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APAC SI 2023 Closed Qualifier Preview: Fnatic hope to make international return, SANDBOX favourites

APAC's last spot at the Six Invitational 2023 will be awarded this weekend.


13th January -- Six Jönköping Major team FURY Esports will play tomorrow against Team Bliss after defeating Take Charge Gaming by 8-6, 8-6.

The match was not streamed.

Original article:

This weekend, 11 teams will take part in the APAC SI 2023 Closed Qualifier for a chance to qualify for the Six Invitational 2023.

Elevate and CYCLOPS athlete gaming are the only APAC teams already qualified for the biggest Siege event of the year, as they finished among the top 16 teams of the Global Standings.

Catch all the action from Jan. 14 to 15, starting at 1 PM SGT (UTC +8).


The APAC SI 2023 Closed Qualifier will follow a single-elimination bracket. All games will be BO3s.


Take Charge Esports from South Asia will have to fight Jönköping Major attendees FURY on Friday, Jan. 13, for a chance to join the main bracket. The winner of the game will meet the Oceanic Nationals roster, Team Bliss.

The quarter-finals will start on Saturday, Jan. 14. NORTHEPTION and SCARZ will meet in an effective Japan League derby, while APAC North giants Fnatic will face the South Korean lineup of Beyond Stratos Gaming.

The other half of the bracket features an all-APAC South lineup. Knights will face the Thai squad of Champion, while Team Bliss will play against the winner of TCE and FURY, as previously mentioned.

Finally, Sunday, Jan. 15 will see SANDBOX Gaming playing against the winner of the APAC North bracket, while Dire Wolves will play against the winner of the APAC South bracket. The winners of each match will play in the final game of the qualifier, which will determine who gets the region's final spot in the Six Invitational 2023.


The following teams will compete for a chance to qualify for the Six Invitational 2023.

  SANDBOX Gaming

Despite qualifying for the final two Six Majors of the year, the Koreans couldn't offset their sloppy start to the season. Two group stage exits from the Berlin and Jönköping Majors left the roster in 18th place in the Global Standings, just 100 SI Points behind CAG in 16th.

As such, following the conclusion of the Jönköping Major, the team parted ways with Song "SyAIL" Dong-seon and signed Spear Gaming's entry fragger Juwan "Mephi" Park.

  Beyond Stratos Gaming

Beyond Stratos Gaming finished in fifth place in the Korean Open 2022 Autumn, which earned an invite to the SI 2023 APAC Closed Qualifier. The team was the best non-APAC North team in the competition and took Spear Gaming to Map Three of the Korean Open 2022 Autumn Finals.

Park "Kira-Miki" Do-hyeon is the team's most notable player, as he was part of the SGA eSPORTS roster that defeated Cloud9 and DWG KIA in the Korean Open 2021 Spring Finals.

  Dire Wolves

Massive question marks surround Dire Wolves ahead of this qualifier. The team still needs at least one new player after the retirement of Tsung-Cheng "Ed" Hou and the sudden departure of Weichen "Reeps96" Wu. Wu "SHADOW" Zong-ci may be drafted in to step up from the subsitute bench, but the team is yet to make any public announcement regarding its lineup.

Regardless of the player situation, the team's core performed well throughout the year. As a result, despite early group stage exits in Charlotte and  Jönköping, the team was awarded a direct invite to the closed qualifier.


After winning the SI 2023 APAC North Open Qualifier, the Japan League roster obtained a spot to compete in the closed qualifier.

An extremely close victory against PANTHERA was followed by a one-sided win versus ENTER FORCE.36, who had previously beaten FAV Gaming. In the final game, which would only decide seeding, NORTHEPTION defeated Fnatic 2-1.

They will be a force to be reckoned with no matter who comes up against them, with SCARZ the first up against them.


Three years after Fnatic's last international appearance, they could finally make a return in 2023.

It's not been an easy ride for them, with the pandemic having been their chief hurdle. Their constant changes to their roster continued in Stage 2, with three changes following the arrival of Etienne "Mag" Rousseau in Japan and the signings of Ryuki "Ramu" Matsuoka and Yuuta "Tyopi" Yanagi.

Fnatic made it to the closed qualifier after defeating System 7-2 and DWG KIA 2-1. However, the team later fell to NORTHEPTION when it came to securing first seed.


SCARZ defeated CYCLOPS athlete gaming five times this year across the Japan League 2022, with the Japan tier-two team crowned champions as a result. 

Following their success in Japan, they defeated REJECT to qualify for the ROG Masters Asia-Pacific 2022, where they also beat Gaimin Gladiators twice. Two weeks later, they only finished behind DWG KIA and Team BDS in the Japan Invitational 2022, where they again defeated CAG -- this time in a 3-0.

Considering the team's performances throughout 2022, SCARZ could have be the Cinderella story of the closed qualifier. 


On paper, Knights are one of the best squads in the region, with Riley "Stigs" Mills and Matin "SpeakEasy" Yunos leading the way. 

Despite the high expectations around the team in Stage 3, though, the Australian-majority roster finished fifth in an APAC South league of just seven teams.

Luckily for Knights, the team dominated the SI 2023 APAC South Open Qualifier with quick victories against MercenarieZ, SEAS Demons, and FURY -- the last of which will fill them with great confidence.

 Team Bliss

Team Bliss will be the Oceanic Nationals representative after finishing in second place at the Oceanic Nationals 2022. The roster finished behind Knights and above Wildcard Gaming, but their renewed roster includes Jack "Jigsaw" Gillies and Morgan "Fishoguy" Ishizaka -- former Invictus Gaming and Chiefs Esports players, respectively.


After a record of 0-0-0-7 in Stage 1, FURY began the year as the laughing stock of APAC South. However, the signings of the former Elevate duo Sirasit "BGMan" Ariyasirisopon and Sumate "i9" Srimabut elevated the team's results, with FURY ending Stage 2 in sixth place and Stage 3 in second place, a result that qualified the Thai squad for the Jönköping Major.

Now, FURY are one of the best teams in APAC South. After finishing as one of the best teams in the first phase of the online qualifier, FURY defeated Oceanic Nationals side Ludavica and Six Berlin Major and Six Jönköping Major attendees Gaimin Gladiators to qualify for the APAC SI 2023 Closed Qualifier.

  Take Charge Esports

Previously known as Monkey Hunters, the roster was acquired by Take Charge Esports a few weeks after the team won the South Asia Nationals 2022.

The majority of the players on the roster have significant experience in the South Asia Nationals and have a strong rivalry with MercenarieZ. Both rosters have shown potential in the region and now have the chance to qualify for the Six Invitational 2023 -- though the odds will be stacked.


Finally, Champion will compete in the closed qualifier after finishing in fifth place in the Operation League Southeast Asia 2022. There, they finished with 24 points -- only behind the four APAC South teams of Dire Wolves, Elevate, FURY, and Gaimin Gladiators.

Champion were the only team in the competition that could closely follow the top-flight teams, finishing 16 points above the rest of the tier-two rosters in the tournament and could also be dark horses here.

Catch all the action from Jan. 14 to 15, starting at 1 PM SGT (UTC +8).

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