If the past two weeks are any sign of what’s to come in RLCS for the next 10 months, then we are about to enter the golden age of Rocket League esports.
With both the first week of the grid and the first European regional in the books, nearly 130 official RLCS X matches have been played. There are eight more weeks of the Grid and five more regional events to play for the fall split alone.
Needless to say, there will be a lot of high-quality Rocket League for us to watch in the coming months.
Here’s what happened over the last two weeks…
So… Who Won?
By beating Top Blokes 4-2 in the grand finals, Team BDS became the first (and so far only) team to win an RLCS X regional event. While not a Cinderella story by any stretch, BDS were unlikely to have been people’s first pick to win it all. But they took the tournament in a fairly dominant manner.
BDS hit their stride early in the tournament, going 3-0 while only dropping three games in total. This put them in a top-four spot for stage two in which they finished 3-1 with a +5 game differential, qualifying them for the single-elimination playoffs on Sunday.
After a nail-biting 3-2 victory over Giants Gaming, BDS went on to convincingly defeat Renault Vitality 4-2 to move on to the grand finals, where they completed their victory by beating Top Blokes.
BDS’s most impressive victory was easily their semifinal match against Vitality. It’s hard to remember the last time Vitality played a series where their opponents just flat-out looked like the better team. That was certainly the case on Sunday.
With such a speedy and mechanical trio of players, BDS managed to maintain pressure and lock Vitality into their own side of the field for the majority of the series. Normally, Vitality is okay with this as they’re one of the calmest teams in the world on defence. They’re known for being a team that capitalizes on the smallest error or overcommit.
However, BDS weren’t making the mistakes Vitality is used to capitalizing on. They were simply applying consistent offensive pressure, forcing them to make difficult saves, frequently beating Vitality to the ball and, most importantly, not allowing easy counter-attacks.
The grand finals were a bit of a different story, however. It was an extraordinarily up-and-down series as both teams would make defensive errors that essentially led to the other team taking an entire game.
In the end, it was BDS who was able to bounce back from those mistakes and take the series in six. MaRc_By_8, M0nkey M00n, and Extra now sit at the top of Europe with 351 points.
While BDS took the whole tournament, they were not the only team to step up and impress over the course of the weekend.
Magnifico were likely the biggest story of the tournament. Months after supposedly retiring, former world champ gReazymeister teamed up with the insanely mechanical duo of DmentZa and AtomiK (not to be confused with Team Envy’s Atomic) and had an incredible showing. Playing the maximum number of ten series in the Swiss stages, they shocked their way through the first two stages, defeating teams such as Oxygen, BDS, and Giants twice.
In true storybook fashion, they qualified for the playoffs via a game-five overtime against Monkeys in a win-or-go-home series. They then shocked Guild Esports 3-1 in the quarterfinals before finally falling to Top Blokes in the quarter finals.
While they certainly have areas to improve in, namely defence, Magnifico absolutely showed the potential they have moving forward in the season. Regional 1 was a serious coming out party for both DmentZa and AtomiK. Don’t be surprised if you see more top-four finishes from them in the future.
Also impressive were the team who knocked out Magnifico in the semi finals: Top Blokes. The trio of Kassio, FlamE, and Archie (formerly Veloce) played some of the fastest Rocket League in the world, pulling out several offensive plays with both individual mechanical skill and chemistry.
It seems Kassio and FlamE have shed the reputation of the “boring, overly-passive” playstyle Veloce was so well known for the past two seasons and, in doing, so have finally found success. They are only a few steps away from being a true contender for a top team in Europe.
Playoffs backet in EU Regional 1 to decide the winner
The story after the first weekend of play, however, had nothing to do with teams overperforming; quite the opposite. Both Team Liquid and Oxygen esports failed to qualify not only for the playoffs but the second stage altogether.
They followed eerily similar paths to elimination, winning their first series, losing the next two to face elimination, winning their fourth match to stay alive, and then choking away their fifth and final match.
Neither team looked fully present on the pitch. They were plagued with defensive errors and were simply slower to the ball than most of their opponents. Oxygen were able to redeem themselves by having a strong second-place performance in the grid but Liquid faltered there as well. Now, both teams find themselves sitting all the way down at 17th-22nd in RLCS X points.
Things are not looking pretty for Liquid, who have yet to make a top-four finish since being signed in early July. Although it’s important not to jump the gun on calling them washed, there is definitely grounds for concern. Is the pressure of playing under one of the biggest orgs in the world getting the best of seasoned vets like Kuxir, Speed, and Fruity or have the lackluster results simply been flukes?
Regardless, both teams have shown sparks and we all know the potential they have. It’s okay to be worried but we shouldn’t count out two of the top four teams from the offseason just yet.
What Else You May Have Missed
Guild Esports had quite a good showing for their first tournament as an organization despite a 3-1 loss to Magnifico in the quarterfinals.
Their incredible Stage 2 performance began with sweeps against Dignitas and Barca Esports and finished with a ridiculous eight-and-a-half minute Game 5 OT against Top Blokes in which Scrub Killa scored an all-time record 1,558 points (as well as the game winner).
If one were to watch just one series from the entire event, I would strongly recommend Guild vs. Top Blokes from Stage 2. Scrub Killa is finally looking more and more at home with the duo of Noly an ThO and having his old coach Gregan back as well is for sure putting Guild on the upward trend.
Triple Trouble, despite their victory in the grid, just failed to qualify for the playoffs, losing to Dignitas (who are looking better and better with Joreuz and still pulling off ridiculous team plays) 3-1 in their win-or-go-home match.
Monkeys suffered a similar fate. After barely qualifying for stage two in a do-or-die against Oxygen, they found themselves on the opposite side of fate against Magnifico.
Despite the loss, the pressure Tahz and eekso bring is going to be a lot for many teams to handle, especially with Mittaen being just as capable on both sides of the ball. Keep an eye out for Monkeys in future events as a major dark horse.
RLCS X Points for Major Qualification
Here are the current RLCS and Grid point spreads in Europe after two weekends of Rocket League.
|3rd – 4th||Magnifico, Renault Vitality||200|
|5th – 8th||Dignitas, Giants Gaming, Guild Esports, Solary||150|
|9th – 11th||Endpoint, Monkeys, Triple Trouble||100|
|12th – 14th||FC Barcelona, Stormtroopers, Team Singularity||70|
|15th – 16th||VENC Gaming, The Last Resort||50|
|17th – 22nd||Glory4Builders, Fadeaway, MINKZ, Opp Block, Oxygen Esports, Team Liquid||30|
|23rd – 28th||Chalked, Drillers and Tappers, Libertas, Nameseekers, Uniquestars||20|
|29th – 32nd||Ascending Legends, Holy Cow!, Nordavind, Servette Geneva Esports||10|
The Grid Qualification Points
|3rd – 4th||Endpoint, Giants Gaming||100|
|5th – 8th||Renault Vitality, Team Liquid, Team Singularity, Top Blokes||60|
|9th – 12th||Dignitas, Guild Esports, Libertas, Team BDS||30|
|13th – 16th||Chalked, FC Barcelona, Monkeys, Solary||10|
The first place team at the end of nine weeks auto-qualifies for that split’s international major. If the team in first has already qualified through RLCS X points, the spot is then given to the unqualified team with the most RLCS X points.
Finally, if you want to watch the full playoffs of the EU Regional 1 final day then here is the full video