The first day of the Six Invitational Group Stage is done and there were as many predictable outcomes as there were unpredictable ones. Each match could easily be broken down into their own full length article so I’ll try to do some short analysis of everything.
PENTA vs Vitality The first match of the day, PENTA vs. the “community vote winning” Vitality ended with PENTA taking the day with an almost perfect shut-out. Vitality only managed to win two of the twelve rounds played giving PENTA both maps easily. If you followed the scene leading up to the Six Invitational you might have heard a couple of your favorite streamers mention they were getting e-mails asking to persuade their followers to use their community votes for team Vitality. Which of course means Vitality is less a “community voted” team and more of a “bought in” team who probably doesn’t deserve to actually be there. So Vitality getting nearly shut out by a team like PENTA who earned their place in the Invitational is not the least bit surprising. This match was hardly worth playing, expect to see Vitality make an early exit from the Losers Bracket in their game against 1UP while PENTA carries on to the end stages.
Evil Geniuses vs 1UP eSport North American team Evil Geniuses (Previously Continuum) vs. German based 1UP eSport was expected to easily go to Evil Geniuses, and in the end it did favor EG, but the match was far from easy. Weirdly, the difficulty EG had with this match-up comes from the map banning phase. The only map EG looked confident on was Consulate, which was the decider map. Maybe EG is just playing some 4D chess with their map picks, but it does not bode well for them if their own chosen map gave them difficulty against a team they should have shut down. A clever PENTA team pairing off against EG today will ban Border and Consulate. As for how 1UP will fair in the Losers Bracket, it’s hard to say, but considering the trouble they gave EG they’ll be worth keeping an eye on and there’s almost no doubt they’ll beat Vitality.
Team Liquid vs. Room Factory Brazilian based Team Liquid squared off with Russian team Room Factory, which by all rights should have been much closer than it was, but Team Liquid’s resident fragger, Nesk, wasn’t having it and dropped 30 kills in 14 rounds to give Liquid the win. Room Factory fought hard all through the qualifiers to earn their place at the Six Invitational so expect to see them burn through that Losers Bracket, making an easy game of Mindfreak. Team Liquid will likewise be interesting to watch, but their method of singling out Nesk for all the kills is going to be hard to sustain moving forward against a team like Rogue.
Rogue vs. Mindfreak North American team Rogue played Australian based Mindfreak and in a result everyone had predicted, Rogue took the win in two maps. It is an unfortunate truth that the Asian-Pacific (APAC) teams are simply not on par with the North and Latin American or EU based teams. It’s hard to say why exactly APAC teams always seem to suffer in these international tournaments for Siege, but they always do. Ton of heart in APAC teams, but you can expect Mindfreak will make an early exit against Room Factory. Rogue is hard to place, they are going into this missing a key part of their roster (KingGeorge is out of this tournament for family reasons). So we’ll see if they can carry on without him, or if Nesk of Team Liquid will still be on his game.
Black Dragons vs. YeaH Gaming! Black Dragons and YeaH Gaming! took their game to the third decider map, but it ultimately ended up with a win for fan-favorite Black Dragons. Either of these teams could have secured if they both gave their A-game but it felt like neither really managed to do that. Black Dragons, for their observable pro-scene existence, have always seemed to have trouble closing out games. Once they hit match-point they seem to become their own biggest obstacles. It’s hard to imagine a team like PENTA or ENCE won’t capitalize on this if it comes down to a clutch game. Their first opponents on the 14th, Supremacy, might still take the loss though. YeaH Gaming! would be a pleasant surprise for the winners of the Losers Bracket, but I don’t expect to see them there when their first elimination match is against Counter Logic Gaming.
Counter Logic Gaming vs. Supremacy Counter Logic Gaming vs. Supremacy was an interesting match for sure. Like Evil Geniuses vs. 1UP, this game is one every Siege player should watch. Of course, it is plagued by the unfortunate Glaz meta of current, but that’s just the state of things. There were so many rounds thrown/clutched in this game that it really felt like it could have gone either way. I don’t know how these teams will fair going forward, it’s hard to imagine either of them making it to the end of their brackets, but I would damn sure love to see a rematch.
ENCE vs. ERA Eternity Our most recent champions of the Year 2 Season 3 Siege finals, Finnish team ENCE had a match with North American qualifier winners ERA Eternity. ENCE won this bout fairly easily, but ERA had put up a decent fight. The thing of note here is that a critical member of the ENCE team that won Y2S3 finals Sha77e took a position with PENTA before this tournament. His replacement, UUNO came straight off PS4 to PC just to sign with ENCE. Moving forward, we’re going to have to watch if UUNO can fill the shoes left behind by Sha77e. Perhaps more interesting to see might be if PENTA and ENCE get to square off, how much of an obvious advantage will Sha77e’s experience with his former team be worth? As for ERA, they’re likely to beat APAC team eiNs, but I’m not certain how much further they’ll go than that.
ERA Eternity vs. eiNs Brazilian based FaZe Clan and Japanese team eiNs closed off the day. As I had mentioned earlier about APAC teams, they simply don’t seem to be able to compete at the same level, and eiNs was no different. The most one-sided match of the day ended with eiNs only winning one round out of eleven. FaZe is one of those teams you could expect to go far, if they weren’t about to be stuck facing defending champion team ENCE, but we’ll have to see. Not to discredit eiNs entirely, but they have a lot of learning to do before they become real competitors and ERA should have no trouble sending them packing.
As for the production and the event itself, naturally this first day was plagued with issues. Apparently the sound hadn’t been working, resulting in frequent pauses early in the streams and the game was proving to be its normal unstable self later off. It did stabilize a bit, but concerns are already mounting that people who watch casually aren’t going to suffer through the lulls. I’m hoping they’ll have this all checked off and taken care of before the Main Event portion of the show, but we’ll have to see.
It is odd that they spent so much time at the Year 2 Season 3 hyping up their new stage for their six day event, just to have it under construction for the first half of things. There’s no audience, no crowd, and the players at their stations are sitting amid a bunch of extension cords and production equipment set up in temporary locations on folding chairs. I’d say it was disappointing, but it’s really kind of just on par for past Ubisoft live events. For Honor live events are always won by bug abusers. Siege events are always broken up by the game falling apart or a spectator bug. There is always something. But we love the game, so we deal. We deal, and we hope it’ll be better next time. I am excited to see the Main Stage, I just wish the event felt more like what was promised.