US Division Finals: Are We Just Repeating the November Major?

Once again, DarkZero, Spacestation, TSM, and Oxygen are facing each other. Ever since the August Major, we have seen... Fabio | 21. January 2021

Once again, DarkZero, Spacestation, TSM, and Oxygen are facing each other. Ever since the August Major, we have seen this quartet exclusively attend all the big events of the North American region. Now, to conclude the first NAL season, the US Division Finals are upon us. $150,000 are waiting to be split up amongst the teams and without a Lower Bracket, there is no second chance for any of them.

This will be the last big test going into the Six Invitational 2021. Just like the during November Major, a studio environment will play host to this offline event. At least the teams can now play LAN matches again and thereby prepare for the upcoming SI. Now that we are revisiting the same four teams with the exact same pairings, there is one important question: Will this just be a repeat of the November Major?


Back then, Spacestation Gaming and Team SoloMid made the Grand Finals. Since the August Major, SSG had been waiting to take revenge on DarkZero Esports. First, however, they had to swallow a bitter pill in the US Division Stage 2, before they finally won a 2-1 game in the November Opening Match. With a 2-0 victory over TSM, they went straight into the Grand Finals, so much so that everyone was sure of their resurgence. TSM, however, had been waiting for such a moment for a long time.

They exploited the hubris of Spacestation Gaming to defeat them on three straight maps, finally hoisting their own trophy. This was the last thing we got to see from any of these teams. Now, the four rosters are going up against each other again. Should Team SoloMid perform on a similar level to what they displayed at the end of last year, they should be able to dispatch Oxygen Esports.

On the other side of the bracket, however, things look much different. Spacestation Gaming shouldn’t feel too safe in their match against DarkZero Esports. Paul “Hyper” Kontopanagiotis fell ill before the November Major, missed quite a few practice days, and only returned a mere day prior to the tournament. Even though he eventually displayed a great performance, as usual, his absence surely must have impeded DarkZero’s preparations. Now, DarkZero won’t have such a problem. They can go into the US Division Finals well rested and well prepared – but of course the same holds true for Spacestation Gaming.


In the US Division Stage 2, SSG hit their absolute low point of 2020. After a victory at the Six Invitational early on, they only made fourth place in the league’s second stage. They actually had to book their ticket to the November Major through a separate qualifier, as their regular season placement wasn’t high enough. In comparison to this, their performance at the Major felt like a miracle run. They were clearly a cut above the DarkZero boys. It appeared as though Troy “Canadian” Jaroslawski and his men had gotten some of their confidence back. They have already beaten TSM and, aside from Consulate, the Grand Finals were incredibly close. If one single round on Villa or Clubhouse had played out in a different fashion, we might have seen SSG and TSM duke it out on a fourth map.

One cannot really call this a dominant result on the part of TSM. Their success in North America is built on an unsound foundation. If SSG and DarkZero show up revitalized after the winter break, the Grand Finals will become a tougher challenge than ever. Fortunately, there is no Lower Bracket. This means that TSM will only have to worry about one of these teams. But Oxygen Esports have also become really dangerous. Team SoloMid had to fight through two overtimes in order to eliminate Davide “FoxA” Bucci and his men during the November Major. TSM’s victory in the Opening Match is by no means a safe bet. Maybe they won’t even make it to the Grand Finals.

This offline tournament gives us a glimpse into the performance of North America heading into the upcoming Six Invitational 2021. Even though the tournament doesn’t give us any clue as to how they will fare internationally, we will at least be given a national ranking of sorts.