Stephen Dumeyer | Reporter
Many teams in sports history have been crowned with the title “Team USA,” from the ‘92 Dream Team comprised of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird among others, all the way to the US Women’s National Soccer Team that has been dominant in recent years. This weekend in Las Vegas 8 of North America’s finest Rainbow Six Siege teams faced off for the title of Team USA.
Day one started off hot in the quarterfinals with the recently relegated Susquehanna Soniqs facing the newest Pro League team, under their new org, Tempo Storm. Despite having recently fallen to a lower league Soniqs came into the match as the favorite winning 66.2% of the fan vote. The Soniqs would manage to take a 2-0 victory, but not without playing every possible round taking both Club House and Border with 8-7 scorelines. Ironically the two non-American players for the Soniqs, Alex “SlebbeN” Nordlund and Santino “Gomfi” de Meulenaere, led the way posting the two highest ratings of the game at 1.29 and 1.14 respectively (for scale, 1.00 is considered average).
The matchup that everyone was waiting for pitted two of North America’s Giants against each other in the quarterfinals. Spacestation Gaming matched up against DarkZero, who are coming off two roster changes despite finishing second in the world in Pro League Season 10 after a loss in the finals to Natus Vincere. The game was predicted to go either way as the community vote favored DarkZero by a margin of 51% to 49%. The first map didn’t seem to be close at all as Spacestation cruised to a 7-3 victory on DarkZero’s map pick, Coastline. This surprised many, including commentators and fans alike, as statistically, Coastline is Spacestation’s worst map where they muster a 39% win rate. Map two was Villa, which is DarkZero’s worst map with a 25% win rate, this time, however, the result was as expected. Spacestation took a close 8-7 win to boot the reigning world runner-ups out of USN in the quarterfinals. Bosco was the standout of the match going 25-15 across 25 rounds played while filling a support role, and placing four plants.
The third matchup of the day featured two new-look teams as Reciprocity (who recently added Zachary “Nyx” Thomas and Franklyn “VertcL” Andres Cordero) played Luminosity Gaming (who recently picked up Spencer “Slashug” Oliver). The fan vote was the most lopsided of the day with 70% of the vote going to Reciprocity, despite this, the matchup was the only of the day to go the full distance of three maps. The round-count, however, showed that despite the three maps Reciprocity was dominant, winning 21 rounds to Luminosity’s 14 to take a fairly quick 2-1 (7-3, 7-8, 7-3). FoxA was extremely versatile throughout the match as the In-game leader led his team in kills going 30-22 with an impactful 74% KOST (rounds with a kill, objective completed, rounds survived, or rounds where he was traded upon his death; average is considered to be 65%)
The fourth and final quarterfinal match was between Team SoloMid (TSM) and Evil Geniuses. Evil Geniuses has become much weaker since the end of Pro League Season 10 as they lost leading fragger Emilio “Geoometrics” Leynez Cuevas who was replaced with former coach Aaron “Gotcha” Chung. TSM swept in on the available Geoometrics and added them to their roster. However, they had to play without support player and mastermind Owen “Pojoman” Mitura due to visa issues preventing him from being able to play, however, he was able to assume a coaching role for the weekend. Pojoman was replaced by Timothy “Timzy” Perez who filled his support role by putting down 6 plants in the game which was only one less than all of Evil Geniuses combined. Despite the hard support played Timzy did go 8-23 (-15) in the kill department which was less than ideal. That wasn’t a problem for TSM as he was balanced out by the efforts of Matthew “Achieved” Solomon who went 34-18 (+16) achieving (no pun intended) a 90% KOST, the highest mark in any match throughout the weekend.
The first semi-final was between Spacestation Gaming and the Susquehanna Soniqs. Both teams performed well enough to make it to this point, but most people knew which way this matchup was destined to go. Spacestation won the community vote taking 92.7% of all votes, the largest margin of the weekend by 22.8%. Spacestation took the first map of Club House 7-3 in quick fashion. Map two of Coastline proved more difficult as it was statistically their worst map. They overcame this to take a 7-5 victory on the map and confirm the community’s speculations. While playing support and being the team’s In-Game Leader, Troy “Canadian” Jaroslawski, amassed a 1.66 K/D ratio and the second most kills on his team to give him a rating of 1.31, the highest of the match.
The second game of the day featured Reciprocity and TSM, this community vote was, understandably, closer, but not that much closer. TSM won 69.9% of the fan vote, the second-highest of the weekend next to the first semi-final. This time though, the fans would be wrong. Timzy did pick up his performance from day one but across 20 rounds TSM’s newest star, Geoometrics, could only manage 5 kills to go with 15 deaths. This led to the fastest game of the tournament with Reciprocity taking a swift 2-0 (7-2, 7-4) victory. Gabriel “Laxing” Mirelez set a weekend high 1.57 rating while putting up 23 kills on only 8 deaths alongside 2 clutches. This overshadowed the fifth-best single performance of the weekend by Laxing’s teammate Nyx who put up a 1.40 rating going 21-13. The two combined for 44 kills and 21 deaths which are above a 2 K/D ratio to pair with both players being above 80% KOST.
This was the moment everyone had been waiting for a Best of Five matches between the two best teams throughout the whole tournament for the title of “Team USA.” 69.6% of fans predicted Spacestation would top Reciprocity due to the unstoppable nature and adaptability of their play based on their opponents. Reciprocity is on the other end of the spectrum they fight for kills and play loose and free with little to no strategy most rounds. This proved to be detrimental for them in the first 2 maps as they quickly dropped Club House and Consulate 7-2 and 7-3, respectively. Spacestation looked unstoppable as many teams have when lead by Canadian, however, he’s never been able to finish the big one. He is famously known for blowing a 2-0 map lead to Penta (now G2) at the Six Invitational 2018 and more recently being on triple match point against Team Empire in the Pro League Season 9 finals. The best of three matches against the newly dominant Russian squad of Empire saw Evil Geniuses (then lead by Canadian) take Map one and then take a 6-3 lead on Oregon. With three chances to take home the trophy all 3 defenses of the same site failed forcing overtime and eventually another map, which Empire went on to win. Now Canadian was faced with both of these, a 2-0 map lead and a 6-3 lead with three chances at a trophy. The map was Bank, a map Reciprocity is quite proficient on, and a map that saw them win three straight attacks on to the basement go successfully to force overtime. It seemed like all of Canadians past mistakes were being made again, so what does he do. He defends the same site for a fourth straight time. To most it was a head-scratcher, Spacestation had won 2 of the 3 rounds they defended other sites, why go back to the site you’re 0-3 on? This was an answer that Canadian knew as the won the defense and then the oncoming attack onto the same site. He had broken the curse, won $65,000, and the title of “Team USA.” The success came off an impressive supporting role by Canadian who put down 9 plants (a tournament-high) and all five players on Spacestation sporting a rating of 1.00 or higher throughout the match.
So, what’s next?
For now, this is the end of the United States Nationals. Qualifiers will begin again in April of 2020 to start the long road to crown a new “Team USA” come next December. In the meantime, there are much bigger events and prize pools to be had. Qualifiers for the Six Invitation begin in all regions this week and will set the field for the Six Invitational 2020 in Montreal from February 7th to February 16th, where 16 Teams will battle it out for a prize pool of at least $2,000,000. Also, the next season of Pro League begins on January 6th to start the next 6 months of competitive play at the game’s highest levels. Most of the action can be seen on twitch.tv/rainbow6 and overflow games game be seen at twitch.tv/rainbow6bravo
All fan vote and map statistics were acquired from Strafe Esports.