While G2 Esports practically ran away with the event, not dropping a single map across any of their three matches, these Finals were rich with huge upsets, rematches and a number of underdog stories. Let's look at exactly who had a good event, and who had a tournament to forget.
As I wrote in my FaZe Clan-centered opinion piece, the Latin American teams had a fair chance going into this tournament. FaZe Clan’s pickup of yoona to replace their team captain of gohaN had led to a three month long unbeaten run across three different tournaments, making them the most dominant team in LATAM history. On the other hand, Immortals had somewhat recovered from their early exit at the Six Major partially thanks to the amazing fragging power of Novys who, more and more at every tournament, proves himself to be one of the very best fraggers in the region.
Other than just the team’s previous performance’s to go by, LATAM had another clear factor going in their advantage - the crowd. The largest, loudest and most enthusiastic crowd in R6 history had assembled to support the local teams through the tournament in the aim of keeping the Pro League title in Brazil.
The actual tournament saw FaZe Clan take full advantage of the home crowd, defeating the rising stars of Mock-it Esports in a three map thriller, before clearly out-matching the top APAC team of NORA-Rengo to qualify for the grand-finals -- a first for this roster. Here, they were taken down in a fairly straightforward 4-6, 2-6 scoreline by G2 -- a disappointing end to an otherwise impressive run for FaZe, ending an 18 game win streak.
While less obvious than FaZe Clan’s performance, Immortals also showed up more than anyone would have expected. A quarter-final matchup against G2 was always gonna be a tough ask but IMT put up the best fight against G2 at LAN since DreamHack Valencia in July, taking them to overtime in map one before losing 7-5, 6-4.
Overall, despite not winning the tournament like last season, LATAM put up a good performance against the best teams in the world and only fell against G2 -- something every major team worldwide would be familiar with. This was a significant improvement from C grade performance at Paris, however, being swept 4-0 by G2 did cost them the A grade to finish with a B+.
Asia Pacific: A-
In the lead up to this tournament, the APAC teams of NORA-Rengo (NR) and Fnatic were marred with disasters -- first NR revealed they’d be unable attend due to visa issues and then, less than a week before the event, Fnatic announced their team captain, Magnet, was unable to attend due to suspected appendicitis. While the Japanese side’s issues were eventually resolved, Fnatic was forced to fly out with only four players and, after many backup options were exhausted, had to play with their coach, Dizzle, as a stand-in.
With all these problems and with the reality of no APAC team ever making a Pro League or Major semi-final looming over them, both these teams went into their quarter-final matchups as the underdogs and yet both these teams still came out as the surprise champions.
First up was NORA-Rengo, as they played a rematch of their Season 7 quarter-final game against Rogue. While Rogue bested them in their first meeting, NR was determined that history would not be repeated. It did not take long for viewers to share that belief, as despite losing the first map, NORA-Rengo came out strong in the second half of both maps two and three to beat Rogue, 2-1, and become the first APAC team in Siege history to reach an international semi-final.
Many people thought that that would be it for APAC’s dream day, however, Fnatic was keen not to be left behind. In the very next game, they shocked the hundred thousand people watching by not just keeping up with the top NA team of Evil Geniuses, but actually beating them 2-0. Their coach of Dizzle led the way to their unprecedented victory over EG in what is certainly the biggest upset in the esport’s history. (audio warning below)
While both APAC teams had made it to Sunday’s games, this is where the dream run would end. The two favourites of FaZe Clan and G2 shut down NORA-Rengo and Fnatic in clean games with G2’s 12-0 victory being the first complete shutout at a Pro League LAN or Major since the grand-final of the Xbox Six Invitational in 2017. This, however, marks a historic moment in R6 history for APAC teams -- they have proven themselves to the world by eliminating North America and, as the only region to win both their quarter-finals, they clearly earnt their A- grade result.
North America: D-
This dream result for APAC, however, meant a nightmare result for the other half - North America.
Both Rogue and Evil Geniuses went into the tournament as the favourites to win their quarter-finals, with EG being joint-favourites to win the whole competition according to SiegeGG staff members, but this went far from the plan.
Rogue lost to a NORA-Rengo side which, time and time again, kept on winning gunfights they shouldn't have -- a clear sign Rogue either lacked communication or was missing their shots. In what was their best chance ever to make a Pro League final with both EG and G2 were on the opposite side of the bracket, they failed to capitalise. This isn't just disappointing from Rogue, but an outright disaster for the squad who likely won't get an opportunity as good as this for quite some time.
Evil Geniuses’ result, meanwhile, was fairly embarrassing for the roster. Going from pretty much universally thought as the second best team in the World to losing to a team playing with a last-minute and inexperienced stand-in is a long way to fall, and is reflected in their D- grade.
The one redeeming factor for North-America, and the reason they didn’t earn an F grade, was that Rogue did put up a fight against NORA-Rengo and didn’t suffer a complete sweep. This D-grade result is quite a fall from their B+ result at the Six Major and, just like Latin America following their bad result in Paris, they’ll be hoping to redeem themselves from this performance at the Invitational. For now, though, they’ll have three months worth of reflection on this result to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
With four European teams winning six out of the last eight international tournaments (Majors, Pro League and DreamHacks), Europe, led by G2, has proven itself to be the best region in the World - a fact which was proven once again at these finals.
G2 came in as the favourites and proved exactly why throughout the two days. Despite a close overtime opening map against Immortals, G2 faced little opposition as they won the tournament with straight 2-0, 2-0, 2-0 score lines -- a repeat of their Season 5 performance. This was one of the most one-sided performances of any tournament in R6 history, a feat even G2 must be proud of to add to their many other impressive title victories.
Also from Europe came Mock-it Esports, a German roster who surprised many people by making it to the Finals in the first place. Mock-it came out on top of a three-way battle on the final EU playday to book their spot in Rio ahead of Millenium and Team Secret. This was quite unexpected as many people believed the team was done for following three of their starting players’ exits from the team's halfway through the season. Mock-it, however, found replacements for PARAA, Hungry and AceeZ in the form of the two relatively unknown players of Korey and BakaBryan with their substitute, Vale, filling in the third spot. This new lineup worked out better than pretty much anyone expected, with Korey becoming the third best-rated player in Europe and the breakout player of Season 8.
This underdog story of an online season run, however, didn’t continue in the offline portion as they failed to make it out of the quarter-finals, losing to FaZe Clan in the first match of the day. Thankfully for them, this wasn't due to lack of ability -- they narrowly lost the first map 5-7 before taking map two 6-2 and losing map three 6-3. This shows that they were just a few rounds away on map 1 from forcing a completely different result and knocking out the tournament’s runners’ up.
Overall, this was a solid result from Europe as we’ve come to expect. With a close quarter-final defeat as well as a first place result, Europe takes home the A grade as the standout stars of the tournament once again.
It has become so common now to see G2 taking home titles that Liven, the captain of Millenium during Season 8, summed up many teams’ moods best when he stated this on Twitter:
While Siege is certainly a team game, G2 is definitely “carrying” Europe to the top at the moment. With performances by Team Secret and Millenium earlier in the year and now a strong showing by Mock-it, we will hopefully see more from the rest of Europe at the Six Invitational next February. For now, though, G2 will luxuriate in their position as the undisputed champions of the World.
So what did you think of our ratings? Were we too harsh on certain regions, or do you think we've gone soft with our grades? Keep an eye out for our next report card following the 2019 Six Invitational to see whether North America can get back on track, whether APAC can break even more records, or if Europe can keep the straight-As coming, and if LATAM can collect a second international title.