Next week, the Six Major will see the top 16 teams meet to compete for a global title. The tournament is split up into two parts, with the group stage taking place from Monday to Wednesday, before the top two teams from each group progress to the three-day playoffs over the weekend.
CYCLOPS athlete gaming
Japan’s representatives at this Major have very poor form outside of Japan.
The team finished last at the Charlotte Major, Raleigh Major, SI 2021, and SI 2022. The only tournament they’ve ever attended and not finished last was the Mexico Major… where they beat Soniqs, a team who themselves had only won three out of 18 global games. CAG, then, have the worst global record in Siege history.
The Charlotte Major -- the last global event they attended -- was particularly rough as the team’s Finka, Ash, and Ace mains totalled a negative 54 kill differential, with all three of them in the bottom six by SiegeGG Rating. At SI22, they had two of the bottom five players by SiegeGG Rating.
CAG have been running similar strategies to their peers and clearly have team chemistry, but with no new blood joining the team since 2019, they have not been able to keep up in the kills department despite their reputation of aggression.
Luckily for CAG, they have a very favourable group. They beat Soniqs back in Mexico, Black Dragons are at their debut event, and MNM Gaming are still considered to be underdogs.
Furthermore, CAG do have one positive coming into Stockholm. Despite winning just six games in their last 25 matches with this full team, they have four wins against Brazilian opponents -- once against Liquid and XSET, and twice versus oNe. The only other team they’ve beaten were the Soniqs.
In BO3s, CAG also came within a 6-8 map of beating Liquid and had a decently close 4-7 loss that could have seen them beat FaZe Clan in February. They were also a single round away from knocking oNe, the eventual champions, out of the Mexico Major.
There is a world where their anti-Brazilian expertise nets them wins over Black Dragons and their non-stop aggression surprises MNM for them to narrowly escape the groups. In reality, will need to show a lot more than ever before to simply avoid last place.
Across the prior three Six Majors, Soniqs have won just three out of 18 matches… but also finished fifth-sixth at the 2022 Six Invitational. That mixed set of results have been jumbled up further; since we last saw them, Seth "supr" Hoffman and Alexander "Yeti" Lawson both left the team and were replaced by SI 2022 champion Emilio "Geometrics" Leynez and the breakout NA rookie of 2022, Shaun "Gunnar" Pottorff.
This means looking at prior performances for clues on how Soniqs will perform is effectively meaningless.
In the NAL, the Soniqs looked at times like a bonafide super-team working in perfect unison, while at other times they lost 3-7 to Astralis. There’s a lot of promise here and the team has had a month since the NAL ended to tweak and perfect its play.
One of the main changes the team will be still getting used to is situating Gunnar into the roster. He made a name for himself on Parabellum during Stage 2 as a fragger -- he was the third best player by SiegeGG Rating with the second most kills while largely playing Finka.
On Soniqs, he has been forced to move to a secondary support role behind Richie "Rexen" Coronado. As such, he ended the stage with a 0.90 SiegeGG Rating, the lowest on the team, and notably well below the team’s main planter, hard breach, Geometrics.
Joining a new team in a new role will take time to perfect, but the question is if one month is enough time.
As well as being a smaller organization than many of the others at play, MNM have spent much of the last year in the mid-table of the EUL, which has led to a lot of people to underestimate them.
In reality, they are the only team to have beaten grand finalists Team Empire at the last Six Invitational, they missed qualification to the Charlotte Major on the final play day, and very nearly made it to the playoffs at the Berlin Major.
Now, they’ll be looking at CAG and Black Dragons and will be confident that they can exit their group.
In Berlin, MNM were effectively the model team -- they were only needing more experience. They had no one over or under performer, they did well on entry, got the defuser down regularly, and didn’t bring too many odd picks. This is an improvement from SI 2022, where Callum "Neonical" Humphreys struggled. Meanwhile, Stage 3 has seen a shake up, as Luke "Tyrant" Casey hit a 1.20 Rating -- the third highest in the league -- with him and Team BDS’s Théo "LikEfac" Mariano the only players to break the 100-kill count.
Notably, both him and LikEfac primarily played Nokk on the attack, an operator that has been banned three times more than any other operator in the NAL, and almost certainly won’t be available for Tyrant to use at the Major.
Black Dragons e-Sports
The celebrations from fans when Black Dragons qualified for this Major would make some think they had just won a title. Instead, the historic moment was just step one for the Brazilian organization.
To their credit, they beat some of the best teams in the world to qualify -- FURIA, NiP, and oNe -- and almost did the same during Stage 1. Across the whole of the 2022 season, they also were just one point behind Berlin Major grand-finalists FaZe Clan.
Unfortunately, their opponents now won’t be Brazilian and their ability to adapt as the tournament goes on and absorb information during Europe-based scrims will make all the difference for Black Dragons. Ronaldo "ion" Osawa has experience outside of his home region, but none of the team’s coaches do.
While much of the team performed as expected during the BR6, the outlier was Guilherme "Bassetto" Bassetto. While he does play supporting roles, he had the lowest kills-per-round figure in the entire league and this hardly improved in the Copa Elite Six against primarily Mexican opponents. This has to be an area to focus on as, as a team, they cannot be putting their hard breacher in a position to be dying so much.
I begin my text by thanking you.
Thanking the players for all their dedication, only you and God know what you went through.
Thank our fans for never giving up dreaming. They've been at our lowest point asking for this moment for years, and it's arrived.
Soniqs previously beat MNM 7-5, 7-2 during the SI 2022 group stages on Oregon and Clubhouse and finished just ahead of them during the group stage.
BD’s ion was also on FaZe Clan during DreamHack Montreal 2019, where they were in the same group as Lauren "Goddess" Williams’ Soniqs. FaZe lost the decider match versus Soniqs 1-2, though ion was FaZe’s top rated player.
Ion and Soniqs’ Geometrics also met at the ESL Pro League Season 9 Finals semi-finals where EG won 7-5, 8-6 on Clubhouse and Border. Here, ion was the lowest-rated player in the game, while Geo was the highest.
Finally, Geometrics also played MNM’s Leon "neLo" Pesić in the decider match of the SI 2020 group stage. TSM won 8-6, 7-5 on Coastline and Consulate, though both players achieved middling SiegeGG Ratings of 1.07 and 0.71 respectively.
Players & teams to watch
Black Dragons, MNM, and CAG are three of the four teams to have not made any player changes this year, which gives Soniqs an advantage as they have a lot of footage to look at.
Combined with Gunnar and Geo joining, it’s hard not to put Soniqs as a top two team in this group.
CAG, meanwhile, has their entire competitive history implying they’ll exit in last place. The whole of APAC is hoping otherwise, but their chances look slim.
This should leave a Black Dragons vs MNM fight for second place; a fitting matchup considering they have very similar reputations as the backbones of their own regions, feeding upcoming players to bigger teams. Now, they’re both here in the limelight ready to steal the show.
Player wise, Gunnar at his debut event after such a good opening stage must be watched, especially for fans looking ahead at a possible playoff run for the Soniqs. Black Dragons will be looking towards ion as the main entry fragger and the only player with relevant experience, while Tyrant’s Stage 3 performance has given a high bar for him to reach.
SiegeGG is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more about how readers support SiegeGG.