The Open Qualifiers are a special time in Rainbow Six Siege.
On a fundamental, technical note, they allow for Cinderella stories of sorts, even if they don’t pan out the vast majority of the time. Odds are that the established teams are going to power their way through the tournament and eventually take the spot, but there’s always the proverbial chance. They’re “open” for a reason, you need not be an established team or have organizational backing to join.
However, the time between that spot being awarded to the victor and the sign-ups are what hardcore fans of Rainbow Six crave. They look forward to the anarchy of the open bracket for the style of coverage that comes with it: a community cast that’s sometimes serious, sometimes absurd, but always highly entertaining.
This is the real beauty of the Open Qualifiers -- the already-qualified NA and sometimes EU professional players who join Parker “INTERRO” Mackay’s stream to give serious thoughts and sometimes rib the players playing. The casts stretch deep into the morning after the night, sometimes not ending until 4 or 5 AM.
There is a match that exemplifies why this unique time is so widely-beloved; there’s a match that everyone always references when they’re convincing newcomers to the professional scene to tune in. It’s continuously referenced on the Pro League subreddit, the VOD on INTERRO’s Twitch channel has been viewed over 50,000 times, and a ten-minute recap on Microwave Gaming’s YouTube channel scored over 200,000 views. For a time, it turned “Promoted to Doc” into a meme, and it catapulted a team that just wanted to go to sleep to compete in Challenger League qualifiers into semi-stardom.
If you know, you know: it’s the '92 Dream Team vs. DarkZero matchup during the 2019 Invitational Qualifier.
Many of the details of the match for most of the people involved are lost to time. Richie “Rexen” Coronado said he didn’t remember much about the match, same with Kevin “Easilyy” Skokowski when they turned down requests to be interviewed about their experiences playing and casting, respectively, in this match.
Requests for comment for others involved with the casting and/or playing in the match were turned down as well with no response. It isn’t much of a stretch to believe a similar tale for them, though -- we are talking about a match played in early, early 2019.
The players and casters involved may have moved on, or have just played so much that the memories blur together like raindrops on a windshield. That doesn’t mean everyone else has, though. The memory of the match isn’t as stark for prolific Redditor and Pro League watcher Will “SmoothieAK” as it is for others, but he says it’s memorable all the same.
“I watch every single one of Interro’s qualifier casts so it was a pretty normal night to me,” he said. “They’re always funny as hell and great content. I never imagined so many people caring about this T3 team facing DZ but all the memes from it have prevailed.”
Indeed, most people remember the game as the “Promoted to Doc” game. Easilyy cracked the joke “whoever has the most kills gets to play Doc” early on in the broadcast, and then every time 92 Dream Team brought Doc after that it became progressively funnier. The “good thing they have Doc” one-liner after yet another 92 Dream Team failed Bank basement defense is good for a laugh every single time.
“He was so hyped they let him play Doc he was like ‘I’mgoingI’mgoingI’m going...GottapeekGottapeekGottapeek,” said Seth “supr” Hoffman at one point. Shortly after that, Hyena began mashing his crouch key with the speed of a pecking woodpecker that was slipped Vyvanse. The timing of the match and cast, particularly on Bank, felt a tad cosmic; predictions and subsequent actions lined up nearly perfectly throughout the match. You could be forgiven for believing it’s scripted at some points.
During the fourth round of Bank, Troy “Canadian” Jaroslawski makes the observation that they are bringing a ton of C4s for a plant denial strategy that centers around Pulse in a traditional Bank basement defense. “Like you said, they didn’t hit the smokes, but their approach is ‘let’s bring three C4s instead,’ and honestly, it’s right move for them...Aaaaand their Pulse died.”
The Pulse was gunned down as Canadian was saying the words “right move.” Again, you could be forgiven for believing this was scripted. It was not, and it got more absurd.
“Bro please put your bulletproof somewhere, please put it somewhere...NOT THERE!,” exclaimed Easilyy. He had witnessed Kian “Hyena” Mozayani leaning from side to side with the velocity of a wacky inflatable tube man, then placing his bulletproof camera directly underneath a hatch where it could be destroyed with ease.
In reality, '92 Dream Team were mentally checked out. In a previous interview with SiegeGG, Hyena said, “We went into it like, ‘S***, Interro’s streaming it and it has a decent amount of viewers -- let’s just give them a show’...I think Echo was up and any normal team would pick Echo over Doc, but I picked Doc just to f*** around and essentially, give a show. Peek everything, be hyper -- we didn’t care, we wanted the game to be over with so that we could go to sleep early and get a good night’s sleep for Challenger League qualifiers the next day.”
For quite a few viewers, it was a very serious contrast between the two teams. On one hand, you had DarkZero, who was running full Bank roam setups, and playing the game to the best of their abilities. On the other hand, you had a Finka-boosted Rexen on old Blitz Kool-aid manning his way into Open Area. For Christopher “Uzumaki” Valdez, the match can’t be topped.
“I don't think there's a game you can find like this anywhere within competitive Siege,” said Uzumaki. “The casts will always be memorable, but the gameplay that came from this match is second to none with the memes '92 Dream Team brought to the game.”
“The Flying V is so d*** funny to this day,” said Smoothie. “The whole of the call getting excited when Rexen flies in the Open Area window with a whole team behind him was incredible to watch and still is. Clearing a sophisticated two-floor pro league roam in 15 seconds by five-man vaulting one window and making them flee their control is just as preposterous as it sounds. Seemed like a strat people would try in casual or unranked.”
“My favorite memory from the match would probably be the point where '92 Dream Team basically just said f*** it and started trolling,” said Uzumaki. “There's a specific moment where '92 Dream Team shot both their Echo drones in prep phase on Oregon basement defense and smashed a bulletproof cam on the floor looking at the ceiling.”
The aftermath of the match benefitted '92 Dream Team in a huge way, according to both Smoothie and Uzumaki. “'92DT went from a T3 team only hardcore fans knew to a team that was pretty universally liked and supported all the way through their time as '92DT into their stint with Luminosity Gaming,” said Smoothie.
Uzumaki notes that North American Challenger League (NACL) Season 9 -- the season '92 Dream Team was trying to get sleep to qualify for -- saw the highest average viewer count NACL had seen to that point. 92 Dream Team won that season of CL, over the Susquehanna Soniqs, an Organized Chaos team that featured Alec “Fultz” Fultz and Bryan “Merc” Wrzek, and Disrupt Gaming.
The '92 Dream Team - DarkZero match is the favorite memory of the SI Qualifiers for many, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only good thing that happens on the community cast broadcasts. Both Smoothie and Uzumaki note that this match is a distillation and an example of how good the SI Qualifier community casting is, not a one-off.
“I think this match is referred to when people say they look forward to Invite Qualifiers the most because of Interro's meme casts,” said Uzum9ki. “As a whole, the match itself as great for all of R6 and comp as a whole. It exposed competitive Siege to a whole other community of players and let casual players enjoy competitive Siege without feeling like it was a PL sweat fest,” said Smoothie.
The Open Qualifiers are a special, celebrated time for many hardcore R6 fans. It’s a time to get together and listen to some laid-back jokes, hear some really smart thoughts, and sometimes witness the absolutely unbelievable from players that could eventually be in future professional competitions. They’re bizarre, they’re unpredictable, they’re a nice cut-loose time before it’s time to clamp down on seriousness at the actual tournaments. They’ll hold a special place in the hearts of the viewers for many years to come, regardless of how many details are remembered.