As Pro League kicked off into full force this week with four playdays in four days, viewers were treated to the first look at some very modified rosters as well as a number of new organisations in action bringing more than a few surprises results within Europe specifically.
Europe - Chaos Stands Out from a Mess of Results
Just before Europe’s first playday on Thursday the @ESLRainbowSix Tweeted out a welcome to the 8 players from 6 nationalities and 5 teams who would be making their debuts as Pros that night - these new players, as well as the entry of the returning teams of ENCE eSports and Team Empire, have so far completely thrown the league on its head with few predicting even half of these results correctly so far and creating a truly extraordinary standings table after two playdays.
At the forefront of these results is Chaos - a team which ended last Season closer to the relegation zone than to the team ahead of them - who many didn’t expect much of this season but, with the addition of the CCS player of Aleks "Vitoline" Lyapun to replace the longstanding member of Sno0ken, it seems like we are watching a whole new roster. The lineup now tops the table after confident victories over last Season’s #2 and #3 teams in the region with a remarkable 14-4 round difference - these are some impressive results for the roster which may finally be able to make a real name for themselves this Season.
Their 7-4 victory over Secret is particularly impressive as the following day Secret took down the R6 giants of G2 Esports making themselves the first team in R6 history to beat the G2 roster twice (with the orgs of ENCE eSports, Black Dragons, Team Liquid, Team Vitality and PENTA Sports each achieving 1 victory each since the beginning of Year 2). This victory means that both Team Secret regains the USWC Title Belt and that, for the first time since June 2018, G2 isn’t topping the European leaderboard, they are instead 5th!
While it is just 2 days into the Season, European R6 is looking more competitive than ever, a real welcome change from what many expected to be a simple fight between Secret and Mock-it once again for the 2nd Pro League LAN spot. EU just got interesting.
North America - New Orgs Everywhere!
While Europe saw a number of new players enter Pro League, North America mainly welcomed new organisations to the scene as we saw only 3 orgs from Season 8 survive to Season 9; most notably with this came the exit of the two Tier 1 organisations of SK Gaming and Cloud9 as well as the well-known name of mousesports. While we knew of many of these changes when Season 8 ended in November the last second pick up of C9 by the Halo org of Reciprocity surprised everyone as it was announced just 24 hours before their opening game.
Founded as a Halo organisation and with a number of huge names from the scene, Reciprocity is probably best known for their huge amounts of money they invest into their teams with their rosters moving into literal mansions in Las Vegas. This level of investment that we can presumably expect in R6 as well means the organisation is certainly for hoping a lot from this roster with Skys joining in replace of Goddess. For comparison here's a look at Reciprocity's Call of Duty team house which, compared to houses within the NA R6 scene, represents a colossal investment:
Despite these changes, however, there was a very solid constant in NA this week - the results. The favourites won each matchup relatively clearly with many teams not breaking too much of a sweat. This includes the key matchup of the day between the NA giants of Evil Geniuses and the no-longer-"up and coming" roster of Spacestation Gaming who clearly have very high hopes for this Season; despite this SSG fell on the first step as EG took them down 7-3 on Villa, a result Lycan and co. will likely be disappointed with.
Latin America - Back to Normal?
Coming off of the region’s first Pro League title in Season 7, LATAM during Season 8 was a complete mess of results that not many people expected - Team Liquid was first rounded during the Paris Major while Ninjas in Pyjamas spent most the Season in the relegation zone - however, if the first two playdays of Season 9 are to be trusted, it looks like the general order of teams are back to their old Season 7 ways.
As we would traditionally expect, the four top teams of FaZe, NiP, Liquid and Immortals all won in their games against any of the other 4 teams however it is their matchups between each other that’s the most interesting - FaZe vs NiP and IMT vs Liquid (which technically took place in mid-December but weren’t covered at the time). These games signal what could be a very tight and interesting set of games this Season as NiP and IMT took down the probable favourites and Br6 league leaders of FaZe and Liquid in close 7-5 results showing that, unlike last Season, all four teams are competitive and all four teams are ready to play for a Top 2 position.
Perhaps crucial to these results were newcomers in each team - Pino in NiP, gohaN and Paluh in Liquid and Bullet1 and MKing in Immortals. This is extremely obvious in NiP’s case as Gabriel “pino” Fernandes managed to not just top frag but dominate FaZe Clan in his first competitive game in almost 2 years in what could only be described as a statement to the World by him and his roster that “We’re Back”. MKing and gohaN made their mark, meanwhile, as they both top fragged in their matchup against each other ahead of the much more famous fraggers of Nesk and Novys showing their impact to their own rosters so soon after joining.
Meanwhile, while these four fight at the top of the table, the newly promoted ReD DevilS roster has fit in quite nicely as ex-Black dragon’s replacement achieving a 4-14 round difference putting themselves dead-last just behind INTZ. While it still is only 2/14 playdays through this is a nightmare start for both these rosters which doesn't bode well for the rest of the Season.
And so that’s my roundup of the first super week of Season 9 as we saw competition break out in EU and LATAM while the many NA changes made a very limited effect on results. Keep an eye out on SiegeGG for more Pro League updates and results as we enter one of the busiest weeks in R6 history!