How an unlikely defense helped defeat the best team in Rainbow Six Siege

Season 7 of the Rainbow Six Siege Pro League came to a head on Sunday during the finals in Atlantic City, pitting three-time champions PENTA Sports against challengers Team Liquid. Viewers weren’t surprised by PENTA’s strong showing leading up to the finals, but there was palpable excitement in the crowd over Liquid’s shot at winning the first championship for Latin America.

This is what made match two on Border such a big deal. After a disastrous first match on Bank that left Liquid with not a single round in their favor, their chances on Border were looking grim. But because this is Siege, what seems set in stone tends to be smashed open with a hammer. Liquid came into Border strong, securing a 4-1 lead early on. They only needed to win one more round, but a second wind from PENTA quickly brought that score to an even 4-4 overtime. Liquid knew Border was PENTA’s map, and they also knew how they like to attack it.

Going into the first overtime round, they decided to try something different.

It’s important to know that when it comes to the Pro League, sites are typically defended in one or two ways that best fit the current meta. So, on Liquid’s defense of the Armory Lockers area, the casters, viewers, and PENTA expected a standard set up designed to focus coverage on the south balcony walls with vision into the Archives and Office in case of a push from those directions.

Instead, Liquid did the opposite. Their defense echoed setup strategies of old. They had a special mind game up their sleeve. Liquid set up mostly in the Office and Archives, leaving the sensitive Locker site vulnerable with only S3xyCake on Echo to fend it off. Liquid then reinforced only part of the large east wall in Office, to the casters’ confusion and skepticism. But to Liquid’s ziG (playing Valkyrie), that “overlooked” wall was the bait. PENTA approached the office wall with three of its members ready to push in while one covered the nearby window.

A few seconds after Thermite had blown down the wall, ziG went for the runout on the window and was able to instantly take out the Thermite and IQ before getting gunned down by the third. A few seconds later, PENTA’s star player Pengu, pushing from the same window he has confidently fragged from in the past, gets gunned down by Smoke, anticipating this exact moment.

PENTA's Fabian and Kantoraketti were frazzled. It was early in the round, and they were left with a 2v4. With no more drones to scout locations, the pair launched a final push into Archives, and were almost able to redeem their mistakes. With Kanto down and Fabian in a 1v3, he quickly picked off the head of a crouching Jager before meeting his end by way of S3xyCake, who had been patiently waiting on the vulnerable western flank in case of a push.

It was an excellent round that showcased how effective it can be to switch things up on a team that tends to attack in predictable (yet effective) ways. It wasn’t the most defensible strategy on its own, but one that worked perfectly against the players they had studied leading up to this point.

Liquid’s win here gave them momentum to eventually win in overtime and take PENTA to a final showdown on Consulate. And in a reversed fate of the first match, Liquid won over PENTA with an overwhelming 5-1 lead. Liquid took the stage as the first champions for their region in the game’s history, and the crowd was all about it.