A lower bracket run of this sort is all they needed to be a true contender in the European scene.
The dominating run from Team BDS through the Winter Major almost makes you forget that there were other teams having a great tournament as well. One of the teams that stepped up their game for the Major was Guild Esports.
The Major saw winners and losers. In terms of RLCS points, Guild Esports and Dignitas were the big winners, while Endpoint and Team Queso missed their chance. With two out of three Splits behind us, the prospect of making it to Worlds is on everyone’s mind. With their Major performance, Guild has taken the opportunity to set themselves up for a good Spring Split, and for a chance to play at the World Championships.
Guild Esports took a chance at Rocket League ahead of RLCS X, with the Fall Split as their first order of business. Joseph "noly" Kidd, Thomas "ThO." Binkhorst, and Kyle "Scrub Killa" Robertson had to get the ball rolling, with Mike "Gregan" Ellis as their coach.
For such a new organisation, Guild could be happy with the results they got out of the Fall Split. They got to play in The Grid, which offered them a lot of experience against the other top teams in the league. Getting silver in Week 8 was a nice bonus. But what really mattered, of course, was what they could do in the Regional Events.
Their Regional Events were clutch, and constant. All three times, Guild got into the top eight to make it to the third and final day. Apart from a pleasant 4,000 dollars each Regional, this got them enough points to play in the Fall Major.
Their consistent top eight finishes came to an end with the Fall Major, as they just fell short of that. Still, they earned an important 200 RLCS points, which can make the difference between sixth and tenth place. At that point in time, Guild were in seventh place in the rankings. Close, but not close enough, to that much desired top six to make it to Worlds after the Spring Split.
Whether it was their somewhat disappointing end to the Fall Split, their inability to get past a top-eight finish, or internal issues - Guild made a roster change. Scrub Killa left to join Team Singularity, and David "Deevo" Morrow joined his friend noly to kick off the Winter Split. Did former world champ Deevo have what it takes to elevate Guild?
Well, it’s starting to look like it. A roster change just before a Split is never easy, and it was obvious the team didn’t click immediately. The first Regional Event in winter saw them in eighth place once again, but they fell off after that. Regional Event 3 of the Winter Split couldn’t have gone worse for Guild, as they didn’t manage to win a single series. Despite all that, they got their chance to play in the Winter Major. Another chance is all they needed to prove themselves.
It finally started to click for Guild Esports. In retrospect, it’s easy to see them as a dark horse, but before the Major, nobody expected much from the team. Their first match-up was against Dignitas, another team on the come up. Dignitas had to pull off the reverse sweep to keep Guild from taking the win. So even though Guild got pushed into the lower bracket immediately, they looked surprisingly strong.
Their strength bore fruit in the lower bracket, as they beat Team Queso, Galaxy Racer, and Oxygen Esports. Their win against Galaxy Racer was especially important: by taking them out of the tournament, they eliminated a direct competitor for that sixth spot in the RLCS rankings. But in terms of expected outcomes, their victory over Oxygen Esports was a bigger surprise. With that win, Guild had put themselves in the top four at the Winter Major - a big step from their previous results.
Guild got stopped in their tracks by Team Vitality in the Losers’ Semi-finals, but they can be more than content with what they got. A lower bracket run of this sort is all they needed to be a true contender in the European scene.
With a top four finish at the last Major, Guild Esports is now in sixth place in the RLCS rankings, just ten points ahead of Galaxy Racer. Sixth place is just enough to grab a spot for Worlds, but they’ve got a lot of work to do to secure that spot.
The Spring Split is going to be crucial for Guild. Either they continue with their most recent performances, and keep getting enough points to make it to Worlds, or their current roster can’t keep up the consistency to score points when it matters most. Any slip-up from Guild is a chance for the other top-ten teams to gain a lead on them, so they have to take matters into their own hands.
Image via Guild Esports