“Ink Master” is back for its sixth season, but it’s a whole new game. While the feature in “Inked” magazine and $100,000 is still on the line, the contestants have a new challenge ahead of them – they’re competing against their ally.

That’s right, while Season 5 was titled “Rivals,” Season 6 is called “Master v. Apprentice.” And although their can be only one winner, the contestants are entering with their biggest supporter … let’s see how long that lasts.

The first challenge in the premiere puts the masters and apprentices head to head. They must tattoo the same subject and style, coming to the decision on what to do together. The twist is that the judges – Dave Navarro, Oliver Peck and Chris Nunez – are critiquing blindly, meaning that they won’t know who tattooed what. When the tattoos are done, it’s really split down the middle between masters and apprentices:

  • Craig Foster of Season 3 beat his apprentice, Miami Burgess.
  • Big Ceeze beat his apprentice, Kito.
  • Katie McGowan beat her mentor, Matt O’Baugh.
  • Dave Clark beat his mentor, Earl Noble.
  • Tyler beat his mentor, Chris Blinston.
  • St. Marq, who tattooed from scratch, beat his apprentice Ryan Hadley.
  • Erik Campbell beat his apprentice Marisa LaRen, who Nunez said shouldn’t be tattooing.
  • Dave Kruseman beat Duffy, his apprentice.
  • MV beat his apprentice, Brian.

The nine winners are safe, and the nine other contestants have one last shot to prove that they deserve to stay in the competition. But it’s not going to be easy. Dave Navarro reveals that they must tattoo a former “Ink Master” canvas … and the canvas can request whatever they want.

Things immediately start off rough for Kito. After looking at his portfolio, the human canvas decides that he doesn’t want a tattoo from him. So that leaves Kito with two options – tattoo himself or someone else in the room. He decides to ink his own leg.

Fortunately Kito’s work pays off because the judges are impressed with his tattoo. However, not everyone else received glowing remarks on their second piece. Marisa and Chris’ line work is rough. Brian’s lettering is bad and Matt lacks the pop of color needed. Ultimately the judges name Chris, Ryan and Brian as the weakest. Surprisingly, the human canvases nominate Duffy for her “squished” squirrel. But the judges – and her own human canvas – disagree. The judges spare Duffy, but Brian is not as lucky. He’s the first contestant eliminated from Season 6 of “Ink Master.”