It's back and we're so excited, so much so, that we've previewed and predicted every match!
After server woes last weekend, RLCS S9 is set to kick off this weekend, and GGRecon are here to preview this weekend’s action for both NA & EU! Not only have we picked apart every match but our Power Rankings committee has given their predictions on each game, stay till the end for that!
Pittsburgh Knights vs Flight
Two new rosters will open the RLCS season as Pittsburgh Knights take on the former RBG Esports roster, now under Flight. The consensus among the pro players and fans is that Knights’ roster move is a downgrade, with AyyJayy being infrequent in his explosive bursts of form, while the controversial replacement of Aeon for Memory has received praise. Regardless, whatever closing of the gap between these sides caused by the roster changes isn’t going to change the fact that anything not a Knights victory is going majorly off-script.
NRG Esports vs Susquehanna Soniqs
Talk about a rough initiation to the big leagues for the Soniqs, having to open their campaign vs the defending world champions NRG Esports. Soniqs are a squad with a lot of potential, Shock making his long-awaited RLCS debut, Satthew & Dappur both returning after stints away from RLCS. But the matter of the fact is that their opponents NRG Esports, are near impervious. Period. They are the three-time consecutive North American champions and there is no reason to believe Soniqs will buckle the trend.
eUnited vs Cloud9
The match with the biggest storyline implications this week. Allegedly, eUnited star Hockser was set to replace Torment on Cloud9 but the move got blocked, leaving both rosters unchanged. This is therefore a match with so much more on the line than a simple plus one in the win column. Hockser is on a mission to show he is worthy of representing the legendary Cloud9 colors, while his teammates need to step up if eUnited want to repeat their top four placing in NA last season. Inversely, Cloud9 is seemingly in decline, and Torment needs to prove it was an unwise decision to consider replacing him, while teammates Squishy & Gimmick want to return to the form that had them considered world-beaters.
Spacestation Gaming vs Ghost Gaming
This is the match of the week, last season’s encounter went to a thrilling game five overtime in which SSG were victorious. Like last season, both teams head into this match in red hot form, sharing all three Astronauts Star Circuit titles thus far between them. Sypical vs Atomic, the two ungodly talented stars of their teams. Arsenal vs mist, the two formers Peeps elevating their new teams to great heights. And AxB vs Allushin, the two Canadian supports that enable their allies. Will SSG continue to cement themselves as best of the rest in NA, or will Ghost Gaming start a legitimate challenge to NA’s elite? Regardless, this match is a must-watch
Rogue vs G2 Esports
A lot of uncertainties surround this match. Rogue is without their star player AyyJayy, but in his place is North America’s most hyped-up rookie, firstkiller. The talent is undeniable, yet they are concerns about his ability to instantly swim in the big leagues, let alone match AyyJayy’s peaks that have saved Rogue in the past. On the other hand, G2 has been committed to an unchanged roster despite last season’s disappointment. Their peers still rate them very highly, many think they will return to worlds, but while those highs are no guarantee, Rogue should still be a comfortable win for G2. If you’re waiting for Kronovi to get one over his former team, this weekend probably isn’t the occasion.
Reciprocity vs Team Singularity
Kicking off the European season is the DreamHack Valencia champions against the team widely expected to relegate come to the end of the season. Despite a woeful performance in Madrid, Reciprocity is still considered to be one of the strongest sides in Europe, and if Chaussette can rediscover his online form from last season it’s hard to see this series going any other way. On their road to the RLCS, the only RLCS team that Singularity managed to take down was a disjointed Complexity side who seemed destined to fail from the moment the season began. This series should be a comfortable win in Reciprocity’s favour, with Singularity potentially struggling to get even a game off of the reigning regional champions.
Renault Vitality vs Endpoint
Another promoted side starting off with a tough opening to their season, Endpoint’s quick rise from bubble team to RLCS contenders has led them to an almost-impossible ordeal in their first Championship Series matchup. Not even two months ago, Vitality was just one goal away from a second consecutive World Championship title in Madrid. It was not to be, and soon after Scrub Killa was gone, replaced by TSM hotshot Alpha54, creating a French super-team the likes of which we’ve never seen. Although we’re yet to find out whether the move to French communication was worth it, one thing is for sure - Vitality is not to be messed with this season. Endpoint will have their work cut out for them in their RLCS debut, and it’s hard to see them making much of a dent in this championship-caliber Vitality side.
FC Barcelona vs Veloce Esports
Veloce Esports have had quite possibly the most turbulent six months out of any RLCS team, having gone from falling at the promotion tournament’s final hurdle to top six at the World Championship. They come up against an FCB side who came under fire for their controversial replacement of European MVP Bluey. New third man Flakes has big shoes to fill in an opening match against a strong Veloce side looking to prove that last season was no accident. Expect a close series with both teams putting on an exciting display, potentially going the distance to five games.
TSM vs Dignitas
After a poor start to the season with the hot-tempered AztraL, Dignitas’ form began to turn and by the end of the season, they had just played out one of the greatest matches we’ve ever seen in the World Championship semifinals. On the other hand, TSM had a dismal season. Despite adding French star Alpha54, they struggled and at times it felt like they were simply letting Alpha do just about everything. TSM kept their RLCS spot, but soon after Alpha was gone and Metsanauris’ teammate-of-old Mognus was in. This series is TSM’s true test, challenging their capabilities to keep up with Dignitas’ high-speed playstyle.
AS Monaco vs mousesports
The final series of the day sees the best team of last season’s Rival Series come up against a mousesports side looking to prove Scrub Killa’s worth after the Scotsman’s departure from Vitality. With veterans EyeIgnite and Tigreee supporting star Frenchman Extra, AS Monaco have established themselves as a force to be reckoned with and will be looking to make a dent in Europe’s upper echelons. Last season, mousesports had it all going for them. They had four chances to make it to LAN but failed at every hurdle. Speed, kuxir and Scrub will be looking to get off to as good a start as they did last time around, but Monaco will be a significant challenge in a series that could go all the way.
Here's how the GGRecon team predicted this weeks' matches, agree?
Images via ZeeboDesigns.