Rainbow Six Pro League Season 9 Finals field wide open in Milan

Esports news

Times are changing in esports, and Rainbow Six Siege is very much an esport these days. A $2m Invitational in Montreal was the sort of thing that generates a lot of headlines and positive press the Pro League Season 9 Finals are upon us. The Pro League is the developer-run regional league system that feeds up into their showcase LAN, the Pro League finals, and the Season 9 Finals take place in Milan on May 18th and May 19th.

Due to the way Ubisoft have approached the regional weighting, it’s not quite on the level of things like a CSGO Major yet, with equal number of spots being given to regions that have never made a final and regions that have won 75%+ of all the titles in Siege history, which you can read more about here. However, this odd weighting has also meant the field is wider open than ever before, as the world’s best team failed to qualify due to hubris and laziness, and a new champion will be crowned.

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Fall from grace

Most players and observers consider the current G2 team to be the best in the world, but that hasn’t been the truth for the last few months at least. When the giant org bought out the five man roster that had won two titles for PENTA, they thought they had paid millions of euros for guaranteed success, but since then the team have dropped off a bit, and won’t be at Milan after failing to qualify. While the players claim it was due to a lack of updates to the game, it also appeared to be about complacency, and has opened the field.

In their stead, a new power has risen, with Russian outfit Team Empire dominating the European servers with their signature style of play. While G2 are known for being the most flexible, talented group we’ve ever seen, Empire play one way, and roll over their opponents regardless of what they might face like some kind of steamroller armed with guns and knives, and coming into the event they have finished top of the strongest region, Europe, and are probably favourites as a result.

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Big names missing

Since Ubisoft made a documentary a few years back, the other biggest names in the scene have been the orgs that participated in said film, and that were dominating their regions at that time. Team Liquid are a former Pro League champion, having defeated PENTA in Atlantic City at what ended up being PENTA’s last finals under that banner, while Evil Geniuses are NA’s best hope, and have met the G2/PENTA team on multiple big stages and occasions, losing all of them.

With G2 not in the running, there is no doubt that EG are threats at this tournament, and have certainly maintained their position as power players in NA. Liquid have struggled to maintain in quite the same manner, and FaZe have risen in their place down in South America, alongside the Immortals team that finished second this time around, meaning two of the three biggest brands in Siege are going to be absent from Milan.

Prediction time...

Empire come in favourites, slightly ahead of Evil Geniuses, and well ahead of the likes of FaZe and Immortals. There is no doubt the Russians have a great chance, having made it to the final of the last big LAN, and they are odds on to make the final this time around, but who they will meet is harder to predict. One thing is for sure though, with both APAC teams on the Empire side of the draw, and 75% of the Americans on the other, there is room for improvement with the format itself, either by expanding the roster of teams in attendance or weighting it more intelligently to get a higher standard of play.

Whoeover come out as champions should probably prepare themselves for a few slings and arrows of course, with G2 not in attendance and their fanbase never knowingly that gracious in defeat, but that should be ignored. Empire proved themselves the better team, as did LeStream, over the course of the regular season, and our Season 9 Champions will likely have to beat the Russians if they are not the Russians themselves, so sit back and enjoy as the world’s new best Siege team is found and crowned.

Image: ESL

Tim MastersTim joined Luckbox as an editor in 2018, having previously spent time at GosuGamers, EsportsHeaven and other sites. He currently is not at his desk.