4 dark horse picks for the Six Invitational

Should some things break these teams' ways, they could make deep runs.

Screengrab via Ubisoft

Anything can happen at the Six Invitational.

Typically though, it’s a Rainbow Six Siege event won by the overwhelming favorites, even if there are teams that make incredible runs. Team Reciprocity and Nora-Rengo made it all the way to the semifinals of SI 2019 despite being mostly counted out, and Fnatic fought their way to a fifth-sixth placement in 2020.

The games aren’t played on paper and anyone can upset anyone, but there are teams that have greater upset potential than most. Each of these teams qualified for SI through their performance in their respective regional leagues in 2020, without needing to win a last-chance qualifier. All in all, there will be 19 teams representing the four regions at SI, down from 20 since Wildcard was left behind due to COVID-19 travel protocols both in and out of Australia.

The Six Invitational will kick off on May 11 with the group stage, which will run until May 16. After that, the playoff stage will begin on May 19 and culminate in the grand finals on May 23.

Only three teams will be eliminated from playoff contention during the group stage. It’s widely assumed that none of these teams below are in any danger of elimination in the group stage and should easily push through to the playoff stage.

Here are four teams that aren’t favorites that could make deep runs in the Rainbow Six Siege Six Invitational playoffs, with one from each region.

MiBR – LATAM

The MiBR roster was pillaged by FaZe Clan during the February Trade Window, but there’s reason to be excited about the new MiBR. In March, MiBR took on the entire Team oNe roster and finished second in the Copa Elite Six. They’re looking strong coming into SI under MiBR and had a good run during 2020 as part of Team oNe. Luca “LuKid” Sereno and Kaique “Faallz” Moreira had an excellent performance at the Copa Elite Six, where MiBR lost to Team Liquid, who have a chance to win the entire tournament. MiBR are absolutely capable of making a run but won’t get the fanfare that Liquid, FaZe, and Ninjas in Pyjamas will. MiBR will face challenges in their group, namely Oxygen, Spacestation, and Ninjas in Pyjamas.

G2 Esports – EU

G2 have a long history of success in Rainbow Six Siege, but due to retirements and roster changes, they aren’t the same roster that hoisted the hammer in 2019. In fact, the only player remaining from G2’s SI victory is Juhani “Kantoraketti” Toivonen. Still, this is a talented roster, even after the retirement of Niclas “Pengu” Mouritzen. Ben “CTZN” McMillan is one of the best entry players in the game, and despite recent results, this is a team with a ton of overall experience. CTZN is a Pro League Finals champion, Kanto has an SI title, and the others are decorated as well. Experience on LAN has value, and G2 have the experience to make a deep run should some things fall into place. An old EUL rival, BDS, will be on G2’s group stage menu, along with DarkZero, Cloud9, and Liquid.

DarkZero Esports – NA

DarkZero didn’t have a good NAL stage by their standards, which has taken them out of most analysts’ deep run predictions heading into SI. This is still a team that finished fifth at the past SI and stayed at a respectable level in NAL throughout 2020. Nick “njr” Rapier will make his debut on LAN, veterans Alexander “Skys” Magor and Kyle “Mint” Lander return as well. Despite the “DZ on LAN” memes, this is a strong team overall. Their success will hinge on how much njr has adjusted to his new team and how Mint has adjusted to his new role. If those struggles are sorted, DarkZero is going to be a dangerous team. A good barometer for DarkZero will be their performances against BDS and Liquid. Both teams have an aggressive style of play that DZ has struggled to adapt to in the past.

Cyclops Athlete Gaming – APAC

CAG scored a third-place finish in the combined APAC playoffs and are heading into SI with a lot of momentum. They’re going to be particularly dangerous in the best-of-one format of the group stage, and should some things break their way, they could have a deep run in the best-of-three playoff stage. Hideki “gatorada” Nishida and Sho “BlackRay” Hasegawa are excellent individual players. They have the capabilities to completely take over in best-of-ones in a way that could get CAG a high placement in playoffs. If CAG can post good results against the similarly wild LATAM teams in their group—Liquid, FaZe, FURIA, and Team oNe, to be specific—you’ll know they’re in for a breakout performance in playoffs.