Rainbow Six Siege’s Six Invitational 2018: Day One of the Main Event

The arena has been revealed. The crowd has been welcomed. The Group Stage is over, and the Six Invitational officially begins.

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From all over the world, teams and their fans have collected in Montreal to find out who’s going to walk away the defining Rainbow Six: Siege champions. We won’t know the answer here until Sunday, but we can tell you who won’t be after the semi-final eliminations.

PENTA (EU) vs. ENCE (EU)
I just want to start off saying Pengu of this PENTA team might be the best Siege player in the world. If you’re not sure why, just watch the very first round of the very first map of this match against ENCE. Pengu and Fabian are down 2-5 and with a little help from Fabian getting a kill himself, Pengu manages to clutch and pick up four kills to set the pace for the day.

Pengu never stopped, he kept getting nitro cell kills and successful defense holds. The kid is just a one-man fortress, totally impenetrable by this ENCE team. He hit 10 kills on Round 6.

That’s not to say ENCE didn’t make an appearance, UUNO pulled his weight, sometimes seeming like he was intentionally hunting Sha77e, the ex-ENCE player he replaced who is now a member of PENTA. But PENTA stayed calm, clearly not feeling threatened by ENCE even when they’d land a win and the map went 5-2 to PENTA.

The second game on Consulate did not bode well for ENCE. Like I, and many others, have always said, Consulate is home turf for PENTA. There is no map in the game they’d rather play you on when a championship is on the line. It’s hard to imagine why ENCE let it slip through. Perhaps they asked themselves “Would we rather try a map we’re unsure of like Coastline? Or face PENTA on their main, but maybe predictable, Consulate?” Or maybe there was a reason ENCE let this map slip through, maybe they’ve developed a counter-strat for PENTA.

ENCE managed to take the first round due in large by stalling for time. The roamers won their firefights against the PENTA hunters who came gunning for them and stalled out the main push. PENTA would win the next few to put it at 3-1 and it looked like momentum had swung their way, but ENCE managed to stop the bleeding and win another round putting it at 3-2 thanks to Pannari picking up three solid kills.

The early attacking set-up of Round 6 looked really good for ENCE. Willkey got a key shock drone hit on a Black Mirror set up by Pengu to expose his teammate Joonas who was playing behind it. Still five alive for both teams, but PENTA had to cede so much ground to ENCE just from their smart use of gadgets and positioning. Unfortunately when it came down to the firefights, ENCE could not seem to land their kills and PENTA, with their backs against the wall, landed every impact kill they needed to tuck the round away.

Round 7, ENCE tries to defend the garage of Consulate to stay alive. Early frag trades leave Joonas and Pengu alone against three surviving ENCE players, but Kanto ended it quickly with a flank from above. Round 8 and ENCE are still facing elimination when Pannari and Kanto manage to show PENTA how to properly attack the Consulate Garage and pick up all five kills on PENTA in a window of about 8 seconds.

Overtime Round 1, and ENCE looks sloppy. Not checking his corners, UUNO jumps into the Admin Office objective site and begins planting the defuser about three feet to the right of the enemy Sha77e who gets the easy kill. With defuser stranded and ENCE without any man power remaining, the round is basically handed to PENTA.

OT Round 2. An early pick onto the Bandit played by Pannari did not look promising for ENCE and before you knew it the frag trades popped up, and ENCE had dropped to just Willkey who could not face the brutal accuracy of a Joonas running Glaz. A couple shots later, and PENTA had secured their spot in the Quarter Finals.

MindFreak (APAC) vs. Black Dragons (LATAM)
You know when you go into something not knowing what to expect, but knowing that it’ll be good no matter what? That’s what it was like heading into this match. As a USA native myself, I have no horse in the race between an APAC and LATAM team, but both are regions I want to see do well in the face of a regularly NA and EU dominated scene. So when MindFreak who have had a surprising performance in this tournament, and Black Dragons who are an exceptional team always, get to square off in a tournament setting, it’s nothing but pure hype.

Map one and we’re looking at another Consulate game. Black Dragons take the first round by stalling the attack of MindFreak with a successful roam game on defense. When tasked with their attack on round two, Black Dragons looked super confident just charging into the building with very little attacking set-up. Julio immediately picked Blitz and took a solo push to chase some roamers. By the time he got assistance from a teammate MindFreak already had them pegged with a nitro cell. After a double kill in one explosive, MF took the easy clean-up for a simple defense win.

So far, Black Dragons has stalled for time and MindFreak got a win by attrition. Not what you’d expect from this match-up. Round three looked almost similar with Black Dragons not doing their normal aggressive style and securing the defensive win by waiting for MindFreak to make a bad move on their attack. At this point, you’ve got to figure MindFreak have clued in on the approach Black Dragons is taking. They’re playing counter to their usual strategy to keep MindFreak off their game. It’s an easy adjustment, you know BD is going to give you the time, get your set-up finished and make a calculated push and you’ll convert those attacking wins.

Adjusting their attack strategy wasn’t the only change they needed to make though as MindFreak brought a Castle against Black Dragons, who are a predominately Glaz running team, and Glaz is an almost direct counter to Castle. After ripping down the Armor Panels with a couple of shots from Glaz, the first three kills came easy to BD. The objective cleanup which followed was swift. MindFreak has to collect themselves, expect a “usual” Black Dragons attack and adjust for this new defensive style, they’ve had plenty of rounds now to learn and make the change.

But they don’t, and PZDD of Black Dragons is able to burn two and a half minutes off the three minute attacking timer of MindFreak before cleaning up the kills as they make a sloppy and desperate push. PZDD, not one to let the momentum die, spends their next attacking round like a coiled cobra waiting to spring. He walked up to objective with Ying’s Candelas in hand. Tossed them right at the central area of MindFreak. Blinded everyone, sprinted inside, and just shot everyone in the face. Consulate goes to Black Dragons.

Map two and we’re heading to Oregon. First round and MindFreak brings Castle again. BD didn’t bring a Glaz this time, bu the armor panels had zero effect anyway. PZDD on the Twitch and Julio on the Blitz just pushed the roamers and Objective respectively. While the roaming Castle managed to burn some of the time off the Black Dragons squad, it was hardly worth it.

Again letting time burn down until they make a sloppy push, MindFreak let Black Dragons take it 2-0 on the second round with another bad attack. Fortunately on their next defense they’ve finally replaced their Castle with a real roamer, Ela. Made no difference though as Black Dragons took the third round without a single death. Round four went to BD as well with, yet another, poorly timed attack by MindFreak. With a 5-0 it looked like MindFreak was going to lose in the first 20 seconds of the round. A three on five at about thirty seconds gone in the round. With plenty of time and the man advantage, Black Dragons took the second map easily.

Let this be a lesson in adaptability to all you Siege players out there. If you don’t change your strategy, you don’t win the day. MindFreak refused to alter and of 11 rounds played, they only won 1. Black Dragons will be facing PENTA in the semi-finals.

FAZE Clan (LATAM) vs. Evil Geniuses (NA)
We head straight into Club House, a map we hadn’t seen yet today. FAZE took the first two rounds, first as an attacking squad, second as defenders. An interesting strategy they employed was opening the dirt tunnel hole on EGs basement Armory defense. Necrox always plays Smoke in that tunnel to stall attacks in that direction, but it’s hard to get intel as a defender on that tunnel entrance. By opening the hole as an optional rotation rather than a direct push, FAZE were keeping Necrox holding tunnel waiting for the push, but only actually taking that direction as an audible route. A very telltale sign that FAZE had done their homework coming into this match against Evil Geniuses.

The third round, FAZE did their audible route on dirt tunnel again, but it actually worked against them. When Ying pushed the dirt tunnel, the rest of the attacking squad was out of position. With BC, Yung, and Canadian each picking an attacking angle and taking the kills while they pushed, FAZE couldn’t get the trades back and lost in a really bad push. The crowd lit up after Evil Geniuses got the win and you could almost feel the momentum tilt their way. Some bad Echo play in the fourth round by Gohan of FAZE allows EG to get a defuser plant right under the Yokai drone which was distracted by using the sonic bursts on the irrelevant Glaz being played by Necrox. This round should have been 3-1 FAZE, but Gohan totally blew it in the impact moment.

Round five and Cameraman of FAZE had a big push, but his assault was basically cancelled by a Yung of EG who shut him and two of his teammates down. Mav of FAZE looked to pick it up in the clutch as Glaz who managed to get the plant down on an EG team who just totally lost his position. Mav got a real sneaky pick onto the Lesion of Yung. BC, all alone, had to approach and clear this Glaz who was poised to clutch the round. Things should have gone to FAZE here, but Mav fell down the hatch in the objective floor and lost his position. While trying to rotate back to defend the difuser, BC heard him moving around and picked him off before securing the round for EG. This marks the second time in this tournament that a hole in the floor has ended the round for the attackers (the first one on Day One of the Group Stage which you can read about in our Day One Round-Up)

Round seven was a hot mess. FAZE should have won easily, they had total control of the objective after shutting down Necrox in the tunnel but Canadian covered for him and recovered the round for EG. Even after FAZE took control, then lost control of objective, they somehow managed to take it again after putting down Canadian. They started planting the defuser, but couldn’t secure it before the defending EG retook the site. Cameraman was left alone against two defenders and in a panic tried to win by attrition, but couldn’t get the kills. You gotta ask “How did we have control of the site on two separate occasions and not get the win?” if you’re FAZE in this situation.

Early Round eight and BC does his typical thing. BC is one of the best “projectile” player in Siege meaning he’s something of an expert at flashbang, gas grenades, and of course, frag grenade throws. So no surprise the round opens with a BC special getting an early frag grenade kill allowing EG to get a solid push. Yung and Mav enjoy a peek to peek fight while NVK killed every FAZE defender behind them. Only once he was the last man standing, Mav got shut down and Evil Geniuses took the first map.

Between maps you could see a shaken FAZE team. Clearly upset with themselves and each other FAZE did not look confident heading into the second game on Bank. The first round showed it too as EG took it decisively. Round two might have gone to EG as well if BC didn’t butcher a grenade toss and accidentally teamkill Yung while he was planting defuser.

Round three and it’s 1-1 EG having secured a win for themselves, and then throwing a round handing it to FAZE. All momentum for EG seemed to stop so it was up to FAZE to pick it up and capitalize on the moment. Something that EG, again, made it easy for them to do by picking a horrible objective spot on the top floor in CEO office. Bank objectives are typically basement Lockers and first floor Archives. There’s a reason for this, because on Bank there is a parking structure across from the main area of the map. Facing this parking structure are massive decorative windows into a main lobby. Through these windows you can get long angles onto the CEO office, and attackers often have better weapons for longer ranges than the defenders do. This means CEO office is extremely exposed and hard to defend to any kind of team with a degree of accuracy, which any pro team will.

FAZE is 2-1 on EG going into their defense on Round four. They picked a sensible objective location in Archives, and you gotta imagine EG was wishing they had done the same after seeing how FAZE managed to hold it with an excellent flanking roamer play. Round five follows suit with a fairly standard push and plant by FAZE. Yung should have been able to stop it, but the Yokai drone of Echo was too far away from the plating site for no real discernible reason. Just another minor error which kept EG from securing the round. Round six and FAZE manage to close it out by simply outgunning the EG squad. This whole map could have gone to EG if they just made less dumb mistakes. Fragging your own team, picking bad objectives you don’t know how to hold, and putting your plant-stopping Yokai drone in the wrong place gave up the round on three different occasions. Going into Skyscraper, EG would have to focus as this map was considered largely neutral and not in either sides favor.

Skyscraper round one of our decider map and it looks like EG is still trying a strategy of “be weird.” Canadian, a normally extremely accurate shooter, plays against his own skills by bringing a shotgun instead of an LMG on Ying. In Siege you want to get headshots as headshots are one-shot kills, but Shotguns in this game do not get headshot multipliers. So putting your best shooter on a weapon which does not benefit from his accuracy is a huge misstep and EG paid the price early.

With that first round in their pocket FAZE went on the attack for round two but Yung wasn’t having it. Everytime FAZE got control of an area, Yung would shut them down. He got three solid kills and gave EG their first win of the map.

1-1 going into round three and Canadian decided against the shotgun this time. Unfortunately EG took a lot of damage early, not necessarily dying, but not being left with much health for their push. Even Yung with the Blitz shield was in critical condition when the rest of his team died. Unable to secure the clutch, FAZE took the win here on time.

Round five and Yung with about 40 seconds left in the round manages to pull four kills as Blackbeard just hanging out on a window. The crowd got hyped, Evil Geniuses should have taken it, everything was in their favor. They had the objective locked down, but they didn’t have the defuser. All Gohan had to do was survive, and so he did. Simply in the act of staying alive, the attack round for EG was lost and Faze took the game to 3-2 facing Match Point.

Round six and FAZE can’t seem to take control of the top floor with NVK sweeping them away easily. The only thing to note here of this round is the fact that there hasn’t yet been an attacking side win on this map. Every win has been straight defense, the closest an attacking team got to winning was Yung landing four kills as Blackbeard. But round seven comes around, and Yung switched back to Blitz instead of giving Blackbeard a second try.

Now I want to compare the decision by Yung to take Blitz to the decision Canadian made early on to take the Shotgun as Ying. Why would you play counter to yourself? Yung proved me wrong though as EG got the first attacking win to put EG up 4-3 and heading into defense with Yung getting the final kill on Gohan.

Round eight. FAZE has one chance to win their first attacking round of the map to put it into overtime and keep their hopes of entering the semi-finals alive. Evil Geniuses locked down the Kitchen objective of the first floor by holding the Geisha Room on second. With verticality on their side, EG kept Faze from gaining any traction. With only one attacking round won out of eight played, Evil Geniuses sent FAZE packing and secured their spot in the semi-finals.

Rogue (NA) vs. Supremacy (EU)
Another oddity of the day, Supremacy chose the map Coastline during the ban phase. The expectation was that Supremacy had something up their sleeves or that they knew something Rogue didn’t.

The first two rounds were incredibly interesting, but hard to break down. Everything both teams did was different, despite them both holding the same site. Rogue had a very horizontal approach on their attack to get their win on round one, while Supremacy ran Zephir as a Glaz to pick kills vertically through the floor from the second Theater above Kitchen. It’s rounds like these that make Coastline a treat for spectators in this league.

After failing on first floor Supremacy took their defense to the second floor defending the Penthouse. This alteration seemed to slow down Rogue enough for Spark to make several picks as a roaming Bandit.

For Round four, Rogue stuck to their Kitchen defense, and the same troubles that plagued them the first time hit them on this attempt as well. Zephir has done his homework for this map and had no trouble finding those fine angles with the thermal scope on Glaz. After getting an early pick he had no business getting on the Bandit hiding in bathroom, the rest of the Rogue defense just collapsed leaving it 3-1 Supremacy.

Round five and Biboo lies peacefully on the floor while an overzealous Ash sprints into his position pre-firing the floor. She fired just enough shots to run out of ammo right as Biboo stands up to shoot her in the face. The rest of Rogue falls apart right after with the exception of Avian. Here’s a sign of a pro-league team, Avian ran away in the 1v4 and sat somewhere distant. While Supremacy was running around the map holding angles and trying to find where he had gone, Avian wasn’t even looking at his screen. He was using the full minute and a half left in the match to discuss with his team what just went wrong and how they’re going to adjust. Basically he took an extra time-out for the sake of future strategy. Despite losing, I think this was a brilliant job by Avian to give his team time to collect their thoughts.

Round six, Supremacy is on match point for Coastline and Rogue has a plan for this defense. Unfortunately it looked like the plan was to get picked off and give Supremacy the win. Zephir had double-digit kills in the first map and you could tell between rounds he was incredibly pleased with himself. But Rogue were cold and calm, they are ready for this.

Map two and they’re off to Kafe. Rogue has to win here to push it to Border as Border is probably their strongest map. You could almost say a win here on Kafe would guarantee Rogue a position in the semi-finals since merely appearing on Border would be a bad omen Supremacy.

Supremacy lands the first round by getting an early kill with the nitro cell through a hole in the floor to land right on the Ash by Rogue and momentum is keeping on their side. Round two went to Rogue however who weren’t about to let Supremacy run away with it.

Round three and we see Supremacy running a Castle. MindFreak should take note of this round in particular, it was a great time to take Castle. Rogue are not a big Glaz team and the objective site in question was one where not many breachers would be present to destroy the Armor Panels. This was what MindFreak were looking for and could never quite land. Overall, Rogue spent two minutes and ten seconds trying to circumvent those panels. With 35 seconds left, the defuser gets planted by Rogue and all the gunfights seemed to be in their favor as Supremacy loses the round anyway.

On round four we get to see why regional differences are a factor worth considering. The defense posted by Rogue in the Train Museum of Kafe looks so counter to the meta you would expect in the EU matches. It wouldn’t be fair to MindFreak if I didn’t call out Rogue for their Castle pick though. They should have known Zephir is a Glaz main, they just watched the guy pull double-digit kills on Coastline rocking Glaz. But Rogue did something MindFreak could not, and managed to secure the win despite Supremacy having the perfect counter-ops.

Round five and Supremacy channels their aggression into a Bandit run-out to pick off Canadian before he can make a difference in the game. Rogue managed to get the trade though and follow it up with a kill of their own. Left two men down, Zephir goes for yet another run out, but Rogue learned from their mistakes and kept him down. The main throw of the round here however was by Brid. Brid looked away from the Candelas of Ying on her push, but turned back to peek too slowly. If he had been quicker, he would have had a gun to the back of two Rogue players. Instead he turned too slowly and got shut down costing his team the round and putting Rogue on match point.

Round six and Rogue is demonstrating perfect patience in counter to Supremacy and their aggression. Rogue gave up no ground late into the Supremacy attack and despite all their set-up, Supremacy got shut down putting the score to 1-1 and heading into Border.

As I had said earlier, Border belongs to Rogue, but it’s not like Supremacy laid down and let it die. Round one and Supremacy managed to hold their defense extremely well using the clock to their advantage. Round two, Rogue got picked apart on their defense with Avian missing a critical shot that could have kept them alive.

Round three and we see Rogue finally take their first win. Supremacy tried an odd defense on the first floor that didn’t quite work out for them as they gave up the top floor to Rogue who simply reigned down and opened too many other horizontal angles. Round four and Rogue again adopts their patient defense while Supremacy struggles to cope. They tried to emulate the death from above approach but a powerful flank by Avian tied the round count to 2-2.

Two rounds to each team and Supremacy not having a solid strategy for Border has started to become obvious. Their defensive objective selections are not the kind you’d make in a tournament with higher caliber players like this. As you can imagine, Rogue capitalized on their mistake and put the score to 3-2 despite a surprisingly close attempt by Supremacy.

Round five and as the timer ticks down to 40 seconds the Supremacy attack just begins. Adapting their aggressive strategy to the patience of Rogue, Supremacy finally pulled together around a kill hungry Brid who splintered the defensive effort to get his team to tie the game at 3-3.

Zephir dies early as the biggest anchor a defensive team could have, Smoke, on round seven. The rest of Supremacy fell apart after losing Zephir with Brid only managing to pick up one kill on Rogue to keep them from getting a flawless round.

Match point for Rogue and it all comes down to Supremacy trying to figure out their attack on Rogue. Brid dies early to Eclipse on Ela who just kept snaking around the map to pick up another kill on Biboo. One minute left in the round and Zephir and Spark put Eclipse down but Slashug is there to get the trade onto Rafale. Zephir picks off Avian just doing Glaz things, but Slashug in keeping with that traditional Rogue patience waits for Spark to make a move his way. Slashug takes the double on Zephir and Spark and closes the day with Rogue moving forward, and Supremacy going home.

 

Semi-Finals

PENTA will be facing off against Black Dragons in an EU vs. LATAM semi-finals. Last time Black Dragons faced off against a team with Sha77e on it they ended up second place in the Y2S3 seasonal finals so we’ll have to see if Sha77e can bring an element of familiarity with his opponents into the match. I’m expecting PENTA to come out on top here.

Meanwhile the second match will be an all North American finals between Evil Geniuses and Rogue. These two teams practice against one another so much Slashug has said in an interview “sometimes we get sick of playing against each other.” So don’t expect to see anything new or crazy here. A good solid, back to basics type of bout. It’ll be like watching two heavyweight fighters who throw technical skills out the window and just punch each other in the face a lot. I can’t pick a winner here with any level of certainty, but just to wing it, I’m going to go with Evil Geniuses. Border is supposed to be Rogue’s map, and if Supremacy can give them that kind of trouble, I gotta expect they’re not in top form. Evil Geniuses do not seem to have this problem.

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