RLCS is back with a bang and not only did it come with new records, but some brilliant games on show as well.
The Rocket League Championship Series finally returned to our screens this past weekend and with record-breaking viewership numbers dwarfing other competitions in tier one esports, it is fair to say there were a lot of new eyes catching the RLCS, so we’re here to recap the week one action from North America.
Pittsburgh Knights 3-2 Flight
The first game of the season generally starts off slow, and this was no exception with the first goal not being scored until four minutes in by Retals, Sea-Bass would respond moments later to force overtime, and after another cautious period, Flight unexpectedly took game one. Sea-bass was hyped up as a lethal goal-scorer, and he lived up to the billing with a brace to put the newly-promoted side 2-0 up. But if anyone knows the Knights, they live for comebacks and quickly rebounded with two games of their own. Retals in particular a standout performer as new signing AyyJayy still looked uncomfortable on his new team. Despite that, Flight would race to a two-goal lead in game five, before an unfortunate collapse allowed Pittsburgh Knights to tie up the game in the final minute. The golden goal OT was tense, but Retals again stepped up, with a ridiculous double-tap he secured the reverse sweep for Peepsburgh. Flight can be proud of their efforts will be gutted by their failure to close out the series.
NRG Esports 3-2 Susquehanna Soniqs
A daunting task for Soniqs on paper was made a little easier as a Turbopolsa own goal gifted them game one, quite literally as Soniqs failed to register a single shot on target. NRG redounded in games two and three, albeit still uncharacteristically inaccurate with their shooting. Unfortunately for them, any good chances created would be shut down by Shock. One would fail to believe Shock is an RLCS rookie, yet he was the star player this series, topping the saves per game accolade this week as he silenced stars like Jstn. On the brink of defeat, Shock would net a hat-trick in game four, forcing the RLCS world champions all the way to game five. Despite Soniqs’ heroics, NRG even on a somewhat off day would close out the series. With Jstn “in a slump”, Turbopolsa’s excellent positioning led him to always be in the right spot to support his teammates, as the champions avoided a major upset to start the season. However, we are in for a very interesting season of both teams’ form continues; A hot Soniqs squad and a somewhat floundering NRG would well and truly be an expected direction in the story of this RLCS.
eUnited 3-0 Cloud9
The matchup of the so-called fluke performers. The former who massively over-achieved last season, no thanks to the latter’s sudden fall from grace, this series ended up solidifying last season’s form as no freak accident. eUnited swept Cloud9 and looked damn good doing so. Opening the series with consecutive double taps was a sign of things to come as eUnited would again show why they qualified for last season’s finals in Madrid. You could even say they looked like an improved squad, as offence was no longer going solely through Hockser, both Roll Dizz & ayjacks were getting involved in the goals column, the latter winning Player of the Week for his stellar performance. For Cloud9, they truly looked no better than the team that was a single series from demotion to RLRS last season. You would be hard-pressed to believe these guys beat NRG nearly two weeks ago. It’s only week one, but there are already major concerns for Cloud9 as their trajectory continues to spiral downward. There is no individual to point fingers, the trio looks like a shadow of the roster that is considered among the greatest of all time.
Spacestation Gaming 3-1 Ghost Gaming
Going into this series, SSG was probably all too aware of how talented players like Atomic & mist can be on the ball. Their response was to give Ghost no space to develop any plays. Long booming clears were at a premium this set as more often than not Ghost would be forced into weak touches for SSG to capitalize, which they did as they secured the first two games. All three players on SSG looked like a well-oiled machine, even when low on boost they could turn defence to offence in a flash. Ghost finally mustered up a response in game three, getting physical themselves to put their first game on the board. Still, Spacestation would prove why they are seen by many as the 2nd best in NA, taking down a very game Ghost 3-1, who themselves should feel no shame in their performance.
Rogue 0-3 G2 Esports
The final match of the day saw Kronovi vs G2 take centre stage, and unfortunately, it wasn’t much of a contest. G2’s hard work in the off-season was evident, taking a far less aggressive approach to their playstyle. With players like Jknaps & Chicago, you don’t need a double-digit amount of shots to score. G2 seems more than content to wait for mistakes to capitalize on rather than force the issue themselves if it means conceding far less, which is exactly what happened. On the other hand, for as patient as G2 were, Rogue was fairly unremarkable. Defeated by two early goals in game one, they controlled possession for the start of game two before more unforced errors opened the floodgates for G2. Game three saw Wonder get two quick goals, but Rogue spectacularly lost that game too, firstkiller unnecessarily diving for a challenge at zero seconds was all G2 needed to 2v1 Kronovi and tie up the game at zero seconds, before a Kronovi whiff on the backboard gave Jknaps an opening that he needed no invitation to bury the series. G2 fans can be content with starting this season on the right foot, their showing makes next week’s prime time match an eagerly anticipated contest!
It’s early days, but here are the standings of the NA RLCS after week one.
Main image via ZeeboDesigns.