Playing in one of the outer realms of the Rocket League world must be so difficult.
Options for scrims with high-level competition can be slim. Facing teams from other regions comes with high ping and when the game is moving as quickly as it does at the professional level, any disruption makes it nearly impossible to contend.
Rocket League is still in its infancy in South America, a region in just their second season as an official part of the Rocket League Championship series.
The odds are heavily stacked against them, but that doesn’t mean a team from Oceania or South America can’t make a run. The Peeps announced their presence on the scene when they won DreamHack: Montreal by beating Mousesports, Renault Vitality and G2 Esports in consecutive rounds. If a Cinderella-like The Peeps can create some LAN magic, so can OCE and SAM.
All of that being said, it’s actually shaping up to be a decent tournament for SAM/OCE. There are teams that didn’t exactly light the world on fire in League Play like eUnited and Dignitas in Madrid, and all it takes to make Day 3 is two series wins.
Chiefs Esports Club finished fourth at the Season 6 World Championship, but that’s the highest a non-NA/EU team has finished at a major. Will SAM or OCE flip the script and outdo their Psyonix-sponsored counterparts?
Perhaps. It’s time to meet the four World Championship teams from SAM and OCE and discuss their chances of winning it all, ranked from least likely to most likely.
4. Canberra Havoc
Regular Season record: 5-2, 15-11 (finished 3rd), 2nd at Regional Championship
Players: Daniel “Walcott” Hawkeswood, Maclean “Le Duck” Rees, Blake “SPYDOGE” Evans
Previous World Championship Experience: None
How they stack up:
Canberra Havoc were the first team to qualify for Lets Play Live Rocket League Oceanic Championship (Oceania’s RLCS league play) via the open tournament as Attack of the Invisible Ninjas. They were signed by Canberra prior to Week 7 of League Play.
The Havoc were the only team to beat Renegades in Season 8, and they knocked off Ground Zero Gaming and Chiefs in the Regional Championship to earn their spot in Madrid.
Walcott has been playing at the highest level in OCE since Season 4, but Le Duck and SPYDOGE played their first season on the EmproX team that finished 0-7 in Season 7.
They added Walcott in place of “eli” and the team exploded. Walcott didn’t play last season, and he looked rejuvenated with Le Duck and SPYDOGE at his side. Before Season 7, the highest he’d finished in League Play was fifth. This team has come completely out of nowhere.
Playing on the World Championship stage will be an even more difficult challenge, but Canberra have nothing to lose. No one really expected them to make it this far, so why should they stop believing now?
Canberra love to space the field out and send passes to Walcott up on the wall. Le Duck will demo anyone who is standing still in net, and SPYDOGE has a good sense for where to be on the field.
The team made it as far as they have because of their defense. Walcott and Le Duck finished second and third in SAPG. Their defensive style might not translate well against more creative opponents.
Group B seems like the weaker of the two groups, but Canberra would have to make it past Spacestation, Reciprocity, Dignitas or Pittsburgh Knights to make Day 3. It’s not impossible, but it’s certainly a long shot.
Their greatest advantage might be their anonymity. Most of the pros that play Canberra might scrim them for the first time this week, and depending on how they choose to prepare, some opponents might face Canberra for the first time live on stage. They should go out and play loose because there isn’t much weight on their shoulders in the form of expectations.
If they win a single series they should head home with heads held high. Just the fact that they will be at LAN is an incredible story.
Contender #3: The Three Sins
Regular Season record: 4-3, 16-9 (finished 4th), Won Regional Championship
Players: Matheus “matix” Rodrigues, Matheus “math” Gonçalves, Valter “valt” Junior
Previous World Championship Experience: Matix appeared for INTZ in Season 7.
How they stack up:
Math and Valt had to find a new third when Caio “CaioTG1” Vinicius left Erodium for Lowkey Esports. Erodium was widely considered the best team in SAM when Psyonix announced official RLCS support for the region but fell in the semi-final of the Regional Championship.
Matix was unexpectedly dropped from INTZ eSports after the team nearly beat NRG in the group stage of last season’s World Championship, and he swept his former team in the Regional Championship.
So, Valt and Math added Matix, and it worked out perfectly. Despite finishing in fourth place during League Play, The Three Sins won four consecutive series at the Regional Championship and won the championship.
They’ve got loads of momentum heading into worlds, but they struggled against high powered offenses during League Play. There’s no doubt that they can make a run, but it’s tough to say whether their Regional Championship eruption was a fluke or an omen for their potential.
Given that this will be their first World Championship together, they may struggle to adjust to the speed of international play. They’re in the same boat as Canberra Havoc in that they probably haven’t had many chances to scrimmage against world-class teams until this week.
Valt was a part of the TBD team that was invited to WSOE and Matix faced NRG and PSG in Newark last season, but that isn’t much preparation on the international stage.
This weekend should be a building block toward the team’s future, and thus, they shouldn’t be disappointed if they bomb out of the tournament in consecutive series.
They should capitalize on every scrim they can get and focus on bringing the skill they gain from playing the game at the highest level back to South America. If they can push Dignitas to five games in their first series, then great, but the road to Day 3 looks tough.
Contender #2: Renegades
Regular Season record: 6-1, 20-6 (finished 1st), Won Regional Championship
Players: Daniel “Torsos” Parsons, Cameron “Kamii” Ingram, Christoper “Siki” Magee
Previous World Championship Experience: Torsos has played in every World Championship since Season 3. Kamii has played in every World Championship since Season 4. Siki made his World Championship debut in Season 7.
How they stack up:
Renegades only won a single game at the Season 7 World Championship. Aidan “ZeN” Hui didn’t score a single goal in seven games, so they dropped him in favor of Siki, a standout performer for Ground Zero.
ZeN was the leading scorer on Order in Season 6 but left the team to play for Renegades in Season 7. Siki replaced him on that squad and made LAN, then filled ZeN’s spot. It all comes full circle sometimes.
Siki was named the Oceania MVP and Golden Striker, knocking in 1.38 GPG. He can really fill it up and is a much more dangerous striker than ZeN was last season.
Torsos and Kamii are World Championship regulars at this point. Torsos is a sharp Dominus main that loves to demo, play defense and hit hard shots. Kamii is an incredible support player who makes great passes and even better decisions with his positioning.
This is the first Major they’ll play at with Siki, and eUnited seem like the weakest NA/EU team in the tournament. There’s a good chance they can beat the rookie North Americans.
The final spot in the group could come down to Renegades, Lowkey or Veloce, and Renegades are the most experienced team from that group.
If they can keep their nerve, there’s a solid chance they make Day 3, but Vitality, NRG, Pittsburgh and Reciprocity likely wouldn’t be very intimidated by the Oceanic champs.
Renegades seem like the most likely team from SAM/OCE to make the final bracket but might not have enough pop-off potential to make a run any deeper than that.
Contender #1: Lowkey Esports
Regular Season record: 6-1, 20-4 (finished 1st), 2nd at Regional Championship
Players: Gabriel “Caard” Viera, Enzo “tander” Toledo, Caio “CaioTG1” Vinicius
Previous World Championship Experience: Caard and Tander debuted at the Season 7 World Championship. CaioTG1 will play in his first World Championship in Madrid.
How they stack up:
The giants of South America will be a tough out for every foe they face. Caard and Tander both showed flashes at the last World Championship, and CaioTG1 might be the best player in the region. Caard probably has the edge given he won MVP this season, but it depends on the day really.
Confidence is in no short supply because of the squad’s mechanical potency. Lowkey shouldn’t feel intimidated by any team they face. They’ll have more WC experience on their side than many of their opponents given how fresh the new batch of qualifiers is.
Lowkey have the right swagger to make a deep run. They may play it cool off the pitch, but their offense is anything but Lowkey.
Caard finished first in South America with an outlandish 1.53 GPG and CaioTG1 finished 2nd with 1.20. The third place finisher only averaged 1.05. Caard also has JSTN-esque aerial ability and score from nearly anywhere on the pitch.
CaioTG1 compliments Caard’s offensive skill, and Tander is tough to get past on defense. At times they look like Season 7 G2 with their ball pressure and attacking mindset.
That speaks to their potential to pop-off and stumble into the semi-final, a quality that the other OCE/SAM teams don’t quite grasp with the same fervor. No other non-NA/EU can confidently say they can go blow for blow mechanically with the likes of Spacestation Gaming or Veloce Esports.
Of the four second-tier teams in Group B (Veloce, eUnited, Renegades, Lowkey), Lowkey seem like the most volatile team. They could knock off a top-four team or fail to win a single game and it wouldn’t be entirely surprising.
Betbrain.com gives Lowkey the worst odds of any team in the tournament at 45 to 1. Their regular-season production projects a bit higher than that.
The Rocket League Championship Series World Championship begins Friday, Dec. 13 at 1 p.m. EST on twitch.tv/rocketleague.
Featured image courtesy of Psyonix.
Follow me on Twitter: @connorssanders.
“From Our Haus to Yours”