The first day of DreamHack Rocket League events usually follow a common course of a few upsets and most of the pre-tournament favorites moving on to Day 2.
DreamHack: Valencia has been no different. GroundZero Gaming and MOUT GANG surprised fans with day two births, but the rest of the groups stayed course. Here’s a look back at the day’s action as well as a glance toward Day 2’s proceedings.
Group A Delivers on the Promise of Upset
World champions Renault Vitality were the first team to punch their ticket to Day 2. The squad make quick work of Bremen Esports 3-0 and walloped Splyce 3-0 to advance to Day 2. The top seed appears to still be at the peak of their powers after winning the World Championship in New Jersey two weeks ago.
Complexity Gaming had a tougher path but qualified through the upper bracket nonetheless. The former Rival Series team bounced back from a Game 1 loss to MOUT GANG to win the series 3-1. In the upper finals they faced Team SoloMid. The series rocked back and forth, with TSM taking a 2-1 series lead after Game 3. Hrant “Flakes” Yakoub kicked things to another level in games four and five and Complexity beat TSM to advance.
It’s a good thing they did because a frisky GroundZero Gaming squad awaited the loser in the lower bracket. The Oceania squad won two overtime games and gave fans the first true upset of the tournament with a 3-2 win against TSM. TSM slammed them 3-0 in the first game, but GZ weren’t shaken. They pushed the series 2-1 and won the last two games to keep their tournament hopes alive.
It was a nightmare finish for TSM who finished second at DreamHack: Dallas just a month ago. GroundZero were the only OCE squad to make Day 2.
The final Day 2 spot came down to MOUT GANG vs. Splyce. MOUT GANG came out swinging. They won Game 1 5-3, fell in overtime of Game 2, then shut out Splyce in Games 3 and 4 to win the series. MOUT GANG played fast and aggressive Rocket League and are a major sleeper heading into Day 2.
No Surprises In Group B
Over in Group B, Cloud9 sweated out a series against Veloce Esports to claim their Day 2 bid. After sweeping Los Potato in the first round, C9 took on a determined Veloce squad that won the first two games of the series. Cloud9 settled in and won Game 3, then clobbered the RLRS squad 3-1 and 4-0 to pull off the reverse sweep.
PSG Esports also qualified through the upper bracket with a 3-1 win over Triple Trouble. PSG swept Childish Gambimbam in Round 1 and continued their momentum against TT. Each game in the series was close, and Triple Trouble staged a very improbable comeback to stay alive in game four. PSG scored with 19 seconds left, but Triple Trouble responded with a goal with 15 seconds left. With four seconds left Andy “Kassio” Landais scored. Then Victor “Ferra” Francal scored an improbable zero second goal to secure the series.
Triple Trouble’s hopes were not diminished though, as they beat Renegades 3-1 to advance through the lower bracket.
Veloce Esports swept Crazy Crew by a combined score of 13-5 to round out the group.
G2 and The Bricks Dominate Group C
G2 Esports allowed just two goals in their romp through Group C. The Season 7 runner-up perfectly swept Hi5 Gaming and nearly pulled off the perfect sweep against Ghost Gaming. Ghost snagged a couple of goals in Game 2, but G2 were unstoppable and started off the tournament with a +20 goal differential.
The Bricks beat Aeriality in Round 1 and advanced to face fellow EU rival FC Barcelona. The Bricks took a leaf from G2’s book and pulled off the perfect sweep against Barcelona. The games were slow and defensive, but The Bricks formed a brick wall around their net and qualified for Day 2.
Barcelona dropped to the lower bracket where they faced Method. The speed and aggression of the Spanish squad proved to be too much for their Rival Series opponents. FC Barcelona advanced to Day 2 with a comfortable 3-1 win.
Ghost Gaming faced Aeriality for the rights to the final Day 2 spot. As per the usual, Ghost played a methodical, defensive style and Aeriality couldn’t find a crease in Ghost’s back line. Aeriality won Game 3, but Ghost always had control of the series and they advanced 3-1.
River Rats’ Reveal Raucous Run through Group D
Randy Gibbon’s River Rats were the only team to upset their group’s top seed on Day 1. After narrowly escaping against Chiefs Esports Club in Round 1, the River Rats faced NA Regional champs NRG Esports. NRG burst out the gate with 6-1 win Game 1. River Rats responded with a 2-0 win in Game 2. River Rats won Game 3 and NRG took Game 4.
Game 5 was a high scoring affair. Both teams traded the lead and the fifth game ended tied 3-3. NRG nearly scored in the last ten seconds, but the game went to overtime. Then 1:21 into overtime Gabe “CorruptedG” Vallozzi found the back of the net and sent them through. It was the most exciting series of Day 1, and it didn’t even make the A stream.
Rogue’s offense exploded against Dignitas and they swept the EU team 3-0. Rogue scored 11 goals in three games and were basically scoring at will on Friday.
Dignitas fell to the lower bracket where they battled Chiefs Esports Club. Once again every game in the series was close, but Chiefs couldn’t pull off the victory. After five minutes of overtime in Game 4, Dignitas got the win and their spot in Day 2.
NRG bounced back from the close series with the River Rats and beat Aura eSports 3-1. It was a bit nervy for the NA champs after Aura took Game 1, but they settled back in and took control of the series.
Day 2 Pits the World’s Best Against Each Other
Renault Vitality take on Veloce Esports at the top of Group A. This is the stage where Vitality fell apart at DreamHack: Dallas, and the world champions will look to erase that loss with a couple of wins here.
PSG Esports take on OCE hopefuls GroundZero Gaming in the next match. PSG were swept by ICON Esports (now Chiefs) in Dallas, but they looked very strong on Day 1 and will be the favorites in this series.
Randy Gibbons’ River Rats battle Ghost Gaming in the third series. Ghost were less than convincing on Day 1, and the crowd will heavily support the River Rats. Can they continue their run of play, or will their NA rival catch up with them?
The Bricks face Dignitas in the final matchup of the first round. Day 2 will be double elimination, but things may get hairy in the lower bracket for the loser of this series. This is a rematch of the RLCS 7 League Play match that sent The Bricks to the Promotion Playoff in EU.
Cloud9 take on Cinderella story MOUT GANG in Group B’s first series. Both teams play very fast and high flying styles, so there will be plenty of goals in this series. Cloud9 won DreamHack: Dallas, and are in a prime position to repeat.
Complexity and Triple Trouble will battle it out in the next series. Both teams spent time in the Rival Series and earned promotion, but this season is the first where they’ll play in the same league. This could be foreshadowing for a future match with an RLCS Season 8 World Championship spot on the line.
G2 Esports take on NA rival NRG Esports in the third match. These teams have battled each other dating back to Season 3, but missed each other at the World Championship. This is the perfect chance for G2 to assert their dominance in NA.
Speaking of the World Championship, Rogue face FC Barcelona in the final first round series of Group B. These teams were in the same group at the World Championship, and Rogue crushed the Spanish squad. Can Barcelona win on home turf, or are Rogue the better team?
A few Takeaways:
- The bracket broke very well for Randy Gibbons’ River Rats. If they beat Ghost in Round 1, they’ll face Dignitas or The Bricks. Pierre “Turbopolsa” Silfver could face his former team for the first time with a chance at Day 3 in the balance.
- Cloud9 are in a very powerful position right now. MOUT GANG are the weakest team to make Day 2, and C9 dominated Triple Trouble at the World Championship. There’s a good chance they could repeat as DreamHack champions.
- NRG and G2 is probably the series of the day, and it’s happening in the first round.
- No OCE team has ever made Day 3 of a DreamHack event, but this is GroundZero’s first ever DreamHack. They already beat TSM, can they keep it going against PSG?
- MOUT GANG are the only non-RLCS/RLRS team to make Day 3, but the road will be incredibly tough. They face C9 and the loser of Triple Trouble/Complexity if they fall to the lowers. MOUT and GroundZero are the last true Cinderellas in this tournament.
Featured image courtesy of Visit Valencia.
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