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 terminates our week-long coverage of the Six Invitational 2019, live from Montreal, Quebec.
The day started off with the Year 4 Roadmap panel, where many important changes about the game and the esports side of things were announced. Read our coverage of all the key highlights here.
The final day kept the hype building up as the event moved onto the hilarious All-Star Game between All-Stars East and All-Stars West, before formally introducing the next in-game season, Burnt Horizon. Read up on our look at the new map and new operators here.
A short orchestral performance later, it was time. Two teams had fought long and hard to get the lion’s share of the US$2 million prize pool, and it was all about to come to a head.
The Grand Final
G2 Esports 3 - 0 Team Empire
Maps: Coastline (12-10), Border (7-4), Bank (7-1), Oregon (Not Played), Clubhouse (Not Played)
G2: Fabian, Pengu, Kantoraketti, Goga, Joonas and Shas[O]Udas (Coach)
Empire: karzheka, JoyStiCK, Scyther, ShepparD, Shockwave, and RayzerGM (Coach)
Infinite overtime and best-of-five, a combination that we would see for the first time ever. The old kings of Siege, the defending champions, versus the new upstarts, the current league leaders. Eastern Europe against Western Europe.
This, ladies and gentlemen, was the Six Invitational 2019 Grand Final.
G2 Esports had won everything there was to win in 2018 -- the Six Invitational, the Pro League, and even a DreamHack event. It was perhaps due to that, due to a possible lack of any further achievement to claim, that G2 has been struggling so far in Season 9 of the Pro League -- only being in fifth place.
Team Empire, on the other hand came into this match with their spirits high. In an incredible run encompassing the Pro League, the Invitational Qualifiers, and the Invitational itself, the Eastern Europeans had not lost a single game since DreamHack Winter 2018 and were leading the European Pro League by a significant margin.
With only one ban available to each team, Team Empire continued their comfort ban pattern by removing Villa from the equation yet again, and G2 Esports took out Consulate from play -- a map that the roster was extremely good at playing in Year 2, but has since seen Team Empire achieve a 8-0-3 record on.
Map One: Coastline
Unfortunately for Team Empire, while they had lost their best map of Consulate to the ban phase, their limited map pool in comparison to G2 Esports meant that they would be starting the series on Coastline -- a map that G2, prior to this game, had won a whopping 17 times and lost just once since the 2018 Six Invitational. Nevertheless, Empire was a team that refused to be cowed by the challenge presented to them, and looked to become the only team outside Team Vitality to beat G2 on this map.
Team Empire got the best possible start they, or anyone else, could ever hope for. Beginning on attack, they did not even need to get into the Kitchen/Delivery bomb site to clean up G2’s defense without losing a single member of their own. The defending champions would answer back immediately, though, and so would set the tone for what would go on to become the longest played map in Pro League or Major history.
G2 would take another round to wrest the early lead away from their opponents, but things would be all square at the end of the sixth round as the roles were swapped. Once again, Team Empire took the early lead, and in fact were about to go up 6-4 to break the deadlock before being denied by some excellent play from star man Pengu. One more flawless round from Empire finally got them the match point they had been looking for, but once again would lose the subsequent round as the map headed into the very first infinite overtime Siege had seen at this level.
Now swapping roles every round in overtime, both teams ramped up their hunt for that elusive pair of two rounds in a row to draw first blood in what looked like would be an incredibly long series. G2 Esports won the first round, but this time Empire would be one answering back, and while it looked during round 15 that the latter team would take the lead, Pengu would once again deny them by shutting down a 1v3 attempt from karzheka.
Back-and-forth the map would continue, with Fabian being the next on G2 Esports to get a clutch, but audiences at the venue and back at home were beginning to wonder if they would ever get to see the end of Coastline. Fabian would get yet another clutch after yet another tense 1v1, and it there was just too little to separate both teams.
Or so it seemed, until round 22. An early pick onto JoyStiCK from Kantoraketti would snowball into three kills for the defending champions, and while it would not be quite as good as the flawless round wins from Empire, G2 would lose only one member to finally end the map just two rounds shy of the entirety of the Paris Major Grand Final.
Map Two: Border
While G2 Esports had a lot of prior experience playing marathon games, especially what is still regarded as the best Siege game ever (the Six Invitational Grand Final from 2018), Team Empire did not. The ex-Room Factory squad would slide to an incredible 1-5 deficit in stunning fashion and it seemed that they were spent. G2, on the other hand, looked like they were up to crush Empire like they did so to all but a few teams in 2018.
Team Empire, to their credit, refused to be counted out even if it seemed they had little chance left. Now on defense after the role swap, they would win one round, then two, and then three to put themselves within one round of equalising the score. Spectators began looking at each other, wondering, “could this be another 22 round marathon?”
G2 Esports, though, were entirely uninterested in that prospect, as well equipped to deal with that scenario as they might have been. Another Fabian-led round would push them to match point before another quickfire double would close things out as they would win 7-4 on Empire’s first map pick.
Map Three: Bank
Now undoubtedly feeling the pressure, down two maps to the most feared team in all of Siege, Team Empire seemed to unfortunately mentally check-out. Even though they would win the first round on G2’s map pick of Bank, that single defense would be all that they would be allowed to take away from what would be the final map.
G2 Esports, with all the power of an enraged pride of lions, would take round after round as they rubbed Empire’s noses in the dirt. Kantoraketti, in particular, was luxuriating in his free-flowing role to cause as much chaos as possible, and (in Interro’s words) was absolutely burying his opponents.
The game would not go on for much longer, and two rounds later, G2 Esports would make Siege history to become the first team every to defend their title as world champions and get their second 3-0 Grand Final win at a Major. The win would also see Kantoraketti become a world champion for the first time, and it would mean that G2 Esports as an organisation have now won every kind of event there is to win in competitive Rainbow Six.
Truly, there are few teams in all of esports history that have exhibited such intense of a vice grip over the scene, and G2 Esports’ Rainbow Six roster now becomes one of those legendary few.
That was your roundup for the last day of playoffs action at the Six Invitational 2019, stay tuned as we bring you more comprehensive news and stats coverage about the entire event, as well as Pro League coverage once Season 9 resumes!