Biggest Questions going into RLCS X Winter Split

Those poor guys at ShiftRLE, man. 

The fall split trade window was an absolute madhouse. With only one week to make moves, teams and rosters fell apart as everyone scrambled to set them up for success come winter. Here is a list of major roster moves that happened over the week. 

  • Satthew has retired from professional Rocket League
  • XSET has signed Hockser, making Tcorrell a free agent
    • Tcorrell is now on the Susquehanna Soniqs in place of Satthew
  • Kronovi has left Rogue
  • Plot Twist has disbanded entirely
    • Sosa has replaced Kinseh on the Pittsburgh Knights
    • Rogue found their replacement of Kronovi in Taroco
    • Ghost Gaming have picked up Mectos in place of Luke
      • Luke, the member of Ghost being replaced, is teaming with 1v1 stars Mile and Forky
  • Charlotte Phoenix has dropped Dappur and will be playing with Alraz for the winter split
  • FC Barcelona dropped their roster of Deevo, Itachi, and Ronaky and picked up a new roster of Tahz, Blurry, and Rizex45
    • The team has disbanded as well, with Deevo going to Guild for Scrub Killa, Itachi to the Vodafone Giants in place of Tox, and Ronaky to team Liquid for Kuxir97
  • Tox has singed with Solary in place of Yukiss
  • Flakes has returned to the RLCS and will be teaming with Kuxir and Rehzzy under the name “Swag”
  • Dignitas has replaced Yukeo with Rix.gg’s ApparentlyJack
    • Rix.gg has replaced Jack with Mognus
    • As for Yukeo, he has joined Freakii and Tigreee on Fadeaway
  • Godsmilla has been benched once again for Scrub Killa on Team Singularity
  • gReazymeister has left Magnifico and has been replaced by S2V esports’ VK-Sailen. The roster has also been picked up by Spanish org Team Queso
  • Julz and Torsos have swapped teams, with Torsos joining Ground Zero and Julz joining Cringe Society

While it’s certainly a valid concern that new viewers will have trouble keeping up with who is on what team, it’s hard to blame the players for trying to put themselves in the best possible position to win.

If you’d like to keep up with the latest roster moves, make sure to follow Shift on twitter or check out the rumor page on Liquipedia.

Summary of RLCS X Fall Split…

Okay, wow. That was a lot of Rocket League. Like, a lot of Rocket League.

First of all, congratulations to True Neutral, Mindfreak, Team BDS, and Spacestation Gaming for becoming major champions in their respective regions.

All four teams had already had an incredible season up to this point, and they each capped it off with a huge win. However, these teams, nor the teams they beat on the way to their championship, have much time to rest.

The Winter Split already kicks off in less than two weeks, so there is no time to waste. Lots of developments happened over the Fall Split, and a lot of questions were left unanswered.

Here is each region’s biggest question (or questions) headed into the fall split:

South America

Will one of the two top teams break away from the other?

Is it a rivalry? Maybe, maybe not, but it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t see True Neutral and Ellevens esports as the best two teams in South America right now. They were the only teams to win a grand series and they met in the (incredibly close) grand finals of the major.

The two teams met five times over the course of the split with TN having a 3-2 advantage. Ellevens were, without doubt, the favourites coming into season X but True Neutral stepped up their game in a big way as they became the first non-Brazillian South American team to win a regional tournament in Phase 1 of the Grand Series. Ellevens evened it out with a win in Phase 2.

Now, with only 90 points separating them, both teams are looking to pull away from each other in the winter split to be the clear-cut top SAM team.

Oceania

Who won the Julz/Torsos trade?

Oceania is already notorious for having no roster stay the same for more than a season, so it’s no surprise that the blockbuster trade of the Fall/Winter window went down between Ground Zero Gaming and Cringe Society as they swapped Julz and Torsos (Julz going from GZG to CS and vice versa.)

For Torsos, I hesitate to call his situation an upgrade, but getting paired with arguably the best player in the region in Amphis has to feel good for him. However, teaming up with the veteran duo of Drippay and Decka could prove to be beneficial for Julz as well.

With Cringe Society sitting at third place and GZG sitting at second and only 50 points separating them, it’s very possible that this trade will determine the outcome of who goes to Worlds from OCE.

Can anyone win more than one event?

The top of OCE is really close. Like, insanely close. There is a single point separating Mindfreak and Ground Zero for the top spot, and Renegades and Cringe Society are tied for third at only 50 points behind second place.

Mindfreak’s win in the major is what pushed them to the number one spot, but they were easily the least consistent of the top four teams over the course of the fall split. However, since the major rewards double points, they’re sitting in first place right now.

The reason these teams are so close in points is simple; they’ve each won an event. OCE is the only region in which no team won two events. Even the team that won the major hadn’t won a previous regional.

This is arguably the most parity we have ever seen in the Oceania region, and whichever team can snag two tournaments will surely separate themselves. Unless, of course, the same thing happens. No matter what, it’s sure to be a wild split in OCE. 

Europe

Will Liquid and Oxygen get it together?

There’s no debate. Team Liquid was unquestionably the biggest disappointment of the split in any region. They failed to make the playoffs in all of the three regional events, and while they did well enough in the grid to maintain their spot for the winter, it wasn’t enough to get them into the major.

A consensus top-4 team going into the season is now sitting at 17th place with a measly 150 points. They are 140 behind 16th place and a whopping 580 points behind a World Championship qualification (top 6) spot.

Whether it was chemistry issues, the lack of a coach, or the pressure of playing under one of the biggest orgs in the world doesn’t really matter; they need a fix now, as a similar performance in winter could be a potential career-killer for all three players. 

Oxygen has shown more signs of life than Liquid, but they have in no way played to their expectations either.

After the addition of Season 9 MVP AztraL, Oxygen was pinned as a lock to go to worlds. What followed was, much like Liquid, complete failure.

Despite finishing third overall in the grid, Oxygen also failed to make the playoffs of a single regional event all split. They snuck into the major as the 15 seed almost entirely due to their performance in the grid. After a promising 2-0 start in the Swiss Stage, they lost three in a row to miss the playoffs for the fourth consecutive tournament.

Again, it’s not easy to point out exactly what’s going wrong. AztraL still looks like AztraL, but only at times. Chausette seems to be a shell of his former self. Ferra is the only player who I can say I saw genuine improvement from, but when both offensive powerhouses on a team regress, it doesn’t really matter how much better the third man gets.

I’m still holding out hope for both teams. They’ve each proven themselves in other tournaments like the Grid and the Eurocup 10K, in which Liquid took second in their first tournament with Fruity (they were still mousesports at the time), so it’s not as if they’re simply incapable of success.

We’ve seen it before, and we need to see it again, otherwise the future will be very grim for these six veterans. 

UPDATE: LIQUID DROPS KUXIR97, ADDS RONAKY

With this move, Liquid has found themselves a top-10 player in Europe and potentially exactly what they need for the Winter split. Splitting up Speed and Kuxir is a tragic but likely necessary move. With such a consistent striker on the team, will this allow Fruity and Speed to play more freely on both sides of the ball? We know there is (good) history between Ronaky and Speed, so team chemistry has the potential to be excellent right of the bat. As much as I hate to say it, this move is certainly one that can push Liquid in the right direction. Kuxir’s last-ditch effort to team with Flakes is just that–a last ditch effort. Being LFT one day before roster lock severely restricts one’s options for a team. Regardless, both Kux and Flakes have insanely unique playstyles. I guarantee that win-or-lose, Swag will be one of the most interesting teams to watch of the split.

Can anyone beat Team BDS?

Over the course of three regional events and the major, Team BDS lost two series. They have won all but one event since August barring the Grid, that being Regional 3. They’re so far ahead of the rest of Europe in RLCS points that they could literally not play in the first regional of the winter split and if anyone except Vitality wins, they’d still be in first place.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that we haven’t seen this level of dominance in EU since the god squad Dignitas roster; only this team isn’t stacked with former world champions. In fact, there is only one prior season of RLCS experience between all three players, which makes it even more baffling as to how they’re doing so well.

 M0nkey M00n has put up a serious case for MVP and is pretty comfortably a top-5 player in the world with his dazzling solo plays and impenetrable defense. MaRc_By_8 is blidingly fast, is a near-perfect striker, and has one of the bet challenge games in the world, making him the perfect compliment to M0nkey M00n, and when your “third man” (i use quotes because it’s a very loose description) is someone as mechanically outrageous as Extra, you know you have an extremely well-rounded team.

There is no way around it; BDS is the best team in the world, and the fate of the European region rests on whether or not anyone can beat them more than once.

North America

Can SSG reach BDS-level consistency?

I have to admit, after regional two, I thought Spacestation’s dominance for the first three weeks of the split was just a flash in the pan—a honeymoon period with Retals.

As NRG and Envy smashed their way through the playoff brackets of the second and third regionals, Spacestation fell to 4th or even 5th in some power rankings, as even KCP had their number for a while. But once the stakes got raised, everyone showed up. 

Spacestation’s play in the Major playoffs was nearly flawless. The semifinals match against G2 was one of the most entertaining of the season. Both Arsenal and Retals had one of the best series of their careers in the finals against NRG, and Sypical, as usual, did Sypical things. 

The question remains though: will we ever see this version of Spacestation for an extended period of time? It’s a fair question because we really haven’t yet. Even back in season 9 with AxB, their dominance in the regular season was short-lived as they got destroyed by G2 in the regional finals.

If—and it’s a big “if”—Spacestation finds a way to maintain their peak form for several events, the rest of NA can just call it quits until the world championship. 

Will G2 ever make it past the semifinals?

I’m not just talking about Rocket League, either. 

Can The Peeps or Alpine catch up to KCP?

Every discussion about the North American standings eventually will degrade to “There’s an interchangeable top 4 of NRG, G2, SSG, and Envy. KCP is the clear number 5, and then you have the Peeps and Alpine somewhere after that.” I’d say it’s more of a top 3 with G2 as the clear fourth, but the point stands.

The Pioneers are incredibly close to breaking into the upper echelon of North America and some may argue they already have. After all, they’ve beaten Spacestation twice, once in a reverse sweep and the other in the playoffs, and they took Envy to Game 7 in the grand finals of Regional 3.

Beastmode has unquestionably been the NA rookie of the season thus far, and Rapid and Memory look like entirely different players from when they went 0-9 on Flight last season. 

Then you have The Peeps, who have shown flashes of brilliance albeit less often. Gyro is a star and I will personally fight anyone who disagrees with me, AyyJayy is arguably the most underrated player in the region, and if he’s not, then that title goes to their third man Allushin. The Peeps have had impressive wins over G2 on several occasions, but unfortunately not much else against the top teams in NA. 

Alpine is in a similar position as Percy has taken the spotlight for much of the split. They also have a few impressive wins, such as their wins against Rogue on three separate occasions, but they still falter against the big four.

Before KCP exploded into the top 5 with their performance in regional 2, these three teams were extraordinarily close, but it seems that KCP is breaking away from the rest to join the big boys at the top. If The Peeps and Alpine begin catching up to them in terms of performance, or if KCP regresses, then the fight for that sixth Worlds spot come spring will be a sight to behold. 

The RLCS X Winter Split begins on November 7th with day 1 of the first European event. The format has changed from a 32 team swiss style format to a 24 team double elimination bracket and points and prize money have increased as well, so the stakes will only continue to get higher.

Check out the official Winter Split announcement for more details, and as always, any questions can be directed to @mbs_rl on Twitter.

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MBS

MBS

Rocket League Superfan and journalism student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

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