With the world being an ever changing landscape due to the widespread effects of COVID-19, everything from the movie industry to elite sports had to rethink their processes. Travel restrictions halted most international sporting events, including but not limited to the Olympics! How did that effect eSports I hear you ask? Well, for the most part LAN events have been stopped and most tournaments including majors have been moved to an online format only. Unfortunately due to the effects of what was effectively a global lockdown the final for RLCS season 9 didn’t end up going ahead, but that didn’t stop us moving into RLCS X (season 10!) did it?
We saw the FALL split for RLCS X adopt a new Swiss format, featuring a 32 team system to qualify for the following week where you had 16 teams fighting for a spot in the playoff the following day, single elimination bracket. Best of 5 for the Semi and Finals are Best of 7. They did 3 regional events where you could rack up points to fight for your place in the major, where the big bucks were made and boys were turned into men. I personally really enjoyed this format, I’ve never watched an eSports event that ran like this before but there was CONSTANT high level Rocket League every Friday Saturday and Sunday, it was brilliant!
For the Winter Split however, Psyonix have decided to swap the format back to the one we know and love, we’re going to be seeing a double elimination bracket returning, this will still give us lots of Rocket League viewing running through November up until February, since you get that second chance of making it to a final we’re gonna get a lot of games and a lot of teams scrapping for their lives! We’ve got another three regionals and FOUR grid tournaments to look forward to from EU and NA alone, more will be announced for the other regions in the coming days I’m sure but either way, ANY Rocket League is GOOD Rocket League. One thing is for sure however, we will be seeing a lot of roster changes, plenty of rumours, organisations coming and going and players leaving for greener pastures perhaps? Only time will tell!.
We had one big change during the Fall Split with Monkeys getting an organisation, which in my opinion was thoroughly deserved. They were picked up by Galaxy Racer, an eSports organisation from United Arab Emirates, I’m pretty keen to see how being part of anorg will help them mature their game and push on, it’s going to be a huge split coming up for them! We still have Top Blokes who are a fantastic team with bags of potential that don’t have an org, I can’t imagine that will be for long given the FC Barcelona eSports team seems to have walked away from the org. The full squad, manager and coach left the org after FCB allegedly tried to fight for them to stay. Some other huge individual moves that are definitely not to be missed are;
Kronovi– Parting ways with Rogue after finding himself unhappy with his playing environment, looks highly unlikely he will be part of a team for the Winter Split, this is crazy news as Kro is an absolute legend of this game and it seems like he’s always fighting for those top spots.
Kuxir97 – After struggling to make playoffs for the entirety of the Fall Split with Team Liquid Kuxir has been removed from the squad, leaving Speed and Fruity to go join SWAG with Flakes and Rhezzy. This will be an interesting move for all involved, will SWAG be able to keep up with the big boys in the Winter Split?
Dappur – Dappur has been a big name in the NA Rocket League scene for a good few years now, playing for some pretty big rosters and picking up some decent results along the way, interestingly, on the 27th October he was released by Charlotte Phoenix and now finds himself as a substitute for Kansas City Pioneers. This could prove to be a solid move for him if he gets time to show his stuff.
So, where does that leave us for this upcoming Winter Split? Who are the favourites, who do we think will fall short? I’ve compiled a short list of yay and nay, who and why for the two big regions;
NRGwere, for a lot of people, the favourites to win the Fall Split, however they fell short at the final hurdle suffering a pretty resounding defeat at the hands of Spacestation Gaming, in my opinion, they will be back better, faster, stronger. They’re definitely the team to watch this split.
Envy are a really good team and I mean that in the most sincere way possible, they have the 4 time world champion on their roster Turbopolsafor crying out loud, but… There’s just something about the way he plays online that doesn’t sell it to me, he is by far the best LAN player in the game, he turns up, without fail, every time. Hence the 4 world titles. But he always seems a little off the pace when he’s playing online, are Envya top 4 team in NA? They should be, but there’s some stiff competition biting at their heels.
Yay: Renault Vitality
Vitality are an astounding team filled to the brim with pure talent, their addition of Alpha was looked at by many as a bit strange as he didn’t seem to fit in with the play style of Kaydopand Fairy Peak, however that has been shown to be rubbish as he has helped them so much and at times, absolutely carried them. Vitality fell short in the Fall Split, getting hammered by Team BDS but I’m backing Vitality to take this defeat and learn from it, BDSmay be their biggest rivals to date, but with enough grinding beating that final boss is going to happen one way or the other, right?
Nay: FC Barcelona eSports
FC Barcelonahad one hell of a roster that arguably underperformed more often than not, however after Ronaky, Deevo, Itachi and Seeb all left, they have picked up a fairly inexperienced roster consisting of Tahz, Blurry, Rizex45 with Kairos as their coach. While I felt the FC Barcelona roster did underachieve, do I think this roster will do any better? In my opinion, no, I think they’re going to fall way off the mark. I just hope this doesn’t bring about the end to FC Barcelona’s stay in Rocket League eSports. In fact, I’d be surprised if they make the playoffs.
So that’s where my money will be going, NRG and Renault Vitality to win their regional splits, seems like a safe bet to me. A good little outside bet for both regions would be Top Blokes in Europe as they have a very strong, young roster and for North America my outsider bet would probably be with KC Pioneers, those guys pushed hard this split but couldn’t quite reach the finish line, I think with the work they’ve been putting in they could definitely make it to the final. If you’re new to betting on eSports a lot of the big betting websites do cater for it now, I used to bet more on sport, Premier League, UEFA Champions League and UFC in particular, but as someone who was more into eSports anyway, it’s pretty good to see that there are markets out there now for me where I can actually use some knowledge I’ve acquired over the years. In fact sites like BetOnline, that follow several betting scenarios they also have reviews for plenty of other sites so it’s probably a good idea to do a little bit of research, maybe compare some pros and cons, see who has the best introductory/new member offers and get the most out of your money and then, with a bit of luck, you back the right teams to succeed and you can be quids in by the end of the Winter Split when we crown our champions from each region! But as always, make sure you gamble responsibly, never bet beyond your means and when the fun stops, stop!
And that’s that, that’s our coverage of the changes we’re seeing going into the Winter Split for RLCS X. I’m super excited, as I said, any Rocket League is good Rocket League. Do you follow Rocket League as an eSport? If so, who will you be cheering for this split? I’ll personally be cheering for Endpoint though I know who is more likely to get that W.