In a world where roster moves are frequent, here are the EU sides who're staying put for now.
A chaotic trade window has passed by, and as is tradition, an overwhelming majority of sides have made changes to their Rocket League rosters. There wasn’t a day without some new rumours, major revelations, or official announcements of players joining or departing sides.
Now that the dust has settled, and attention now shifted to the Winter Split qualifiers, one must look at these rosters and ask: “Who actually remained the same?” And amidst 18 Grid & Major qualified RLCS teams for Europe, only seven stayed the same, with the other eleven going through changes or even flat out disbanding. We’re here to look at the unchanged rosters, whether they should have, and what the future lies for them going forward.
The Significance of these Teams
There is an important reason to highlight these sides. With rosters only being allowed one roster change a year, a second one means your RLCS points are forfeited. Therefore, assuming no one notable is disbanding again, the teams below are the only sides that can make a roster change before Spring Split. And when you look at just who those sides are, it could have major ramifications on the landscape of Rocket League Esports, so let's see who they are.
The Top 3 - BDS, Vitality, And Top Blokes
Starting off with the three highest-ranked teams in the region, you’d hope they’re content with their success, and well, it seems they are. They’ve ran Europe so far, and likely will continue to do so in the Winter Split. BDS will view all the new rosters around them as new opponents to defeat. 31-2 in the Fall Split, with two grid titles to boost, it’s been the perfect rookie split for BDS, and when you’re the best team in the world, you clearly don’t need to change. However, anything less than being the best has hugely resulted in teams featuring Alexandre "Kaydop" Courant making a swift change, famously departing Mock-it after season three, Dignitas after season six, and replacing Kyle "Scrub Killa" Robertson after season eight, all because of silver medals.
However, it seems Yanis "Alpha54" Champenois is committed for the long haul. While a majority of Vitality’s success in 2020 has come outside the RLCS, their RLCS placements are still highly impressive, and they seem content knowing the big international events are still to come.
Top Blokes is the odd man out in the top three, but have quickly established why they belong. The only other EU side to make every top eight playoffs bracket, while making a habit of going undefeated in swiss stages, if it weren’t for Endpoint becoming their kryptonite, Top Blokes would be right behind Vitality, but instead are a distant third. Regardless, coach Reece "RamS" Mullins has stated that they’re all aware that in a year-long season, bad days are inevitable and will happen, and having learned to lose early on, minor setbacks aren’t enough to deter Top Blokes from changing a winning formula.
A shaky rookie season in season nine saw Endpoint achieve their goal and retain their RLCS spot. Barely. However, since Otto "Metsanauris" Kaipiainen has replaced Nacho "Nachitow" Gimenez, Endpoint has been more consistently hitting their stride and reaching the potential the Discombobulators showed us in late 2019. An incredible third place in Spring Series seemed impossible to recreate, but after finally breaking the top eight barrier of the RLCS, they smashed through it, going down valiantly to Renault Vitality in the third regional event’s Grand Finals, and again to French powerhouse in the semi-finals of the EU Major, leaving them fourth in the overall EU standings.
Once defined for being a one-trick pony, the demo masters have ironically succeeded by toning down the physical plays, and instead further utilising the talent Nelson "virtuoso" Lasko and Lucas "RelatingWave" Rose possess on the ball, with a sprinkling of physical plays off it. So impressive was their performance that RelatingWave was rumoured with a move to Team Liquid, but within minutes Virtuoso gladly shut it down and confirmed Endpoint’s unchanged roster for the WInter Split, and who can blame them. Consistency is hard to come by, but Endpoint has found it and is primed for success going forward.
The newest trio to the top flight, even though their lineage traces back to Team Echo Zulu’s legendary Dreamhack Leipzig run from 2019, but this roster really began to hit their stride pre-season as the Monkeys, with Ronald "Tahz" Oosting, Mitchell "Mittaen" Driessen, and Dylan "eekso" Pickering. Multiple top eight placings had them as a side to watch, but a mid split substitution, swapping Tahz and Ario "arju" Berdin has taken them to the next level.
Diehard fans might remember eekso, and arju have a history together, one unfortunately defined by multiple RLRS qualifying failures. Regardless, the band is back together in RLCS, and the chemistry has been electric, with arju filling in the gaps where necessary and establishing himself as the top Italian in RLCS. Eekso has shown promise for ages, and 2020 has seen him deliver, his fantastical mechanical ability has often destroyed opposition defences. But it is Mittaen who has been the unlikely standout; a drastic individual improvement has him as one of the most well-rounded players around. Fantastic shooting, great challenges, always well positioned and consistent at all of the above.
Given this iteration of Galaxy Racer only changed mid split, it's fair to say they’re only just getting started, and if that's already capable of nearly beating Team BDS, be scared of Galaxy Racer going forward.
In typical Triple Trouble fashion, one of Rocket League’s most storied names has had an eventful split. Bookended by two fantastic performances, winning the first-ever Grid weekly to start off, and ending it with a top-eight placing in the Fall Major, but it's everything in between that has raised some question marks about TT. Failure to even make the top sixteen of the second & third regional events meant Triple Trouble only scraped into the Fall major by ten points. And in the Grid, in nine weeks they’d place in the top four as many times as they came dead last. Yet in the Swiss Stage for the Fall major, they’d rattle off three consecutive wins vs Guild, Endpoint, and Giants Gaming.
They’re a weird side to evaluate as along with the varying placings, the pieces for success are there, so it's not hugely surprising when they do peak. Dan "bluey." Bluett, a former LAN winner and RLCS MVP, Euan "Tadpole" Ingram, a former day three worlds participant, and Gian "Calix" Luca Bruder came from the same side that gave us Archie "archie" Pickthall and Joris "Joreuz" Robben. On the balance of things, given that this is the first season this roster has gone unchanged, even going back down the lineage to the former Method rosters, this Triple Trouble project actually getting another few months to develop might actually be in its favour.
And finally, Oxygen Esports, the team made to challenge Vitality’s dominance, but has had nothing short of a disastrous Fall Split. 17th-22nd placings not just once, but in the first two regional events, while regional event three and the major saw them improve to 9th-11th, but not after two separate game five overtime losses in the decisive rounds. It's not like Victor "Ferra" Francal, Thibault "Chausette45" Grzesiak, and Maello "AztraL" Ernst have suddenly lost the ability to be good players, week in week out in the grid they were consistent high placers, but could never yield a tournament victory.
However, with many others above them changing it up, Ferra and Chausette45’s tried and tested loyalty to a project might yet reap some major rewards, Team Reciprocity took over a year together to win an RLCS regional title, Oxygen will be hoping it won’t be as long until the same happens for them, and when AztraL is in form, which is the case more often than not, they’re always within a fighting chance. Regardless, they need to perform in the Winter Split, or for Ferra and Chausette45, their eight split as a duo might be their last.
Images via ZeeboDesigns