From the retirement of Jayson "Fireburner" Nunez to the shock early exit of Cloud9 in the quarterfinals, DreamHack Valencia 2019 was a tournament full of surprises. Longtime RLCS analyst and namesake of the Randy Gibbons River Rats gave us his thoughts on the madness that was Valencia 2019.
1) PSG took a surprise win in Valencia over NRG 4-2. Were you overly shocked by the results and how high did you have PSG placing before the tournament?
Hard to say exactly where I would have had PSG outside of the meme picks that were to be had at Valencia, but realistically a Quarterfinal exit would have been a reasonable pick for them. Once PSG took down C9 and both Barcelona and Vitality were knocked in the Quarters, they were definitely looking good vs the other top four outside of maybe NRG. The two teams they have struggled with all season were gone and if they kept feeding Chausette the ball anything could have happened from there.
2) Obviously, it was a bittersweet moment for NRG's Fireburner as he went out in second but received a warm ovation from the crowd and RLCS community online. How big of a departure is Fireburner from active competition and will NRG be able to keep their top spot in NA?
The uniqueness of Fireburner is hard to grasp compared to other Rocket League players. He was there first and there are very few from his era left competing for top four in their respective regions in the RLCS today (just Kronovi and Kuxir). Even crazier though for Fire is that he never left the top. Fire made it to every World Championship by being the rock that NRG needed until GarrettG became a star player in Season 3.
I do think that NRG has enough talent between Garrett and Jstn to stay in the big three conversation for NA. Whoever is fortunate enough to team with them is going to look so much better than nearly any other moment in their careers because they will be surrounded by greatness. I expect NRG to be fighting for another Regional Championship, anyway.
3) A lot of fans were rooting for the team bearing your name! How do you feel about your River Rats' performance at Valencia and what are you looking from those individual players in Season 8?
The name was a lot of fun to goof around about at Valencia that is for sure! All three boys looked great, and it really showed that Klassux and CorruptedG play so much better on LAN. I wonder if they didn't move out west in the EG house if RLCS results would have been any different.
If Klassux and CorruptedG stay together, I would assume we see them back in the promotion tournament next season. As for Turbo, he put up a great performance and I'm excited to see where he lands either in NA or EU.
4) You have been one of the biggest mainstays on the Rocket League analyst desk and have had a big impact on both the game and the community. What has being involved in the RLCS since early times meant to you?
I am just so completely spoiled. I absolutely love working with all the casters but the best part is the love and support I receive. I sometimes forget outside the memes that people do really care about me. This World Championship was something special though, everywhere I walked I just heard people shouting Gibbs. The fans always bring a smile to my face and I wouldn't be here without them.
5) While public details for RLCS S8 are few and far between we do know the next stop on the DreamHack Pro Circuit is Montreal, Canada. Do you think we will follow the current trend of seeing a different team take top honors or will we see a team make a run at the top like 2018 Dignitas?
We are in an era where we have six different winners of the last six LANs. The record before that is only four. With names like G2, NRG, Rogue, Complexity, Triple Trouble and FC Barcelona without an LAN title in 2019 and with roster moves coming I could easily see us going 7 for 7 in Montreal!