Another year has passed, and new stories have been written. Villains and heroes had their moments, accompanied by changes in the game's format. Let's revisit the key emotions we experienced this year in Rainbow Six in 2023.
Back to Back Six Major Champions
The first organization to secure two Six Major titles began the year without any victories. But the year 2023 was almost perfect for the Brazilian organization w7m, only halted by G2 at the Six Invitational.
After that tournament, the team made two changes to their lineup, with Júlio "Julio" Giacomelli becoming the coach of the European team MNM and Gabriel "volpz" Fernandes joining Team Liquid. In their places, Felipe "nade" Ferreira and Felipe "FelipoX" de Lúcia joined the team.
The changes surprised the community since Nade, known for his aggressive playstyle, was signed to play as support. Additionally, FelipoX, who had never worked as an IGL, was hired for that role. In theory, achieving good results with these changes seemed challenging. In practice, the team only suffered 6 defeats and secured 25 victories, an excellent performance crowned with the unprecedented feat of back-to-back championships at the Six Major.
G2, the Greatest Six Invitational Champion
In 2023, the organization who already had their name written in Rainbow Six history achieved an unprecedented feat in the most prestigious Siege competition. Since G2’s entry in 2018, the organization made a smart move by acquiring the PENTA lineup, which had been winning major tournaments consistently. In their first three major tournaments — Six Major Paris, Pro League S8, and Six Invitational 19 — they won them all.
However, after such success, the organization faced challenging times, even missing the biggest Siege competition in 2022. But in a comeback, led by a Danish player as in the past, G2 secured its second Six Invitational trophy, becoming the champion of the competition.
Big Organizations Bid Farewell to Siege
Throughout its history, several major organizations have been part of Rainbow Six: Siege, with some still active in the competitive scene, including; FaZe Clan, G2 Esports, Fnatic, Team Liquid and Ninjas in Pyjamas, among others. However, at times, Siege had organizations as big or even bigger than some mentioned earlier, such as Cloud9, Evil Geniuses, and Team Vitality. Recently, three major organizations decided to exit the competitive scene: Astralis, TSM and Natus Vincere.
Astralis left with solid results in the history of Rainbow Six, but without securing a world title. NAVI, an organization with an international title, Pro League Season 10, obtained in their first year, decided to leave Siege during a moment that fell below expectations and with a different image than what they once had. Finally, TSM, an organization who never finished below fourth place in a Six Invitational, even when announcing their departure, were the reigning champion of the most prestigious tournament in the scene.
There’s concern about whether the departure of major organizations could be a potential problem for the competitive scene. However, there is also hope that with more opportunities for organizations to hire a team capable of playing in the Six Major, some of these major names could return to the competitive scene.
New Global Calendar
The new global calendar brought both very positive and negative aspects. Starting with the positive side, the biggest tournament throughout the year has become much more democratic. There are now increased chances of qualification, including the creation of new regions. Brazil is now separate from LATAM (given the country's dominance since its inception). South Korea and Japan have become their own region. Additionally, MENA has arrived, and there's greater recognition for Asia and Oceania. These are significant points, with more teams and players in a position to compete in major tournaments.
However, the negative point is viewed unfavorably by the community; the new calendar includes a three-month period without official competitions — which can be a very long interval for players not yet in top teams struggling to pay their bills. It's also challenging for organizations to retain players without competitions, and fans might find themselves "forgetting" the game or getting used to days without matches.
The hope for 2024 is a better-managed offseason, with more "minor" tournaments and the possibility of different teams competing, including international tournaments, similar to events like DreamHack or OGA Pit in Rainbow Six's history. A three-month period without official tournaments or major actions could be detrimental in the long run.
As mentioned, MENA finally had its chance in the official Rainbow Six: Siege scene, and the region’s performance surprised everyone. In the first stage of the season, Team Falcons secured qualification for the Six Major in the initial phase. They topped their group, defeating the favorite MNM. However, in the second stage, the team didn't achieve as much success, and were eliminated without securing another victory. Still, the outcome was good, considering that one of their starters couldn't obtain a visa for the tournament. The team replaced "Jlad" with their coach Rakan "Madskills".
The runner-up of the first stage, Geekay, entered the second season with reinforcements, including the Polish player Adam "nudl" Hryceniak. They clinched the title in the second regional stage, earning their spot in the Six Major Atlanta. Similar to the first stage, the MENA representative team faced the absence of one of their starters, in this case, the Turkish player Ahmet "srsly" Hasan, but British player Jake "Leadr" Fortunato stepped in.
Like the Falcons, Geekay also qualified at the top of their group, now against the Brazilians from Ninjas in Pyjamas. In the first game of the second stage, they achieved a crucial victory against the reigning champion, w7m. The team had an excellent campaign and secured their spot in the playoffs, but in the rematch, they lost to w7m and were eliminated from the competition.
For the Six Invitational 2024, both Falcons and Geekay are qualified, with significant changes, including the arrival of coach Marlon "Twister" Mello and player Leadr at Falcons and Luke "Tyrant" Casey at Geekay.
The Great Seasonal Upset
The super team M80 had the expectation of fans to contend for the Six Major title, but failed to reach the top eight teams in the competition. While the team had significant moments in the regional circuit, directly qualifying for the second stage in both editions, it wasn't enough for them to showcase their best game.
The team was assembled with great players in their roles, but their playstyles didn't mesh well. To a casual observer, it seemed there were issues, and the individual performance of some players was far below expectations. In an interview with BLIX, Brazilian and former M80 player Leonardo "Kyno" Figueiredo commented that the preparation for the championship was good: "In the Major Atlanta, I don’t know what happened, we had 2-3 months of very good practices, everything was great, and in the tournament, nothing was going well." Read the full interview here.
These were the top six moments for Siege in 2023. We hope to have new stories, new moments, and new heroes in 2024.