With the European Open Qualifier for the Six Invitational over a few days ago, the Qualifiers Playoffs kicked off yesterday. Featuring the 2020 European League sides of Rogue, Chaos, Team Vitality, and Team Secret, as well as Challenger League toppers Cowana Gaming and MnM Gaming, these games are not to be missed.
The top two teams that progress from these playoffs will go onto the Qualifier Finals, where Natus Vincere (Na'Vi) and Tempra Esports await them in one final single-elimination bracket.
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 European League caster Derry "Dezachu" Holt as well.
Open Qualifier Roundup
With a total of 76 teams in attendance, a bloodbath was certainly guaranteed. A total of 10 teams were set to move onto the Qualfier Playoffs, joining the six professional teams already in wait. These 10 teams would be comprised of the eight quarter-finalists, as well as two Round-of-16 teams based on tiebreakers.
The 10 teams eventually qualifying featured a few familiar names -- WhiteTigerZ, DeathroW, Notorious Legion, Mkers, and Aethra Esports. Also making it through were some unfamiliar teams but familiar names, such as of NegotiumSimia (featuring NoerA, Stigi, BlaZ, and REDGROOVE) and We Dont Care (featuring Kaktus, ENEMY, and RevaN), as well as the teams of ASMR, DiesLeuros, and renjichimu.
Some big names failed to impress, however, such as Winstrike Team -- featuring Kirill "SmashByAsh" Belozerov and former Virtus.pro player Pavel "Amision" Chebatkov. Movistar Riders, Macko Esports, Granit Gaming, and BeKind also failed to progress.
However, the biggest disappointment was likely from the side of Gamma Gaming, who lost unexpectedly to WhiteTigerZ in the Round-of-32.
Qualifier Playoffs So Far (and To Come)
With four games of the Round-of-16 played yesterday, there were no surprises to be sprung -- though the games may have been notable in their own regards.
While playing against the unknown team of renjichimu, the Rogue roster that had previously not won a game since the GSA League 2020 Upper Bracket Final a whopping two months ago performed well. Two 7-2 victories meant that their opponents were quickly dispatched, with their own roster finally having settled down and re-included the former Team Empire captain of Eugene "karzheka" Petrishin.
Mkers, too, did not struggle against WhiteTigerZ, winning with identical scorelines on both maps played to set up a potential upset against Rogue in the quarter-final. Meanwhile, Chaos Esports also dispatched of DiesLeuros, while Cowana Gaming did the same with Aethra Esports.
Continuing on, today's games will feature clashes between Team Secret and ASMR alongside DeathroW vs Notorious Legion first, followed by Team Vitality against NegotiumSimia and We Dont Care against MnM Gaming.
These games will, once more, be cast on community channels, starting off at 6 PM CET (UTC+1).
In preparation, SiegeGG also spoke APAC North and European League caster Derry "Dezachu" Holt to gain his thoughts on what was to come.
We're lucky two teams make it through the qualifier playoffs; it's hard enough to call already! All the "expected" teams won their opening games (Rogue, Mkers, Cowana, Chaos) and I don't think many believe that pattern will change moving forwards for MnM, Vitality, and Secret. We can't forget there's still Na'Vi and Tempra waiting in the next round.
Of those nine (bearing in mind we've only seen four) and going off historical performance in EUL/CL, my money's on Secret and Cowana progressing through qualifier finals.
Cowana are my wildcard pick as it's very plausible for them to lose to Rogue -- Sloth and Gorgona facing up against the likes of LeonGids and AceeZ will be highly entertaining either way (assuming they both make it past quarters).
In the next round? Na;Vi, Cowana, Secret, Tempra... Tempra have the bootcamp buff. Secret I'd normally rate highly but have some question marks over at the mo. NaVi are still settling their roster's positions.
Cowana are on a high from winning CL. It's between Tempra and Cowana and if I were forced to pick... let's go for Tempra! Inconsistency has been their middle name this year but they were undefeated in Stage 2 once they got together (four wins on the bounce) and I am sure they can surprise us further.
Make sure to tune in for the games as they come and to check back here at SiegeGG for continued coverage of the event.