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Ninjas in Pyjamas needed one more map to close out the series when Team Liquid put their foot on the gas, winning in over time on Clubhouse to send the grand final to Game 5. The map loss would prove to be nothing more than a speed bump in the Brazilian squad’s journey to win the Six Invitational 2021.

“We were really comfortable since we were in the same situation last year, we knew the pressure,” Ninjas in Pyjamas’ Murilo “Muzi” Moscatelli said after the match. “We were calm.”

The champions took the Map 5 one round at a time on Consulate, going up 6-0 over Team Liquid. Gabriel “pino” Fernandes and Gustavo “Psycho” Rigal helped secure clutch plays to widen their lead. Team Liquid showed some signs of life before the Ninjas finished the job to win 7-2.

Ninjas in Pyjamas, who failed to beat Spacestation Gaming at last years Six Invitational, lifted the coveted hammer soon after.

“This is our life’s work,” Muzi said. “We’ve played for this, we play in tournaments, practice everyday. It’s what we’ve been working towards.”

Ninjas in Pyjamas win the Six Invitational 2021

The Six Invitational was the first in-person event in the Rainbow Six Siege community to host teams from all pro league regions. Teams from Brazil, Italy, Russia, the United States and elsewhere met in Paris to play at the Palais Brongniart, a building that housed the Paris stock exchange.

Ninjas in Pyjamas Six Invitational
Ninjas in Pyjamas life the hammer after losing in the grand finals in 2020. | Provided by Ubisoft

“In my opinion it’s the most beautiful venue I’ve been in,” said Team Liquid’s Thiago “xS3xyCake” Reis. The teams went from traveling to immediate quarantine in Novotel Paris Les Halles where they had run-ins with rotten food. While the losers got a chance to tour Paris, teams that got deep into the invitational haven’t gotten to see much of the city.

“I can’t say I enjoyed Paris,” xS3xyCake said with a smile. “I’m locked in a hotel and just coming to the venue.”

Team Liquid falls short of victory

Despite an incredibly impressive map on Chalet where Team Liquid nearly took the series momentum, the Brazilian squad fell short at the Six Invitational. The team went on an incredibly impressive loser’s bracket run, beating out Team Empire, FaZe Clan, TSM, and MIBR before meeting Ninjas in Pyjamas in the grand finals.

The incredible performance meant all the more to Team Liquid’s Luccas “Paluh” Molina. His father passed away in the hospital over the weekend.

“It’s been hard,” he said in an emotional post-match interview after beating MIBR. “I don’t have much to say…but I know he wouldn’t let me give up and I won’t.”

Team Liquid Six Invitational
Team Liquid destroyed MIBR in the loser’s bracket 2-0. | Provided by Ubisoft

While the general belief was that all regions were mostly equal heading into the tournament, Latin America dominated by landing the first, second and third placements. TSM was the last hope for North America before Team Liquid knocked them out 2-1 in the lower bracket.

Brazil takes all three top spots at the Six Invitational 2021

“I expected most regions to be pretty close,” said TSM coach Owen “Pojoman” Mitura. “I didn’t expect the technically lower Latin American teams to be so good. They’ve done a good job proving us wrong.”

European and Latin American teams came from staunchly different competitive environments in the last year when compared to American teams. TSM, Spacestation Gaming and other North American squads have been playing out of a bubble in Las Vegas since this season of the pro league began. Other regions voted to remain online during the pandemic, despite the impact latency has on the game.

“It’s harder to adapt to the LAN, when we play at home the matches usually start at 1 or 2 p.m., here it starts 11 a.m. You need to adapt to the matches so early,” xS3xyCake said. “You wake up a little sleepy.”

Every team attending the Invitational has extensive LAN experience. The switch from online to in-person events was a little jarring for some, but they got over the jitters quickly. They were thankful they could play in-person again.

“It’s hyped, just hyped all the time,” xS3xyCake said. “It’s the vibe you know, you look at the other team, the other players and you know how they’re feeling. You can see people’s eyes.”

A power outage stops the action

The Six Invitational had its fair share of road bumps. A power issue forced one of the event’s streams to go offline, pushing two games to the following day. The teams affected would have rather played the games off-stream rather than pile multiple games into a single day.

“Fucking joke,” tweeted Spacestation Gaming coach Justin “Lycan” Woods after the delay. Teams had already picked what maps they planned to ban, revealing essential strategies to their opponents.

Six Invitational TSM
TSM finished fourth at the Six Invitational 2021; the highest placement earned by a North American team. | Provided by Ubisoft

Both G2 Esports and Spacestation Gaming, two teams that had won the coveted Rainbow Siege Siege hammer in previous years, were knocked out of the tournament early. It was clear from the get-go that a new team would take the crown this year. Few thought that Brazil would take all top three spots, except for the Brazilians.

“I thought this beforehand,” xS3xyCake said the day before knocking TSM out of the competition. “I think we’re gonna win tomorrow and then it’s 3 Brazilian teams at the top.”

MIBR, Team Liquid, and Ninjas in Pyjamas did secure the top three spots, but only the Ninjas came out in first.

Rainbow Six Siege pros head back to the Pro League

The Six invitational is the biggest and most prestigious event of the year in the Rainbow Six Siege community. Now that it’s over teams will head back to their own regions to continue competing in each respective pro league. Ninjas in Pyjamas can rest easy with the hammer and $1 million in prize money in their possession.

“We’re going to celebrate in São Paulo with my team,” Muzi said. Then we’re going to rest a few weeks and then we’re going back to the Brazlian tournaments. We love to compete.”


Aron Garst looks at esports from a different point of view by tackling the ways games are molded and broken by players around the world. He covers Call of Duty, Fortnite, Super Smash Bros, and everything else for Upcomer. You can read his previous work at WIRED, Rolling Stone, ESPN and elsewhere. Rise up red sea.


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