RLCS Squads Versus National Super Teams: Who Wins The Intel World Open?
New teams with explosive bubble players, veteran super teams, and established rosters all come together at the Closed Qualifiers for one of the biggest global Rocket League competitions around: the Intel World Open (IWO). Forget what you know about the RLCS; the IWO is turning out to be different in every way. Let’s take a closer look at what is happening in Europe this summer.
From the very start of competitive Rocket League, Europe has been a strong and well-represented region. That’s no different at the Intel World Open. This time, however, EU is part of the larger EMEA region: Europe, Middle East, and Africa. European players have to play with teammates from their own country, and qualify in their subregion to represent their nation at the Regional Finals.
It might seem like having over 50 countries is quite a disadvantage compared to the Americas, where most teams are already fully based in the US or Brazil. It’s not quite like that, though. Even though the European region is divided into so many nationalities, the crème de la crème comes from very few countries. Out of the 18 players who participated in the RLCS X European Championship, eight hailed from France, four from England, another four from Spain, and one each from Belgium and the Netherlands. For IWO, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany have their own Closed Qualifiers, but the rest of Europe is lumped together into East, North, and West. Out of these, Europe West and France are possibly the most competitive subregions.
The Western European teams that had to fight for one spot at the Finals were The Town Team, Team Queso, adosss and eTeamNL. The Spanish teams mostly stuck with their RLCS teammates. The Town Team is two thirds White Demons, and Team Queso is just a fully fledged RLCS team. The Italian and Dutch team, though, merely came together for this event. Adosss consists of the best three players Italy has to offer, and eTeamNL has Ole "Oaly" van Doorn from Wolves Esports, Thomas "ThO." Binkhorst from Guild, and Mike "Mikeboy" Verkuijlen from Rix.GG.
The results show that IWO is quite different from RLCS indeed. Team Queso struggled against their fellow Spaniards and got eliminated by the Dutch super team. The fact that eTeamNL came together for IWO, doesn’t mean that they’re an unorganised bunch. They have an experienced coach in Joessi "Juicy" Moorman by their side, who has coached Mikeboy on Libertas before becoming Oaly’s coach for Wolves Esports. The Netherlands beat Italy and Spain to qualify for the EMEA Regional Finals, but will they have a chance against the rest of the competition?
The upcoming Closed Qualifiers for the other subregions will be a hard fight for everyone. Germany has mixed teams with bits of German Amigos and BS+ Competition sprinkled in, the UK has players from Guild, Top Blokes, and Endpoint in all kinds of combinations, but the French Qualifiers may just be the most stacked. For one, Team Vitality (called Team Bee for the occasion) is competing. They’re coming off a win at the European Championship, and have never looked this strong. Still, they first have to get past Atlantide Wave and a super team with Andy "Kassio" Landais, Brice "ExoTiiK" Bigeard, and Evan "M0nkey M00n" Rogez. And let’s not just count out the Middle East yet, with teams like Sandrock Gaming and Falcons Esports competing.
The key to performing well in the RLCS, especially since Season X, is consistency. Consistent results are essential to stay ahead on the leaderboards and make it to the next events. At the Intel World Open, that might not be the case. With so many new teams coming into IWO, adaptability becomes much more important than consistency. Most players will not exactly know how their opponents are going to play, or they might not even be used to how their teammates play. Adapting on the spot, mid-series if necessary, will be crucial to set your team up for success.
The EMEA Regional Finals will be held from July 11 to 14, but the Closed Qualifiers before it are just as interesting to follow. Who can adapt, and come out on top - and can the talented super teams sneak past the established RLCS rosters? It’s all unfolding now, try to keep up.