The Qualifier is the last chance to make the November Mini-Major, which will feature four North American teams pitted against each other over a prize pool of $125,000.
While there's a very clear odds-on favorite, anything can happen. In the previous Qualifier, eventual August Mini-Major champion DarkZero was pushed to the brink of defeat by the Susquehanna Soniqs.
The Qualifier will consist of Spacestation Gaming, Mirage, Susquehanna Soniqs, and Disrupt.
The Qualifier will begin on Oct 24th and will run until Oct 25th.
The first match will be Spacestation Gaming vs Mirage, and the second will be Soniqs vs Disrupt.
The matches will begin 1 PM EST
What's at stake?
In order to qualify for the Six Invitational, the most prestigious tournament in Rainbow Six Siege, you must obtain a number of "SI Points" during the regular season. SI Points are obtainable at the Majors. Due to Covid-19, the four major regions, APAC, NA, EU, and LATAM, are playing "Mini-Majors," where play is inter-regional, not international.
The winner of the Qualifier will get a spot in the NA November Mini-Major. The NA teams already qualified for the November Mini-Major due to play during Stage 2 of the NAL are TSM, DarkZero, and Oxygen.
The victor of the Qualifier will also get guaranteed SI Points for attending the Major, 275 for coming in fourth (at least) to be precise with the chance to earn more than 275 in the Mini-Major itself.
The winner has a chance at earning more SI Points, the losers do not. For coming in second in the Qualifier, you receive 225 SI Points, third receives 180, and fourth receive 140.
So, here's how the points will be spread out once the dust settles on the 25th.
- 1st: 275+
- 2nd: 225
- 3rd: 180
- 4th: 140
And here are the number of points the teams competing in the Qualifier already have.
- Spacestation Gaming: 330
- Susquehanna Soniqs: 225
- Mirage: 180
- Disrupt Gaming: 115
So, the Qualifier is a big deal because of that fourth spot, correct?
Yes. Making the Mini-Major is paramount to your chances of making the Six Invitational.
Let's meet the teams
The reigning Invitational champs are fighting for their lives in the Qualifier after a disappointing (by their standards) Stage 2. After defeating DarkZero 2-0 in their initial group during the first phase, they fell to both Oxygen and TSM 0-2 in the second phase.
Spacestation are going to have to hope that all of their experience in the upper group has prepared them for three hungry teams, each eager to steal a spot in the Mini-Major and the SI Points that come with it.
If Spacestation wants to make it out of the Qualifier, they're simply going to need to get their star players back in positions to succeed. Nathanial "Rampy" Duvall had one of the worst stages of his career in Stage 2, but isn't the kind of player that's chained up for too long.
Make no mistake -- with personalities like Spacestation has, their mechanical skill and their tactical prowess, they are the Qualifier favorites. It's hard to see this team not performing well after some time to get back to basics and refine their advanced strategies. It's also hard to see this team losing with ample prep time.
However, stranger things have happened. Spacestation are the favorites, but how much they're favored by is a question that still looms large over this storied roster.
Again, the Soniqs are the Number 1 team that could play spoiler to the top four gridlock of teams we see with Oxygen, TSM, DarkZero, and Spacestation. Their full roster is assembled, and despite an early-stage smacking from DarkZero, performed admirably.
Specifically, David "Iconic" Ifidon has been playing well as of late. The rookie had one of the best series of his career against Disrupt Gaming to solidify the Soniqs spot in the Qualifier. A full-strength Soniqs is hard to ignore, they have the firepower and a nose for the game.
However, to repeat this once again, there are no more asterisks. There will be no talk of the Soniqs potentially being one of the top four teams in North America if they lose in this Qualifier. Their offseason hype was earned by their performance in the Qualifier for the August Mini-Major and the success of DarkZero in the August Mini-Major after Soniqs nearly knocked them off. There's no more of that now, there's no more "oh wait until they get their full roster."
Soniqs had a shot at the upper bracket in the first phase with their full roster and missed. They have a shot in the Qualifier to correct that, but there will be no offseason hype if they fail to qualify for this Mini-Major.
That being said...they're the best bet in this tournament behind Spacestation.
Disrupt are an interesting squad that seem to always be right on the precipice of being "pretty good."
They're good, don't get me wrong, they've been putting up solid results against good teams, but they aren't the closest to cracking the top four gridlock. This doesn't mean they aren't dangerous, far from it.
Beyond Aaron "Shuttle" Dugger's excellent season, veteran support player Alexander "Retro" Lloyd is making a massive impact in the stats column as well. Everyone knows about Nick "njr" Rapier by now, if you let him take over a game he will take it over very quickly.
This is a team with a lot of promise, but I'm not sure where their ceiling is. Have they hit it with this roster? Do they still have a little bit more wiggle room? This Qualifier will have some answers. Should Disrupt beat Soniqs in the first match of the tournament, they'll likely get another shot at Spacestation, a team they peeled a map off when last they met back in July.
In the regular season, Disrupt surprised many analysts by simply evading relegation. The fact that they're here, ready to compete for a potential spot at the Mini-Major, is a testament to their hard work and efforts over the past months. Hard work is only a piece of the puzzle though, one that Disrupt have yet to assemble fully.
Mirage is a veteran team and shouldn't be counted out completely. However, it's hard to see them peeling off more than a map here and there. The US-based teams have had far tougher competition and have simply played a lot more top-tier competition. There's something in Mirage that's good, they're not an awful team. The other teams simply have more of everything: more chances to compete, more resources available, more firepower, etc.
Now, again, very clearly; Mirage is not a slouch. They 2-0ed Tempo Storm in the last Qualifier and took a map off the Soniqs. I just think that Soniqs are better now than they were, and current Disrupt is better than Tempo Storm was then.
Mirage are going to surprise a ton of people who think that Canada is a slouch region. This isn't a team that goes out with a whimper, from what I've seen of them. I just don't think they have the firepower to get anything other than maybe a sneaky 2-1 over Disrupt.
What do you think will be the top four? Let us know in comments below and follow us on Twitter for more!