It’s all come down to this -- the biggest event of the year. A whole year of waiting with bated breaths since PENTA Sports (now G2 Esports) lifted the Hammer in front of Montreal. With a new year comes a new installment of the Six Invitational. Not some but the best have gone through Pro League struggles, DreamHack competitions, and a week’s worth of online qualifiers to get where they are today. This continues our week-long coverage of the Six Invitational 2019, live from Montreal, Quebec.
Team Reciprocity 2 - 1 FaZe Clan
Maps: Coastline (7-1), Bank (5-7), Consulate (8-6)
FaZe: Muringa, Astro, Yoona, mav, cameram4n, and twisterm4n (Analyst)
Reciprocity: FoxA, MarkTheShark, LaXInG, Skys, Retro, Robn (Analyst), and HOP3Z (Coach)
The much-vaunted Team Reciprocity came into the match after a superb win against Latin American team Ninjas in Pyjamas and immediately were facing the historically titanic FaZe Clan. Their Brazilian opponents, though, were in poor straits after their upset loss against Fnatic the previous day. A clash of the Americas awaited the viewers, and boy what a game it was.
Map One: Coastline
Picking Coastline, Reciprocity bared their fangs and began absolutely shredding FaZe Clan. Round after round went to the North Americans, with only the second one of the entire map falling the other way after a near 1v3 clutch from Skys. The eventual 7-1 victory, which could have just as easily been 7-0, saw some fearsome retake ability and teamwork from Reciprocity as FaZe looked completely down and out from the get-go.
Map Two: Bank
Bank, a staple pick for FaZe by this point seemed to be going the same way after an incredible retake from Reciprocity on the first round, and an incredibly resilient defence in the second. Astro, though, was not one to lie low and take a beating. Paired with a resurgent cameram4n on his more traditional roles, the two lit up the scoreboard as they burned a path of destruction in retaliation to gain a two-round lead to go up 5-3. 5-3 became 5-4, and while a 2-0 was tantalisingly close for Reciprocity as they got to 5-6, but the Brazilians held strong to get to Consulate.
Map Three: Consulate
Consulate would be a ridiculously tight affair as well, with FaZe drawing first blood with a cameram4n 4k and following it up with an incredible 1v4 clutch from the same man. However, Reciprocity would answer back with a strong defense and a superb clutch from Retro in the next round. The North Americans just kept on going, winning the first half 4-2, but some incredible plays from Astro and cameram4n again saw things tied up at 5-5. FaZe would, incredibly, get to series point first but a string of mistakes would see Reciprocity take three back-to-back to scrape through to the Quarter-Finals.
Spacestation Gaming 2 - 1 Immortals
Maps: Border (7-5), Bank (7-3), Villa (7-5)
IMT: Novys, cyb3r, Bullet1, MKing, pX, and Mohamed (Manager)
SSG: Redeemer, Rampy, Bosco, Chala, ThinkingNade, and Lycan (Coach)
One battle of the Americas begot another, and Immortals -- league leaders in Latin America -- were undoubtedly wanting to pull themselves out of the shadow of their regional rivals, and do what FaZe could not this event. Standing in their way, though, would be the arguably underrated Spacestation Gaming with their spaceship all fueled and ready.
Map One: Border
Spacestation’s spaceship seemed to untether itself with little difficulty as Redeemer on his classic Echo pulled of yet another one of his masterful clutches to win the first round. A quick back-and-forth later it was 2-2, though, and Immortals then began pushing back hard. With the half ending all square, Immortals’ defense got off a brilliant start, securing three of the first four rounds. Down 4-6, Spacestation refused to let the weight of the two rounds keep them down and clawed back one, but IMT were not ones to back down and prevailed to take the map 7-5.
Map Two: Bank
Once again, SSG got off to a great start, but this time it was even better than Border as they won an incredibly dominant three rounds that even featured a third-round rush. And then, they kept going. On and on went the North Americans and closed out a flawless attacking half and put themselves on match point. Now, though, IMT started their charge but only got half as far as their counterparts before being repelled from the basement as we headed to Villa.
Map Three: Villa
Spacestation just seemed to be on a roll and opened their account with a round one win, but were immediately answered back with two attack wins from Immortals who made it clear this would be no blowout like Bank. Back-and-forth went both the teams, though, and much to SSG fans’ worry on a defender-sided map, they were only able to secure three out of a possible six rounds.
The round-by-round trades continued even after the role swap, and viewers were left waiting with bated breath to see which of the two squads would be able to break the deadlock. Down 2 men to Immortals’ four, and then leaving Bosco the sole member alive against two of Immortals on series point, it seemed overtime was inevitable. Bosco, though, showed exactly why SSG had signed him from the ill-fated Obey Alliance roster as he pulled off a masterful clutch to win the map -- and the series -- to send the spaceship soaring into the atmosphere.
Team Liquid 2 - 1 Mock-it Esports
Maps: Border (8-6), Oregon (5-7), Villa (7-5)
Liquid: ziG, Paluh, gohaN, xS3xyCake, Nesk, and Sensi (Coach)
Mock-it: KS, Korey, ripz, Vale, Cry1NNN, and Lazzo (Coach)
The first of two rematches of the night, Team Liquid went up once again against their Monday night opponents Mock-it Esports, this time with the upper hand, armed with the knowledge of how exactly to play against the Germans. There was immense pressure on them, though as Latin America was almost inconceivably facing complete elimination before the Six Invitational Playoffs. It was all up to Team Liquid, the Season 7 Pro League champions, to keep their region’s flag aloft after the current LATAM league leaders and Season 8 Grand Finalists had been left behind in the Canadian cold. Mock-it Esports, on the other hand, were desperate to prove their strength had not diminished since the end of Season 8 and came into this match off the back of a scathing defeat at the hands of G2 Esports.
Map One: Border
The match started positively for Team Liquid, as they secured the first round on the same map they had played first -- and lost 2-7 -- on Monday night. Little separated the two teams this time around, though, and Mock-it were only able to secure a two-round lead in the eighth round to go up 5-3.
A near-clutch from Korey was denied the very next round, though, and followed up by another to tie things up. While Mock-it Esports were able to secure match point, they were unable to stave off overtime as Liquid took three rounds in a row to overturn Monday’s defeat and win 8-6.
Map Two: Oregon
Once again, Team Liquid got off to a flyer, racing to a 3-0 advantage -- this time helped along by a terrible misidentification of Cry1NNN as the enemy by his teammate, Vale. This time, though, the Germans would engineer a comeback to tie things up 3-3. While Liquid would once again gain the upper hand post-role swap, winning two of their three attack rounds, Mock-it would take another three on the trot to push this game to the third map.
Map Three: Villa
This time it was Mock-it’s turn to start off strongly with a win on the first round, but Liquid refused to go quietly into the night and allow the match to end. For every round the Germans got, the Brazilians answered back. Vale, though, was keen to make amends for his map two gaffe and clutched two 1v2s to keep his side in the hunt for a Quarter-Finals spot.
Team Liquid, though, pulled out a two-round lead, prompting Mock-it to go for a time-out with great success. The European side wasted no time in tying things up, helped along by a fantastic flurry of kills from KS. Team Liquid, though, were soon on series point. In the final round of regulation time, up 3 men to Liquid’s lone xS3xyCake, a series of fatal errors and a masterfully played situation from the defending Smoke finally saw the end of a marathon 3 and-a-half hour match.
NORA-Rengo 2 - 1 PENTA
Maps: Oregon (5-7), Coastline (7-5), Border (7-1)
NR: Wokka, ReyCyil, Merieux, Ramu, Papilia, kizoku (Coach), jam4423 (Analyst), Forte (Analyst)
PENTA: RevaN, ENEMY, Hungry, SirBoss, blas and Jess (Coach and Analyst)
Rematch number two, in game number four. Once again, mirroring the match up on opening night would be the Japanese titans NORA-Rengo (NR), and the rising European challengers PENTA. This time it was do-or-die for both teams, and while NR had won the first fight, PENTA were armed with the brilliant analytical mind of Jess. Not only that, as Liquid had proven earlier, it’s a lot harder to improve your play after you’ve bared everything and won rather than lost.
Map One: Oregon
Oregon started off poorly for NORA-Rengo as the Japanese took two rounds to find a shaky footing. PENTA seemed to be playing a lot more cohesively than NR -- something completely out of character for the second of the two APAC teams still in the running. It seemed, then, that NR simply lacked the practice on Oregon.
However, what NR never lost was their incredible individual gunplay and pushed PENTA to the limit with highlight-reel worth play after play. Unfortunately for them, they could only keep PENTA honest until they led 5-4, and superior teamwork from the Europeans saw them edge out NR in regulation time.
Map Two: Coastline
Coastline also saw NORA-Rengo start off on the back foot as they lost the first round to a tightly arrayed PENTA defense. However, it was instantly answered back with an almost flawless attack from the Japanese and so began the back-and-forth as had been seen in the Group C match up.
The first half ended 3-3 as expected after the brilliance both teams had shown across both days so far. Two further rounds were traded before Wokka went big for his team with an immense and incredulous 4k before PENTA tied things up at 5-5. However, this time NR would be the ones to pull away as they pulled off two superb defenses to win the map and push on to their strongest -- Border.
Map Three: Border
Strong as an analyst Jess was, she was up against two on NORA-Rengo’s side as well as a dedicated coach. Confident PENTA may have been letting Border through again, having lost it 7-3 on Monday, but the team simply seemed to run out of stamina today. NR left their opponents gasping for air as, after a false dawn of a close map in the first two rounds, they went on to win the next four on attack with barely any difficulty. Despite Ying left unbanned, there were to be no Hungry heroics like his six-second ace on the first day.
PENTA crashed out of the groups just as ReyCyil leapt out of his chair, kicking the air and bringing their coach to tears to make it to the main stage for the first time in a Major. With the win they set up a date with Fnatic to guarantee an APAC team in the Semi-Finals of the Six Invitational -- a first for the team in any Major, including both prior Invitationals and the Six Major last year.
That was your roundup for the third and final day of group stage action at the Six Invitational 2019, stay tuned as we bring you more comprehensive news and stats coverage throughout the week, leading up to the Grand Finals on Sunday!