T-S-M. T-S-M. T-S-M.
You can easily imagine the chants resounding throughout the arena if only there were fans in the audience witnessing TSM’s victory over Team Empire in the grand final of the 2022 Rainbow Six Invitational in Stockholm.
Despite all of TSM’s lack of results lately in esports such as League of Legends or VALORANT, TSM have been one of the best Rainbow Six teams for some time.
Over the past three years, TSM have always finished top four at the Six Invitational, which is the most important annual event in R6 esports -- the de facto world championship for the game. They went from finishing third in 2020, to fourth in 2021, to first in 2022.
For all five players on the squad, it was their first Six Invitational championship. All but Brady "Chala" Davenport had been with TSM through their run of success at the Six Invitational over the past few years. Matthew "Achieved" Solomon won the tournament MVP award with a +63 K/D. Emilio "Geometrics" Leynez joined Dylan "Bosco" Bosco and Troy "Canadian" Jaroslawski as the only North American players to have not only won the Six Invitational but also appeared in every Six Invitational since 2018. He also became the first Mexican player to win it all.
TSM finally got to lift the championship hammer this year despite only making it into the tournament as a qualifier rather than via the global standings. Four North American teams finished ahead of TSM in the global standings, which granted the top 16 teams a place at the Six Invitational. TSM finished 17th. They had to go through the North American Qualifier, where they won three matches to qualify.
At the Six Invitational they had the unfortunate luck of being placed in the same group as top European team BDS. Though BDS ended up crashing out in group play and the rest of the group wasn’t loaded with Brazilian powerhouses such as Team oNe, Team Liquid, FaZe Clan or Ninjas in Pyjamas. TSM finished third in the group, which was good enough to land them in the upper bracket of the playoffs.
In the playoffs, things got significantly tougher as they cut through a gauntlet of Brazilian teams, beating Ninjas in Pyjamas 2-0, FURIA 2-1 and Team Liquid 2-0. With Brazilian teams having won the past two majors and the 2021 edition of the Six Invitational, this looked to be the start of a promising run for TSM.
In the upper bracket final, they lost to Team Empire, to knock them into the lower bracket. Following a 2-0 win over another Brazilian team, FaZe Clan, in the lower bracket final, it was time for a TSM-Team Empire rematch in the grand final.
For a while it looked like TSM would cruise to victory in the grand final as they went up 2-0 on Russia’s Team Empire. However, with an overtime win on Oregon, Team Empire put themselves on the board, and put the possibility of a reverse sweep on the table. The fourth map also went to overtime -- double overtime, in fact. TSM ended up winning Villa 9-7 to take the series and the Six Invitational.
It was the first time in five tries that TSM beat Team Empire. For Team Empire, it was their second time finishing second at the Six Invitational. TSM’s victory was the third for an NA team at the event, including one in 2017, when two Six Invitationals were held, one for PC players and one on console.
Lead photo credit: Ubisoft / Kirill Vision