With the Six Invitational 2023 just around the corner, it's time to have a look at the group stage. This time, we focus on the Six Invitational 2023 Group B, where the Six Jönköping Major grand-finalists and Brazilian champions Team Liquid are the favorites to top the group standings.
Read more: Six Invitational Group A: Here's all you need to know
Internationally, Team Liquid are prize stallions. Since the COVID-19 international events break ended, their record outside Brazil is an outstanding 45-8-6-20, resulting in a 67 percent map-win ratio.
Despite the team’s efficiency, the spectators demand Liquid claim international silverware at a major international competition again After many unsuccessful attempts, Liquid were close in Jönköping, Sweden, but still fell short. Team BDS, led by Stéphane “Shaiiko” Lebleu’s impressive grand final SiegeGG Rating of 1.33, cut short the Liquid fans' hopes.
However, despite that loss, Lorenzo “Lagonis” Volpi’s addition to the squad has already been pivotal. With him taking the IGL role in the roster, his teammates have been able to play more freely. Gabriel “AsK” Santos is a clear example, with the player having been almost unstoppable for most of Stage 3.
Liquid’s international momentum and the team’s historical results in regional competitions make them one of the most experienced squads in the competition. But can they win it all after having fallen short in 2021?
Soniqs are quite possibly the most exciting team heading into the Six Invitational 2023. Ben “CTZN” McMillan’s surprising arrival from G2 Esports just a month before the start of the competition has elevated the team’s individual skill, which was already through the roof.
Soniqs revealed their true potential at the Jönköping Major, as they reached the semi-finals of the competition. Now, with CTZN in the roster, the NA team should be seen as one of the main threats in the tournament -- as long as the English player adapts to his new teammates.
While he was not at the Jönköping Major, due to G2 Esports finishing in seventh place in the EUL in Stage 3, he was the best-rated player at the Six Berlin Major with a SiegeGG Rating of 1.33.
Alongside w7m esports, Wolves Esports are the only team this season to have qualified for every Six Major played in 2022. The French-majority squad finished at the top of the EUL table while also being the third-best team in the Global Standings.
However, they are yet to win a top-flight BO3 match this season. In Charlotte, the team didn't make it out of the group stage. In Berlin and Jönköping, the pack was sent home after losing the quarter-finals against XSET and Team BDS by 2-0 scorelines. Later on, at the EUL Finals, the result was the same against MNM Gaming.
Plain and simple, while Wolves' BO1 record in international competitions this season is an impressive 6-5-3-1, their BO3 record in top-flight matches stands at a disappointing 0-0-0-6.
To win the Six Invitational 2023, teams will have to play four BO3 matches just the group stage. This number could go up to more than 10 depending on the team's performances during the playoffs. Moreover, the grand final follows a BO5 system. In conclusion, unless the pack adapts to the tournament format, their days are numbers.
MNM Gaming's adaptation to the top-flight has been a definite success. In a year, the team has gone from the Challenger League to having qualified for the Six Invitational twice.
While three of the four core members didn't have any top-flight experience heading to 2022, the marshmallows have learned a tonne since their Six Invitational 2022 appearance. After failing to qualify for the Charlotte Major, the roster made it to both Berlin and Jönköping, which was enough to get them into the Global Standings' Top 16.
Josh "Yuzus" Pritchard has been the team's best player this season, getting SiegeGG Ratings of 1.21, 1.23, and 1.05 in the European League stages.
Meanwhile, Fatih "Solotov" Türker has been a nightmare for most of the teams, as the Turk's entry fragging numbers have proven to be an important part of the team's results.
In Stage 1, Solotov's SiegeGG Rating was 1.14 and he ended with an entry balance of 19-19 (0). For Stage 2, the team qualified for the Berlin Major, with his entry balance slightly better at 24-16 (+8). Finally, in Stage 3, the marshmallows qualified for the Six Jönköping Major with Solotov getting an impressive entry balance of 31-22 (+9).
MNM Gaming ended as the second-best team in the EUL after losing to Team BDS 0-3 in the EUL Finals grand-final. However, despite their improvements, the roster decided to make changes as Nathan"Nathan" Sharp joined in the place of Callum "Neonical" Humphreys.
Dire Wolves have had a shaky season, which ended with the return of Chen "Ray" Rui-wei and Huang "HARAM3E" Chih-hang to the active squad.
Their best player this season was Wu "Reeps96" Weichen, who left the team after the conclusion of Stage 3. He was the best APAC South player in the final split of the season, with a Rating of 1.27. On top of that, he was also the team's best performer at the Jönköping Major, with a Rating of 1.14.
Ray will thus have an unenviable task of trying to produce the output Reeps96 did, which will mean that the rest of his team will have to also contribute more in terms of kills.
While 2022 was largely a year of learning for Dire Wolves, it is now time to apply the lessons. The Taiwanese squad made its professional debut at the Six Charlotte Major and the team's performance at the Jönköping Major was great considering the team's difficulties in practicing due to National Service and visa issues for two different players. But now, with a new player and a returning one, things may be more difficult than ever.
Group B Storylines
These are some of the most interesting storylines in Group B:
- Team Liquid vs Soniqs: Both teams have only faced off once, at the DreamHack Montreal 2019.
- Paluh vs CTZN: Arguably two of the best players in Siege will be facing on the first day of the Six Invitational 2023, in a match that could eventually decide the first place team in the group.
- MNM Gaming vs Wolves Esports: MNM Gaming's results against Wolves' lineup in the EUL season have been dramatic (8-7, 2-7, 2-7). However, in the EUL Finals, the marshmallows imposed themselves in a very one-sided series that they won 2-0 (2-7, 3-7).
- MNM Gaming vs Soniqs: Both teams met at the Jönköping Major, with the Europeans winning the first (7-3) and the Americans the second (7-5).
- Wolves Esports vs Dire Wolves: Both wolf packs met at the Jönköping Major, with the Frenchmen taking both games (7-2, 8-7).
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