Rainbow Six faces ’embarrassing’ 7-team NA League as Parabellum’s fate looks secured

The NAL may be in trouble again.

Four weeks after laying off almost all of its staff, Parabellum Esports story appears to be over as its co-founder and ex-CEO, Chris Lama Lamarucciola, announced he had left the esports industry on May 25.

Following several months of complaints from staff and players about delays in payment, Parabellum Esports’ parent company, React Gaming Group, dropped both of Parabellum’s Rocket League and Counter-Strike rosters in March and then laid off all the organizations staff on April 28

This left massive question marks surrounding the organizations remaining Rainbow Six lineup, which had been competing in the BLAST North American League tournament and had received an in-game weapon skin just three days earlier.

While Lamarucciola initially said that the team would continue in the Parabellum Esports Discord, this seems significantly less likely now after his exit from the esports industry and one of the teams players leaving to join Oxygen Esports.

In a tweet, Lamarucciola said that he had stepped down from [his] position at React as of Monday and would be leaving the esports industry. He did keep the possibility of a return open, however, saying If pB does return, I have informed RGG that I will be available to support the transition, whatever it will look like.

This news comes just a day after Phish left Parabellum to join Oxygen Esports, replacing Jacob “Sweater” Bravico. Phish joined Parabellum for his rookie stage on March 7 as part of a promising rebuild for the team. Now his exit comes without a word from Parabellums social media accounts, which havent been updated since the layoffs.

This leaves two veteran players, Gabriel “LaXInG” Mirelez and Alexander “Skys” Magor, as well as two rookie players, Chris “Spiff” Park and Brady “Spiker” Lukens, left as a part of Parabellum. Skys posted a looking for team post on May 1, however.

This is sad news for many NA fans, as the organization had crafted a perfect underdog story in Rainbow Six after jumping in to save the Altiora lineup at the beginning of 2021, attending the 2021 Six Invitational as the only non-professional team, and then fighting their way into the NAL from the tier-two Challenger League tournament. 

More recently, the team had a very disappointing string of results with a last-place finish during stage one of the NAL and just two wins against professional opponents since last September.

Should Parabellum be unable to field a team for stage two of the NAL tournament in September, this would make it the fourth organization since the end of the 2022 season to leave the professional North American scene, joining TSM, Astralis, and XSET. With M80 joining in this time, this sets up a possible seven-team NAL stage, a new low for the region.

After initially announcing an expansion from eight to ten teams for NA Leagues 2020 season, the region fluctuated between eight and nine teams during 2020 and 2021 due to organizations such as Evil Geniuses, eUnited, Tempo Storm, and Luminosity Gaming leaving the scene. Finally, in 2022, the promotion of Parabellum from the Challenger League tournament meant the 10-team goal was finally reached. 

Just a year later, the NA League could fall all the way down to seven teams, a figure only seen before during a six-week period in 2019. Branded ’embarrassing’ by fans, this collapse in the competition has reignited the continuing question in the community over just how enticing Rainbow Six esports is for organizations and whether they can expect any more teams to exit the tournament through the remaining three-month off-season before stage two starts in September.

Related: When does Rainbow Six Siege Operation Dread Factor start?

As for possible replacements in the tournament, Ubisoft opted to run the NAL with eight teams this year rather than inviting two organization-less Challenger League teams into the competition and keeping the 10-team count. This was a rather unpopular decision at the time, especially considering the BLAST Brazil League includes a team without an organization called LFO Brazil.

If Parabellum does exit and no replacement can be found, it is possible Ubisoft revisits this decision to avoid the NA League from shrinking further.

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