Image: Ubisoft/Joao Ferreira
Siege was back in full swing in 2022 as in-person events returned and three regions all looked like serious contenders for titles after a LATAM-heavy 2021.
Here’s a look back at the biggest stories of the year.
While Luccas "Paluh" Molina fell short in November and Danil "JoyStiCK" Gabov fell short in February, this year will be remembered as the one in which Jason "Beaulo" Doty was crowned a World Champion and Stéphane "Shaiiko" Lebleu a Major champion.
Two of Siege’s greatest players finally got the top-tier titles they have been hunting for for years, and did so in impressive fashion.
After a year of Brazilian dominance, TSM went through a gauntlet of Brazilian challengers, beating Ninjas in Pyjamas, FURIA Esports, Team Liquid, and FaZe Clan in the playoffs before beating Team Empire in their opponents’ last ever game for the organization.
Team BDS, meanwhile, needed all five maps to take down a Liquid roster that had united LATAM’s best fragger -- Paluh -- and their best IGL -- Lorenzo "Lagonis" Volpi. While this was BDS’s first ever top-tier grand-final, this win added to their Gamers8 win in Saudi Arabia three months prior, their Japan Invitational win three weeks prior, and their European League 2022 win two weeks later to round off a perfect end to the year.
Rogue beat FaZe Clan by a single round to win the Berlin Major, winning Europe’s first title in almost three years to mark a historical moment for every member of the Rogue roster.
William "Spoit" Löfstedt became the youngest ever champion by winning the title in his debut stage after years of anticipation of his arrival.
Pascal "cryn" Alouane became the oldest ever Six Major champion. This came after he was relegated from the ESL Pro League and European League on NAVI and Chaos, was kicked from G2 Esports after just two months, and spent Seasons 9, 10, and 11 stuck in the ESL Challenger League. He also did it in front of a home crowd.
In a similar vein, Tom "Deapek" Pieksma spent four years in tier-two tournaments where he competed across five Challenger League seasons and was a map away from promotion on three occasions. Rogue finally gave him a chance and he won in his second professional stage.
Juhani "Kantoraketti" Toivonen became the first ever two-time Six Major champion and second player after Troy "Canadian" Jaroslawski to win titles on three separate teams. He also became the first and only member of the famed G2 roster to win another title since the roster fell apart, exclaiming afterwards “I’m back!”.
Leon "LeonGids" Giddens and Matthew "meepeY" Sharples topped three prior semi-final Six Major finishes by finally reaching their first grand-final and winning it. They also hold the distinction for being the only multi-time Six Minor winners.
The Berlin Major grand-final was also the second time a grand-final was decided by a single round after the ESL Pro League Season 3 Finals, where meepeY lost to Continuum.
DarkZero Esports qualified for nine events in a row from the Pro League Season 9 Finals in Milan to the Charlotte Major. In this time, they signed the NA king, Canadian, who at the time had been a part of every single title-winning North American roster. They also signed Niclas "Pengu" Mouritzen, Siege’s all-time best player, as a content creator.
They invested heavily into Siege and in Siege’s return to North America, the organization finally lifted the trophy and Canadian once again sat on his throne.
This result meant that Canadian won back-to-back events that included a crowd and events that were in North America, became the first player to win across three rosters, and finally justified years of big talk from the DarkZero organization.
Since this crowning moment, DZ have failed to qualify for either subsequent Majors as they finished in fifth place during both Stages 2 and 3. Now ahead of the organization’s return to a North American stage, they have officially re-signed Alexander "Skys" Magor in a core player role and brought in Gaven "Gaveni" from the Challenger League.
Roster-mania: Team Empire disbands, NiP loses famous core, Fnatic finally becomes Japanese, and G2 remakes team yet again
This year has seen a dramatic shake up within the biggest teams in Siege across all regions.
In Europe, the Six Invitational runners-up left their organization after a major disagreement with their coach. This forced the ex-Team Empire team to play in tier-three qualifiers for most of 2022 before finally being largely reformed on Virtus.pro (known as Outsiders) late in the year. Europe lost its best, most consistent team -- yet still won half of all titles in 2022.
In LATAM, the four-year old NiP core -- Gustavo "Psycho" Rigal, João "Kamikaze" Gomes, and Julio "Julio" Giacomelli -- split as Julio left for FURIA and then w7m, while Kamikaze is still a free agent. Since the split, Julio has achieved significantly more success than NiP.
Gabriel "cameram4n" Hespanhol meanwhile was benched on FaZe for the second time despite winning a title a year ago and having been a single round away from a second title four months prior. Paulo "psk1" Augusto also retired leaving André "nesk" Oliveira as the lone member of Liquid left from their ESL Pro League win.
North America, on the other hand, saw a surge of rookies. During Stage 3 alone, TSM, Mirage, beastcoast, and Parabellum signed two rookies each, with Soniqs later signing one of them -- Shaun "Gunnar" Pottorff. More recently, DZ recently signed Gaveni, and Astralis signed Chris "Spiff" Park, while Oxygen Esports began the year by signing Ethan "Nuers" James.
Finally in APAC, Fnatic finally got their Japanese lineup by picking up the GUTS lineup before three members of the team very publicly quit six months later. CYCLOPS have also hinted at plans to make the first change their their roster change since 2019.
M80, Wolves Esports, Heroic, TT9 Esports, TropiCaos, Spear Gaming, Gaimin Gladiators, and 00 Nations all picked up top-tier rosters.
Event madness: UAE drama, visa issues, and a DreamHack… Major?
At the Six Invitational 2022, Ubisoft announced in a blog post released during a memorial for Michael "KiXSTAr" Stockley that the August Major would be held in the United Arab Emirates. This caused an uproar in the community, as it was seen that Ubisoft was ignoring the country's human rights issues while having multiple LGBTQ+ staff. After community petitions and plans for talent boycotts, Ubisoft reversed course just 48 hours later, stating that they heard “ loud and clear” that “members of the international Siege community question this choice”.
Three months later, Siege went to Charlotte, North Carolina, for the first major Siege event with a crowd in over two years. This was also somewhat of a disaster due to slower visa processing that was foreseen by many well ahead of the event. As such, Elevate couldn’t attend the tournament and three out of four Brazilian teams -- w7m, FURIA, and Team oNe -- had to play the LAN tournament online from Mexico City, 2,500 kilometres away. For many, this tainted what should have been a triumphant return for the esport.
August’s Berlin Major was a massive success with a super enthusiastic crowd, a full-attendance of players for the first time in years, and what is arguably the greatest ever match of Siege in the grand-final.
And most recently we had the Jönköping Major as for the second time in a row a November Major announced for Asia was moved to Sweden. The tournament took place as a part of a DreamHack event, leading to much smaller crowds and the tournament having a massive drop in viewership. This was despite the grand-final being a matchup for the ages between Shaiiko and Paluh.
There were a lot of highs and lows this year when it came to the events themselves. Hopefully with the return of an in-person SI in Montreal, a new format with fewer Majors to focus on, a new organizer, BLAST, and the further opening up of the world, 2023 would be much better.
In 2016, R6 Esports was played on PC and Xbox with best-of-two map, round robin regional leagues before a four-team Pro League Finals.
Mar. 2017 to May 2018 saw a change to a GSL-style regional bracket, an eight-team Finals, and the introduction of both the LATAM and APAC regions.
June 2018 to April 2020 had double-round robin, best-of-one regional leagues and saw the introduction of six-month seasons, yearly Six Majors, and four annual Six Minors.
Most recently, the ESL Pro League was replaced by a primarily FACEIT-run Global Circuit tournament with three 16-team Six Majors per year and the split of NA, APAC, and LATAM into sub-regions. This was by far the biggest change and the only one that evolved over time with, for instance, the removal of the Canadian Division and reorganisation of APAC South.
In Dec. 2022, the fifth version of Rainbow Six’s ecosystem was revealed. 2023 onwards would include two annual Six Majors and nine total regions, including the official introduction of MENA, all primarily run by BLAST.
What do you think will be the biggest stories in 2023?
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