''I don’t ever think I’ll stop until I’m the best player in the world. I want to be at the top and win titles in this game'' - Kash
How do you define redemption? Is it quantifiable by statistics and figures? Is it to overcome a deep and dark monster in a person’s closet? Or is it simply becoming the best in the world at what you do after a bumpy road?
For Kurtis "Kash" Cannon, redemption means a second chance. A new route to stardom in an ever-evolving esports scene that is arguably on its maiden voyage into a new era. With a stack of new talent cracking up Rocket League, Kash’s embarkment on a road to redemption begins with a team of its namesake.
This is a story of a mechanical maniac with only one goal. To be crowned World Champion.
To understand a second chance, you must know what went wrong in the first place, and for Kash, this was a long and confusing road through a range of bubble teams, RLRS setbacks, and the utmost roster turmoil.
“Personally, since the spring series at AS Monaco, I’ve been on quite a low. I’ve been falling off quite a bit. I think this team was a chance for me to redeem myself,” he began. But Redemption is more than a one-man band, and his teammates Mike "Mikeboy" Verkuijlen and Maarten "Oscillon" Van Zee are also aboard on the same boat. Kash continued, “With Mikeboy at Libertas, he wasn’t really having a good time and didn’t get the results that he’d like. So, for me and Mikeboy this is a chance for us to show that we are still able to compete at the top”.
The team formed out of the murky waters of a hurricane off-season. Kash was drowned out of Nameseekers with a secretive move to FC Barcelona pending for his former squad, leaving him in the position of many other players riding the wave to stardom. “When I first split with "Tahz" and "Blurry", I was really short on options. I think it was about a week before sign-ups were due. I messaged Mikeboy who had a Wolves try out, but I wanted to try and team with him,” explained Kash. “He let me know three days before the deadline that we could get together and we began to try people [for a third]. We found out that Oscillon was being replaced at Fadeaway, so we invited him to try with us and it went really well. We just all picked each other up”.
Out of the mayhem rose the flames of a phoenix. Three young prosperous Rocket League talents all looking to ignite their career, and with a flicker of hope, burn their way to the top of the RLCS. Amongst the rubble that was The Grid qualifiers, it was here that the world got their first taste of Redemption, and they were damn hot. The first qualifying stage saw them cruise to victory with ease, extinguishing likeminded rising sides such as SauceSquad. Heading into the Closed Qualifiers, Kash and co. had their toughest challenge yet. Having exploded through the first two rounds, Redemption left Minx and WOO in the embers of their wreckage as they roared on to face the exciting Team Queso, fresh off their pickup. With a spot in The Grid up for grabs, it was the flair of Redemption that proved too deadly and enkindled their victory. The side was on the map, and teams from east to west were keen to avoid the spitting flames of this soaring roster.
Two top-four finishes in The Grid, followed by a top-six and top-eight placement in the Regionals cemented Redemption into the forefront of everyone’s mind. With a core based around incredible innovation and full-frontal attack, results for the team has quickly etched them into the hierarchy. Although, Kash remains grounded. “We really didn’t go into the season with any expectations. We just wanted to do the best that we could. But seeing the recent results I think that the top eight is definitely a possibility. My aim is at least top 12 in the Winter Split Major. I think that’s a suitable and achievable aim for us”.
“It doesn’t matter which teams we play. If we want to be at that level, then we should be able to beat the teams that are considered to be at that benchmark. At some point, there are going to be a few inconsistencies that will creep in, so top 12 is a suitable achievement”.
One of the best things about this team is the mentality. We’re all on the same page of what we want to do. We’re really enjoying playing with each other too, and that is what’s making our results even better. We all just love competing. We have the same aims as a team, and I think the motivation just flies off each other.
With the opening Split presenting positive results for Redemption, consistency is key. For teams looking to break out from the mid-tier RLCS sides and follow in the footsteps of Team BDS, Giants Gaming, and Top Blokes, staying near the top means developing on what you have already presented to the league. For Redemption, their recent recruit "Lyaneii" is crucial to this, coming in as coach to build upon their foundations. "For every team I work with, I first try to identify their strengths and build upon them. Then it’s to try and work on the weaknesses and eliminate as much of those as possible. That will improve the team as a whole".
In terms of the team dynamics, their blistering speed in attack has taken Europe by storm. But to become champions, they will need to improve their overall game. Lyaneii continued, "I think with any team like this, a really offensive team, that it’s the defence that is a bit of a struggle. That’s one area where we’re looking to improve on".
With the hurdles of coronavirus making a slight stumbling block for new teams forming, Kash, Mikeboy, Oscillon, and Lyaneii have formed a solid bond, capable of scary heights. RLCS X formed a new era of Rocket League, with anybody capable of taking the world by storm. Some solid results at the remaining two Majors could see Redemption scale the leaderboards and secure a place at the World Championships.
In the brief time I spent with Kash, where he could be torn away from the hell-for-leather schedule, the picture was painted before him. Sat back on a summer’s day, the sun glistening off the brim of a recently topped bottle, the cap bouncing off the sand, and heat beaming down on him, fully redeemed and a free spirit. At what point in his career can the first drops of his drink course down his throat and release the demons through a sigh of complete redemption? Quite simply, when the beads of sweat dripping from the forehead of the sun-kissed champion land on his world championship medal.
Header Image via Redemption | Notorious Legion | DreamHack | ZeeboDesigns