The teams participating in the Major are the "top four" of North America: DarkZero Esports, Spacestation Gaming, TSM, and Oxygen Esports.
The first matchup between DarkZero and Spacestation will kick off on November 13, 1:00 PM EDT. The tournament will last until November 15, with the grand final coming at 3:00 PM on that day.
What's at stake?
SI Points and money.
As it currently stands, and if nothing changes with the original Invitational format, DarkZero and TSM are already qualified. Spacestation and Oxygen could qualify depending on how they finish and a few other factors. However, I would not expect all four teams in the Major to qualify for SI.
Why should I watch this Major?
I know. It's the same four teams as before. It's been the same four teams all year. However, there are some key differences:
- The matches will be played at the Esports Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada in a bubbled LAN environment. Right now, teams are quarantining to prepare to move into the bubble. This Major will be the first LAN in a top-tier region since the COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe.
- Spacestation, the reigning Invitational champions, have yet to qualify for SI. If they have a great tournament, they could lock in a spot in the current format, but there's no guarantee.
- All of the teams involved are internationally good, they aren't just solid teams in NA. Despite all of the fatigue of watching them play each other all the time, they're still mostly good matches.
Meet the Teams
DarkZero are attempting to hold onto their Mini-Major champion status, but it'll be a tall order. It's certainly not because DarkZero are bad, if the competition were online, they'd be the favorites for sure given their most recent matches. They beat TSM and Oxygen 2-0 to take the No. 1 spot in the regular season. It's because of LAN, and how good Spacestation is on LAN.
It's been a banner year for DarkZero, but it's been an even better recent Stage for Tyler "Ecl9pse" McMullin and Alexander "Skys" Magor. Both seem to have taken their game to the next level in the recent stage, with Skys, in particular, looking like one of NA's best individual players. But, this is a roster that prioritizes teamwork over individual skill, and in the current meta that emphasizes efficiency above all other factors, they're sure to have a ton of success.
TSM are interesting, mostly because they've been the second for...quite some time. They had a second-place finish in the last season of Pro League, they finished third at SI but second among NA teams at SI, they came in second at the August Mini-Major, and they were second in Stage 2 regular season. The big question for TSM is what they need to break that second place gridlock. They're certainly talented enough, do they just need some luck? Or are there coordination issues, pieces of the puzzle they can move around?
Second place isn't a good enough finish for the level of star power on this roster. Jason "Beaulo" Doty might be the best player in Rainbow Six Siege history by the time he's done. TSM doesn't necessarily need a title now, but they need a title soon.
The kings are back on LAN, and there's hope among SSG supporters that the switch to offline play will rejuvenate their team. Spacestation are notoriously excellent on LAN, their playstyle lends itself to being great in offline play. They haven't been bad during the online era of R6, far from it, but they'll be infinitely more comfortable in an in-person environment.
Spacestation had to squeak their way past Disrupt in the Qualifier, but that result is past them. Indeed, the last Mini-Major champions, DarkZero, squeaked their way in via the Qualifier in August. The door is wide open for Spacestation
Among the qualifying teams, Oxygen seems very much... counted out. TSM has their legion of perpetually-online Beaulo fans, DarkZero and Spacestation have dedicated fanbases that makes sure they stay in the center of the conversation. All of those factors, combined with a few 3rd-4th place results, means Oxygen in no way get the respect they deserve. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.
This doesn't mean that Oxygen is a bad team. They're simply talked about less. Gabriel "LaXInG" Mirelez and Davide "FoxA" Bucci are world-class players. They have a strong core and absolutely have the potential to run the table at any given time. I like this team, I think they're very good, but they have some work to do before they make a run at a first place finish. I'm predicting them low, but I would not be shocked if they outperform expectations.
1. Spacestation Gaming
3. DarkZero Esports
4. Oxygen Esports