The RLCS has come a long way in a short time. Just two years ago there was a (not to be sniffed at) prize pool of $55,000 on the line for the contestants of Psyonix’ first official Rocket League tournament. Incorporating the best teams of two continents, alongside its little sister the Rival Series the RLCS is the definitive test of a players mettle; a bastion for battle-cars.
Now you could say that it was a pretty smart move from Psyonix, throwing that tournament. You could even say it was a success considering the prize pool for Season 6 is now, oh I don’t know, a whopping $1,000,000! How’s that for a popularity contest? Last season’s grand finale was shown in sunny old London to a packed-out crowd in the Copper Box Stadium and was quite the spectacle for thousands of avid gamers and fans.
Right about now when I’d say ‘SIGN ME UP!’ is when I realise that I’m not good enough for this level of competition. This is elite level, upper echelons, code vermillion levels of expertise we’re talking about here. This tournament doesn’t take chumps. This is for the best of the best. The creme’ da la creme’. Les Rocketeers Terribles.
Esports is growing at an exponential rate and the demand for this marrying of traditional sport and modern esports is growing alongside it. Psyonix and their RLCS partners Twitch have recognised a clear gap in the global market and the future promises to be something to behold because viva Las Vegas baby - November 9th to the 11th - hosts the finale, but before that we’ve got weeks of soccar action to sink out teeth into. Enough about how great an idea it was - let's see how the first week panned out.
So how did the teams get on in the first round of RLCS Season 6? Well, I locked myself indoors and parked on a comfy-ass chair to find out and relay it to you, so read on. The action got underway over the weekend in North America and Europe with the first round of a “best of five” round-robin format. Here’s how the opening weekend went down.
RLCS Season 6 Week One
Flyquest: 2 – Allegiance: 3
A fiery back and forth between Flyquest and Allegiance showed the class of both teams in a round that seemed to be half-spent in zero gravity, but some fantastic air dribbling from on high courtesy of PRIMETHUNDER in the first game couldn’t stand in the way of Allegiance’s Allushin, who took a hat-trick in the first game. Primethunder led the line in the fight back to take the second game as their first victory, with teammates Wonder and AayJayy making some good saves and each contributing a goal apiece.
Wonder took the spotlight in the dying seconds of the third game to bring Flyquests second victory of the round, but Allegiances managed to claw themselves wheel over wheel to clinch the last two games despite Flyquest arguably contributing the better play throughout the whole affair. Is has to be handed to Allegiance though – steadfast resolve and the headlong counter-attacks of Allushin proved too much for Flyquest in the end as they fought their way to a hard-earned 3 game victory. First round to Allegiance.
Cloud9: 3 – Rogue: 0
Rogue didn’t get off to the best of starts when they came up against a clinical Cloud9, falling victim to three consecutive defeats meekly on opening day. Some torrid defending
No discernible and defensive strategy and two notable own goals worked to offset some real of boost control skill in the attack from Rogue, but it required every player to be pushing forward to make a case against Cloud9, leaving them unguarded and ultimately tactically outclassed.
Ghost Gaming 2- Evil Geniuses 3
Of all the matches on the first day of RLCS, this was undoubtedly the most evenly matched. Both teams very well-drilled defensively and offensively, goalkeeping was top-notch and no one overplayed their hand... to begin with at least. Amazing aerial play by Chicago in the second game to set up the goal for CorruptedG with 42 seconds to spare, which left Evil Geniuses with only one victory needed to seal the match.
Ghost wasn’t having any of it though – they dug in and fought back to secure two rounds on the bounce in a contest that became scrappier by the minute. In the end though when the question was asked of Evil Geniuses they went back to their roots; they kept it tight, didn’t over-commit, and forced the victory in the final game. To be fair to both teams it was neck-and-neck for swathes of the match and could have gone either way, but for all their aggression Ghost couldn’t match up to the faith EG placed in their work on the training pitch, with dedicated defensive discipline making all the difference.
Allegiance: 0 – G2 Esports: 3
Allegiance’s heroics earlier in the day was still fresh in the mind when they rolled up against G2 Esports, but they couldn’t seem to hit their mark. G2 were as aggressive in their attack as they were strategic in their defense, and the first two games they were one step ahead of every move Allegiance made. G2 was defending on the line with at least one team-mate ready to lend support at a moment’s notice, and it isn’t for lack of effort or ability that Allegiance failed to take their chances.
A brief resurgence in the third game almost brought Allegiance back to life, but G2 moved quickly to shut them down, and by the time the last goal went in it was safe to say that morale in the Allegiance camp was about as low as it gets. They were roundly beaten and perhaps a little unlucky in this match, in a game where players make their own luck.
Flyquest: 1 - NRG Esports: 3
It’s safe to say Flyquest didn’t get a great night’s sleep on Saturday night as they were, frankly, blown away by NRG Esports, who were quick to take their chances in the opening game of their match on Sunday. A fightback in the second game saw Flyquest’s hopes for redemption rise in a tense meeting with plenty of skill on display on both sides, but equal amounts of desperation kept it rough around the edges.
Despite their best efforts, Flyquest couldn’t capitalise on their momentum and quickly found themselves under the cosh in the fourth game despite taking an early lead, with NRG moving quickly to cut out passes and mercilessly exploit the rare gaps that appeared in Flyquest’s defense. The performance was at times heroic from Flyquest but NRG nevertheless dominated the match even though it wasn't always pretty.
Fnatic: 0 - Team Dignitas: 3
I don’t think anyone was surprised when Team Dignitas approached their match against Fnatics with clinical efficiency though at times the scoreline triggered a little sympathy for the losing side. Fnatics aren’t a bad team but Dignitas made them look bog-standard. This match didn’t have the energy and frenetic pace to match the majority of matches over the weekend; Dignitas remained one step ahead of nearly every pass Fnatics attempted, and any mistake was exploited.
A ridiculously comfortable win for Team Dignitas, and hopefully for Fnatics a kick up the backside to pull themselves together and stop wasting possession with hopeful long balls.
Mousesports: 3 - Renault Vitality: 1
A zero hour equaliser from Renault Vitality promised an exciting start to the match but it took less than a minute for an own goal to see them gain a deficit at the first time of asking, and their fight to pull a point back in the second game was thrown into doubt when Mousesports brought the game to overtime once more. Renault eventually stole the game at 1:29 OT after a stellar back and forth between the two, equal parts badass aerial shots and epic saves.
Another late equaliser from Renault brought them into overtime yet again only to see them fall at the last hurdle after a poor mistake from Scrub Killa. In the end Mousesports had too much in the tank for Renault; by the time the klaxon blew on full-time, Renault had seen precious little of the ball and Mousesports cruised to victory.
PSG Esports: 2 - Complexity Gaming: 3
Football giants they may be but PSG’s Rocket League contemporaries couldn’t stop Complexity running roughshod over their opening week hopes despite a feisty battle that went down to the line. Complexity took the first and second games after some lax defending from PSG, but the eSports arm of the sporting titans showed steely resolve to claw their way back into contention with consecutive wins of their own.
The final game wasn’t as tight an affair as the rest of the match would suggest, Complexity was back on form after their two-game hiccup and simply didn’t give PSG any room to breathe. A few simple mistakes and squandered opportunities from PSG guaranteed they came out of week one without a victory despite their valiant efforts.
Mousesports: 3 - Fnatics: 1
Another disappointing game for Fnatics and we’re starting to get a rough idea of how the series is going to play out for these guys if the opening weekend was anything to go by. You wouldn’t have thought it to see their opening game against Mousesports though, which they dominated with relative ease.
Three back-to-back wins from Mousesports hammered the nails into Fnatics coffin and condemned their best efforts to relative anonymity.
We Dem Girlz: 3 - Flipside Tactics: 1
We Dem Girlz didn’t make it easy on themselves in the opening games against Flipside, taking the first game but leaving it ‘til the third and fourth to take their scalp. Gameplay was more evenly matched than the results would have you believe but some lazy defending on both sides opened the games up to be taken by the victor with some relatively easy play.
The fourth and final game went to overtime but Flipside’s hectic defense lasted only a tormenting 1:18 before Metsanauris shattered their hopes on the rebound.
|We Dem Girlz||1||0||2|
A disappointing weekend for some but a storm out of the gates for others as Cloud9, G2, Team Dignitas and Mousesports all making a case for the run-in, with Allegiance and Complexity only needing to iron out a few kinks to make it all run smoothly. A grim end to the first week for Flyquest, Rogue and Fnatic though, all of whom will need to have a serious think about how they're going to respond in week two.
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