Universal Open: Gale Force wins Rocket League’s first high-profile 2v2 tournament

The Universal Open 2v2 tournament came to a conclusion last night, as Gale Force Esports defeated Method 4-2 in the Grand Finals (which were televised on NBCSN) to claim victory in Rocket League’s first high-profile 2v2 tournament.

Here’s a look at the winner’s bracket of the tournament. Gale Force defeated Method 4-2 in the Grand Finals, but it’s important to note that the series started with a 1-0 advantage in favor of GFE. Game 1 was awarded to them due to the fact that they played through the upper bracket, while Method made the Grand Finals through the lower bracket.

Here’s a look at the loser’s bracket (Method played SizzleUrCob in the finals, and reverse-swept them, 3-2).

As a refresher, here’s a look at each team’s roster, as well as that team’s Elo rating.

TeamPlayer 1Player 1 EloPlayer 2Player 2 EloTeam Elo
Gale Force EsportsKaydop597.8ViolentPanda596.21194
Cloud 9Squishy585.2Torment588.91174.1
Mock-It Esportspaschy90585.9Fairy Peak578.51164.4
Flipsid3 TacticsMarkydooda569.2Kuxir97576.11145.3
G2 EsportsRizzo551.3Kronovi548.21099.5
Ghost GamingKlassux516.7Lethamyr503.61020.3
Ambition EsportsPrimeThunder488.9Wonder482.6971.5

Without further ado, here’s our recap of the event.

Gale Force > Everyone else

Gale Force Esports has been the hottest team in professional Rocket League since their formation back in June. The first two members of the team, Kaydop and ViolentPanda, are known around the scene for their close friendship, and their presence on the same team was always something to keep an eye on – their performances this summer with Turbopolsa as their third certainly proved that.

At NBC’s 2v2 Universal Open, Kaydop and ViolentPanda proved just how dangerous of a duo they are, taking down team after team en route to the finals. Their path through the bracket wasn’t easy, as they took down Incognito, Ambition Esports, DapG, and Method before claiming the top spot in Rocket League’s first high-profile 2v2 tournament.

Gale Force were the favorites headed into the tournament, so their championship victory isn’t all that surprising. Though they struggled on Day One, dropping games (but not full series) to Incognito and Ambition Esports (jet lag might have played a role), Gale Force was essentially unstoppable in Day Two. They swept DapG in a best of three, swept Method in a best of five, and then went 3-2 over Method in the Grand Finals to finish the day. That’s an 8-2 record against two high-caliber teams, as Gale Force simply dominated en route to taking home the championship.

Their only two losses on the day came after a slight schedule disadvantage, too. After sweeping Method in the upper bracket finals, Gale Force had to wait while Method reverse-swept SizzleUrCob; Method scored 14 unanswered goals, and were red-hot coming into the Grand Finals against Gale Force. Method took the first two games of the series, but once Gale Force got going, it was all over for Method.

This is yet another tournament where Gale Force has looked simply unstoppable, and no one has really established a clear strategy for defeating them. In high-profile tournaments, Gale Force has only lost to NRG, Cloud 9, and FlipSid3 Tactics. The loss to FlipSid3 came before Turbopolsa officially signed with GFE, and the losses to NRG and Cloud 9 happened on North American soil at North American events with North American crowds. Gale Force are huge favorites to win RLCS Season 4, and this 2v2 victory does nothing but cement their position as the best team in Rocket League headed into the biggest RLCS season yet.

Method’s impressive performance

Though they aren’t one of the scenes most well-known teams, Method certainly had a performance to be remembered. They breezed through their portion of the upper bracket with sweeps over Ghost Gaming, SizzleUrCob, and FlipSid3 Tactics (three teams with RLCS veterans), and allowed just one goal in their first six games.

After being swept by Gale Force, they managed to reverse-sweep SizzleUrCob in dominant fashion, scoring an astounding 14 unanswered goals to take Games 3, 4, and 5 from their North American opponents.

This performance comes from a team that struggled at DreamHack Summer, lost in the first round of RLCS Summer Series 2 (albeit to Gale Force), wasn’t invited to the X-Games Invitational, and didn’t play at DreamHack Atlanta. They’re typically considered to be in Europe’s second tier of teams; good enough to qualify for RLCS, but maybe not talented enough to win the entire tournament.

Method did a great job of showing that they belong with Europe’s top-tier, and established themselves as the second best 2v2 team at this tournament. It will be interesting to see how they perform at RLCS, in a 3v3 format – at the very least, they’ll be a team to watch going forward.

North American struggles

For quite some time now, European teams have been better than North American teams. This has been true since the beginning of the scene, even though the skill gap has reduced slightly over time.

At the Universal Open, North America went 10-24 against European teams. Even if we take into consideration that only the best four European teams played in the Universal Open, while North America had 12 representatives, the picture isn’t pretty. Here’s a list of series between notable teams from each region.

  • Method over Ghost Gaming (EU wins, 2-0).
  • DapG over Mock-it (NA wins, 2-1).
  • FlipSid3 Tactics over Cloud 9 (EU wins, 2-1).
  • Method over SizzleUrCob (EU wins, 2-0).
  • Mock-it over Ghost (EU wins, 2-0)
  • Gale Force over DapG (EU wins, 2-0)
  • SizzleUrCob over Mock-it (NA wins, 2-0)
  • Method over SizzleUrCob (EU wins, 3-2)

That’s really only looking at North America’s top six teams, and they still got outplayed by Europe, with a meager 7-14 record. DapG and SizzleUrCob were the only North American team to beat a European team, and the only European team to lose to a North American team was Mock-it Esports. On the whole, the European teams were better than the top North American teams, despite the fact that the tournament was hosted in North America.

Now, these series were played in a a best of three 2v2 format, and not the standard best of five 3v3 format we see in RLCS, but the point still stands – Europe out-classed North America in the biggest tournament before RLCS league play begins. Though individual North American teams have the ability and potential to beat European teams, the region as a whole really needs to improve if it wants to match Europe the next time the two regions meet.

With the Universal Open wrapped up, and RLCS open qualifiers completed, this next weekend of Rocket League action is going to be immense – RLCS play-ins for both regions will determine the fates of countless teams for the foreseeable future. It’s going to be an action packed weekend, and The Half Flip will have coverage of it all. Be sure to check the site and follow on Twitter as we approach the weekend.