DarkZero's Cinderella run through the North American mini-major is one to be remembered, even if there was no international competition or LAN to cap it off.
They limped through the qualifier to get into the major and in the process nearly surrendered their spot to the Susquehanna Soniqs. However, once there, they only dropped a single map during the tournament -- during their opening match against Spacestation Gaming.
Let's recap a mini-major full of action, talk about the changes coming to Rainbow Six: Siege, and take a look at where each team that participated in it stands after all the dust settled.
DarkZero are your mini-major winners, and have seemingly found that magic at the beginning of the season. This is a team that is downright devastating on their attacks and, combined with a revamped defense, is a championship-winning squad. In their eyes and minds there will be no cries of "online" or "regional competition" -- a win is a win. DZ lost their opening map in the mini-major and then didn't lose a map again in the rest of the tournament, including four absolute dismantlings of TSM, in a fearsome showing.
Coming in as the statistical leader was Matthew "Hotancold" Stevens, who led the mini-major in Rating, Entry, and KOST, and tied the leader for plants. Hotancold very literally did it all and it was arguably the best performance we've ever seen from the veteran.
A huge congrats is due for DarkZero, who stepped up their game significantly from the qualifier. Then, the players called their performance in the Qualifier "unacceptable" and clearly weren't happy with just making the mini-major. Now, they have won it.
TSM very literally became Team BeauloMid throughout the tournament, at least statistically. He posted a perfect KOST against Oxygen Esports in TSM's opening match and absolutely tore the heads off opponents throughout the tournament.
Unfortunately, TSM's streakiness came back to haunt them at the worst possible times: specifically against DarkZero. On Kafe Dostoyevsky during the Grand Final, DarkZero won rounds seven to 11 to take home what had otherwise been a competitive map. They then took home the first six rounds of Oregon, putting TSM in a hole they couldn't climb out of.
Again, with emphasis, being "streaky" is not the same as being bad. It becomes bad when your streaks are losing streaks, which happened to TSM multiple times during the tournament. This is a team with championship-caliber talent if it can pull itself out of round-losing skids quicker. Eventually, TSM is going to win a Major, it's just a matter of time.
The Kings of NA have been dethroned, at least online. The tournament favorites fell in the first round to DarkZero, then scraped by Oxygen in the loser's bracket. Spacestation couldn't finish TSM, though, and despite winning the first map, dropped the final two.
An interesting stat is that Spacestation won the first map in every single match they played during the tournament, only won one map three, and did not win a single map two. I think it can be safely said that Spacestation started well, but just couldn't find a way to finish off either DZ or TSM.
Spacestation is still a solid team, and while this might change their overall SiegeGG world ranking, they're still NA royalty. They're no longer the outright favorites, and that might just be the motivation that firey captain Troy "Canadian" Jaroslawski needs to get the Spacestation juggernaut back in motion.
Oxygen had an abysmal first match against TSM, and couldn't put the pieces back together enough to save their tournament lives against Spacestation in the loser's bracket. There's not much to say beyond that they didn't play up to their potential.
This is a much better team than what they showed in the mini-major. Chalk it up to online issues, chalk it up to a fluke, chalk it up to whatever you want. From my perspective, this was not the regular-season Oxygen in any way, shape, or form. There's not much to say beyond that. Personally, I expected this roster to play better than it did and I think they will do so in the future. This mini-major performance doesn't define them in my eyes and it shouldn't in yours either.
I'm not in any way worried about the viewership. There were quite a few people on Twitter, Reddit, and wherever else opinions are had that had concerns about the viewership for the NA mini-major. I'm not one of them. It wasn't a LAN, wasn't advertised, and there were no international matches. The competitive Rainbow Six community was very vocal about how this wasn't like a normal Major.
I happen to agree, which is why I understand that because of all of those things, that viewership was going to take a hit. It's not an indicator of Rainbow Six dying, however. The game is fine. There's a global pandemic going on and due to the unavoidable conditions, the Mini-Major was never going to do normal Major numbers. I'll start worrying about the future when international LANs that have been advertised for weeks start pulling those low numbers.
All of the changes other than pinging off drones are going to make the game better. Operation Shadow Legacy was revealed during the Grand Finals, and it brought 95% good things. Match replays are going to make knowledge more accessible to content creators and therefore the average player, the sight changes are exciting, map bans are going to turn Outback into a ghost town, and the list goes on and on. Even the revamped Chalet looks solid from what we've seen of it. Just take away the drone's ability to ping and we're set.
Zachary "Nyx" Thomas announced that he was dropped from Disrupt Gaming after the mini-major was over. Using the classic esports Twitlonger, he said that he's done some thinking and is working on his attitude and his vocal personality. Nyx was far from the problem in terms of raw statistics on Disrupt, and many players came out in the replies to express their confusion in the move.
However, we don't know what that Disrupt team's internal communications were like, and if they feel like it will make them better, more power to them. Nyx will be back, he showed he has mental fortitude this season. What we do know is that the NA shuffle has begun, and we should begin seeing announcements of roster changes relatively soon.
Keep an eye out here on SiegeGG for further updates from the upcoming European mini-major and be sure to follow us on Twitter for instant updates.