With four weeks of the Grid and two-and-a-half regional events in the books, we’re already nearly halfway through the fall split of RLCS X.
We’ve seen hundreds of incredible series and thousands of goals already with many more to come. While we are in the middle of Europe’s second event, over in North America, the first regional event completed last weekend. Needless to say, there’s a lot to unpack.
Here’s your guide to the last two weekends of North American Rocket League:
So who won North America Regionals 1?
Way at the Top
After winning Weeks 1 and 3 of the Grid and taking second in Week 2, Spacestation Gaming continued their insanely hot streak by taking down NRG 4-1 in the grand finals of the first North American Regional event.
SSG looked nothing short of the best team on the planet over the course of the entire event, not dropping a single match in any stage of the tournament. Going back to Week 3 of the Grid, they ended the tournament on a 19 series win streak.
Sypical has continued to look like the best player in the region, proving his mettle as an offensive juggernaut series after series. The addition of retals has been an outright success as well. Not only has he been one of the best players in the world at protecting the goal line, but his offensive chemistry with both Arsenal and Sypical have vaulted the team above everyone they’ve competed against.
However, the biggest star of the tournament for SSG has to be Arsenal. With two mechanical freaks on either side of him, there’s been a serious uptick in Arsenal’s offensive creativity. His mechanics, which have always been an underrated aspect of his game, have been on full display all season as he’s arguably been the most prolific scorer in the region thus far. Arsenal led the team in both assists and goals per game this last weekend, which is an especially large boast when your teammates are retals and Sypical.
Spacestation has officially made themselves the team to beat in NA and it’s seriously hard to tell if anyone is going to catch up to them any time soon.
Contenders Still Looking Like Contenders
In second place was NRG, who, despite not taking first place in a tournament (besides the Grid) for the first time since the Brawl 10k, still looked incredibly impressive all regional long.
NRG lost three series over the course of the entire event – one in each stage (twice to SSG and once to Envy. No shame in dropping those.) Most importantly, though, they beat everyone they were expected to beat, and more often than not they did so emphatically. Their most impressive win was easily their revenge against Team Envy in the semifinals in which they absolutely decimated in a 4-0 sweep.
It’s incredible to see how seamlessly Squishy has fit into this NRG roster, as his presence on the field has allowed for the long standing duo of jstn and GarrettG to do basically anything they want on the offensive side of the ball. When on form, which they almost always are, NRG is still one of the scariest teams in the world.
As another serious contender to take the regional title, Team Envy had an impressive fourth-place showing as well. Their run came to an end at the hands of a red-hot NRG team in the semifinals, but a fourth-place finish is nothing to scoff at for a team that is widely considered to be a top-five team in the region.
During the playoffs, it was mist who put the team on his back. In the quarterfinals against Pittsburgh Knights, mist had several games in which he scored on multiple impressive solo plays. It seems he has found the right players around him to unlock the potential he has to be a top-five player in the region. When he gains the consistency to do what he did every week, Envy will be an extremely scary team for anyone to go up against.
Turbopolsa and Atomic compliment both mist and each other excellently, as expected from players of their calibre. Despite being swept in the semifinals, Envy fans have plenty of reasons to feel good about the future.
Lastly, while they’ve looked like a top-four team since the start of the season in the Grid, G2 esports fell all the way to eight place after being reverse swept by the Peeps in what was the upset of the playoffs.
After a shaky offseason, G2 started to look like their old selves once they re-entered the team house, placing fourth and first in Weeks 1 and 2 of the Grid, and tacking on a second-place finish in Week 4. However, their eighth-place finish in this event was, needless to say, a surprise for a team that was predicted by a few experts to win the whole thing.
There are still a few questions about G2, specifically if the lack of success in the offseason was a result of no longer being in the team house or possibly something else. Regional 2 will likely be a massive turning point for G2, and expectations are high.
Teams We Slept On
No matter how many times we hear the phrase, I think it’s inevitable that at least some people will still sleep on the Peeps. We slept on them at Dreamhack Montreal and we’ve all seen how that went.
However, there may have been some more reason to sleep on the Peeps this time around. Since Montreal, the roster has been through quite a lot. Overall dysfunction in the offseason saw Envy’s Allushin as somewhat of a last-minute replacement for their best player from Season 9 as retals moved off to SSG. Gyro and AyyJayy had only played one season together with middling results, so expectations for the peeps were the lowest they’ve been since before the original team completed their Cinderella story and Dreamhack.
Over the course of two weekends, the Peeps nearly replicated their historic win with a top-four finish that in no way looked like a fluke. They went 3-0 in stage 1, taking down XSET, a Susquehanna Soniqs team that has found life with their new third jruss, and Rogue in a 3-0 sweep. Stage 2 saw them qualify for the playoffs by winning 3 of their 4 series on saturday, only losing to Envy.
It was the playoffs, however, where the Peeps shone as an underdog. They found themselves down 2-0 in their quarterfinals match against G2 before miraculously managing to reverse sweep them. Then, as if sweeping the titans that are G2 wasn’t enough, the Peeps took SSG all the way to a nail-biting Game 7 in what was probably the best series of the tournament.
They fell in storybook fashion to Spacestation, however, as retals juked out all of his old teammates to score the go-ahead goal with less than 15 seconds in Game 7. Regardless, the Peeps played extraordinarily fast Rocket League and were the only team to make SSG look mortal. They’ll be shooting up the power rankings in no time.
Funnily enough, the other surprise team of the tournament is the exact team that replaced Gyro, Allushin, and AyyJayy in their old organization. The Pittsburgh Knights, now consisting of Kinseh, Radoko, and ZPS defied expectations and qualified for the final bracket after back-to-back 3-2 results in the first two stages. Although they dropped their first series in the playoffs to Team Envy, it went all the way to Game 5 after the Knights came back from a 2-0 deficit, proving they had what it takes to compete with the top teams in the region.
Likely the biggest surprise of the tournament was the complete absence of Rogue on Day 4.
After a 3-1 finish in Stage 1, they looked poised to be one of the eight teams to qualify for playoffs considering how consistent they have been in recent tournaments. Stage 2, however, saw Rogue’s shakiest performance in recent memory. Losses to G2 and Envy and wins against the Soniqs and Charlotte Phoenix had them sitting in a do-or-die situation in round five.
In Round 5, they looked entirely outmatched as they were swept out of the tournament by Alpine Esports. Rouge has yet to place in the top two of a single week of the Grid, and they are sitting in the 9th-11th spot in RLCS X, tied with Team Frontline and Kansas City pioneers. There was a lot to be excited about as a Rogue fan coming into the season, but now most of that excitement has turned into concern.
Two teams currently on the upswing are the aforementioned Alpine esports and Susquehanna Soniqs.
Despite falling in the quarterfinals in a sweep to NRG, the fact that Alpine found themselves in the top eight at the end of the tournament should be counted as a win. The small flashes of mechanical brilliance from Percy and Majicbear we saw in the offseason are becoming more and more frequent, and Jordan’s consistency on both sides of the ball have seen a noticeable improvement.
The Soniqs, in addition to three straight top-four Grid finishes, also made Day 4. They went the distance on Day 3, finishing 3-2 while knocking Version1 and Team Frontline out of the tournament. Although they also fell in the quarterfinals in a sweep, it was to the tournament favorites Spacestation. 5-8th was certainly above the Soniq’s and Alpine’s expectations, but now that they’ve done it once, 5-8th may be the expectation.
Finally, if you want to watch the full playoffs of the NA Regional 1 final day then here is the full video.
Best Matches to watch:
Spacestation Gaming vs. The Peeps: Semifinals
The Peeps vs. G2 Esports: Quarterfinals
Team Envy vs. Pittsburgh Knights: Quarterfinals
Susquehanna Soniqs vs. Version1: Stage 2 Round 4