For 16 of the teams, the Jönköping Major’s conclusion last week basically signaled the end of the 2022 campaign, but the qualifications for the Six Invitational 2023 got underway after only a week’s respite.
29 teams competed in the Open Qualifier, which got things started in APAC North and began on December 3. Due to their performances in the Korea Open and Japan League, four of the 25 teams from the all-BO1 Phase One moved on to join the four other teams that had already qualified for Phase Two.
This phase, which began on December 4, began with four BO1 quarterfinal matches. From the semi-finals on, the format changed to a BO3, and the semi-finals themselves determined which two teams would advance to the combined APAC Closed Qualifier on December 14 and 15.
Here is how everything turned out.
Talon Esports were likely the most well-known team in Phase One, which was primarily comprised of unknown tier-three and lower teams. The teams they were competing against included ENTER FORCE.36, Kyohei #Take Koyama’s new team, Team Northeption, IGZIST, and Lag Gaming from the Japan League.
In a disaster, IGZIST was drawn to play Northeption in the first round and was eliminated, while Lag Gaming performed poorly and fell to DELTA eSports in the second round.
Talon, meanwhile, breezed through Phase Two qualification with only four rounds lost in their three games. Additionally, ENTER FORCE achieved qualification after defeating a spirited challenge from DELTA and the Japan Open team GyoGun.
Northeption, who lost just one round in each of their second and third games combined, and the unidentified players on System, who received a first-round bye, joined the two.
The following day, FAV gaming, PANTHERA, Fnatic, and DWG KIA joined the four teams from Phase One in the second phase. On December 14 and 15, there were only two games separating each team from a spot in the APAC Closed Qualifier.
FAV’s poor 2022 campaign continued with a 5-7 loss to ENTER FORCE, and Talon Esports’ winning streak was broken by their countrymen on DWG KIA by the same score. Meanwhile, Team Northeption was forced into a maximum overtime period in their victory over PANTHERA, while Fnatic easily defeated System 7-2.
One of the concurrently played semi-finals came to a conclusion just a few rounds after the first map of the other. Despite their impressive start and strengthened team, which included Take from REJECT, ENTER FORCE was easily defeated 7-1, 7-1 by Northeption.
In the opposite semi-final, DWG KIA defeated Fnatic 7-4 after the first map, which included both teams from the Berlin Major. The new Stage 3 Fnatic team, though, kept making the advancements that had made it successful in the Japan League and APAC North.
They prevailed 7-5 in a tight map two to hold DWG KIA at bay and force the Clubhouse match as the deciding factor. On their debut, the Koreans defeated the reigning global champions Ninjas in Pyjamas twice on a map that had previously been a stronghold for them. In a 7-4 victory, Fnatic advanced to the Closed Qualifier and dashed DWG KIA’s chances of competing in the Six Invitational again.
After three overtime maps, Team Northeption won the grand final 2-1, establishing themselves as the best Japanese team and earning the top seed for the APAC North Open qualifier.