The final week is upon here and it's crunch time for everyone.
It’s the final week of the regular season for RLCS season nine, and there’s still everything to play for. Vitality and Dignitas can both still secure top place in Europe the potentially easier playoff game vs the leader of the lower bracket. Both are tied 7-1, however, Vitality are currently ahead with three fewer defeats, meaning Dignitas will have to rely on fourth place Veloce Esports if they want to place first. In North America there is scope for all teams to change positions in the final game week, meaning all playoff places are up for grabs. The finale is certainly heating up. Europe’s fixtures will kick off at 7pm (GMT) Saturday.
NRG GAMING (6-2) VS GHOST GAMING (4-4)
The first of the games in the game week could shape the promotion places and set the tempo for all teams. With Ghost Gaming needing a win to push them towards the upper bracket in the playoffs a defeat may see the Pittsburgh Knights swoop in for the final playoff place leaving Ghost without a playoff position. Ghost has everything to lose and everything to gain from this fixture so their tactics will have to perfect. Atomic could also clinch top playmaker over JKnaps, so it’s likely that he will set the pace for Ghost. NRG has already secured the upper bracket, however, depending on results elsewhere, a win could boost them into first or second and a place in the semi-finals.
SPACESTATION GAMING (6-1) VS EUNITED (2-6)
Spacestation will be looking for an early advantage in their double-header game week as top place is in their hands. With the extra game in hand, they could finish the season 7-1, and cruise to top position. They eased past Rogue last week with solo goals from Arsenal, however, they will be in for a tougher fixture this week with EU fighting for automatic survival. SSG will have to remain focused throughout as EU will be looking to capitalise on complacency at any opportunity.
PITTSBURGH KNIGHTS (1-6) VS CLOUD9 (5-1)
Cloud9 have had a rollercoaster of a season, to say the least, however recent form suggests that they can be real contenders in the playoffs again this year. They put up a five-star performance vs Ghost last week with Gimmick looking back to his brutal best and SquishyMuffins pulling off his usual audacious finishes. They will be looking to continue this form and gain momentum before the Playoffs. Pittsburgh will have one eye on the playoffs too. A victory could see them jump as high as two places, even at the expense of Cloud9 depending on results from Ghost Gaming; with nothing to lose as survival is guaranteed, they may open up and play with much more confidence.
SPACESTATION (4-3) VS G2 ESPORTS (2-4)
SSG’s second game is a top-four clash with G2. Both teams have everything to play for. Chicago and Jknaps lead the way for the $1,000 prize in the Golden Striker and Clutch Playmaker accolades respectively. This could see G2 play in their usual attacking formations trying to blow SSG away and cause an upset. This could guarantee the top spot for SSG though so this looks like the game which will be the highlight of the week. Expect fireworks.
ROGUE (2-5) VS FLIGHT (2-5)
We should rename this Fight or Flight. A complete relegation battle. Flight need a victory as this will mean safety on the head-to-head rule, otherwise, they will be automatically relegated. This is almost the first fixture in the promotion playoffs as neither can afford to lose. A loss to either side results in automatic relegation, and a win keeps them in 8th or 9th place and in the promotion playoffs. Rogue will need to bounce back from their dismantlement to the hands of Cloud9 last week if they want to survive.
G2 ESPORTS (5-2) VS SUSQUEHANNA SONIQS (5-1)
If everything goes their way before this game Soniqs could land in top place, alternatively, before kick-off they could plummet to third without even hitting the ball yet. A lot of ifs buts and maybes. Very reliant on other fixtures to determine their end position Soniqs will need to be on top of their game against a G2 team who could also come top. In a league where four teams can all finish in any place in the top four, there is little room for mistake. G2 will be coming off the back of their fixture vs SSG and therefore they could either be on a huge hype or rather deflated. Mindsets will be crucial before the final game of the season.
AS MONACO (0-8) VS TEAM SINGULARITY (3-5)
Monaco issued a rallying call on their Twitter today in hope that they can find their first victory of the season to give them a fighting chance at survival. Needing to win by at least two legs they will need a complete reverse in form to stand a chance this week. Singularity has all but confirmed their status in the division next season unless everything falls either drastically wrong or perfectly, as they need at least two legs in their favour or two legs against them to be able to move up or down depending on other results.
MOUSESPORTS (4-3) VS ENDPOINT (2-6)
With ScrubKilla leaving Mousesports this week, they seem to be in disarray. This could be the perfect opportunity for Endpoint to capitalise and push for a safety position at Singularities expense but would have to win by at least 2 legs. This comes across as an interesting affair and could set the momentum for both teams’ promotion legs.
FC BARCELONA (5-2) VS TEAM SOLOMID (1-7)
Barcelona are an outside shot for the top two as mathematically this will still be possible before this game. They will need to comfortably win both their games, so expect them to be on top of their game in the first leg. With Vitality and Digitas both playing later in the day they will need to win with full confidence too. With SoloMid destined for, at best, the promotion playoffs, this could be a simple victory for Barcelona.
TEAM RECIPROCITY (5-3) VS DIGNITAS (7-1)
This is where it heats up. Dignitas with one hand on first place and a semi-final in the lower bracket, and Reciprocity with nothing to lose fighting for the upper bracket, this affair looks to be the first of three special climatic fixtures. Yukeo and AztraL have both won MVP this season, so another MVP performance from either one of these dominant Dignitas stars could also mean they could swoop the $2,500 accolade for the player of the season.
FC BARCELONA (5-2) VS MOUSESPORTS (4-3)
Very dependant on both team’s first fixtures, this could either be a recuperation job for both, or a push for higher positions. Barcelona will have a very close eye on the Dignitas fixture and may become deflated if their chance for the top place is diminished, or they could still have a chance as the outsider for top spot before Vitality plays the final game. Mousesports will also be coping with life without ScrubKilla with not too much to play for, Barcelona will be looking to gain from this
RENAULT VITALITY (7-1) VS VELOCE ESPORTS (5-3)
The final game will set up the playoffs entirely. Defeat and Vitality will most likely slip to the lower bracket. Win and they will remain top spot. This fixture will define the brackets. With a prize of $96,397.36 for the winner of the final, they will certainly be looking to give themselves the best opportunity possible. This game doesn’t need an introduction, the hype is already there.
Keep an eye out at GGRecon for more Rocket League News and recaps of the final fixtures of the season.
Image via ZeeboDesigns.