Picking out a worldwide MVP is especially difficult, and is not helped by each region having its own champions.
2020 will go down as one of the worst years in modern history, not only because of a global pandemic forcing me to stay at home for over three months, but also because Rocket League did not have a single international LAN competition. This makes picking out a worldwide MVP especially difficult, not helped by each region having its own champions. Evan “M0nkey M00n” Rogez and Yanis “Alpha54” Champenois from Europe, Guilherme “Droppz” Siqueira and Gabriel Vieira “Caard” Cardoso from South America, Luke “Amphis” Riddell from Oceania, and Tshaka Lateef “Arsenal” Taylor Jr from North America. In the end though, after some convincing by John Nolan and Matt Gerrity, I settled on the last remaining member of the original Bread lineup.
My MVP for 2020 is Caden “Sypical” Pellegrin
The American was already on everyone’s radar heading into 2020. Spacestation Gaming placed third in RLCS Season 8 - North America, arguably the most tightly fought RLCS Season of the old round robin format, and Sypical won both the Regular Season MVP and Golden Striker awards. Unlike their closest rivals NRG Esports, Sypical and Spacestation were able to carry their form into the Spring Season with success in ASTRONAUTS Star Circuit qualifiers and in the expanded RLCS Season 9 league play, where they went 8-1.
Despite this, it became clear by the end of the season that G2 Esports was the more dominant team. Spacestation were beaten 2-4 and 1-4 by Jacob “JKnaps” Knapman’s side in Star Circuit Qualifiers 6 and 7 and swept in the North American Regional Finals (1-2*, 0-1, 1-3, 0-3). A small consolation for Sypical was finishing just short of the Clutch Playmaker title for the season at 0.71 assists per game, and it’s easy to see why, with plays like these.
It took some time for the team to recompose themselves. Spacestation was shown the door early in both the Star Circuit Finals (swept by Vanguard, who later became Team Envy) and the Spring Series (2-3 against an in form Rogue). Spacestation rediscovered their lost form at Lawler’s The Brawl Invitational, at the start of what ended up being one of the most eventful off-seasons since Summer 2017. Sypical and Arsenal won the 2v2 bracket of FUSION and Spacestation as a whole beat Team Envy (mist, Atomic, and retals at the time) 4-3 in the 3v3 bracket.
The roster placed second in Codename: COVERT before suffering a second, more sudden dip in form. A tied fifth finish at the Beyond the Summit: Summer Shuffle was the final straw for management so Alexandre “AxB” Bellemare was cut from the roster. Despite these setbacks, Sypical was still putting up an (at the time) admirable 3.25 shots per game at the Summer Shuffle.
The introduction of Slater “retals” Thomas to the roster allowed the roster to reach new heights: first in three of the first five weeks of The Grid; one of the first North American rosters to secure a spot at the Fall Major; winner of the second season of the ASTRONAUTS Star Circuit. The only box left unticked for the Fall Split was scoring maximum points at the Major. Throughout the event, Sypical was a brick wall on defence, with an average of two saves per game (the highest of any player who reached the playoffs), allowing his team to take down NRG Esports 4-2 in the grand final.
Spacestation seemed to be on their way out again at the start of the Winter split, but in a historic 42 game lower bracket run they achieved a second place finish at Regional 2, and forced the first RLCS bracket reset series since Cloud9 vs Dignitas in 2018. Sypical more than earned my final Standout Player of the Week accolade with his well-rounded performance that weekend.
Sypical and Spacestation rounded out their year with a win at the second Rocket League Summit, and once again, it looks like they have a bright future ahead of them. Congratulations Caden “Sypical” Pellegrin, the Rocket League MVP of 2020.
Thanks for reading, and have a very Merry Christmas. If you want more Rocket League content, stay tuned at GGRecon for more news, interviews and features over the break and into 2021!
Images via Spacestation Gaming | ZeeboDesigns