With the Open Qualifier for the Six Invitational now over, the Closed Qualifier is set to begin tomorrow. The two open qualifier teams of Crest Gaming and Qconfirm will join Cyclops Athlete Gaming, Xavier Esports, GUTS Gaming, MerecenarieZ, Union Gaming, and FAV Gaming in the Closed Qualifier.
Here's a rundown of the highlights, drama, and preview of all that has happened and all that is to come, with a word from APAC League caster James "Devmarta" Stewart as well.
Open Qualifier Roundup
A total of 97 teams had signed up for the Open Qualifier, with more than a few familiar names.
From APAC North, Talon Esports, Qconfirm, Electrify Esports, and GC Busan Spear were taking part, while Elevate, MelonCat, and Pittsburgh Knights joined in from the Oceanic Nationals. KIRA e-Sports and MonkaS came from South Asia
Furthermore, SGA eSports came from Korea and the APAC North Relegations, while NORTHEPTION and Sengoku Gaming joined in from the Japan Nationals.
However, Fnatic missed out on the Six Invitational for the first time after deciding to focus on securing visas on the way to their move to Japan, while Okami were denied the chance to play after adding a substitute as that consituted a roster change.
Of the two teams that qualified, Qconfirm seemingly had the hardest route. Their qualifier had started off shaky, dropping a map (7-8) to an unknown squad. However, they proceeded on fairly strongly, winning 2-0 in the next three games -- including against the greatly-hyped, newly-minted APAC North team GC Busan Spear.
The Thai finally dropped another map against Electrify Esports, a 4-7 on Coastline, but continued on with another 2-0 against the Oceanic team of Pittsburgh Knights. Having thus reached the Top 2, Qconfirm was qualified for the Closed Qualifier, but still had the seeding match to play.
Their opponents of Crest Gaming Lst, won that match, though had an arguably easier path to the grand final. Of their opponents, only SGA eSports were a notable name in 2020, though they did play former Pro League teams Father's Back and Takumi Festival. Then set to play MelonCat, they were fortunate to get a forfeit victory as MelonCat 'shared' four players with the Oceanic team of Noble Esports -- something that Seth "supr" Hoffman could do in North America, but the Noble players were disqualified for in these APAC qualifiers.
With not much to play for, both Qconfirm and Crest Gaming closed out an extremely long day of play in the seeding match, won 2-1 by the latter as both teams geared up for a potential two days more of gameplay to qualify for the Six Invitational 2021.
Closed Qualifier Preview
Tomorrow, the games will be cast again by the battery of APAC community casters, starting off at 5 PM SGT (UTC+8). Each game will be a Best-of-Three (Bo3), including the grand final that will decide the team heading to the European Six Invitational.
The schedule will see two quarter-final games played tomorrow, two more on the 16th of December, before the action will shift to the main channel and the usual lineup of official APAC League casters will come in for the semi-finals on the 17th and the grand final on the 18th.
Xavier Esports and Qconfirm will be heavily favoured to win it all, especially with the arguably easiest matchups first-off -- presuming the bracket is as displayed above. South Asia, though, will be disappointed to see MercenarieZ and Union Gaming facing each other rightaway in the quarter-finals, as one will be eliminated rightaway.
Prior to the Open Qualifiers, SiegeGG had spoken to APAC North and European League caster James "Devmarta" Stewart to gain his thoughts on what was to come.
There's no doubt that Six Invitational 2021 will have one of the most competitive qualifiers in APAC history. While APAC North's two top teams in Giants Gaming and Cloud9, plus Oceania's Wildcard are already locked in, still some of the biggest names in APAC Rainbow Six are still in the fight for the one remaining slot.
Cyclops has boasted wins against all the top APAC North teams, and Xavier has also shown to be a serious contender after narrow eliminations from the APAC North Six Major twice in a row by Giants and a third-place finish in November. Both Japanese teams GUTS and FAV have been turbulent but nonetheless taken huge strides this season, and will be close in contest for the SI slot.
South Asian teams have their first opportunity to face off against the rest of APAC, and I'm eager to see whether MercenarieZ and Union can stack up to the competition in the Closed Qualifier.
Without a doubt this year's Six Invitational APAC qualifier is impossible to call. The favourites are Xavier and Cyclops, the consistent third and fourth places in APAC North, and South Asia is looking for its first, so it's going to be tight.
If we've learned anything in the last year of APAC Rainbow Six; it's anyone's game.
Make sure to tune in for the games as they come and to check back here at SiegeGG for continued coverage of the event.