Photo Credit: (Renault Vitality)
Despite three North American teams advancing through to the semifinals, the lone European squad Vitality were able to take home $200,000 and the hardware as Alexandre "Kaydop" Courant has become the second player to three peat in RLCS history as a World Champion. Let's look at the biggest winners and losers from the playoffs of RLCS Worlds Season 7 Finals.
This was probably the hardest Winners column I've written in my history of doing winners and losers articles. While I felt teams like Vitality/Rogue definitely deserved their spot, it is hard for me to really put a team such as G2 who choked games one and two in the grand finals as winners when they could have won the entire tournament.
Despite a shaky DreamHack Dallas and group stage, Vitality came ALIVE on day three as all three pieces of Vitality played to their strengths and absolutely stomped the competition. Dropping two maps in a best of five and two best of sevens, Vitality were a fully functional Maginot Line. While a French org and a majority French squad, Scottish protege Kyle "Scrub Killa" Anderson took home an extra $5,000 and the MVP title in his first ever World Championship appearance.
Vitality were able to put a cap onto a beautiful Season 7 which saw a regular season title over in Europe translate into a gold finish after tearing apart the top three teams from America in the playoffs. Will the team carry their championship form into DreamHack Valencia? Only time will tell, but the mix of young talent and accomplished veterans has shown wonders for Vitality's ability to adapt as a tournament goes on.
While NRG may have won Season 7 NA regional championship, Cloud9 the DreamHack Dallas trophy, and G2 Esports have the greatest owner/cheerleader in esports history, it was the lowly fourth ticket out of NA regionals Rogue who won hearts and minds in the mediocre city of Newark, New Jersey.
Featuring Rocket League royalty Cameron "Kronovi" Bills, Rogue should be a retirement home of sorts (aka MLS) featuring promising young talent that gets snapped up by better teams and never gets past 5th-6th in NA League Play. Rogue showcased a completely different playstyle than the hard and fast style we see used by the majority of top teams, and it worked to give the fourth seed a top four finish. If you're Rogue you cannot be mad with that result considering that everyone wrote this team off from the start of league play and you would have to be the biggest Rogue fanboy to predict them even making it to Worlds let alone topping their group and making semis.
For Rogue to continue their form they will need to either speed up their level of play or eliminate the mistakes they make on defense because G2 Esports turned their backline into swiss cheese in the semis.
Who would've thought the one record to be broken at RLCS Worlds S7 would be the longest ever Mexican wave? The 14,000 seat Prudential arena was home to an over 28 minute continuous wave led by the fountain of youth himself Alex "Goldenboy" Mendez.
Of course I'm going to pivot to the actual Winner here who was the crowd. Everyone who went to the event reported having an amazing time and despite the NA crowd unable to crown an NA champion, provided a world class experience for fans watching on stream or for the first time rookies experiencing the big stage of carball. While I think the stage design could have been better if it was not so spaced out, it still made for a hype experience that every Rocket League fan has to experience at least once.
Hopefully Season 8's venue will be just as baller.
When there are winners there are usually losers, and I feel the clown masks came out for all the North America fans who expected a semi-final sweep and holding the crown from the Kings of EU.
While NA were the big losers this Sunday, we acknowledge that neither South America nor Australia made it to-day three. Despite both featuring teams loaded with talent, neither region had any breakout success, but you can attribute blame to nerves as much as you could blame the pitiful group stage.
Will the Minor Regions rebound next season? I would assume so. The rosters who attended Worlds will have gained valuable performance in front of the boisterous crowd and will take that experience (even if it isn't the best experience) and hopefully improve their game. International esports often take a while to see smaller regions be able to compete with larger ones, but I am confident the teams we saw at Worlds will be able to learn from their lessons and hopefully attend LANs such as DreamHack Valencia.
The pride of North America. The last hope of the American dream. The team that finally won more than one series at Worlds. Yet, this team which had a dream bracket were unable to beat the Vitality they won 3-1 against in groups. I understand and acknowledge that playoff Vitality was a different beast, but G2 Esports looked equally strong in their 4-0 thrashing of Rogue and a close but quality 3-2 win over PSG.
G2 choked away games one and two and despite winning game four they never really showed the clutch ability that defined their prior wins. G2 had the golden opportunity to make a statement and win against one of the most talented rosters to play in the grand finals, and were unable to give the fans what they wanted. Second place was an accomplishment, but G2 are not ones to settle.
Expect this roster to be contending for titles in the future as long as they keep this form up.
The winner of X-Games 2017 and many online seasons of NA league play NRG have done it again. Despite being one of the hottest teams in groups, not everything is built to last and the NRG we saw in playoffs was nothing like the near perfection we saw on day one and two.
NRG fans have to be one of the most long suffering fanbases because everytime the team has a taste of success or signs a brand new phenom, the team always manages to let the fans down in the playoffs. Will NRG bounce back? Or will NRG go back to the choking we have continually seen? The best team to never win a World title still applies to the online Kings of NRG who I hope will recover to properly contend for a world title.
Do you agree with my winners and losers? Comment below your own!