The Rainbow Six Siege 2019 invitational kicked off in snowy Montreal today, and impressed with strong showings from some of the best players in the world. It may only be the Quarter Finals, but there was plenty of passion and skill on display, and the event was an exciting taste of what’s to come over the next few days.
The snow-covered arena thundered with applause as the first two teams took to the stage, and faced off to find out who would be coming back tomorrow.
Fnatic vs. Nora-Rengo
Team Fnatic and Japanese team Nora-Rengo kicked off the Invitational on the Bank map, and both immediately started defense heavy. They were neck and neck for several rounds, until Nora-Rengo’s unexpectedly aggressive offense punched through Fnatic’s defense for an 8-6 win.
The next round was significantly less close. Utilizing some surprising strategies, Nora-Rengo pulled ahead quickly, and firmly beat Fnatic 7-1 to secure best out of three. Nora-Rengo were clearly ecstatic as they moved on to the next round amid raucous applause, their eccentric coach goading the audience on the entire time.
The first winner had been decided.
Team Liquid vs. Team Empire
Continuing the Siege tradition of bringing in players from all over the world, the 2019 Invitational welcomed the first ever Russian competitors, Team Empire. Empire faced off against South America’s Team Liquid, a consistent crowd favorite.
The battlefield was Coastline, and the competition was immediately heated. It started off with an evenly matched 1-1, but Team Liquid quickly started racking up wins, and the first map went to Liquid, 2-6.
It wasn’t looking good for the newcomer Russians, but there were plenty of surprises ahead.
The next competition took place on Consulate, and again, the results seemed to be leaning Liquid. But suddenly, after a remarkable clutch victory, team Empire pulled ahead and brought the score up to a much more exciting 1-1.The final match-up was filled with surprises, with Russian player Joystick performing incredibly well. Liquid pulled ahead on Border with a 2-0 lead, but Team Empire turned it around with a remarkable comeback, bringing the score to 6-3.
The final win was a nail biter, with a (literal) last second push by Team Empire. It was impossibly close, but the newcomers defeated Liquid, and will be moving on to the Quarter Finals. Liquid was widely thought to have the advantage on most of the maps, and seeing Empire break into the scene so triumphantly was fantastic.
Looks like Team Empire is facing off against Nora-Rengo in the semi finals.
G2 vs. Spacestation Gaming
Spacestation is a newer team, but they’ve made a remarkable showing over the year, so the outcome of this match was in no way a foregone conclusion. Europe’s G2 is often considered the best professional Siege team, so seeing these relative newcomers up against the (relatively) experienced pros was very exciting.
The first map was Clubhouse, and the ban choices were Ying, Montaigne, Valkyrie, and Maestro. Fan favorite Pengu performed well as usual, and G2 quickly pulled ahead, 2-0. G2’s onslaught continued as they reached 5-2, and then 6-3 for match point. Spacestation staged a masterful comeback to bring the score up to 6-6, and then 7-7, in an intense and unexpected overtime. Spacestation finally sealed the deal, and the two teams moved on to Bank.
G2 pulled ahead to 6-2 in Bank with some expert plays from both teams, with a particularly good showing from Pengu that took out Redeemer as the clock ticked down. G2 finally won the map, but considering they were heavily favored to win in a 2-0 wipe, the outcome was surprising, and very entertaining.
The final map was Villa, and it was neck to neck almost the entire time. Neither gave any significant ground, though G2 managed to pulled ahead 5-3. By the time the score was 6-5 in G2’s favor, Spacestation had blown everyone away with their performance.
In a tense 1-1, G2 barely managed to edge SSG out of overtime, and secured their place in the tournament. It was a no doubt difficult loss for SSG, but the fact they competed so well against one of the best teams in the world is something to be very proud of, and resulted in an absolutely fascinating viewing experience.
Team Reciprocity vs. Evil Geniuses
Last up, but by no means least, was fan favorite Evil Geniuses facing off against Team Reciprocity in the final match of the Quarter Finals. Canadian brought his A game, as expected, and both teams were locked in a back and forth battle with a variety of unconventional operators.
EG handily defeated Reciprocity at Bank, but the second map, Villa, was a particularly intense locking of horns. With a tie at 3-3, and a back and forth that continued to a 5-5, it’s hard to imagine two teams more evenly matched as far as strategy and sheer skill. After Team Reciprocity managed to pull ahead, it wasn’t a huge surprise that we ended up on a third map.
Coastline was the final map of the evening, and it wasn’t a disappointment. Both teams started off cautious, and that resulted in yet another back and forth. By the time they were 4-4, it was clear this was going to be a close match.
In what was pretty close to an upset, Team Reciprocity finished ahead of Evil Geniuses in the final map, meaning three brand new teams are going against G2 in the Semi Finals.
An exciting taste of things to come
Nora-Rengo vs. Team Empire. G2 vs. Team Reciprocity. It’s good to get some new blood on the Siege scene.
There was a remarkably strong showcase of skill on display tonight, and considering this is only the Quarter Finals, the next two days of the Rainbow Six Siege Invitational should prove to be very exciting indeed.