Rainbow Six: Siege, one of the most successful team-based action video games, celebrated the start of its fifth year with the Six Invitational 2020, running Feb. 14–16. The best 16 teams in the world competed for a $3 million USD prize pool at the Place Bell arena in Laval. Teams had to win a three-match series for the chance to play on the main stage in front of a combined audience of over 200,000 watching online and in the stadium.
Rainbow Six pits each team of five players against one another in the alternating roles of an attacker, who must defuse a bomb, and a defender, who work to prevent the bomb from being defused.
With players from all around the world, teams qualified for the Six Invitational by winning smaller tournaments in their home countries. The top 16 teams globally then entered a group stage of the tournament. From there, the two best teams from each of the four groups proceeded to the next round. The eight winning teams competed in a double-elimination bracket, where losing back-to-back games resulted in being knocked-out. These initial rounds saw some unexpected early exits and victories, with underdogs such as Australia’s Fnatic eliminating former world champions such as G2 Esports and Team Empire.
On the main stage, Brazilian team Ninjas in Pyjamas dominated the tournament, eliminating DarkZero and Team SoloMid. These two teams with American and Canadian players, along with the French BDS Esport, were favoured to win. Entering the finals, Ninjas in Pyjamas faced a disadvantage against the American Space Station Gaming, having come from the losers bracket to now face an undefeated team. Space Station Gaming had a one-point lead in the best of five matchup; however, this deficit did not prevent Ninjas in Pyjamas from winning two of the five rounds to set up the match point. Space Station Gaming fed off the energy of their loyal fans cheering from the stands. The players, worried about their imminent defeat, paused to deliberate strategy, resulting in a brilliant comeback and a million-dollar grand prize for Space Station Gaming.
Although the event centered on the professional teams competing, there was much more to see around the venue. This was the largest gathering of the Rainbow Six community in the world, allowing fans to meet all their favourite players. Outside of the stadium, attendees could hang out with their favourite YouTube personalities and greet members of their preferred professional teams. Sponsors of the event also set up various computers, giving casual players a chance to experiment with the manufacturer’s new technology and the video game’s upcoming content.
The event was a testament to Rainbow Six’s growth. With an ever-increasing number of players globally, the event celebrated much more than the professional teams that were playing. From members of the community coming together to celebrate their favorite pastime, to developers revealing their plans for the game’s next five years, the Six Invitational 2020 was a culmination of all that makes Rainbow Six: Siege great.