The Rocket League World Championship wrapped up group play on Saturday. The tournament has been full of upsets and surprises thus far, and the single elimination playoff still sits on the horizon.
All four NA teams topped their groups and set the playoff up for a hectic conclusion.
Eight teams reached day three and will be gunning for the RLCS Season 7 trophy on Sunday in Newark. Here’s a look back at the group play action and a look forward to Sunday’s conclusion.
NRG Emerge Unbeaten from Group A
NRG Esports continued their streak of undefeated matches during League Play. The NA squad emerged victorious despite a heroic effort from South American squad INTZ eSports in their first series. The set went to five games, and Justin “JSTN” Morales was so relieved after the win he laid back in his chair in exasperation for a few seconds after the ball hit the ground in game five.
NRG played their second match on Saturday against PSG Esports. Each game in the series was separated by just one goal, but NRG’s offense proved stronger in the end and they won the series 3-1. New Jersey native Jayson “Fireburner” Nunez performed well in front of his home crowd and secured the team’s spot in the knockout round.
PSG Esports bounced back from their loss to NRG and swept INTZ eSports in Saturday’s penultimate match. INTZ took a 2-0 lead in game two, but PSG stormed back and forced overtime. INTZ whiffed in front of their own net and Emil “Fruity” Moslund capitalized on the mistake to secure the win. PSG came out firing in game two and pounded INTZ 5-0.
INTZ couldn’t recover and let game three slip away 1-0. The Brazilian squad were the lowest seed at the tournament, but they put a five game scare into the highest seed and set a good foundation for the region’s future.
NRG advanced to face Renault Vitality in the quarterfinal. PSG will face G2 in the other side of the bracket.
G2 Finally Translate League Play Performance to LAN
Crowd favorites G2 upset EU champions Renault Vitality and won Group C. G2 has received the loudest support from fans in Newark and they rode that energy to the top of their group.
Renault Vitality dropped game one to GroundZero Gaming, but won the next three games to earn the 3-1 victory. Kyle “Scrub Killa” Robertson scored eight goals in his LAN debut and brought his famous personality to the world’s biggest stage.
G2 struggled at the last two World Championships, but Season 7 has seen different results after the team brought on Reed “Chicago” Wilen. G2 outgunned Renault Vitality 3-1 and moved into the poll position for the group. The crowd erupted when Jacob “JKnaps” Knapman scored a goal with two seconds left in game four to secure the victory.
In the last series of Saturday’s action G2 continued their run of form and put themselves on a favorable path to the grand final. They beat GroundZero 3-1 and won the group. GroundZero won the first game (which was something of a theme for the OCE/SAM teams on Saturday), but G2’s offense exploded over the next three games. They scored 13 goals in three games and held GZ to just five.
Rogue Upset FC Barcelona and Win Group C
FC Barcelona made quick work of Renegades with a commanding 3-0 sweep. Renegades could only manage one goal compared to Barcelona’s seven. The speed and pressure of the Spanish football power looked unstoppable against the defensive attempts of Renegades.
Barcelona continued to play on Friday, but couldn’t produce the same results. Rogue surprised the second seed in Europe and snagged a 3-1 victory. Nicholas “Wonder” Blackerby played very well in the series including this double double tap in game three.
.@Wonder_RL YOU’VE GOTTA BE KIDDING ME 😮
What a monster shot. #RLCS7
— Rocket League Esports (@RLEsports) June 21, 2019
Alex “AyyJayy” Aebi also performed well in his LAN debut. He scored a very impressive flip-reset goal that brought the crowd to its feet.
— Rocket League Esports (@RLEsports) June 21, 2019
Rogue’s upset over FC Barcelona put them in the driver’s seat of Group C. All they needed was a win over Renegades and they’d be on to the playoffs. They secured that bid with a 3-1 win over Renegades. Cameron “Kronovi” Bills was crucial in the series, scoring four goals in game three and two, including the clincher, in game four.
Renegades never found their footing in Newark. The OCE squad seemed a step behind their competition. Aidan “ZeN” Hui struggled in his LAN debut and the squad will have some self-reflection to do after a disappointing performance.
Rogue advances to face Triple Trouble in the quarterfinal. They won the same amount of games at Worlds as they did throughout the entirety of NA League Play.
FC Barcelona’s second place finish forces them into a tough matchup with the defending champions Cloud9.
Cloud9 Cruise Through Group D
Cloud9 fought their way to a 3-0 sweep of Lowkey Esports on Friday to kick off Group D’s action. Lowkey put up a tenacious fight in their first ever RLCS series, but couldn’t keep the Season 6 champions out of their net.
Triple Trouble stepped to the plate against C9 in the last series of Friday’s action. The former Rival Series team won the first game in overtime, but Cloud9 responded with authority. They won game two 6-1, then edged out a 2-1 overtime win in game three. Triple Trouble couldn’t slow down Cloud9’s offense enough in game four and C9 advanced 2-1.
That left second place in Group D down to Lowkey’s series against Triple Trouble. Lowkey jumped out to a three goal lead in game one, but gave up three goals in the last three minutes to force overtime. Triple Trouble scored the golden goal and stole game one.
Euan “Tadpole” Ingram found another gear in this series. He scored three goals and assisted on another five. He pulled the momentum onto Triple Trouble’s side in game two, and they saw the series through with a 4-2 win in game three.
Lowkey went 0-6 in their first RLCS LAN, but overall had a good showing. Gabriel “Caard” Vieira showed some flashes of mechanical brilliance and Lowkey pushed their opponents in every game they played.
Cloud9 move on to face FC Barcelona in the playoffs while Triple Trouble will take on Rogue.
Pre-tournament Favorites Land on Same Side of Playoff Bracket
Due to some unexpected performances by the likes of Rogue and G2 the four best teams from League Play landed on the same side of the bracket.
NRG Esports take on fellow regional champions Renault Vitality in the first series of the day. The two teams were considered favorites heading into the weekend, but will meet in the quarterfinal. NRG swept RV when the two teams played during DreamHack Dallas. Rocket League’s two wunderkinds Justin “JSTN.” Morales and Scrub Killa will duke it out for a chance at the semifinal.
Cloud9 face FC Barcelona in what be the matchup of the tournament’s two fastest teams. Barcelona have built their identity around Cloud9’s aggressive style and will try to beat C9 at their own game Sunday afternoon. Mariano “Squishy” Arruda has had some issues with a bladder infection, but is confident he’ll be ready for tomorrow’s match.
On the other side of the bracket G2 approach their first top four finish since Season 4. PSG Esports stand on the other side of the bracket and are formidable opponents. PSG knocked G2 out in Season 6 and beat G2 in their lone offseason match at WSOE. Can they ride the energy of the crowd or will they crumple under the pressure?
The final quarterfinal features Rogue and Triple Trouble. A top four finish would build Triple Trouble’s resume in their pursuit of an org. Rogue have never been this deep into a tournament, but looked excellent in Group C. These teams were far from favorites before this weekend, but they sit two series wins away from an appearance in the Grand Final and a chance to raise the World Championship trophy.
The final day of the Rocket League World Championship will be broadcast live from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, at 12 p.m. EST on twitch.tv/rocketleague.
Featured image courtesy of Rocket League Championship Series.
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