Three events (DreamHack Dallas 2019, RLCS Season 7 World Championship, and DreamHack Valencia 2019) have produced three different champions (Cloud9, Renault Vitality, and PSG Esports respectively) in under three months. Rocket League has always had some variance at the top of competitive play, but this is the widest the number one spot in the world has looked. Despite Worlds still being fresh on our minds, let us look at the Winners and Losers of DreamHack Valencia 2019.
The winners from Valencia were not as cut and dry as those from our previous LAN event. While Vitality had a resounding win in New Jersey, they fell flat against NRG in Spain. PSG won the big event and look to maintain momentum, we have yet to see a team establish a dynasty in 2019.
Despite looking like a team destined for a quarterfinal exit, PSG overcame the odds by beating Cloud9, The Bricks, and NRG to take home $50,000. As a result of their win, PSG rose five spots to take third place on the Liquipedia Rankings below NRG at second and Vitality at first. PSG's win was not a dominant one like Vitality's at Worlds. They dropped at least one map a series (in the playoffs) and had to come from behind against both Cloud9 and NRG.
Yet, the team led by longtime striker Thibault "Chausette45" Grzesiak managed to show resilience and their usual knack of volume scoring to get past their equally high flying opponents. Will this team contend for a regional title in Europe? Probably. They have clearly shown the capacity to beat teams of all levels, but they will need to prove they can stretch it out long term.
Will PSG go on to dominant the circuit for the rest of the year? Doubt it! They are without a doubt a great team, but the scene is filled with talented rosters making it hard for any one team to truly stand out. Vitality had a big chance to take that next step but their failure at Valencia ended any hope for a clear number one team to emerge.
I think it is fair to say that this event was always going to be bittersweet for NRG win or lose. Improving on their World's performance with a second place to a team no one could beat in Valencia, NRG proved that they are still an elite team worthy of placing bets on. Unfortunately, one of Rocket League's original stars Jayson "Fireburner" Nunez will be leaving active competition which prompted a chorus of, "Thank you's" from the European crowd.
NRG have to be happy with placing second after beating World Champs' Vitality and the rising Complexity Gaming, but the team will need to fill a large hole in their starting lineup. Regardless, NRG proved that they are an elite team capable of beating the world's best on foreign soil even if they fell short of their ultimate goal.
As an organisation, Complexity Gaming peaked in London at RLCS Season 5 Finals when they placed third after losing to eventual tournament winners Dignitas in the losers' bracket finals. Since Season Five the team saw several key members depart for fresh new ground, but the org was unable to find its footing until it recently re qualified for the RLCS.
Since re qualifying, COL placed top eight at DreamHack Dallas and now placed top four at Valencia sending them to seventh in the world on the LP Ratings. Complexity were unable to beat NRG in the semifinals, but the team were able to take two maps off of the North American roster which speaks volumes to a team that was formerly in the RLRS not that long ago.
The continual rise of Hrant "Flakes" Yakoub as a star player for Complexity gives the team a high ceiling to perform in season eight of the RLCS as other teams such as TSM and Dignitas seem to be fading away.
Unfortunately, some teams associated as the best were unable to show any sign of excellence in Valencia.
G2 fans will be the first to tell you that their team would not be facing elimination on day two, but the North American roster were unable to handle either FC Barcelona or Complexity and departed stage one with a 9th-12h placing. While some teams at Season 7 of Worlds had worse performances (Renegades, Rogue, and Ground Zero Gaming), none were expected to either place in the top four or win the entire event.
G2 Esports needs to rebound from this with a strong RLCS season or else we might see a roster change on one of the staple teams of North American Rocket League.
The pride of North America could not close out PSG in the quarterfinals of day three which lands them on the Loser's list. A team built to contend for titles, Cloud9 did no such thing in Valencia despite having a strong start to the tournament.
Cloud9 have been on a downward trajectory since their DreamHack Dallas win from a team with potential to be the best in the World to a team more in the 5-10 range. If history is any indication, I am sure that Cloud9 will find a way to mount a comeback to the top, but they will find that the competition has only improved both domestically and internationally.
Talk about the ultimate up and down roster, TSM went from placing second at Dallas to placing 22nd at Valencia. Losses to Complexity and Ground Zero Gaming would be fine for a middle of the pack team, but TSM should have aspirations to be one of the world's best.
Unfortunately, TSM has looked more like a middle of the road team with poor play on both side's of the ball and have been unable to enable any sort of excitement since Dallas. It might be a little early to cry for a roster change, but I heard there is a three time world champion available as a free agent.
Do you agree with my winners and losers? Comment below your take on Dreamhack Valencia!