Four great stories on the way into the Swedish Major – SiegeGG
Shikhar Gupta: The first event with four APAC teams
That’s right, Sweden Major will be the first event ever that four APAC teams will participate in. It seems a bit absurd that this has never happened before, especially since APAC has been in the professional circle for four years. But with Pro League finals allowing only two APAC teams, and the corresponding Majors and Six Invitationals only having one more APAC team, most of what we saw before the pandemic was hit by three teams.
But while the format changed in 2020, the pandemic restricted Oceanic teams from participating. Six Invitational 2021, which should have seen Wildcard Gaming, had only three Asian teams present. The same was true of Mexico Major, where the Knights missed.
Sweden Major will be the first time that APAC will have four teams, with the Chiefs ESC granted permission by the Australian and New Zealand governments to participate. All teams present have looked very hot regionally, with SANDBOX Gaming and Invictus Gaming sinking back to the top, the Chiefs taking a huge step up with a forced IGL change, and DWG KIA continuing to improve from Mexico Major.
Although it is natural to expect more from the region in Sweden, perhaps even more than it showed in Mexico, this expectation and excitement must come with a single warning. Due to lack of leave from his national service, Invictus Jeremy “HysteRiX” Tan will probably not be able to attend. In his place, iG coach Ellis “GiG” Hindle will probably play, who is not completely unfamiliar with competitive games, but who has never played at a level close to a major.
Still, if there is one region that can always surprise, it will be APAC.
David Molina: FaZe returns to international play in what could be the Astros and cameram4s revenge tour
After an early elimination at the Copa Elite Six Stage 2, the FaZe Clan missed an international event for the first time since the ESL Pro League Season 4 Finals in April 2017. Despite their disappointing performance, the team held together and took César “Dark” Adriano as their new analyst, which did wonders: the team’s third split was one for the books as they broke the Black Dragons record 2018 for most straight wins, with the record now of seven back-to-back victories.
Such an outstanding finish on BR6 and winning the Copa Elite Six Stage 3 places the FaZe Clan as one of the favorites to win the tournament. To see that happen, FaZe must force themselves over Chiefs, Oxygen and Rogue.
Oddly enough, the Brazilian duo Leonardo “Astro” Luis and Gabriel “cameram4n” Hespanhol have storylines with all their opponents in the group stage. Starting with Rogue, when their playlist was in NA, the FaZe Clan lost to them in what was to be the painful knockout of the Paris Major group stage.
As for Oxygen Esports, Astro and cameram4n were hit by an early elimination from SI 2019 by the current OXG duo Davide “FoxA” Bucci and Gabriel “LaXinG” Mirelez.
At the same time, even though they have never faced the Chiefs, FaZe Clan has a history with Australia, as the Brazilians have been drawn together with Australian teams in three of their five appearances in major group games – with Sweden as the fourth. The record is against the Brazilians, as they lost in two of their three duels against Australian lists – all against Fnatic.
Hunter Cooke: Oxygen returns to the spotlight, making sure to make up for lost time
It was quite a long time since we saw Oxygen on the international stage. The squad did a fantastic race at the delayed Six Invitational 2021, but failed to qualify for the Mexico Major after some growing pains. When you enter Sweden, the international eye is focused on Space Station, but Oxygen will have a say during this tournament. They have a favorable group (they match well with Rogue and Chiefs), but they will have to deal with a currently steamrolling FaZe clan at some point.
The last time OXG met against a Brazilian playlist, the margins were razor sharp: MIBR beat them in a 2-0 best-of-three with 8-7 and 7-5. OXG lost to the two Brazilian teams in their SI group, MiBR and FaZe, 7-4 and 7-5 respectively. However, they played excellently against all others: Oxygen lost only three SI 2021 maps against non-LATAM lists, and they lost all three to TSMFTX. If Oxygen has improved from the last time they were on an international stage, Sweden should watch out.
Haydar Ali: New list but bigger ambitions for Vitality:
Three years and three iterations of the Vitality list later and Bastien “BiBoo” Dulac has finally qualified for yet another global event.
After taking in some of the biggest names in the European Siege for the 2020 season to no avail, Vitality released Daniel “Goga” Mazorra, Fabian “Fabian” Hällsten and Lucas “Hungry” Reich for three much newer French players earlier this year to the surprise of most of the e-sports community.
This turned out to be the change they needed, as they rose from seventh to fifth to third over each stage, finishing stage 3 just two points short of Empire in second place. In addition, Vitality currently holds the head-to-head record this year against BDS, NAVI and Empire, which shows how strong they have become despite a weak start.
Now in Sweden they are in group B together with the reigning major champion Team oNe, APAC League top team 2021, SANDBOX Gaming, and DarkZero in their first major with two-time world champion Troy “Canadian” Jaroslawski. Vitality has very little time to gain the international experience needed, but with the skill they have shown during the last stage against the biggest names in the EUL and with the best-of-one game in the first three days, they are definitely a team to look at for upset potential.