The Rocket League Championship Series World Championship is two weeks away, and the field is wide open. Each region is sending its best, and each region hopes to bring the title back home with them. Who has the best odds at making their region proud?
This three part mini-series will serve as a large scale preview for the RLCS Finals in Newark, New Jersey from June 21-23. Fans can expect team by team profiles, as well as their chances at winning it all in Jersey. Catch up on NA’s chances here.
Cloud9 grabbed the Season 6 crown for NA in Las Vegas, but EU sports a hungry group of squads eager to bring the World Championship back across the Atlantic. PSG Esports are the only EU team returning to LAN in Season 7. FC Barcelona and Triple Trouble will make their first World Championship appearances, and Vitality will return after missing the cut in Season 6. Here are EU’s best chances to win in descending order.
RLCS World Championship Contender #4: PSG Esports
Roster: Emil “Fruity” Moselund, Victor “Ferra” Francal, Thibault “Chausette45” Grzesiak
RLCS Season 7 Results: 3rd place (4-3, 16-14), lost to Triple Trouble in first round of Regional Championship, beat Dignitas in elimination match, and lost to Vitality in semi-finals.
Group: A (NRG Esports, INTZ eSports)
Previous Worlds Results: 7-8th Season 6, 5-6th Season 4
Key Player: Chausette45
Experience often reigns at postseason LANs, but at times experience translates into stagnation. Chausette45 and Ferra have never truly left their impact on a World Championship. They proved that they can win at DreamHack Leipzig in 2018, but since then LAN wins have come at a premium for the French superclub.
That struggle comes as the result of PSG’s defining attribute: inconsistency. Fans never know what to expect from PSG. At times Ferra can’t miss, Fruity is distributing the ball all over the field and Chausette is locking down the defense and pulling off mechanical wonder-goals.
But in other occasions it seems PSG have completely forgotten how to hit the target on open nets. Ferra has famously struggled with shot placement, but this season was very consistent in striking the ball. He finished the season with a 36.96% shooting accuracy, seventh best in EU. All PSG really need from Ferra is for him to finish off his chances, and protect the net when it’s his turn in the rotation.
Chausette is a huge variable. Sometimes he’ll score a wave dash ceiling shot, but other times he completely disappears from the action. If he finds his form and keeps his nerves at bay, PSG can go toe to toe with anyone. He has the special ability to create and take advantage of space that sets the best in the world apart from the rest. Sometimes in pressure filled LAN series a single moment of brilliance is the difference in the game. Chausette has that spark.
As does Fruity. Fruity was quietly one of the most improved players from Season 7 league play, and at times defenses couldn’t even track him on the field. He’s constantly moving, constantly looking for passing lanes and ways to create shooting space for his teammates. He’s been effective in that role all season. PSG are lethal in transition, and Fruity’s ability to find teammates from off-wall aerials is the key to all of that.
PSG have the quality stars needed to muscle out at a series, but they don’t always play that way. At times they try to do too much, and they’ve struggled to make deep runs at recent LAN events.
Chances of winning the RLCS World Championship: It depends on if alpha-PSG shows up or not. If they set the pace of the series and find a rhythm, they could make a run at the semi-final. If their confidence is shaken early, they could drop out in the group stage.
RLCS World Championship Contender #3: Triple Trouble
Roster: Aldin “Ronaky” Hodzic, Euan “Tadpole” Ingram, Andy “Kassio” Landais
RLCS Season 7 Results: 4th place (4-3, 14-16), beat PSG in first round of Regional Championship, but lost to Barcelona in the semi-final.
Group: D (Cloud9, Lowkey Esports)
Previous Worlds Results: None
Key Player: Ronaky
Experience is king in the postseason, and Triple Trouble are the most inexperienced LAN contestants from a major region in Rocket League history. Not one of these players has ever even stepped foot on stage at a World Championship before. That could work in their favor, or to their absolute detriment.
Almost no one thought Triple Trouble would be in this position before the season began. TT defied the odds by making LAN in their inaugural RLRS season, and they did so by peppering the opposing defense with shots until they cracked. No team in EU averaged more shots per game this season, and no team had a better shot differential.
This can mean one of two things.
1. Triple Trouble created and maintained the majority of the offensive pressure in their games this season.
2. Triple Trouble took a lot of low quality shots instead of looking for passes or more creative ways of working around the defense. Efficiency is key in big tournaments, and sometimes shooting at a well defended net is a waste of a possession.
This where inexperience may hamper them. The rush of the crowd could coax TT into selling out for goals and leaving themselves exposed at the back. In the regular season Triple Trouble were middle of the pack in goals allowed, and against elite competition, their suspect defending could be exposed.
On the other hand, Triple Trouble can play without the weight of expectations that other squads like NRG and Vitality carry. They can go out, play their game and focus on playing well instead of being solely focused on winning it all.
With that said, their desire to find an org has been well documented, and a good performance in Jersey would be a massive step in the right direction. They can’t let that get in their heads. Everything but their play is out of their control, and they need to remember that. They won’t land an org if they don’t win some, but they won’t win anything if they aren’t playing at peak focus.
TT might as well come out against Cloud9 and throw the kitchen sink at them. Most everyone in the arena will be cheering C9 on, so it’s the perfect chance to get the nerves out before they play Lowkey. They need to play their high flying offense and hope that their sustained pressure leads to little cracks in the defense that they can capitalize on.
This is the same squad that came out and put the screws to Vitality in League Play. They can throw their weight around a little bit. Can they sustain that level of play over the weekend?
Chances of winning the RLCS World Championship: They’re probably the best pick (along with Renegades) for a Cinderella team that actually has an outside shot at winning it all. It would take a herculean effort to do so, and TT haven’t proved they have that in them yet. Top eight should be the goal, the semi-final would be overachieving.
RLCS World Championship Contender #2: FC Barcelona
Roster: Daniel “Bluey” Bluett, David “Deevo” Morrow, Yanis “Alpha54” Champenois
RLCS Season 7 Results: 2nd place (5-2, 17-10), beat Triple Trouble in the semi-final of Regional Championship, but lost to Vitality in the final.
Group: C (Renegades, Rogue)
Previous Worlds Results: Together: None. Bluey finished 5-6th with PSG in Season 4, Deevo won the World Championship in Season 3 with Northern Gaming.
Key Player: Alpha54
FC Barcelona’s offensive style has translated fairly well to the LAN stage. They dipped out in the quarterfinal of DreamHack Dallas to a shockingly scrappy Evil Geniuses squad, but they also reached the semi-final of DreamHack Leipzig and were an overtime goal away from making the final against eventual champion Dignitas. That was before the Rocket League world was fully alerted to their power, and they won’t surprise anyone in New Jersey.
Alpha54 won the MVP award for EU, and while that decision has been well scrutinized, he put together one of the most successful debut seasons of any player. The squad went from dominating the Rival Series to dunking on Dignitas and finishing second in League Play. EU was the most competitive it’s ever been in Season 7, and Barcelona are a large reason why.
They finished second in overall goal differential because of their defense. Once again, the best defenses in Rocket League are the ones that play as little defense as possible. Barcelona owned the midfield against everyone but Vitality this season, and it paid dividends.
Positioning will be key for Barcelona. Bluey has made a career out of reaching balls first, and he excels in knowing the right moment to go forward. That could come back to bite them if he and Deevo overcommit on offense.
Deevo has revitalized his career by completely rebuilding his playstyle. He still has the mechanical capability to pull off double taps and flip resets. His team hasn’t needed that though. They need him to defend and he’s been very good in his own half this season. There have been countless moments where Deevo has had to catch a long clear and buy time while his teammates rotate back.
That time management has fully unlocked Alpha54, who may well be the most dynamic player in Rocket League right now. Alpha54 has an impressive arsenal of flicks, air dribbles and flip-resets to create scoring chances. He’s one of the few non-Vitality players that could unlock an entire defense by himself last season in Europe.
He’s a beast, but sometimes like Chausette, Alpha54 can disappear for games at a time. If their suffocating style affords them space in the midfield, then the Frenchman will wreak havoc on opponents. If they run into another fast paced attack that limits their range of motion in the midfield, they’ll be in some serious trouble.
Chances of winning the RLCS World Championship: This is really matchup dependent. Barca should cruise through their group, but if they run into Cloud9 in the quarterfinals they’ll be in trouble. Even with that in mind, Barcelona have the right mixture of experience and creativity that could result in an appearance in the Grand Final, and maybe a chance at winning the whole thing.
RLCS World Championship Contender #1: Renault Vitality
Roster: Kyle “Scrub Killa” Robertson, Alexandre “Kaydop” Courant, Victor “Fairy Peak!” Locquet
RLCS Season 7 Results: 1st place, (6-1, 19-6)
Group: B (GroundZero Gaming, G2 Esports)
Previous Worlds Results: Together: None. Kaydop won Season 4 and 5 World Championships. Fairy and Kaydop reached the Grand Final with Mock-It, but lost in Season 3.
Key Player: Scrub.
Vitality passed, faked and redirected their way to a dominant League Play performance. Triple Trouble were the only team that even provided a bump in the road, but there isn’t the same feeling of optimism that existed around this team even two weeks ago. Vitality looked very disappointing at DreamHack Dallas, and nearly missed out on Day 2.
None of that matters though. Vitality has the best collection of Rocket League talent in the world right now, and if they’re playing their best, they’re the favorite in this tournament. Perhaps only Cloud9 and NRG have the skill to stand against Vitality on their best day, but even then Vitality have a very intimidating roster.
Kaydop has been the best player in EU for several seasons now. The French star has won more on the biggest stage than anyone else at this tournament. He’s been to the last three Grand Finals, and outside of
Cloud9’s other worldly Season 6 performance no one has been able to stop him at Worlds.
Scrub is making his LAN debut and is the most highly touted Rocket League prospect in the game’s history.
He’s fast, courageous and wins 50/50s like N’Golo Kante. He has to bring his best form because when he does, no one can match Vitality’s speed.
What sets Vitality apart from the rest of the world is their moxie. They aren’t afraid to try something outlandish or pre-jump a pass. Vitality can lay the cuffs to their opponents and completely take hold of a series before the other team knows what’s happening. They share the ball with dangerous precision and can waltz through the midfield with a solo play. They’re incredibly dangerous, but not unstoppable.
Fairy Peak has been a solid third man for Vitality all season, but he has a tendency to get caught up in the attack. He’s still at the forefront of mechanical capability, but sometimes tries to do too much. The same goes for Scrub. Vitality can really shoot themselves in the foot sometimes.
Teams that have clogged up their passing lanes have had success against Vitality. No team controls their destiny in New Jersey like Vitality does. If they’re in form, communicating well and able to withstand the nerves, they should win it all.
Chance to win RLCS World Championship: Championship or bust. NRG and C9 are the only true threats, but Vitality could get overconfident and bow out early. If they play their game, they should at least make the Grand Final.
Feature image courtesy of Psyonix.
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