The Six Invitational Closed Qualifiers for the North American (NA) region is set to start in just a few hours, with this being one of the few times the sub-regions of Canada and the United States get to have their teams pitted against each other.
Drama always surrounds the home of the reigning champions, especially with polarising figures such as Seth "supr" Hoffman, this Closed Qualifier is not to be missed.
Here's a rundown of the highlights of all that has happened and preview of all that is to come, with a word from NA caster Loviel "Velly" Cardwell as well.
Open Qualifier Roundup
A total of 78 teams had initially taken part in Phase 1 of the Open Qualifier, with a fair few familiar names. From these 78, the Top 16 then moved onto the second phase, where they were joined by eight teams from the Challenger League in Phase 2.
Of particular note was the (presumably) soon-to-be-official Susquehanna Soniqs roster, currently playing under the ostensibly "org-less" name of suprSoniqs, sharing just supr amongst the main roster.
In Phase 2, 24 teams had taken part, but only the four of suprSoniqs, beastcoast, RentFree, and APE had made it through to the upcoming Closed Qualifier.
Notable names to miss out on the jump from Phase 2 to the upcoming Closed Qualifier were The Last Dance, featuring a number of formerly high-level Pro League players, as well as Mirage, with the former having been swept aside by Altiora earlier in the Canadian Division Finals.
Closed Qualifier Preview
In the Closed Qualifier, the North American League (NAL) team of Disrupt Gaming and the Canadian Division Finals winner of Altiora await the four teams from the Open segment.
While Disrupt Gaming are technically the only NAL squad present, the suprSoniqs roster is simply awaiting the opening of the transfer window to formalise itself into the new-look Susquehanna Soniqs roster. As such, despite little seen of this new look Soniqs so far, it is likely that the final battle for the sole ticket left comes down to these two teams.
Disrupt Gaming, though, will be likely hoping that their chemistry built up over the course of the 2020 season will give them the edge over the Soniqs, with this possibly being the easiest path to the Invitational they could have gotten.
It is not entirely out of the question that either of beastcoast, APE, or even Altiora can pull off an upset, however, though the chances of that are slim. Regardless, the six-team, single-elimination bracket leaves little margin for error, with the favourites possibly having more pressure to perform than their opponents.
SiegeGG also spoke to NA analyst and host Loviel "Velly" Cardwell about his views on the upcoming qualifiers:
I'm honestly on the suprSoniqs bandwagon! I mean, yeah, I loved the old Soniqs roster but this new roster is beautiful on paper. Rexen with CREATORS?! It's insane. I think the fragging potential alone is enough to take this team far. In an era with a new meta that could probably benefit hyper-aggressive players, I think they'll thrive in these qualifiers.
Make sure to tune in for the games as they come and to check back here at SiegeGG for continued coverage of the event.