Libertas' Rix Ronday sat down with GGRecon and explained how mentality and experience is the driving force for himself and the team to challenge the top sides.
If there was ever a way to prove a point ahead of the Rocket League Championship Series (RLCS) Season X, Libertas didn’t mess around in finding the perfect example. The team formed of Dutch duo Rix ‘Rix_Ronday’ Ronday and Mike ‘Mikeboy’ Verkuijlen alongside Riccardo ‘Rizek45’ Mazzotta have only been teammates for 25 days, but have already laid down the foundation to be the one team that can break into the top 10 European sides.
Many teams outside of the automatically seeded top ten have attracted eyes with the roster change mania, with the likes of Vodafone Giants, and Team Singularity being tipped to ease through the qualifying stages. However, both sides fell victim to Libertas, as they qualified for Stage One in first place.
It comes as Rix Ronday’s first RLCS experience, after five seasons in the Rival Series (four with Method and one with Triple Trouble), and he believes his experience, alongside the teams' mentality is key to challenging the top ten, and even securing a sixth-placed finish to head to the World Championships.
Speaking to GGRecon he said, “It is obviously very exciting to compete in RLCS after being in the Rival Series for a long time. It will be very good for me as it has been a long time coming. I think my mentality will help a lot from RLRS too. Many bubble teams and Rival Series teams are very young and new, they might not cope with nerves and pressure, but my experience has meant I cope well with nerves and can play relaxed in these types of games.
“It’s sometimes weird playing bubble teams because they are a little uncoordinated and more aggressive, but we did well and won. It can work for them for a game but over more games, it will often backfire”.
The trio has quickly settled in and sent the biggest warning to the top teams ahead of Stage One on August 1. Despite having less than four weeks together as a team, the three have been friends on and off Rocket League for years, something that Rix believes is unique to teams in similar positions and will set them apart from the competition.
“This is the best team for me, I am already great friends with the players, and this means a lot. We are unlike other teams because we are such great mates and this can only help us. For instance, we don’t get upset when we discuss what we can do better because we have such a close bond. When we need to speak to each other to say ‘you did this wrong’ or ‘you need to do this better’ we all understand each other and never get upset which is great.
“Mikey is also from the Netherlands like me which is good so we can hang out a lot and one day will outside of the game. I’ve known both Rizex and Mike for a long time now and even though we are a new team we all get on so well and this will help us improve”.
Despite Mike and Riccardo getting the better of Rix’s Triple Trouble side last season whilst they were playing for RJM, he also insisted that there are no bad feelings between the trio, as now they have formed to mix the best of the two teams together. “Can we skip this hahaha” he originally joked, but soon added “No, we have no bad blood and we now have a great roster that combine really well. Triple Trouble was also really good and supportive when I left and it was on good mutual terms, so now I get to team with Rizex and Mike in good spirits”.
With the settled roster now performing at a standard capable of causing major upsets, Rix's mindset is still very much looking to the next game, and nothing beyond that, taking every game in their stride to see how they fare in the competition overall, stating "For Regional One we just want to see how far we can go rather than setting our self a target as we are so new. We think it’s best to see how far we can go and then build on that next time. We are new and we want to learn how good we can be.
"We want to become a top ten / top-six team, that’s the main aim but we need to learn a lot and play together well to do that.
"I will never say we can’t get into the top six and the World Championships but it will be very hard. We would love to break into the top 6 European teams and I will never say that this isn’t possible.
I always want to improve, that is what I love, improving, and will never rule out being there [a top six team] one day.
During Rix’s time in the RLRS and in the current offseason, he also teamed with some incredible talents which he also believes has set himself apart from other players in similar positions. One of these is Dan ‘bluey.’ Bluett, the Season 8 Most Valuable Player (MVP). Whilst at FC Barcelona, bluey displayed consistently brilliant performances, and his departure to Triple Trouble came as a shock, but Rix saw this as a chance to learn from one of the best. He explained “We had our ups and downs, and sometimes we didn’t get on, on the pitch, but we had some good times and laughs. He played the game on another level and taught me many things”.
Another of his recent teammates was EyeIgnite, and even in the pinnacle of his career, Rix explained that his influence was also infections, adding to the experience of the Dutchman. "I’ve known EyeIgnite for many years and have been good friends with him outside of Rocket League, we hang out in discord and used to meet up at the Gfinity events, he’s a great guy. Yeah, it was sad to see him retire but he gave me a heads up to know as we were teammates and friends and I hope he’s doing well. He’s gone on to focus on himself a lot and be strong mentally which is really good to see".
EyeIgnite and Rix were partners in this off-season and got to play together before he retired, but it was those Gfinity events in which the pair used to meet up at where Rix first stamped his authority on the scene, leading to years of experience. "So far it has to be winning the two Gfinity tournaments. It was incredible to win one, but two was just insane. This has to be my biggest achievement to date". Whilst at Reason Gaming, and later Method, alongside two-year-long companion and 'best friend' Borito B, Rix managed to win Season 2 and Season 4 of the Gfinity United Kingdom Elite Series, earning the team over $60,000 in prize money and became a recognisable name throughout Rocket League esports. Whilst this is his best achievement to date though, Libertas as a unit are hungry for more.
"It’s going to be a lot harder to win tournaments like that now, especially with RLCS X taking priority, but we can definitely win tournaments when they crop up. There’s no reason why we can’t win minors too but it will be a lot harder. My mindset is to improve and hopefully win tournaments in the future", before adding that the new RLCS structure will also give them the opportunity to learn and succeed at the top of their game.
"The swiss format is confusing but it also great for teams like us. We now get to compete against the best, and whereas there used to only be ten teams at the top there’s 32 in which we can compete against and hopefully begin to make the top 10. I like the format that gives teams a good chance to make a name for themselves".
Libertas sealed their fate with a 3-2 victory over a new-look Team Singularity, which has placed them in Stage 1 of RLCS X, and they have already secured qualification to The Grid through RJMs finish last season, where they will compete with Europe's top teams and attempt to advance to the playoffs of the first minor and earn crucial RLCS points along the way. The first group stages matches will kick off on August 1, where you can catch Rix and the Libertas team live on Twitch.
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