Why Do the French Dominate European RLCS?
France is dominating Rocket League in EU. A third of all the players in the next season of the RLCS iare French and two of the teams competing in season 10 are even completely French. Sure, France is a big country, but it’s not a third of Europe. So why are there so many French pro players in the highest league? What is their secret?
Inspiring young players
Boyan "Boyan" Kaftandjiev, co-owner of tournament organizer Rocket Baguette, knows the French scene through and through. He explains: “Kaydop and Chausette45 were the first two French players to attend RLCS consistently. When it comes to those two, it is all about talent and hard work. They were joined in season 3 by Ferra and Fairy Peak! and those four altogether led the way for the others.”
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A new generation formed, with Kassio and Alpha54. Kassio has reached the RLCS Finals twice, once with Triple Trouble and once with Veloce esports. Both times his team managed to make it to Day 3. Alpha54 signed with FC Barcelona and TSM before landing a spot on the Renault Vitality roster with Kaydop and Fairy Peak!, making the team 100% French.
“And now there's even a third wave with Extra, M0nkey M00n & the Solary boys.” Boyan continues. Kérian, Meloshisu and ExoTiik on Solary and M0nkey M00n on Team BDS are playing in the RLCS for the first time next season, and their results in the Open Qualifier for the EU Spring Series are promising. Solary just missed out on playing in the Spring Series, but BDS got a chance to play against the top teams.
Boyan is sure: this younger generation is inspired by the early French RLCS pioneers. “We've been lucky enough to have quite a few talented players that have been consistently performing at the highest level and inspiring younger players. Young French Rocket League players have always had role models to aim for.”
But that’s not all the French scene has to offer. Giving upcoming players a place to showcase their talent can be instrumental in taking their career to the next level. “Since the early days of the game, France has been creating Rocket League tournaments and content. There were people organizing and broadcasting tournaments in French even before Rocket Baguette was created”, Boyan says. He talks about his early days, starting out as a caster in 2016. “I remember, back in the day, how everyone was excited to have their games streamed and casted or even better: to be featured in our highlights. That is a motivational factor for players to improve. Having people putting on a show around esports makes you want to be part of that show.”
Boyan co-founded Rocket Baguette with Spleen in November 2016. With experience in media and marketing, Boyan had the perfect partner in Spleen, who had been working in the esports industry for 10 years already. They looked at what was needed, and made it happen. “We never intended to organize tournaments. But at some point, there was nothing to broadcast. For Rocket Baguette to keep existing, we had to start organizing our tournaments and create our own content.”
The French community
Boyan admits: “Overall, the French are not very good at foreign languages. By not providing French content, you just lose most of the French viewership. The main reason why there are a lot of French viewers is because the content exists. In addition to that, we're lucky enough to have quality content.”
So, in a way, the infamous language barrier creates the opportunity for French content creators to thrive. Rocket Baguette bring a lot of expertise and passion to the scene and their tournaments attract many French players. Boyan also mentions Renault Vitality as one of the strongest esports brands in the world. “Their influence in France is huge. Having them in the scene is without a doubt a great boost for Rocket League.”
One of the French star players for Renault Vitality is Kaydop. He streams almost daily on Twitch and gathered quite a following. With an average of around 3000 viewers, he’s the second most-watched Rocket League channel on Twitch. Boyan understands why: “Kaydop is both skilled and entertaining, his stream is just perfect.”
Kaydop had a special English stream in January this year. During that stream he got asked whether he would move to NA to join an American team. He said with a heavy sigh that a lot of American teams asked him to join them, but he always refuses. His reasoning: he doesn’t want to forget and disrespect his French community. He doesn’t want to let them down.
That goes to show how important the French community is, not just for upcoming players but also for established pros. The French have something special: a strong, passionate community all for themselves.
Ultimately such a community brings in more talented players and gives those players the support and motivation to keep grinding. Many fellow Frenchmen have led the way. Who will follow?
Images via ZeeboDesigns