Combining the best of two systems, RLCS qualification got a lot fairer.
Heading into this season, the RLCS was ready for change. Thanks to the new ten-team league, Psyonix had an opportunity to modify the method of promotion to the RLCS. By adding an automatic RLCS spot whilst keeping the existing Promotion Tournament, the Rocket League developers created a fantastic new system.
Under the old promotion system, the top two teams from RLRS would play against the bottom two teams of the RLCS, with two teams proceeding to the Championship Series and two falling to the Rival Series. Now, the same system is in place, but the team at the top of the RLRS and at the bottom of the RLCS instantly swap, with the next two teams from each league contesting the Promotion Tournament.
Auto-Promotion or one-day tournament? How about both!
Throughout past seasons, many had criticised Psyonix’s implementation of the Promotion Tournament at the end of the season, myself included. Under this system, a Rival Series team could perfectly sweep every single series in League Play, only to have one lacklustre day and fail to make RLCS as a result. Although a team should be able to perform whenever necessary, I and many others felt that having a consistently good season decided by one day’s performance was unfair, and we were proven right.
The most notable example of this was Veloce Esports back in Season 7. After losing just eight games throughout the season and finishing with a 7-0 record, they were dismantled by Complexity Gaming (who had gone 4-3 and barely sneaked into the tournament at all) before losing a tight series against The Bricks. In just one day, their entire season became all for nought. Although Veloce would reach the RLCS thanks to Triple Trouble’s disbandment, there was a two-month period where they were out of luck.
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In my opinion, the new system is perfect. Now, with the threat of having it all go to waste on one day gone, a team who wins all of their League Play matches secures their spot instantly. I’m also a huge fan of having a team that loses all of their RLCS matches be relegated instantly because it’s clear that they’re unable to compete with their fellow Championship Series teams. The first casualty of this change was AS Monaco Esports, who were relegated following their 0-9 season, with Monaco having to fight their way back into the RLCS next season.
The Rival Series matches are far more intense
This season’s Rival Series had an unbelievable finish in North America. In what would’ve been a series to decide only Chaos’ Rival Series spot, Charlotte Phoenix now had a job to do. Win, and they make it to the RLCS. In previous seasons, they would have been playing only for a better seed in the Promotion Tournament, but now there was more on the line. An intense game five overtime, with two teams watching from the sidelines desperate for the result to go their way, resulted in Omni Nation promoting and Mirage keeping their spot for next season.
To put it simply, I LOVE this. As a viewer, it makes for some incredible action, with Charlotte Phoenix still having a shot at the RLCS despite losing out (although, as we all know, that didn’t quite go to plan). It makes the end-of-season matches that often had no weight attached to them for certain teams become far more important, with a third team also being given a shot at the RLCS by reaching the Promotion Tournament.
Although Psyonix still have much to do if Rocket League is to become the Tier 1 esports we all know it can be, it’s these small improvements that make the game so much more enjoyable as a fan, and I’m very much looking forward to more of these little changes in the future.