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The Future of Siege Esports: Everything We Know So Far

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With the Pro League now finished with the exit of ESL from the wider R6 scene, here’s a look at everything we know about its replacement so far.

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International Finals

As previously announced at the Six Invitational 2020, yearly international tournaments have been confirmed at the following dates:

  • May 2020 - Season 11 Pro League Finals - since cancelled
  • August 2020 - NA Major
  • November 2020 - EU Major
  • February 2021 - Six Invitational in Canada
  • May 2021- EU Major
  • August 2021 - NA Major
  • November 2021 - APAC Major
  • February 2022 - Six Invitational in Canada

The three Majors each year see four teams per region qualify -- three via their own Pro League replacement leagues and one via an Open Qualifier -- to equal 16 in total. These replacement leagues will be known as the North American League (NAL), European League (EUL), and Latin American League (LAL), as well as APAC North and APAC South.

The Invitational, meanwhile, will invite the 16 top-performing teams from throughout the year as determined by a points system that tallies up all results achieved by a team to determine the most consistent high-level performers. These 16 teams will then be joined by four open qualifier teams, one from each region, to form the largest events in R6 history.

The Six Invitational 2020.

While no exact locations for the Majors have been confirmed, the next four Six Majors are all to be run by FACEIT, who have previously run Counter-Strike LAN events in London six times, Arlington twice, and one time each for Milan, Anaheim, and Cancun.

As such, this could possibly indicate that one of the two upcoming EU Majors will be in London once again. If so, that would make the UK the fifth country to have more than one tier-one event held there (alongside the USA, Canada, Brazil, and Poland) after the Season 2 Pro League Finals in Leicester back in 2016.

North America

In the NAL, run by FACEIT, all games will see a return to a Best-of-Three (Bo3) and the major league will be the US Division. A secondary, but also top-level league will be the Canada Division.

US Division

This division will see an eight-team LAN league -- which will initially be played online due to the coronavirus epidemic -- take place in Las Vegas across a six-month-long season, split into two stages for this year. From 2021 onwards, the format will see the full year-long season played out, split into three stages.

The eight teams will be split into two groups of four, each in a double GSL format (double-elimination bracket) in the first phase and comprising five play days (one per week) with two matches per day.

The results in each group at the end of the first phase will influence formation of the groups for the second phase.

The finishing positions of each team in each group will then translate into seeding for the second phase. The top-four (i.e. the top-two from each group) will then be allocated into a new group, Group A, while the bottom-four will be allocated into another, Group B.

Once again, the GSL format will be played out in each group, and the Group A results will determine the top-four for the US Division, while the Group B results will determine the bottom four. What's more, the top-three will automatically qualify for the Major at the end of the stage. The fourth, fifth, and sixth-placed teams, on the other hand, will be joined by the top team from the Canada Division for that stage and play in the NAL Qualifier for the Major, also played in a Bo3, GSL format.

The teams included are as follows:

  1. Spacestation Gaming
  2. Team SoloMid
  3. DarkZero Esports
  4. Oxygen Esports (formerly Team Reciprocity)
  5. Tempo Storm
  6. eUnited
  7. Susquehanna Soniqs
  8. Disrupt Gaming

This includes five organisations seen from Season 11 of the Pro League, with the exception of:

  • Team Reciprocity, who left following difficulties caused by the financial crash. The roster remains under the new Oxygen Esports.
  • Luminosity Gaming and Evil Geniuseswho both exit due to failed negotiations with Ubisoft over the move to Las Vegas, leading the rosters to lose their spots in the league.

Replacing these two departed teams are:

  • The Susquehanna Soniqs roster which was demoted from the Pro League in Season 10.
  • The newly-formed Disrupt Gaming lineup formed of ex-Pro League players, specially for this league.

Following the stages, a North American LAN Finals will take place in December, effectively replacing the USN Finals, where the top-four teams from each stage will fight it out for the US Division title. The NAL relegation tournament between eighth place in the US Division and the Canada Division and the top team of the corresponding Challenger League will also be played at the Finals.

Challenger League

The Challenger League, meanwhile, will also mimic the US division, with three stages per year with qualifiers kicking off on June 1st. Eight teams will start the league and will be split up into two groups of four for each group to play in a double-elimination bracket. New teams can join the league at the relegation matchups as described above at the LAN Finals. 

The upcoming Challenger League qualifiers will also be played in a Best-of-Three, instead of the originally announced Best-of-One.

Canada Division

The Canadian Division is a four-team online tournament which will run alongside the US Division's schedule with open qualifiers kicking off on May 30th. The four top-level Canadian teams will be placed in one group and will play one game each day across five weeks in a GSL format, with final rankings as determined by that run.

The region will also see an eight-team Challenger League tournament take place, with the teams split into two groups of four and each group playing in a double-elimination bracket.

At the end of each stage, Canadian teams will also get the opportunity to qualify for the Major by defeating the US Division teams in what will be the NAL Playoffs. More details will be revealed soon.

As with the US Division, the Canada Division teams will get to attend the North American LAN Finals in December, where the top-two teams from each stage will fight it out for the Canada Division title. The NAL relegation tournament between eighth place in the US Division and the Canada Division and the top team of the corresponding Challenger League will also be played at the Finals.

Europe

The EUL will also be run by FACEIT as previously confirmed and will be somewhat similar to the current Pro League format. The following teams will compete in a 10-team online league, as the Season 11 Pro League lineup is joined by the two Challenger League victors:

  1. Rogue
  2. G2 Esports
  3. Team Empire
  4. Natus Vincere
  5. forZe
  6. Team Vitality
  7. Chaos Esports Club
  8. BDS Esports
  9. IziDream
  10. OrgLess

These teams will retain their spot for the entire 9-month long season up until the relegations at the end of the year. In this time, they will play in three separate stages -- one before each Major -- with the top three teams in each stage qualifying for said Major.

(Image: R6 Esports Europe.)

Below this primary league will be a Challenger League replacement which will directly invite the winners of various national leagues. At the moment, just the Nordic Championship has been confirmed to be offering this spot, however their updated rulebook implies the Benelux League, PG Italian Nationals, Polish Masters, and the GSA Nationals will also offer spots in the future as “national Ubisoft leagues”.

An extract from the Nordic Championship 2020 rulebook.

As well as these five, it can be assumed that the Russian Major League, British nationals, French Nationals, and Spanish Nationals would also be included as the four largest leagues in Europe. Along with an open qualifier spot, this would make the second-tier league a 10-team tournament.

The 6 French League 2019 stage.

Latin America

LATAM has been split into three division -- the main Brazilian league, and the secondary Mexican and South-American leagues, each being run by Ubisoft. Taking part in the Brazilian league are the 10 teams which qualified for the Brasileirão 2020 national league:

  1. Team Liquid
  2. FaZe Clan
  3. Ninjas in Pyjamas
  4. Black Dragons
  5. MIBR
  6. INTZ
  7. Team oNe eSports
  8. FURIA Esports
  9. N/A ORG
  10. ORGLESS BR

This means compared to the Season 11 lineup of teams, the following changes have happened:

  • Team Singularity loses their spot as they failed to qualify for this league.
  • FURIA Esports won the 2019 league’s relegation battle to qualify for the league.
  • N/A ORG and ORGLESS BR both qualified via an open qualifier last January.
Elevate's explanation of what happened to the team since known as Team Singularity. (Image: Brandon Hatfield.)

As with the NA format, this LAN league based in São Paulo will act as the primary one in the region in which the top three qualify for the Major every three months. Just like with NA’s Canadian division, it is currently unclear how the other two leagues fit into the LATAM ecosystem. At the moment, though, this is what is known:

Mexican Championship:

  • Kicks off in May.
  • Was initially going to be a LAN league based in Mexico City, but this has been postponed till at least September due to the coronavirus lockdown. It will be played online in the meantime.
  • It includes seven of the teams that played in the Mexican Championship.
The Mexican Championship Finals. (Photo: Rainbow 6 LATAM.)

South-American Championship:

  • Replaces the Giants Showdown as the regional event for the Spanish speaking LATAM nations (predominantly Chile and Argentina).
  • Kicks off in June.
  • Includes eight teams, all invited.

Considering the ping difference between Mexico and Brazil, it is likely that any LATAM-wide event such as in the pre-Major open qualifiers would need to take place on a LAN environment, creating “APAC LAN” like events for the region. This may also explain the lack of international events taking place in the region, with these acting as large scale spectator events every three months.

Asia-Pacific

Finally, APAC has been cut into two regions; APAC North and South, both to be run by ESL Asia-Pacific. APAC North will be comprising all the Asian subregions from the Pro League format and will thus include some of the top teams across the region:

Via @R6esportsAPAC

Japan:

  1. CYCLOPS athlete gaming
  2. PET NORA-Rengo
  3. GUTS Gaming
  4. FAV gaming

CYCLOPS and NORA were both invited to the league following their top performance over the last year, while both GUTS and FAV won the region’s dedicated Open Qualifier.

CYCLOPS lifting their Japan Nationals trophy. (Photo: Rainbow Six Japan.)

South-East Asia:

  1. Xavier Esports
  2. 7th Heaven (ex-Team Notorious)
  3. Qconfirm
  4. Unconfirmed 

Akin to the national route to APAC North seen in Korea and Japan, the Operation Leagues in Thailand, Taiwan, and MY/SG/PH/ID tournament will each see a team qualify for the APAC North League. The former two confirmed their teams on the 10th of May, with Xavier Esports defeating Qconfirm and Team Notorious defeating 7th Heaven in Thailand and Taiwan, respectively.

However, the MY/SG/PH/ID tournament is currently suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak. After dominating the previous Pro League seasons the teams of Giants Gaming and QConfirm will be the favourites for the invite, but with only one spot on offer, one of the two teams -- likely Qconfirm -- will be frozen out of the APAC North league.

Both teams have no lack of pedigree, with the former having made it to the Six Invitational 2017 and 2020, as well as the semi-finals at the Season 10 Pro League Finals, while the latter has consistently beaten Giants to top spot in the Southeast Asian Pro League four seasons in a row.

South Korea:

  1. Cloud9
  2. Talon Esports
  3. SCARZ

Over in Korea, Cloud9 was invited due to their victory during the Half-Year national Finals last August and was joined by the two top teams at the Korean Open nationals in March.

C9 at DreamHack Valencia 2019.

It is currently unconfirmed how the 12th team will be determined, but it is likely via another invite, possibly from another region. As the primary league, the top three from this tournament will attend each Major as with the other regions.

In the Southern hemisphere sits the APAC South league, which will likely take place on a LAN environment and include an unknown number of South-Asian teams (i.e. India, Bangladesh, etc.) as well as a number of ANZ teams from either a separate qualifier or, like the other sub-regions, the local national event of the 2020 Six Masters.

The South-Asian sub-region usually includes the nations of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives, Nepal, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. It will likely see a separate league take place involving these nations, with the top-two teams being flown out to a South APAC LAN in Australia to compete with the Australian teams.

Images from the only previously supported tournament from the region, the ESL India Series Finals. (Photo: ESL India.)

Like the sub-regions in other regions, it is currently unclear how this tournament fits into the APAC ecosystem, but with an APAC LAN still needed to determine the region's open qualifier team, it is possible the winner of the APAC South league progresses straight to the APAC LAN event.

Pilot Program

44 organisations will be involved in the Pilot Program over the next four years, up from 11 in phase one and 14 in phase two. These 44 will be split up in three tiers; 10 in Tier One, 15 in Tier Two, and 19 in Tier Three, with the biggest teams offering the greatest support in Tier One.

At the moment, just NiP has been confirmed to be Tier One, but it can be assumed that all well-known teams will be involved in the Program in some form, with all 44 receiving at least one gun skin. Unlike phase two, organisations will have greater involvement in choosing their operator, weapons, and design for the uniforms, weapon skins, and charms.

With organisations eager to prove their worth and earn their tier one status in the pilot program, this likely explains Fnatic’s recent search for a second member of their support staff to aid Dizzle, as well as a number of recent streamer pickups such as MacieJay for TSM, Get_Flanked for DarkZero, and BikiniBodhi for Fnatic.

While many organisations have major content creators as part of the team, these Pro League orgs also have separate content creators as of writing include z1ronic for Na'Vi, Snake_Nade for Tempo Storm, Katja for Chaos, ziGueira for Liquid, Wokka for NORA-Rengo, ThatOneBritt for SSG, Ali_Princess for Rogue, Thaii for BD, Hit for Elevate, DriD for the Giants, Beardo (among others) for SiNister, C4NARY for the Soniqs, and Godly (among many others) for Disrupt.

Go4 Replacements

With ESL gone, the go-to tournaments for tier-four teams will likely be a version of the "Siege into Spring" weekly tournaments that took place over the last month. Announced for both NA and LATAM at the moment, they vary in both ruleset and prize pool:

North America

  • On PC, PS4 and Xbox for four weekends
  • $2,000 per week per platform totalling $24,000 over the month
  • Ranked ruleset (three rounds per half, no sixth pick, and kill cams on)
  • The 12-map Ranked map pool

Latin America

  • On PC for two weekends, and PS4 and Xbox for three weekends
  • $850 per week per platform totalling $6,800 over the month plus 285,000 R6 Credits across the two PC tournaments (worth ~$2,600)
  • Competitive ruleset (six rounds per half, six pick and reveal phase and no kill cams)
  • The seven map Pro League map-pool

While not confirmed, these kinds of tournaments will likely continue based on the FACEIT website across all three platforms and hopefully including the Pro League ruleset seen in LATAM.

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Key an eye here at SiegeGG for further updates as more announcements are made and teams are confirmed.