Soniqs, M80, DarkZero, and Spacestation have secured their spots for the Six Major Atlanta, and we will analyze the campaign of each of these teams and their expectations for the world tournament.
The North American team is back for another international tournament, but this time with a better advantage: a direct qualification to the second phase of the Six Major. Soniqs didn't have a great start to the season. In the first week of games the team played three matches, lost two, and won one — raising concerns in the community about their performance in the competition and their ability to once again participate in the world tournament. However, as it's often said in these competitions, the most important thing is securing a spot in the playoffs.
During the playoffs, the team had a good campaign, defeating Oxygen 2-0 and DarkZero 2-1. As a result, Soniqs secured a spot in the top 16 in the world for the season, which was already a significant achievement. To cap off this continental period, the team also defeated M80 in the grand final and secured the title. It was an excellent campaign following the tragic first week of the North America League.
Expectations for the BLAST R6 Major Atlanta
Since the creation of the new Soniqs lineup, there’s been a lot of expectation surrounding the team, given the presence of renowned players. The Six Invitational 2023, the team's first international tournament with this lineup, did not yield the expected results. The North America League Stage 1 also saw the team finish in sixth place, necessitating the Last Chance Qualifier to secure their spot in the Six Major. In Copenhagen, the team showed signs of its potential, putting up a great fight against W7M in Phase 2, advancing to the playoffs and facing the world's top four. However, they were ultimately defeated by W7M, the champions.
Now, with more confidence and as a growing team, the expectation is Soniqs will compete for a spot in the top 8, the Six Major playoffs.
The Brazilian-based team secured another direct spot for Phase 2 of the Six Major, although this time with a loss in the grand final of the regional tournament. Their first phase was entirely different from the last stage, where they qualified in the last spot, finishing sixth. Afterward, they made a run for the title, much like Soniqs did this season. However, in this stage, the team lost only 2 games, one of them in overtime against Wildcard, the sensation of the competition.
During the playoffs, the team had one mission: win a single game to secure their spot in the most important international tournament of the stage. They achieved this on the first attempt, defeating Wildcard again in a very close match. However, in the grand final against Soniqs, the team suffered a turnaround settling for second place in the regional tournament. But for M80, what mattered most was securing a place in the second phase of the competition.
Expectations for Atlanta
The team arrived at the Six Invitational 2023 with a new lineup and managed to finish in the top 8 in the world. After the competition, they decided to make some significant signings, bringing in William “Spoit” Löfstedt and David “Iconic” Ifidon. In the first edition of the North America League, they faced some initial struggles in achieving results, but they quickly resolved them. However, at the Six Major, M80 once again had a tough start, with no victories and 2 losses, putting their tournament life on the line in every subsequent match, and eventually, they couldn't survive.
But this season, the team appears to have even better emotional resilience, as seen during the Gamers8 offseason, where they finished second, losing the final to Team BDS. The expectation is M80 will secure a top 8 spot and compete for an unprecedented title.
DarkZero had a great group stage, with five wins in eight games. However, they narrowly missed out on the top spot by just one point, setting up what would be the toughest semifinal match in terms of the bracket. They would face the winner of the match between the third and sixth-placed teams.
In the playoffs, they indeed faced the toughest series— battling it out against Soniqs, where DZ managed to take the lead with a convincing victory on the map Border. However, the tables turned on the two new competitive maps: Consulate and Nightlaven Labs. With the loss, DarkZero still had a chance to qualify for the Six Major Atlanta but now in the first phase, which would make it a bit more challenging.
In the match for their spot against Wildcard, a tragic incident took away the possibility of a fair match and dimmed the excitement of the game. The opponent player's father, Bryan “Merc” Wrzek, had passed away, and understandably, he couldn't participate. Wildcard brought in Jason “Beaulo” Doty, another world champion from TSM, as a substitute, but it wasn't enough. DarkZero secured the victory and their qualification in a match that could perhaps have been played under better and fairer conditions for both teams.
Expectations for Atlanta
In the last Six Major edition, the team was eliminated with only one victory, against Team Falcons; a lower-tier regional team, in the first match of the second phase. Subsequently, the team faced two top-level regions in the global scene, Soniqs from NA, as well as Ninjas in Pyjamas, and Team Liquid from Brazil. It was a below-expectations performance from DZ, but it's also essential to consider that there are strong teams in the current competitive landscape, with most of them being closely matched in skill level. So, there’s still hope for the team to improve in the global competitive scene.
Because they reached the first phase, providing content for their opponents, the team is likely to face some struggles in the competition. However, the addition of Jason “Ryce” Ngo has brought a fresh perspective and more freedom to the offensive trio, which the organization relies on so heavily — Roberto “Panbazou” Feliciano, Nick “Njr” Rapier, and Gaven “Gaveni” Black. Nonetheless, the expectation is that the team secures their spot for the second phase but might face challenges or even miss out on the playoffs.
It was a tumultuous start to the season for Spacestation, but the results came in the end. The team signed one of the top talents in the North American scene — Liam “Ashn” Paz — who had been part of Arial Arise Academy's impressive campaign during the SCS Season 7 tournament, which concluded with Oxygen winning the title by defeating Arial Academy in the final. The young star only turned 18 on September ninth, and based on the game schedule, this would equate to missing two playdays of the championship. Consequently, the team's matches were postponed to start only in the second week of games. The first week saw four losses out of six games played.
In the last week, the team secured two victories, maintaining a positive streak with four wins in their last four games. However, in the playoffs, they suffered a defeat against Wildcard despite having control of the second map, which could have been the team's victory. Afterward, they won the 5th place match against Oxygen and had an almost flawless campaign in the Last Chance Qualifier, losing only one map, in the final, to Mirage.
Expectations for Atlanta
In the last edition of the Six Major, Spacestation also started in the first phase and comfortably qualified for the second phase. However, in the second phase, despite good performances and crucial victories, such as breaking the North American teams' taboo against Fabian “Fabian” Hällsten then coaching G2, the team was surprisingly eliminated by SCARZ in what was considered an upset. SCARZ won the match 2-1 in the last game to determine the playoff spot.
In this season, the team faces similar challenges in qualifying for the Major's second phase. However, with the addition of Ashn, the expectation is that Spacestation will secure their spot in the second phase and go all out for the playoffs, with a good chance of qualification.
You can catch all the action from the Six Major Atlanta on the official R6 Twitch from October 31 through November 12.