Nowadays, we’re seeing more and more teams looking for upcoming talent to shake up the scene, but it was Dignitas who pioneered this philosophy.
Every week, GGRecon highlights one team performing well and gives context to their incredible performance. This week, we look at the history, recent results, and expectations of Dignitas.
Jos "ViolentPanda" van Meurs, Joris "Joreuz" Robben, and Jack "ApparentlyJack" Benton look to bring back Dignitas into the spotlight, with a team bursting with talent and newly-found chemistry. After many roster changes, this might be the team to take Dignitas to the next level.
Dignitas has a long and exciting history in Rocket League esports. All the way back in 2018, when the organisation was still called Team Dignitas, they dropped their American team, and acquired the dominating European roster of Gale Force eSports. The stellar roster of ViolentPanda, Alexandre "Kaydop" Courant, and Pierre "Turbopolsa" Silfver continued their legendary run in the RLCS, clutching the victory at the RLCS Season 5 Grand Finals. Even Justin "jstn." Morales in top form - This is Rocket League! - didn’t stop Team Dignitas from taking home the trophy.
After an undefeated Season 6 in EU, Dignitas lost just one match-up: the Grand Finals versus Cloud9. They were no longer untouchable. After that, Kaydop found a spot on Renault Vitality, and a few months later, Turbopolsa leaves to transfer to NRG. The roster that became a dynasty, and made Dignitas a feared name in Rocket League, was no more. It was up to ViolentPanda to put together a new squad to conquer EU.
To replace Kaydop and Turbopolsa, Maurice "Yukeo" Weihs and Maello "AztraL" Ernst joined Dignitas. Two players with great potential, but not with a veteran status by any means. This was unheard of at the time - a team of this calibre was supposed to pick up established players, and not gamble on inexperienced youngsters. Nowadays, we’re seeing more and more teams looking for upcoming talent to shake up the scene, but it was Dignitas who pioneered this philosophy.
In 2020, Yukeo and AztraL moved on to other teams, while ViolentPanda stayed the backbone of Dignitas. The results weren’t that bad with this roster, as they often found themselves in the top four. Many roster changes are more related to personal issues and the chemistry on the team than purely their performance on the field. ViolentPanda kept looking for prodigies to get on Dignitas, and his eyes fell on Joreuz and ApparentlyJack. These two rookies had previously been teammates, and their chemistry was a welcome addition to the team.
Many people used to think, or still think, that being good at 1v1 doesn’t mean anything when it comes to 3v3, but many new RLCS players have proved them wrong. Joreuz, ApparentlyJack, and earlier AztraL, made a name for themselves in 1v1 before breaking into the 3v3 scene. On an episode of Smellsworth and Johnnyboi_i’s Salt Cast, Joreuz explains that he got good by mainly playing 1v1 and freeplay. He also said that ViolentPanda scouted him through Connor "Jessie" Lansink’s stream. Jessie is a streamer and substitute for Dignitas, but apparently, he also had a role in discovering new talent for the main roster.
The new roster seems to pay off for Dignitas. After struggling to make it into the top ten during most of RLCS X, Dignitas ended 2020 with a bang, by winning the European Rocket League Summit 2. To make it to the Grand Finals of this event, they beat BDS, Renault Vitality, and Giants Gaming.
Dignitas must have had “winning” as their new year’s resolution, because that is what they did in the first week of The Grid after the winter break. They made their way through the bracket, looking like a reinvigorated team. Not only did they sweep Endpoint in the Finals, they also performed the first-ever perfect sweep at RLCS level, by not allowing Guild Esports to score a single goal in the Semi-Finals.
In their current form, Dignitas are no longer the team that so often fell outside of the top ten. There’s an argument to be made for placing them in the top four right now. Their biggest test will be Regional Event 3 of the Winter Split, where they should be able to equal or improve their top-eight finish at the last Regional Event.
But what might be more important for Dignitas than the upcoming Regional, is a continued belief in the team’s success through hard work and their natural chemistry. It’s been a long way coming for ViolentPanda and his team, but it might just happen in 2021.
Image via ZeeboDesigns