Recapping the week of 8/14/17 – 8/18/17: Pro Rivalry, ASTRONAUTS, Gfinity, and Nexus

With qualifying for the Rocket League Championship Series (RLCS) underway, weekly and monthly community tournaments start to have more and more value. Not only will these tournaments be factored into seeding for the RLCS qualifier play-in, but established teams and bubble teams alike will get the chance to practice against high-level competition.

There was plenty of action this past week, with tournaments being hosted by Pro Rivalry, Beyond Entertainment, Gfinity, and Nexus Gaming. Here’s our breakdown of the week’s action.

Pro Rivalry –  Watch out for JSTN

The week kicked off with a Monday night tournament, as the North American Pro Rivalry Cup gave teams a shot at winning their portion of a $150 prize pool. At the end of the night, Out of Style (Lachinio, JSTN, EPICJonny) took down Wildcard (Laz, Nomad, Pepper) to win Rivals Cup #37.

Though this tournament wasn’t full of high end talent (NRG, Cloud 9, G2 Esports, Renegades, eQuinox, and Genesis were all absent), the victory is still impressive for Out of Style, as their path to the finals included other bubble teams such as Boston Splyce (Pluto, Karma, HotWheelsSid) and Fibeon (Chicago, Hato, Zolhay). Wildcard deserves credit as well, as they needed to beat Hollywood Hammers and SetToDestroyX in order to advance to the finals.

The biggest story of the night, though, was the play of JSTN, a 15-year-old newcomer who teamed up with Lachinio and EPICJonny headed into his first season of RLCS play. In the two series broadcasted by Pro Rivalry, JSTN was outstanding, showcasing incredible mechanical skills as well as astounding car control as he flat-out dominated his opponents.

Boston Splyce and Wildcard were unable to slow down the youngster, as he scored 13 goals and added seven assists in the eight games Out of Style played. JSTN was certainly the driving force behind his team’s offense – Lachinio and EPICJonny combined for just 14 goals, though Lachinio chipped in nine assists and EPICJonny tallied eight helpers.

Here’s a look at some of JSTN’s handiwork.

 

His opponents certainly took note, and he’ll be a player to watch going forward.

Here’s a list of notable results from the tournament.

Out of Style (Lachinio, JSTN, EPICJonny) vs. Fibeon (Chicago, Hato, Zolhay): Out of Style wins, 2-1

Wildcard (Laz, Nomad, Pepper) vs. Hollywood Hammers (DarkFire, Vince, Satthew): Wildcard wins, 2-1

Boston Splyce (Pluto, Karma, HotWheelsSid) vs. Incognito (GoRocksGo, Tuster, JWismont): Boston Splyce wins, 2-1

SetToDestroyX (Halcyon, Lemonpuppy, Memory) vs. Ambition Esports (PrimeThunder, Wonder, Air): SetToDestroyX wins, 2-1

Out of Style vs. Boston Splyce: Out of Style wins, 3-1

Wildcard vs. SetToDestroyX: Wildcard wins, 3-0

Out of Style vs. Wildcard: Out of Style wins, 3-1

The full bracket can be found here.

Beyond Entertainment – eQuinox and Genesis rise above the pack

Beyond Entertainment played host to the biggest prize pool of the week on Tuesday night, as Genesis (now Ghost Gaming) (Klassux, Lethamyr, Zanejackey) bested eQuinox (Chrome, SadJunior, CorruptedG) in the finals to take home the biggest portion of the $1000 dollar prize pool.

The victory carries an asterisk, however, as Chrome disconnected about a minute into Game 7. Up to that point, the series had been incredibly well fought, with neither team distinguishing themselves as the better team. Though it would have been nice to see Game 7 replayed, the rules are the rules, and Genesis ended up being the benefactor of Chrome’s unlucky disconnect.

Both teams played very well to get to the finals, though, further establishing themselves within the second tier of North American teams. Genesis bested Wildcard (Laz, Nomad, Pepper) and Fibeon (Chicago, Hato, Zolhay) on their path to the finals, while eQuinox took down Boston Splyce (Pluto, Karma, HotWheelsSid) and Hollywood Hammers (DarkFire, Vince, Satthew).

At the moment, there’s plenty to indicate that bubble teams such as Wildcard and Splyce aren’t quite on the same caliber as teams with established RLCS veterans, like eQuinox and Ghost Gaming. Established players are established for a reason – they’ve always been quite good at the game, and it’s difficult to bridge that skill gap, especially since the best players are constantly getting better.

It will be interesting to see whether or not a team with very little RLCS experience manages to finish in the top-8 and qualify for RLCS, instead of settling for the Rocket League Rivalry Series (RLRS). It’s definitely possible, even if it doesn’t seem very likely.

Here’s a list of notable results from the tournament.

Boston Splyce (Pluto, Karma, HotWheelsSid) vs. Ambition Esports (PrimeThunder, Wonder, Air): Boston Splyce wins, 2-1

eQuinox (Chrome, SadJunior, CorruptedG) vs. Boston Splyce: eQuinox wins, 3-0

Hollywood Hammers (DarkFire, Vince, Satthew) vs. Out of Style (Lachinio, JSTN, EPICJonny): Hollywood Hammers wins, 3-2

Genesis (Klassux, Lethamyr, Zanejackey) vs. Wildcard (Laz, Nomad, Pepper): Genesis wins, 3-1

Fibeon (Chicago, Hato, Zolhay) vs. SetToDestroyX (Halcyon, Lemonpuppy, Memory): Fibeon wins, 3-2

eQuinox vs. Hollywood Hammers: eQuinox wins, 3-1

Genesis vs. Fibeon: Genesis wins, 3-1

eQuinox vs. Genesis: Genesis wins, 4-3

The full bracket can be found here.

Gfinity – The Leftovers are still good

One European team that we didn’t quite get to see this offseason was The Leftovers, as Snaski and Sikii searched for a new teammate and only appeared in four major events: RLCS Summer Series #2, the X-Games Invitational, Nvidia Best Buddies, and Pro Rivalry’s Rival Week.

The only event at which they played with their current edition of the roster was Rival Week, as Pwndx played as the team’s third player for the first three events. Maestro ended up playing with The Leftovers during Rival Week, and became the team’s permanent third after Team EnVyUs signed gReazymeister.

The team’s performance during Rival Week was a bit underwhelming, as FlipSid3 Tactics (Markydooda, Kuxir97, Miztik) beat The Leftovers in two of the three series the teams played, winning nine of the 15 games the two teams played (9-6).

Still, The Leftovers have plenty of potential, and it’s not completely unreasonable to place them in Europe’s top four – after Gale Force Esports, Team EnVyUs, and FlipSid3, The Leftovers really are (probably) the best team in Europe – and you could even argue they’ll be better than FlipSid3, once Maestro gets used to playing with Snaski and Sikii.

Their performance this week certainly did nothing to dispel that notion, winning Gfinity after decisive victories over bubble teams such as Ascendance, Epsilon Esports, and Frontline.

Frontline was the only team to win a game against The Leftovers, as both Ascendance and Epsilon Esports were swept. This kind of performance really was expected from The Leftovers, as the roster is composed entirely of RLCS veterans, but it’s still encouraging to see them perform as expected, considering they don’t have many appearances as a team under their belt.

Though The Leftovers won Gfinity, another important thing to note is that several upsets did occur in the tournament. For starters, Team Endpoint (Cheerio, Tinny, Shakahron) took down Mock-It EU (paschy90, FreaKii, Fairy Peak). Mock-It contains three RLCS Season 3 veterans, including a Season 3 grand finalist (Fairy Peak) and a Season 2 grand finalist (paschy90). Team Endpoint is comprised of three players with zero RLCS experience, and though Endpoint has realistic RLRS aspirations, it’s difficult to picture them qualifying for RLCS as one of the top eight teams in Europe.

Epsilon Esports (Data, Reepex, Alex161) also took down Method (al0t, Metsanauris, Magnus), which is surprising considering the fact that Method was one game away from qualifying for the Season 3 Live Finals (LAN). Epsilon, on the other hand, is like Endpoint; they have a shot at the RLRS, but it would be surprising to see them in RLCS.

With Mock-It and Method out of the picture, it wasn’t at all surprising to see Frontline (Ferra, Bluey, Chausette45) make it to the finals. Both Ferra and Chausette45 have RLCS experience, and though Bluey is one of the youngest players in Europe, there’s no denying his talent. Frontline might not be on the same level as Europe’s top teams, but they definitely have RLCS potential.

The full bracket for the tournament can be found here.

Nexus Gaming – The best are the best

With Nexus Gaming hosting the next round of RLCS qualifiers this weekend, they decided to host a $300 tournament instead of their usual $150 dollar weekly tournament, as a way of kicking off a weekend of exciting Rocket League action.

The Friday night tournament certainly had its fair share of excitement, with In Style (Gimmick, Torment, GarrettG) defeating a variety of opponents before knocking out Fibeon (Chicago, Hato, Zolhay) in the finals.

In Style managed to win despite the fact that they don’t typically play together, as Gimmick and Torment play for Cloud 9 (along with SquishyMuffinz) while GarrettG plays for NRG (with Fireburner and Jacob). The trio had a bit of chemistry right from the start, and didn’t really suffer from issues that one would expect members of different teams to encounter when attempting to play together.

Their ability to play well together likely stems from the fact that Cloud 9 and NRG are the top two teams in North America right now, by a considerable margin. G2 Esports is a close third, but no other team really comes close to matching the level of competition that NRG and Cloud 9 are at. It showed tonight.

A number of bubble teams competed in the tournament as well, with the biggest splash coming from Pity Party (FallenOak, Joro, JUrban), a relatively unknown that managed to take down Ghost balls (Kronovi, Klassux, Chrome), a team of RLCS veterans. The upset definitely puts Pity Party on the radar, though they did fall to Ambition Esports in the next round.

Here’s a full list of notable results from the tournament.

Out of Style (Lachinio, JSTN, EPICJonny) vs. New Horizon (AirRejectz, Huskih, Vafele) Out of Style wins, 2-0

Pity Party (FallenOak, Joro, JUrban) vs. Ghost balls (Kronovi, Klassux, Chrome) Pity Party wins, 2-0

In Style (Gimmick, Torment, GarrettG) vs. Boston Splyce (Pluto, Karma, HotWheelsSid): In Style wins, 3-0

SetToDestroyX (Halcyon, Lemonpuppy, Memory) vs. Out of Style: SetToDestroyX wins, 3-2

Ambition Esports (PrimeThunder, Wonder, Air) vs. Pity Party: Ambition wins, 3-1

Fibeon (Chicago, Hato, Zolhay) vs. Wildcard (Laz, Nomad, Astroh): Fibeon wins, 3-1

In Style vs. SetToDestroyX: In Style wins, 3-2

Fibeon vs. Ambition Esports: Fibeon wins, 3-1

In Style vs. Fibeon: In Style wins, 4-1

The full bracket can be found here.

Notes:

  • Boston Splyce played in every North American tournament this week, but really only found success in the Pro Rivalry Cup. They seem like they’re truly a step above a lot of North America’s lowest-tier bubble teams, but, at the same, they clearly aren’t on the same level as teams like Hollywood Hammers and eQuinox. Unless their play improves, it’s hard to see them qualifying for RLCS, even though their RLRS hopes and dreams are still very much alive.
  • SetToDestroyX and Fibeon also played in every North American tournament this week, to varied success. Fibeon lost to the red-hot Out of Style during the Pro Rivalry Cup, while SetToDestroyX was swept by Wildcard. In the Beyond Entertainment ASTRONAUTS, Fibeon actually knocked SetToDestroyX out with a 3-2 victory in the quarterfinals, though Fibeon would go on to lose to Genesis in the semifinals. In Nexus, both teams lost to In Style, though Fibeon lost 4-1 in the finals while SetToDestroyX lost 3-2 in the semis. Both of these teams seem to be a smidge better than other bubble teams, but a smidge worse than established RLCS teams. That kind of “in-between” ranking makes them intriguing, and all eyes will be on their performances over the next couple of weeks.
  • Anyone heard from Renegades? Dappur, Timi, and Moses haven’t played in a tournament as a full roster yet, despite the fact that they formed back in July. We can go back even further, and point out that there hasn’t been a roster with at least two of those players playing since RLCS Summer Series #1, when Moses and Timi played for Ohana, while Dappur played with The Muffin Men. They’re essentially an unknown, as we’ve yet to see them play together. That makes them a seeding nightmare, and if they don’t at least appear in something before the play-in (not counting the open qualifier), it will be genuinely impossible to guess where they get seeded.
  • Out of Style was on fire Monday night, but they couldn’t quite keep the momentum going the rest of the week. They pushed Hollywood Hammers and SetToDestroyX to five games in ASTRONAUTS and Nexus, respectively, and those are respectable results, but unless they improve, getting into RLCS will take a bit of luck.

Open qualifiers for RLCS continue today, as Nexus Gaming hosts the qualifiers this weekend. Games can be viewed here. The broadcast will likely start around 1:00 PM ET.