One more cherry on top before winter ends.
With the final event of the Winter Split just around the corner, our Rocket League writers put together their collective brainpower to discuss the North American Major.
Rogue were the ones who pulled out the most recent Regional. Do they have a chance at doing it again?
Tom: Did someone say yes?
Ben: I definitely think, like, they have shown that they can do it. So, I think are they capable of doing it again? Yes, they are.
Tom: They will definitely make a big run. The big four sort of seem to be running through NA since, I don’t know, basically since the start of fall, and it has kind of expanded to the big five now because Rogue have consistently been placing in the top four in Regionals.
Jack: Would you not throw the Peeps into that category as well?
Ben: Yeah, I felt like in the Fall Split, you had your clear top six, which was Envy, NRG, Spacestation, G2, Peeps, and KCP. And I think Rogue have kind of replaced KCP in that top six- obviously, pending KCP winning the major. But I do feel that you’ve got that top six, but within that top six, Envy number one, everyone else kind of depends on the day.
Jens: The thing with Rogue is, they have not had many winning streaks like you would expect from some of the top teams, right? It’s always they start winning again, and they lose a match, and then everyone is disappointed. But actually, they do very well, you know? Like you said, they place pretty well in Regionals, they are just not the team to take it all the way, to go on the winning streak throughout a bracket, apart from, you know, that one time.
Ben: That’s the thing. There are a lot of those teams, teams like Queso, teams like Rogue, where you don’t expect them to make a deep run. But they’ve done it anyway, and I feel like you can’t throw out their chances after they have already proven they can do it once.
Matt: Yeah, I would say that they obviously have the potential for it, but what worries me the most, in the quarterfinals they went to Game 5 against G2, Game 7 against Envy, Game 7 against NRG, Game 7 against NRG, and finally swept them 4-0. And so, they haven’t had convincing wins until that very last series against NRG in that tournament, which makes me worried that they will consistently be able to put up results.
Ben: Rogue are definitely a team that I think had consistency issues. If you look at their point totals from each event, it is kind of just going sort of up and down, up and down across the whole season and that Grand Final, that winning run, was their first sort of big run of the season.
Jens: It’s also their first win in all three years they’ve been in the scene.
Tom: They did make semis in Season 7, was it? Which was decent. But, like, they had to place top two in a group of three which featured a team from Oceania and South America, when neither was performing that well, and then they had to beat Triple Trouble. Which was a solid roster at the time, but, like, they weren’t class, they weren’t going to win the RLCS and I think that’s probably the strongest NA has ever been relative to EU.
Jack: What do you think about [Alexandre Reis “Taroco”s Pedrogam] influence on them?
Tom: I mean, he was definitely a step up over [Cameron “Kronovi” Bills]. No offence to the guy, but this roster was not going to win an event with Kronovi.
Jens: Yep, I think it’s only positives here.
Matt: Yeah, I definitely - let me check, I had it in a little document here - there was one match, I think it was against G2 where he missed several open nets, which was a bit worrying, but overall I think he definitely adds a lot to the team. It’s just kind of a matter of, like, they rely so much on [Jason “Firstkiller” Corral] is kind of the vibe, you know what I mean? Everyone always says that Firstkiller always carries them. Taroco has definitely been a step up, but there are still moments where he doesn’t even need to be spectacular, but a few silly misses every now and then can create really awkward situations for the team.
Jens: Especially on defence.
Matt: Yeah, if they can settle some of those issues, that maybe they will start resolving some of those consistency issues that have plagued them throughout the season.
Jens: It’s hard to tell yet if that’s something that has come from them being a new team or if it is the chemistry that is lacking in general. Or, you know, the individual performances even. But it looks, you know, they have shown they can pull off a run, and the win even, so I’d say it’s still a positive or any other move they could have made. They are looking like a better squad. They have a lot of issues to figure out, but I fully agree with Ben that they’re just the new ones in the top six, more or less, right? So of course, they are going to have a hard time against the other five.
Alright, so who do you guys have for your underdog in North America?
Tom: This one is tight, I think. Version1 has been solid.
Ben: Yeah, I was going to say V1.
Tom: They haven’t been putting up numbers in the Regional, but their Grid performances have been solid.
Ben: The thing is, even though their sort of finishes in the Regional events haven’t been much to write home about, their actual, like, series performances haven’t actually been that bad. I feel like they have had some quite unlucky brackets. So, for example, in the first Regional, they beat Spacestation, and they beat KCP, and lost to Rogue and NRG. But if they can pull out the Spacestation topping performances, and then in the second Regional, they lost in five games to both G2 and Spacestation. Which like, yeah, they lost, but it’s not the worst of ways to go out.
Jens: My underdog is Soniqs. They’ve got [Raul “Roll Dizz” Diaz] on the team now, and no one suspects them to do very well. I saw [Slater “retals” Thomas] in chat earlier, and he said the same thing that I just said, that no one expects him to do well, but he is actually still a really good player. He didn’t stop because he retired as a player. He didn’t stop just being absolutely amazing. So I think they can actually do more damage than most people will suspect.
Tom: Was Roll Dizz not on the side which almost beat Vitality at Dallas?
Ben: I think you might be right. Let me double-check this.
Jens: While you check that, I want to say a team that’s not going to perform - Alpine.
Collective “oohs” and “ahhs”.
Jens: They’ve been really, consistently getting the points to get to the Major, which is, I applaud them for it, but they are not at the level to play well in the Major.
Ben: I think they are exactly where, in the old league play system, they are exactly where you would expect them to be. Barely in that top ten, but you wouldn’t say they aren’t in the top ten.
Matt: Like in the promo series every season for Rocket League Rival Series (RLRS), but never actually getting relegated.
Jens: Yeah, basically. They are not going to do well in the Major I think.
Matt: I think the Peeps are another team that have potential, but I don’t know how they are going to do because they have given up a lot of goals. Especially in the recent performance against SSG, they allowed more than three goals in every game. They allowed more than three goals in three of the five games against G2, I believe it was. And it’s that kind of inconsistency you can’t get away with if you want to challenge the top teams.
Tom: I guess it’s not just that. They’ve been consistent, but consistently behind the other five teams in the top six.
Ben: The thing is, I think the Peeps, regardless of them shipping a lot of goals to the top teams, they are almost always in that top six, which at the end of the day, is enough to get them a Worlds spot. Oh, you were right about that Vitality thing. Because I remember that roster then almost became eUnited, it was [Austin “ostyn” Franklin], Roll Dizz, and [Jackson “ayjacks” Carter]. Took Vitality to five. They also took Spacestation to five! Although that was when Spacestation did really bad.
Kansas City Pioneers just made it through in the play-in tournament. Do we think they are going to do anything?
Ben: Oh, that was exciting! They won in Game 7. I don’t think so. I reckon they will finish top eight, but no further.
Jens: Sure. I can see that. But yeah, it was a little too close for comfort for them to make it through there.
Ben: Honestly, though, I feel like compared to Europe where I think it’s sort of easier to pinpoint which teams are going to be sort of populating those lower spots. Or I feel like, in Europe, it’s easier than in NA, because in NA, you’ve got Ghost, who I think most people probably expect to be in that 9-12th spot. But no one else really. Whereas I think in Europe, I guess Singularity, Endpoint, maybe even Oxygen, based on Regional performances, you’d kind of say, I reckon they have the biggest chance of finishing in a bottom spot.
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