Following the end of Stage 1 of the BR6 League last week, tomorrow will see the start of the Copa do Brasil tournament, a mixed Tier-1/2 tournament that is very needed in North America's Pro-schedule.
Here's a look at what it is and how it can help the NA ecosystem grow further.
What are the LATAM National Cups?
The LATAM National Cups are three separate tournaments, one for each of the sub-regions called the Brazilian Cup, Mexican Cup, and South American Cup.
Each of these will see a single-elimination bracket take place from April 27th to May 9th, where the Top 16 teams that didn't qualify for the LATAM Regional LAN will play.
For example, this means the Brazilian Cup competitors will be:
- 7-10th BR6 -- BD, INTZ, Santos, and W7M
- 1-12th Liga Six -- Team oNe Academy, BD Academy, Singularity, ICM, PS4M, SuperNova, ALTACUPULA, SUICIDEBOYS, Dromedalho, Baile D Munique, LFO, and Amigos Shaiiko
This "Liga Six" Cup was a series of weekly open tournaments that took place over the last four weeks, where teams such as Team oNe Academy and Black Dragons Academy played for a shot against the pro teams and, eventually, for a spot in the Challenger League in Stage 3.
In total the combined prize pool in Brazil across the Liga Six and Brazilian Cup is a massive $70,000, incentivizing pro and challenger teams alike to play for the win.
The games themselves take place between the end of the BR6 League and the subsequent Major, meaning that the bottom teams are kept active playing in their own tournament while the top teams are flown off to LANs.
As such, LATAM will be awash with domestic action right up to the beginning of the Major. This means there will be no downtime for fans, while the players get their breaks all at the same time after the Major.
How can it help in North America?
There's simply no tournament like this in North America, but one which invites the CL winners and the lower-tier NAL teams to compete each stage could help the region in a number of ways.
T1 vs T2 Experience
Tier 1 vs tier 2/3 tournaments are common in Europe and Asia-Pacific in the form of national tournaments such as the GSA League, Japan League, or the Oceanic Nationals. This gives up-and-coming players a weekly chance to play against the best and encourages organisations to invest at these lower tiers due to the added exposure.
In NA, however, Challenger League level rosters have very few high-grade tournaments to choose from and no tournaments at all which include the NA League opposition they need to get used to facing.
This tournament would do exactly that. Teams such as APE and Slaughter House would have a shot at taking down the XSETs and Mirages of their region and win a fairly large pot of money. It would also add to the importance of CL Stages 1 and 2, considering no promotion spot is on the line.
For organizations, meanwhile, this is something to look forward to as the pro teams will draw in even more viewers, which should decrease the number of top-tier org-less rosters in NA CL.
Playing against T2/3 rosters is a whole different world compared to pro teams, so giving players this chance to do so in a broadcast setting should hopefully give players a chance to shine and impress a pro roster.
Players throughout the EU League were first noticed via their national league performances and giving NA players a better chance to get this opportunity can only lead to better players and better top-tier teams.
Less Downtime For Viewers & Orgs
The schedule around the 2020 Six Invitational saw PL halt from January 27th until March 23rd -- effectively two months.
While teams like TSM and Spacestation Gaming used this time to prepare for the Six Invitational, the likes of eUnited and Luminosity Gaming who weren't attending the Major had nothing to compete in meaning that the organizations were paying tens of thousands of Dollars for no coverage.
Rather obviously, this is bad for the organisations, with eUnited eventually leaving R6 due to downtime such as this.
Similarly, the lead-up and post-Major breaks mean that Siege fans have nothing much to watch, which is never good as the downtime is somewhat unnecessary.
A particularly good thing about this scheduling is that none of the teams involved have any reason to "strat-save", as there are no notable tournaments coming up for any of them for months.
This should mean that as long as the prize pool is big enough the teams will play at 100% and we'll get a real tournament on our hands that isn't dominated by the same few names every season.
Equivalents around the World
LATAM is in no way the first one to run a tournament such as this. As well as the NSGxDZ Pro-Am tournament in March and Year 3 and 4's R6 Minor events which also invited a range of T1 and T2 teams to compete in big-money tournaments, APAC's Challenger League had an extremely similar format from Seasons 6 to 11.
At the end of each Pro League Season in APAC, the top two teams progressed to the APAC LAN, while the bottom competed alongside the top T2 rosters for a spot in the subsequent PL Season. This was a handy replacement to the winner-takes-all relegations in EU, NA, and LATAM and ensured the best team made it to PL each year.
While relegations are now once per year, so this exact format isn't exactly relevant, these tournaments worked and injected viewers, and increased quality to the lower levels of play.
In summary, these National Cups taking place from April 27th to May 9th are something I'd love to see in every region. North America, in particular, would benefit from this as a way to inject money, viewers and practice to the Tier 2 rosters throughout the year.
SiegeGG will be covering the Brazilian Cup throughout the next few weeks, so be sure to keep an eye out here for stats and news coverage of the games.