Rocket League Championship Series Season 4: European Play-In Recap

It’s been almost three months since Northern Gaming claimed the Rocket League Championship Series Season 3 World Championship, and Psyonix has wasted no time in getting Season 4 underway. The European Qualifiers wrapped up yesterday as the region’s top 128 teams competed head to head in the qualifying play-in. At the end of the day the region’s top 16 teams staked their claims in either the Rocket League Championship Series (RLCS) or the Rocket League Rivals Series (RLRS).

Here’s our recap of the action. (Note: All team Elo ratings can be found on our Team Ratings page. The official bracket can be found here. For a recap of yesterday’s North American play-in, look here).

Teams that qualified for RLCS

  • Team EnVyUs (Auto-qualified through Season 3)
  • FlipSid3 Tactics (Auto-qualified through Season 3)
  • Gale Force Esports
  • exceL Esports
  • Mock-it Esports
  • Frontline
  • Method
  • Aeriality

Teams that qualified for RLRS

  • The Leftovers
  • Inspiration
  • BoonkGang
  • The Juicy Kids
  • Soul Gaming
  • Team Endpoint
  • Supersonic Avengers
  • eHawkerz

Here’s how each team qualified.

Gale Force Esports

There were high expectations placed on Gale Force Esports, given the way they’ve dominated the scene since their formation after Season 3. If any of Kaydop, ViolentPanda, or Turbopolsa felt nervous, they certainly didn’t show it, as Gale Force qualified for RLCS League Play quite easily, going 12-1 in the four series they played; out of VSM, alltheRAGE, Cytons, and Aeriality, only VSM managed to take a game from Gale Force.

exceL Esports

After going 0-7 in Europe’s League Play last season, Nielskoek and Zensuz (then playing for Cow Nose) decided to make a roster change, swapping out Danzhizzle for Pwndx. Though it’s early in Season 4, Pwndx’s presence on the team has been noticeable, as exceL breezed through their portion of the bracket, dropping just one game before sweeping Method to qualify for the RLCS.

This was a strong showing for exceL, as they dominated Method, despite the fact that Method were considered favorites over exceL. Look for Nielskoek, Zensuz, and Pwndx to make some noise during league play, especially if their strong play continues.

Mock-it Esports

Despite winning the European region’s online finals last season, the departure of Kaydop and Miztik meant that Mock-it had to forfeit its auto-qualification bid for RLCS. That ended up not mattering, as the newest edition of the Mock-it roster had no trouble re-qualifying for Season 4’s RLCS.

Fairy Peak, Paschy90, and FreaKii breezed through their competition, winning all five of their series and finishing the day with a 15-2 record. They’ll be a force to reckon with in this season’s League Play.

Frontline

Frontline had one of the more impressive performances at the play-in, as they knocked off Thick Icebergs and The Juicy Kids before sweeping The Leftovers in commanding fashion to qualify for the RLCS. Their matchup against The Leftovers was a highly anticipated matchup, as Ferra was given the chance to knock his former team to the lower bracket (after they dropped him in favor of other players over the summer).

From the start, the series belonged to Frontline, especially Bluey, as the RLCS rookie made his presence known in his first appearance on stream.

Along with being a huge emotional victory for Ferra, this win for Frontline shows that they’re here to compete with the best of the best in Europe. In tournaments before the RLCS play-in, they took down Gale Force Esports, Method, Team Endpoint, and exceL Esports. They’re going to be THE team to watch in this season’s League Play, especially if they play like they did today.

Method

One of the hottest teams in Rocket League coming into the play-in was Method, as strong performances across the board helped to prove that they were one of Europe’s best teams. They swept their way to a matchup with exceL Esports, and though they lost, they bounced back to beat Supersonic Avengers and Soul Gaming, and earned one of the final two RLCS spots.

Aeriality

Before the play-in started, we here at The Half Flip tagged Aeriality as a team that was almost guaranteed to make the Rocket League Rivals Series, based on their Elo rating. Their performance in tournaments had shown that they were a little bit better than plenty of other bubble teams, but they hadn’t quite racked up victories against established RLCS-caliber opponents.

Today, they were given one of the tougher winner bracket draws, as victories over Wizards Club, RedWorld Gaming, Suhh, and Epsilon Esports propelled them right into Gale Force Esports. Losing to Gale Force dropped them to the lower bracket, where a win over Inspiration pushed them to one final matchup for a chance at the RLCS, against The Leftovers.

The Leftovers are a team composed of two players that finished fourth overall last season (Snaski and Sikii), and one player who played for the World Championship team (Maestro, though Northern Gaming won the tournament with Turbopolsa subbing in for Maestro). No one on Aeriality played in the RLCS last season.

None of that mattered, however, as Aeriality pulled off one of the most dramatic upsets in RLCS history, taking Games 1 and 2 before falling in Games 3 and 4, but then somehow surviving an insane six minute overtime, avoiding a reverse sweep, and sending The Leftovers to the RLRS.

The rest of the competitive scene took notice, as this series was genuinely one of the craziest, wildest, and exciting series in the history of Rocket League as an esport.

They might be underdogs in RLCS, but today, all the spoils of victory belong to Aeriality.

The Leftovers

The Leftovers did not have a good play-in. They were swept by Frontline, and then upset by Aeriality, causing them to miss out on an RLCS bid. They still qualified for the Rivals Series, so all is not lost, and many other teams would be happy with an RLRS spot, but this is The Leftovers we’re talking about. They finished fourth overall last season, behind only NRG, Mock-it Esports, and Northern Gaming. In the offseason, they added one of the best players in the world to their roster. Expectations for this roster were sky high, especially with the roster receiving so much hype from the players themselves.

For a team that was so stacked on paper, this kind of performance is nothing but disappointing.

The Leftovers will have something to prove now. Look for them to dominate the RLRS, qualify for RLCS Season 5, and come back with a vengeance.

Inspiration

One of the newer teams in Europe’s competitive scene is Inspiration, as Sebadam, Oscillon, and Lauty came together to form the team just before the RLCS registration deadline. Based on talent alone, our Elo system projected them as an RLRS team, and victories over “Full yolo and pray” and Ascendance helped make that a reality.

Losses to Team Endpoint and Aeriality kept them out of the RLCS, but it will still be interesting to see how they perform in the RLRS – right now, we really haven’t seen enough of them to determine just how good of a team they really are.

BoonkGang

Though none of the members of BoonkGang are high-profile Rocket League stars, MummiSnow, EyeIgnite, and Skyline have all been members of the competitive scene for quite some time now, and seeing them earn a chance to display their talents on a bigger stage is awesome for fans and analysts who have seen them grow as players.

Today, victories over x6tence and eHawkerz helped push them into the RLRS, though losses to Method and The Leftovers dashed their RLCS hopes.

On a completely unrelated note, everything about this roster somehow has to do with two words mashed into one. Between the team name and each player’s name, you can come up with eight words that all pretty much mean something in the English language!

  • Mummi – a misspelling of the word Mummy.
  • Snow – cold stuff that falls from the sky in the winter time.
  • Eye – an eye. It’s on your face.
  • Ignite – to light something on fire.
  • Sky – go outside, look straight up. That blue thing is the sky.
  • Line – here’s an example of a line ———– .
  • Boonk – an onomatopeia of some sort.
  • Gang – group of people that do stuff.

Words are fun!

The Juicy Kids

Another team with veterans of the competitive scene is The Juicy Kids, as killerno7, Stocki, coKaaa, and Frag have all been around for quite some time now. Their victories over Enjoy Gaming and F.M.W helped them clinch an RLRS berth, though losses to Frontline and Supersonic Avengers kept them from making RLCS.

Soul Gaming

The craziest bracket run of the day doesn’t go to Aeriality, who pulled off the incredible upset of The Leftovers, or eHawkerz, who managed to qualify for the RLRS despite starting the day as the 43rd (!!!) seed.

No, the craziest bracket run of the day definitely goes to Soul Gaming, who was disqualified from their first round match against UnTilted, but then went on a crazy lower bracket run, winning eight straight series before finally falling to Method. In their incredible run, Soul picked up victories over Survivors, rixron Carry, GG Disruption, Epsilon Esports, F.M.W, and Team Endpoint.

They’re not loaded with talent, but could surprise some teams in RLRS. Dadooh has been around the scene for quite some time, and wolfsonthemoon and Skies are interesting players to watch.

Team Endpoint

One of Europe’s stronger bubble teams this offseason has been Team Endpoint, so it’s not surprising to see Tinny, Cheerio, and Shakahron in the RLRS. When they’re on, they can be a dangerous team capable of taking down a higher ranked opponent, but, like all bubble teams, they struggle with consistency from time to time.

In this play-in, their biggest victory was against Inspiration, though they fell to Mock-it Esports and Soul Gaming.

Supersonic Avengers

In a bit of a throwback, the Supersonic Avengers team name from RLCS Season 1 was revived for Season 4, though only ELMP returns from the original roster. Along with PauliePaulNL and KilEak, ELMP led the Season 4 Supersonic Avengers on a solid bracket run, taking down Circa eSports and The Juicy Kids to qualify for the RLRS, though losses to The Leftovers and Method kept Supersonic Avengers out of the RLCS.

eHawkerz

Though Soul Gaming had the craziest bracket run today, the biggest underdog story was certainly eHawkerz, as GCR, dani_ana, and Kontrol went from virtual obscurity to qualifying for the RLRS. Headed into the play-in they were seeded 43rd, but managed to take down Eletronik Generation, The All British Except For Flarke Rejects, Copenhagen Flames, and Ascendance on their route to qualifying.

There isn’t a lot known about this team, and is very possible that one day of excellent play propelled them to the RLRS league play, where they’ll be outmatched and knocked out after one season of play. Still, the list of teams they beat is impressive, as all four had realistic RLRS aspirations. eHawkerz certainly didn’t luck into their RLRS berth; they earned it by beating other bubble teams, and if they can maintain this level of play in the RLRS, they have the potential to catch other teams by surprise and do some real damage.

Final Notes

  • Between the North American play-in on Saturday, and the European play-in on Sunday, the Rocket League channel on Twitch averaged about 70,000 viewers. Back in Season 1, it was big news when the stream for the International Finals topped 70,000 viewers. The growth of Rocket League as an esport has been incredible, and with the new format for the Rocket League Championship Series, the future of the game looks bright.
  • Elo ratings will be updated Monday afternoon, after I have the time to add the games and re-run the computations.