The Oceania regional finals saw regional favorites go through, but the presumed second best team ICON Esports headlined by three time RLCS Season finalist (4, 5, and 6) Cameron "CJCJ" Johns lost a close 3-4 in the upper finals and another heartbreaking 3-4 to (now) Ground Zero Gaming. While members of Renegades such as Daniel "Torsos" Parsons witnessed the peak of Aussie Rocket League (4th at Season 6 Finals), the usual star players have either long retired Jake "Jake" Edwards or missed out on participating after switching regions Matthew "Drippay" Den-Kaat leaving the legacy of Oceania on the line. Will Renegades and Ground Zero find their footing? Survey says unlikely.
The pride of Australia has seen two of her most prominent members depart, but those who replaced them have been just as stellar so far. While Renegades did not take any notable scalps at Dreamhack Dallas Pro Circuit, the team cruised through Oceania earning them top honors and several individual awards. Featuring not one but TWO keyboarders, this is a team after my own heart.
Will Renegades do well in the group that they are the number one seed for? After a shaky Dallas and a lack of other results due to being out in Oceania it is hard to say. Rogue arguably is the weakest team of the group which means Renegades should have a solid chance of escaping with a second ticket out of Group C, but to top the group would mean taking down the EU powerhouse of FC Barcelona. Renegades were not the best Aussie team at Dallas ironically that would belong to ICON Esports who placed top 12 and took down PSG 3-0 in the process. Hopefully, Renegades plays a lot cleaner than they did in Texas, but only time will tell how the team will achieve their potential.
MVP: Aidan "ZeN" Hui will have to find his S7 Regional Championship MVP form to give Renegades the extra boost required to place past the quarterfinals.
Ground Zero Gaming
Ground Zero Gaming were the big surprise from Oceania. The former ORDER squad was dropped prior to the open qualifier for the first Australian RLCS Season, and the team would compete in league play as "Out of Order" until being picked up by Ground Zero Gaming. Despite ICON Esports being the second best team in Australia and showing some form at DreamHack Dallas, Ground Zero Gaming avenged an earlier close loss to ICON esports in the lower bracket and narrowly lost in the finals to Renegades.
Are Ground Zero Gaming overall better than ICON? It is incredibly hard to say because they do not have many results to go on. The team has a lot of clutch potential and is used to going the distance in Australia, but in NJ they will want to be closing games out much earlier to avoid burning out quickly. I want to coat it in sugar, but Ground Zero have an uphill battle against NA and EU's finest. G2 are an incredibly strong roster and Vitality are the Kings of Europe. Ground Zero are firmly in upset potential, but with lack of results it is hard to quantify what tangible chances they have.
MVP: Tom "Julz" Jullienne had a clutch gene all season and will need it against Vitality and G2.
How do you feel about Oceania's group stage chances? Comment below!