Gamers8 is back for 2023 and will fill the void left in the Rainbow Six scene by the off season post-BLAST R6 Major Copenhagen 2023. Featuring a number of great teams, a prize pool larger than the Six Major and individual awards for players, here is everything you need to know about the Saudi event series, with the 2023 addition set to start on July 13. We will also take a look back at Gamers8 2022, to give new fans a taste of what to expect from the Saudi event.
What is Gamers8?
Gamers8 is a tournament series in partnership with the Saudi Esports Federation and is self-proclaimed as "the world's largest gaming and esports event." In addition to the competitions, the event also features shows and exhibitions to help boost the profile of esports in Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi Esports Federation was established in late 2017 with the intention of promoting games in its country and region, aiming to "develop all levels of competitive gamers, starting with the grassroots community." The federation has already organized several national and international tournaments, working to attract fans and international interest into the developing region.
Tournament Location and Period
Gamers8 tournaments are indeed held in Saudi Arabia, more precisely in Riyadh, "the heart of Saudi Arabia." The tournament does not take place over the course of the year, but during a specific eight-week period, creating one big event between July and September across a variety of competitive games.
A total of $45 million USD in prize money will be distributed among 15 games. The financial highlight is the Riyadh Masters 2023, taking place from July 19 to July 30. The Dota2 tournament will have a prize pool of $15 million USD in total.
For Rainbow Six, last year's prize pool in 2022 was $1.2 million USD, but this year, they received an increase of $800k USD, bringing the total amount to $2 million USD, a massive prize pool for the esport.
Format in Rainbow Six: Siege
In Rainbow Six: Siege, the slots are divided by region: two slots for LATAM (one invite and one qualifier), two slots for Europe (one invite and one qualifier), two slots for North America (one invite and one qualifier), two slot for APAC (qualifier for the 2023 edition) and two slot for the host country (invite for the 2023 edition).
The eight teams will be divided into two groups, with teams facing off in the traditional GSL format that is common in the Rainbow Six scene.
Looking Back at Gamers8 R6 2022
Now let's take a look at Gamers8 R6 2022 to get a feel for what we can expect from this year's addition.
- Team BDS (France)
- Team Liquid (Brazil)
- DAMWON (South Korea)
- TSM (North America)
- Team Falcons (Saudi eLeague Champion Invite)
- MIBR (Brazil) The Brazilians defeated FaZe Clan in the grand final of Gamers without Borders SA
- Spacestation (North America) The North American team qualified through Gamers without Borders NA, winning seven maps and losing only one against Parabellum
- Wylde (Germany) The European team secured their qualification through Gamers without Borders EU, where they had to defeat all three teams in the competition, including the final against Rogue, who would later become the Six Major Berlin champions.
Among the eight participating teams, things were easiest for DAMWON, who had already qualified for the Six Major Berlin. That lighter atmosphere also extended to Wylde, a team who had only competed in tier two tournaments in Europe up until then, as well as to Team Falcons, the local team participating in their first international tournament.
The rest of the teams were immense under pressure due to not qualifying for the Six Major Berlin, with some playing their last tournament featuring that lineup, and others already playing with a completely new roster.
Team Liquid was one of the teams under pressure to perform after failing to qualify for the main Stage tournament. Their debut was far from ideal, with an impactful 14-2 scoreline against Wylde, who despite having two world-class stars, Maurice "AceeZ" Erkelenz and Lukas "Korey" Zwingmann, didn't deliver the expected result for their fans. However, the team managed to defeat DAMWON in a close match as well as NA team, Spacestation, who played the tournament with a sub in the form of Lorenzo "Dexter" Albiero in place of Alexander "Skys" Magor.
In the other group, Team BDS dominated completely, qualifying without losing a single map against Team Falcons and TSM. The North Americans of TSM played with player Nick "Snake" Janis substituting for Brady "Chala" Davenport, someone who would go on to play for TSM on a permanent basis despite the poor result.
MIBR also continued to struggle at Gamers8 2022, with the Brazilians being knocked out in the group stage, with this poor showing coming after they had already missed qualifying to two previous international tournaments.
The highlight story of the competition came from Team Falcons. The local team was not well known to fans, which led to the wrong impression they would be an "easy" opponent. On the contrary, the team delivered outstanding performances, defeating the Brazilians from MIBR and also TSM with Jason "Beaulo" Duty to secure their spot in the playoffs, something that was already a tremendous achievement. In the semifinals, Falcons faced the first-place team from Group A, Wylde. In a tightly contested match, including overtime on the last map, the MENA team secured their spot in the final, showcasing their potential to the world.
For the grand final a rematch against Team BDS awaited them. The French team reached the grand final after a close match against Team Liquid, (8-6 on the Oregon map and 8-6 on the Bank map.) Once again, it was a highly balanced game that could easily have gone either way. On the first map of the final, Bank, the game was ultimately decided in the last round, resulting in an 8-7 victory for Team BDS. The same scoreline repeated on Villa, the second map. Finally, on Oregon, the advantage was slightly greater: 7-5, but still maintained a frightening closeness with the upstart Saudi team impressing many.
After the tournament, Team Liquid and Team BDS made changes to their rosters, qualified for the Six Major once again, and faced each other in the grand final, with the French team emerging victorious.
Along with teams taking home very healthy paychecks for finishing well, Gamers8 2022 gave out a number of individual awards.
The tournament awarded prizes in four specific categories. The two smaller prizes were for Highest KOST, won by Yannick "Caneo" Martin from Wylde, and Most Kills, won by Abdul "oKillz" Saloum from Team Falcons. Both players received $25,000 USD each for these achievements.
The Best Highlight award was also won by "Caneo". The Swiss player earned the prize for a great play in the match against Team Liquid during the group stage, earning $50,000 USD.
And finally, the most important prize of the competition, Most Valuable Player went to French player from Team BDS, Stéphane "Shaiiko" Lebleu. He had an outstanding performance and won $100,000 USD, which is even more than what all the teams eliminated in the group stage received.