DreamHack Dallas proved that the DreamHack Pro Circuit was a necessary addition for competitive Rocket League fans starved during the RLCS off season. While the big LAN gave us all the moments we wanted, events like Valencia keep us entertained as we wait for Season 8. Day one of Valencia saw upsets, crushing defeats, and the Mout Gang progressing to day two of DreamHack Valencia 2019.
Second Round Blues
DreamHack events have an unique format that can be punishing to good and bubble teams alike. In today's victim ward were TSM and Splyce who took victories against Notorious Legion Esport and Ground Zero Gaming respectively, but fell in the second round of the winners bracket to Vitality (3-0 over Splyce) and Complexity gaming (3-2).
TSM and Splyce have the talent to make a loser's bracket run, but Splyce ran into the indomitable Mout Gang and were steamrolled 1-3 and TSM lost a close bo5 to Ground Zero Gaming. While TSM bowing out early is shocking, would it really be a DreamHack without a big early loss?
TSM and Splyce were not the only teams to leave Valencia empty handed early. Renegades were upset in the group stage quarterfinals 1-3 by a young but talented Veloce Esports and were unable to overcome Triple Trouble in the lower bracket ending their DreamHack run. Despite the flagship team going out early, the OCE will be represented by Ground Zero Gaming who have shown an affinity for the DreamHack stage. Look for Renegades and GZG to make a swap if Renegades would like to have more success on LAN in the future.
Business as usual
The sixteen teams headed for day two features a mix of RLCS level squads and "conglomerate" fan favorite squads like Mout Gang and Randy Gibbons' River Rats that will play in two groups (A and B). Even though day one featured the usual crazy plays and a smattering of upsets, it was practically business as usual for the top teams of the world.
Reigning world champions Renault Vitality cruised to a day two tilt with Veloce Esports after going 6-0 on day one. Vitality seemed to transfer their high level of play from New Jersey quite nicely, and the bracket draw for Vitality is very kind for a top seed into the final day of play.
Randy Gibbons' River Rats were the most intriguing squad for me going into Valencia because the former EG squad sans Drippay plus Turbopolsa has a ton of firepower which they flexed in wins over Chiefs and NRG.
The new big four in NA (Cloud9, NRG, G2 Esports, and Rogue) were all able to qualify for day two, and the continued excellence of the region continues to provide hope for another big LAN title. Unfortunately, the region will see a bit of a derby in Group B as G2 Esports has a match against NRG and the winner will likely play Rogue to qualify for day three. Fans of NRG (especially of soon to be retired Fireburner) can only watch and pray as the Kings of North America look to give their captain a positive end note of his playing career.
Day two predictions
Despite my predictions failing my expectations every time, I am going to go out on a very small limb with my Group A and B predictions. For Group A, I have Vitality, Randy Gibbons' River Rats, PSG, and The Bricks advancing to day two. Group A is quite stacked with talent and all eight teams have shown they are deserving of playing on Championship Sunday. Unfortunately for a team like Dignitas they were given the short end of the stick and have a tough road to the finals. Other teams such as The Bricks and PSG have shown a lot of resolve at this event, and sometimes you have to play the hot hand to keep going.
In all honesty I lied when I said Group A is stacked and every team deserved to go to day three. Every team in Group B has shown elite form either at this tournament, Worlds, or in the regular season making the matches for day two that much more exciting! Still, I am hitching my wagon to Cloud9, NRG, Complexity and Rogue making it through to day three.
NA bias much? Of course! Still, I think the format will definitely hurt some of the teams in this group, and FC Barcelona has felt flat since day three of Worlds. While Barca notched two series wins to get here, they did not beat anyone special and were blanked by The Bricks which does not bode well going into a red hot Rogue.
Do you agree with my predictions? Are they even reasonable? Comment your own thoughts and concerns below!