(Note: Some of the literal translations from Mandarin Chinese have been adapted to more standard Rainbow Six-oriented English vernacular.)
Despite lacking a Pro League, or even tournaments such as the weekly Go4s that other regions in Asia-Pacific have, the Chinese Rainbow Six scene has received a significant boost with the introduction of the China Nationals. It has a prize pool of 85,000 RMB (approximately US$12,275), which is significant for a region with comparatively very little official support from ESL and Rainbow Six's esports division.
The tournament was officially announced through R6Stats.cn on the 25th of September, and already has had two stages completed.
The China Nationals come after many successful national tournaments in other regions, such as the BR6, US Nationals, and Coupe de France to name a few. These tournaments seek to draw out the best Rainbow Six players in each country and give them a chance to strut their stuff on a large stage.
The China Nationals will have four stages in total. The first stage ran from October 1 to 6, and involved an Open Qualifiers stage. From there, the top four teams were selected to progress onto to what seems to be the Closed Qualifiers stage.
In this stage, four teams were then joined by the top eight teams from the Chinese Player League (CPL) and the top four teams from the Secondary Chinese Player League (SCPL). The CPL is the unofficial equivalent to the Pro League in China, while the SCPL is similar to the Challenger League but operates like weekly Go4s but with cumulative points over each week in the season.
Lasting from October 13 to 14, this Closed Qualifiers stage featured a Best-of-3 (Bo3) single-elimination bracket. The top eight teams progressed from here after playing what seems to be just a single match, and will go onto the third stage where they will be split into Eastern and Western Conferences. Each of these teams will also get a 2500 RMB (US$360) prize.
Playing offline at LAN from October 20 to 21, the four teams in the Eastern Conference will play in Shanghai, while the four teams in the Western Conference will play in Chengdu. The third stage will be single-elimination as well, and feature Bo3 games.
The top two teams from each Conference will be awarded an additional 10,000 RMB (US$1440) prize, and will then proceed to the offline LAN Finals in Shanghai. Held on the 27th of October, the eventual champion will first play the Bo3 Conference Finals, and then the Best-of-Five (Bo5) Grand Final, and receive a final cash prize of 25,000 RMB (US$3600). The team will also be flown out to Rio de Janeiro to watch the Season 8 Pro League Finals live, and will automatically be qualified for the next season of the China Nationals if the tournament continues (more details to be announced later).
With a re-launch of Rainbow Six: Siege in China on massive Chinese internet conglomerate Tencent’s platform in the works, signs are encouraging for the Chinese. The additional support from Ubisoft for Rainbow Six esports in China and the growing strength of the region means it is not unfathomable that the region could be added to the Asia-Pacific (APAC) Pro League next season. However, only time will tell if that will be the case, as Chinese team uL Gaming was seen at the 2018 Six Invitational but speculation of an imminent addition of China to the Pro League fizzled out soon after.
Catch the China Nationals streamed on Taiwanese website KingKong when live to see these teams in action.