The last two days have been filled with some unexpected, and some not so unexpected victories here at the Rainbow Six Siege Invitational in Montreal. Three new teams were up against last year’s champions G2, with only Russia’s Team Empire surviving to face off against the previous winners.
Now, on the final day of the Siege Invitational, we find out who will take home the Sledgehammer trophy, a huge cash prize, and be crowned Rainbow Six Siege World Champions. Though G2 was favored to win, there is no question that Team Empire has some new and exciting strategies that might catch the more seasoned G2 players off guard.
It’s already been an extraordinary journey for these young players, and proved to be a very exciting match.
The All Stars
Before the main event however, there was a bit of light fun to be had. An All Star game with players from all the eliminated teams kicked things off, and it was immensely entertaining. This match had a vastly different vibe from what we’d seen so far, as there’s very little on the line other than bragging rights. It may have lacked the high tension of the previous matches, but it was compelling entertainment to see all the different players together with their diverse backgrounds and skill sets.
This was pure, unpracticed fun, and the huge smiles on the faces of the players throughout the game made that quite clear.
The game started off with a melee fight outside Cafe…pretty much the exact opposite of the high levels of precision and skill we’ve seen from these teams over the last few days. All Star East won the first battle, and the second round moved inside, where everyone went after each other with Desert Eagles.
The wackiness continued as players started playing together, with one player controlling the mouse and another controlling the keyboard. Even amidst the goofiness there was still some exceptionally high level play, unfettered by pressure or a need to strategize.
The novelty game ended up with All Star West victorious after a knife fight into Overtime, but it was clear both teams were blowing off steam. Seeing these high level players really enjoy this game they’ve been spending so much time with was a refreshing change of pace, and markedly different than the high pressure matches we’ve seen so far.
The Final Game – G2 Vs. Team Empire
The All Star game was certainly entertaining, but the reason all these incredible players were here was for the final match up; the Grand Final, where returning Champions G2 would face off against the newcomers from Russia, Team Empire.
Both teams took to the stage amidst raucous applause, after a beautiful orchestral rendition of some of Siege’s best music, with the Siege hammer Trophy looming huge at the front of the stage.
It was time to get down to business.
The first map was Coastline, and Team Empire scored the first point without losing a single Operator to G2.
Probably not the way the returning champions wanted to start things off.
G2 recovered and pulled ahead however, but Empire fought back and tied the score up at 2-2. This was already closer than many were expecting. By the time the score reached 4-4, it was clear this wasn’t going to be the wipe some had foreseen. The surprises continued as Empire secured another flawless round, bringing the score to 5-4, and another to bring it to Match Point for Empire. G2 countered with an expert play, and the match wasn’t over yet. Empire refused to give up, and then we were looking at 7-7 Overtime, and then 8-8, then 9-9…then 10-10.
The map finally finished up with G2 winning 12-10. It was an insanely close match with an unprecedented amount of overtime, making it the longest match in professional Rainbow Six Siege history.
What a way to start the final game.
The second map was Border, which is G2’s least played map. That didn’t seem to matter though, as G2 quickly pulled ahead 2-0. It was looking like the momentum gained from their last victory was pushing them forward as they moved the score to 5-1. Team Empire pushed back however, and succeeded in pulling off yet another flawless victory to bring the score to 5-4. It wasn’t enough though, and despite the concerted effort, G2 pushed hard, and secured the map with a final score of 7-4.
The potential final map of the night was Bank, and things quickly tied up with a 1-1. G2 showed why they are the best as they took down Empire in the next few rounds, and closed in on their second Championship victory.
G2 seemed to find their footing as they rampaged through the Bank map, putting Empire on their heels with six wins in a row, bringing the score to 6-1. Things were looking rough for Empire, as the match point brought us near the end of the game.
G2 won the game, and the tournament, with a decisive victory of 7-1.
To the victor goes the hammer
After hard fought battles over several days, G2 emerged victorious. Though they were favored to win, nobody could have expected the longest professional match this esport has ever seen, and there’s no question that team Empire performed admirably. Considering they were relative unknowns, getting to the Grand Final, and challenging G2 in the way they did wasn’t just surprising, it was unprecedented.
Nobody managed to stand up to the well-oiled machine that was G2 however, and they emerged as the world champions yet again. Though the win wasn’t exactly an upset, there’s no question the 2019 Rainbow Six Siege Invitational was the most exciting one yet, and a wonderful tribute to this fantastic competitive game.
Looking forward to seeing if they can pull it off again in 2020.