Ten NA sides are unchanged for the next RLCS split. Here's who they are.
We’ve gone over EU and all the chaos that ensued there, so let's turn our attention to NA. Ten notable rosters have elected to go unchanged for the Winter Split, an improvement on Europe for sure, but that doesn’t mean they’ve not had high profile disbands or roster moves nonetheless. So as with EU, we’re here to look at these unchanged rosters, whether they should have changed, and what the rest of the season holds for them.
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.
The Big Six - SSG, NRG, Envy, G2, KCP, and Peeps
Not to sound like a broken record, but North America’s top tier is very well established, and as such, all of the top six sides in the NA points standings are going unchanged, and for good reason. The Big Four, Spacestation Gaming, NRG Esports, Team Envy, and G2 Esports have for sure earned a moniker that was before only reserved for the NRG/G2/Cloud9 triangle of death. SSG won regional one, NRG the second, Envy the third, and G2 The Grid, with said four sides locking out the top four of the NA Major. Murmurings of changes in the Envy camp might pop back up in the new year, but the other three sides seem set for worlds.
But this Big Four has had some challengers approaching, namely The Peeps and Kansas City Pioneers. Both broke the top four in two of the four regional events this split. The Peeps in regional events one and two would get quarter-final upsets over G2 and Spacestation Gaming whilst maintaining top eight status in the third and fourth events. Meanwhile, KCP would miss a singular top eight but come back in regional two, blitzing both swiss stages with 3-0 records and wins over Spacestation and G2, before falling to Envy in the semi-finals. The following event they’d go one better, taking down SSG in the semi-finals and only losing the Grand Finals to a buzzer-beater, again to Team Envy. They’ve flirted with the top four or even higher, and with combinations that aren’t broken, there’s nothing to fix for Peeps or KCP.
For their rookie season in the RLCS, Alpine has continued to blossom as the trio of Christopher "majicbear" Acevedo, Daniel "jordan" Bholla, and Oliver "percy." Kenneth Ortiz impressed under the bright lights this past Fall. They’re no BDS, but top eight appearances three out of four times puts them a solid seventh in the points standings, one spot away from a world championship berth. While wins over the big four are still scarce, they have forced sides like Envy and G2 to truly respect them and then some.
So impressive was their splash into the RLCS that rumours of percy. departing for a higher-ranked side spread like wildfire, especially once Alpine took their names off the signup page for WSOE Online. However, that was only because the trio had been invited straight to the main event, with the org emphatically glad to announce there’d be no changes happening. And who can blame them, their ascent has been as spectacular as their play on the pitch, and should it continue, Alpine might be going to the world championship.
BoSF eSports had their names out there heading into RLCS X. Then known as Jamal Jabary, they made waves by qualifying for the Spring Series through the upper bracket… only to be disqualified as Logan "Lj." Wilt was underage by just two days. Regardless, they pushed on undeterred, and the trio of Eli "Toastie" Nichols, LJ, and Trentin "Kraziks" Wade proved to be a very consistent and respectable outfit in the RLCS. For a non Grid side, they broke the top sixteen in all four regional events, even getting 12th-14th from regional events two onwards.
Their performances earned them a signature under BoSF eSports, and the Board of Shadowy Figures have continued to trend upwards, recently qualifying for the Winter Split of The Grid with a victory over Ghost Gaming. Going unchanged for over four months, plus now being able to get consistent game time vs some of NA’s best in The Grid, the future for BoSF looks bright.
Another non Grid side, but one that legitimately could stake a claim to being top ten in NA, Andrew "Andy" Nolan, Joseph "Beastaboniam" Rotundo, and Robbie "Delta" Zager formed Loco for Codename: COVERT back in June with little expectations. However, with wins over Rat Enterprises, Affinity, and Mirage, Loco would get a very impressive fourth place, only losing in the bracket stage to eUnited in the double-elimination playoffs.
They have since gone on to get 9th-11th placings in all three of the regional events for North America, dropping to only 12th-14th in the Fall Major. For two guys that had zero RLRS experience, and a third that had a couple of RLRS matches as a sub under his belt, they’ve mixed it up with the big boys and out-performed many more established names. Failure to qualify for The Grid will again have Loco go under people’s radar but come the Winter Regional Events; you can expect them to go deep into the bracket.
The wild journey of eUnited in Rocket League has taken many twists and turns in 2020, and RLCS X has been no exception, but they enter the Winter Split with hope. After retaining their RLCS spot by the skin of their teeth, Michael "Memory" Moss replaced an outgoing Raul "Roll Dizz" Diaz, before himself being ousted for Michael "WondaMike" Santoriello just days before roster lock. Two 17th-22nd placings later and eUnited seemed lower than ever, so the decision was made to bench star player Hockser, someone who had previously been linked with a move to Cloud9, before eUnited themselves blocked it.
Enter Tristan ".tristn" Roberts, their substitute, noted for his success in Collegiate Rocket League, but on paper a far inferior player to Hockser. However, sometimes a fresh change can rejuvenate a team, and eUnited has flourished. Fifth-eigtth in the third regional event and 9th-11th in the Fall Major has brought eUnited back to a respectable status. Tristan has now been promoted to a permanent starter, and who can suggest otherwise, the proof is in the pudding. As eUnited look to march forward into the Winter Split and return to the former glories of Winter 2019, they’ll be a great measuring stick for many new rosters around them, although they’ll have their ambitions set far higher than that.
Images via ZeeboDesigns