We’re nearing the end of the year, and multiple teams have already been locked in for the Sweden Major.
The Major is also the last chance for teams to earn SI points, which will decide 16 of the 20 teams at for the Six Invitational 2022. The final four will be deicded through a direct “last chance” qualifier in December for the last 4 spots.
A total of 20 teams participate at SI, since the tournament expanded in 2020. It doesn’t matter from which region the top 16 teams come, the teams are not always evenly divided by region. Last year, LATAM got to send six teams to represent them, while APAC only got four invitations.
But, because of the way 2021 has gone, the regions could be a lot more lopsided at next SI. It is possible for seven NA teams to get enough points to qualify for the next Invitational. Since NA would also get an open qualifier for an extra spot, eight NA teams could qualify.
Here is how it could happen:
In the last two play days, beastcoast shock everyone by taking 2 regulation wins against Spacestation Gaming and DarkZero. They not only avoid relegations, but almost make the major too, by taking 5th place.
DarkZero have a disappointing end of the stage, and only manage to pick up 1 point against Astralis, leaving them 8th overall.
Mirage take both their remaining games to overtime, but still lose out in the end to the Soniqs and TSM, putting them on 6th, just above Astralis.
XSET are sadly sent to a relegation match after they can’t take any points of TSM and Spacestation.
Oxygen, Spacestation, Soniqs, and TSM all manage to qualify for the Sweden Major.
In EUL, Cowana finish ahead of Team Vitality, making them the fourth EU team to qualify after BDS, Rogue and Team Empire.
LATAM sends the same delegation to Sweden as they did to Mexico: Team Liquid, Team oNe, Ninjas in Pyjamas and FURIA.
GUTS Gaming gets the major invite from APAC North, while Elevate does the same for APAC South. This time two APAC South teams make it through APAC Playoffs: Dire Wolves and Wildcard Gaming, who finally get to go to an international LAN.
The Major starts out atrociously for North America: Oxygen, Spacestation and TSM all go out last in groups, along with Rogue.
The others that almost made it to the playoffs are Elevate, Wildcard, Cowana and Team Empire, but even the Mexico Major finalists don’t always get good results. The last two APAC teams, Dire Wolves and GUTS Gaming, make it out of their groups, but don’t progress past the quarterfinals.
EU’s last hope, BDS, also goes out, along with FURIA, the first LATAM team to go home. The semifinals are 75% LATAM with Team Liquid vs Ninjas in Pyjamas and Team oNe vs the Soniqs.
While both NiP and Soniqs have a much better major than last time, they don’t manage to reach the finals. The grand final is a rematch of the semifinal in Mexico: Liquid vs Team oNe. This time Liquid are victorious, and they get their first major international trophy since the Season 7 Finals in Atlantic City.
The total SI points for the top 16 teams at the end of 2021 would look like this if all of these conditions are fulfilled:
- Team Liquid - 1565
- Team oNe eSports - 1455
- BDS Esport - 1235
- Soniqs - 1120
- Elevate - 1065
- Ninjas in Pyjamas - 1060
- Natus Vincere - 980
- Oxygen Esports - 965
- FURIA Esports - 920
- Team Empire - 855
- Spacestation Gaming - 805
- Cowana Gaming - 800
- TSM - 775
- DarkZero Esports - 685
- Mirage - 650
- Astralis - 640
These teams will just miss out in this scenario:
- DWG KIA - 615
- MIBR - 615
- G2 Esports - 615
- CYCLOPS athlete gaming - 605
If everything plays out in this precise manner, there would be seven NA teams in the top 16, along with four LATAM teams, four EU teams and only one APAC team. Two APAC teams narrowly miss out on qualifying, which means only two APAC teams will make it to SI in this scenario, since one extra team will come from the APAC qualifier.
The eighth NA team would come through the qualifier.
The major question is of course: how likely this is to happen? It's extremely unlikely, but with how things have played out so far, technically still possible. A few things I have observed in scenarios where NA teams are overrepresented at SI:
- Mirage and Astralis always finish ahead of DarkZero along with at least one of beastcoast and XSET in the standings. Since DarkZero has more SI points than Mirage and Astralis, both need as many SI points as possible to stay in the global top 16.
- The APAC delegation to the Sweden Major includes a lot of teams with little to no SI points. There are a lot more teams in APAC, so there are also more teams with a low amount of SI points. If those qualify for the major, teams like CYCLOPS, Knights, and DWG KIA won’t have a chance to earn enough SI points to qualify for SI 2022.
- LATAM sends the Mexico Major teams again. Those teams already have a lot of points, so giving them more takes away the points from a team like MIBR or FaZe Clan.
If one of these requirements is not met, the number of NA teams could still be six or seven. For many teams, SI qualification teeters on the tip of a knife.
A butterfly flaps its wings, or an APAC team loses a game in overtime instead of regulation, and the whole house of cards could come toppling down for several teams on the bubble.