With competitive Rainbow Six undergoing a sea change, especially in APAC, many were eager for additional details about how the new program would be structured.
APAC itself would be split into two divisions, with the Asian APAC North division confirmed to have 12 teams and South Asia and Australia-New Zealand would play in the likely LAN-based APAC South division.
Over in Japan, NORA-Rengo and Cyclops Athlete Gaming (CAG) were directly invited to the APAC North league as “Legend” teams, while Cloud9 was extended the courtesy in Korea. Joining them would be two additional teams from each subregion, with the Japanese qualifiers played on the 21st and 22nd of March and the Korean qualifier played as part of the Korea Open Championship on the 21st.
Read on to find out how the four additional teams made their way to the upcoming league.
Seeded higher than the other four teams, GUTS Gaming and FAV Gaming were always favourites to qualify, especially with the first-round bye.
GUTS Gaming played its first game against Unsold Stuff Gaming (USG), dispatching the team 2-0 in a half off-stream match, while FAV Gaming took down DetonatioN Gaming (DNG) 2-1 after losing the first map 7-4.
With the Upper Bracket Final scheduled for the next day, viewers could hardly wait. Not only would it be a close game between two nearly equally-strong teams, GUTS and FAV, the winner would also qualify for the APAC North division without having to play an additional game.
Sure enough, the match did not disappoint. The first map, Kafe, saw both teams drag things out to the 15th round after 4-2 attacking halves for each in regular time. In overtime, though, the defence seemed to enjoy the advantage and GUTS made full use of that after being able to defend first.
Up next, Theme Park made its third appearance in four days in the subregion, but FAV came up top with a 7-3 victory that gave the rest of the world an early look at the possible shape of the map’s meta. The decider map of Villa would fall 7-4 in GUTS’ favour after a 5-1 defensive half, though, and GUTS would qualify for the APAC North division while FAV would drop to the lower bracket.
Down in the lower bracket, a game against USG awaited FAV Gaming and it was of little difficulty. Playing Theme Park again -- the third time in the tournament so far and the second time for each team -- FAV ran riot. Despite a defender-sided perception of the map, FAV took its attacking half 5-1 and then closed things out with two defensive wins to take the map 7-1.
Coastline did not go much better for USG, as FAV once again surprised many by winning the defensive half 5-1. This time, USG was at least able to get one round after the role swap, but FAV had its sights set on qualification and made it there with ease, winning the map 7-2 and the series 2-0.
With the first set of games only a Best-of-One, qualification was a lot simpler an affair over in Korea.
Korea Cup and former Pro League team Talon Esports kicked things off, going up against the largely unknown Safehouse on the map of Consulate. Starting off on defence, a 4-2 first half set Talon up nicely. The team then completed the job with a 3-1 attacking half to take the game 7-3 and secure its spot in the APAC North league.
Following up was the game between Axiomatic and SCARZ and was a marginally closer affair. Playing on Kafe, a 3-3 split on attack for SCARZ would have certainly given the team confidence. And as the Italian coach of Hybrid watched on, his team completed the victory, going 3-1 on defense to win 7-4 and qualify for the APAC North league.
With the games having been part of the Korea Open Championship, SCARZ and Talon also took each other on in what was effectively the "Winner's Final". Talon came up decisively top though, in a 7-3 and 7-4 victory, and will now face Cloud9 next week in the grand final.
However, with the top three confirmed in this single-elimination format, the Korean teams in the APAC North league have now been confirmed.
APAC North: What Is Next
As such, seven out of the 12 teams in the APAC North league have now been confirmed. They are:
Cyclops Athlete Gaming
The remaining five teams have yet to be confirmed, but it is almost certain that Giants Gaming will be invited given the team's pedigree and a recent tease by the captain Lunarmetal.
The distribution of the remaining four slots are less clear-cut, with Giants’ home region of Southeast Asia (SEA) likely to be getting at least three of them. Qconfirm is a likely candidate, having been top of the SEA Pro League every season since Season 8, but it is unclear as to how teams will qualify or be invited.
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