Invitational, and with no future big competitions for the team in sight, decay will bring them much lower than they currently are before they have a chance to compete in CL.
The team's 2019 was full of tremendously close calls, and disappointments, but was capped off with a run to top-four at the Raleigh major. The team was one game short of making it back into Pro League, reached the OGA Minor beating out multiple PL opponents only to be upset in the first round to an inconsistent Luminosity team. Finally, they had a stellar run through the Six Invitational qualifiers bracket, featuring a win over BDS Esport only to fall flat against the very same BDS in the finals despite having a map advantage. Last year will be haunted by what-ifs for Team Secret fans for a very long time.
To read more about how the ranking is calculated, check out our blog post explaining the system.
To see the full list, check out the ranking page for the most recent update!