Yes, Rocket League Esports conspiracy theorists, the move has finally happened: Team Dignitas announced that Alexandre ‘Kaydop’ Courant has left the team to join Renault Vitality Sunday.
The move wasn’t unexpected, but is a gut punch to the EU scene nonetheless.
Kaydop Reunites with Fairy Peak.
Renault Vitality adds one of the three best players in Europe to a core of 1v1 superstars in Victor ‘Fairy Peak’ Locquet and Kyle ‘Scrub Killa’ Robertson. Kaydop replaces long time Vitality captain Philip ‘Paschy90’ Paschmeyer who announced his retirement last week.
Strangely, this is the second time that Kaydop replaces Paschy to join a squad with Fairy Peak. Way back in the third season of the Rocket League Championship Series, Kaydop left Precision Z to replace Paschy and unite with his fellow Frenchman on Mock-It.
Kaydop won his first MVP that season. Accompanied by David ‘Miztik’ Lawrie, Mock-It burned through league play and lost in game seven of a bracket reset to Northern Gaming at the RLCS World Championships.
Fairy and Kaydop obviously have great chemistry from their time as teammates in season three. Before Kaydop left to replace Paschy again with Gale Force in season four, Mock-It was the second best team in the world.
The meta has changed significantly since. Kaydop and Fairy will need to adapt their season three magic to the speed and quality of the modern game if they’re going to reproduce their season three results.
Scrub Killa could mix nicely with Kaydop and Fairy. The young Scotsman lead EU in saves per game last season. He’ll have more opportunities to sneak forward and knock some goals in with Kaydop and Fairy providing pressure up top.
In their first competitive appearance, Vitality lost to PSG Esports in the semi-final of WSOE qualifying. They were on short practice notice, and will probably be fine.
TL;DR: Kaydop and Fairy Peak have already shown they can ball out together. Kaydop is a significant upgrade over Paschy, but more importantly, the move breaks up the dynasty that was Dignitas.
Dignitas and the Revolution
This is a seminal moment for Rocket League Esports. One of the game’s best players has moved to a new team and has completely thrown off the game’s power structure overnight.
Now multi-time World Champions Jos “ViolentPanda” van Meurs and Pierre “Turbopolsa” Silfver will need to replace their leading goal scorer. Goal scoring shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Turbo and Panda finished second and seventh respectively in goals per game last season.
The issue is that the pool of players that could replace Kaydop is pretty thin. There are rumors that Garrett ‘GarrettG’ Gordon could leave NA for EU after Matthew ‘Drippay’ Den-Kaat left OCE for Evil Geniuses last week.
That move doesn’t really make much sense. GarrettG is with a very strong NRG squad looking to continue their momentum heading into season seven. All things considered, it just doesn’t seem likely.
Joonas ‘Mognus’ Salolike an interesting replacement, especially given the news that his Complexity teammate Linus ‘al0t’ Möllergren is moving on to join Mousesports. Mognus is an experienced player coming off a rough season six looking to prove himself.
Dignitas will most likely have to try and poach another prime player off a currently constructed roster. There is plenty of allure in playing with Dignitas, and they should get greedy. Maurice “Yukeo” Weihs of Flipside would be as close to breaking even as the team could do. Yukeo is a talented player who hasn’t yet reached his potential and plays a similar style as their departed teammate.
No matter what Dignitas ends up doing, ViolentPanda and Turbopolsa will have to carry their squad to a new height. For the upcoming WSOE it’s likely that Dig will play with their substitute Joni “JHZER” Humaloja or find another temporary fix.
TL;DR: No matter who replaces Kaydop, it’ll be a downgrade. Dignitas needs to act prudently to keep their dominance going.
Who Will Step Up to Fill EU’s Power Gap?
It’s important to remember that even though Dignitas hasn’t won the last two major LAN events, they had a stranglehold on the EU region throughout 2018.
In meaningful competition (RLCS S5, S6 and ELeague) the Dignitas roster went a baffling 28-5. They lost European competition once during that stretch when they were swept by Flipside on April 8, 2018. Let that sink in, they lost one series to another EU time for all year.
When it came to LANs, they just ran into a Cloud9 team they didn’t know how to deal with.
Team SoloMid appears to be the biggest winner from the Kaydop move (besides Vitality of course). TSM comes off of an outstanding performance at ELeague and should have a lot of confidence going into season seven. They also have roster continuity on their side and a shiny new org to back them up.
Renault Vitality is going to be awfully good. The team finished fourth during league play last season and will make a significant jump with Kaydop on the books.
Flipside quietly finished second ahead of We Dem Girlz during league play last season, and another year of chemistry and understanding means Flipside are only going to get better. Miztik will also be looking for revenge on his former Mock-It teammates.
TL;DR: For the first time in two seasons, the EU table is wide open. Who will rise to the top?
Feature image courtesy of @TeamVitality.
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