Doesn’t matter how you arrive, what’s important is that you make it.
Veloce Esports stumbled into the RLCS after Triple Trouble disbanded. They’ve been toiling in the Rival Series since being demoted in Season 4, but now they have their chance. They are a Rocket League Championship Series team, but for how long?
This is Best Case/Worst Case, a Game Haus preview series profiling each Rocket League Championship Series team. With the season just over a month away, now is the perfect time to project each team’s ceiling and floor looking ahead to Season 8.
The third preview in the series features the result of the strangest promotion mishap ever, Veloce. Can they outrun the Rival Series after being given this golden opportunity?
Season 7 Results: 1st place in RLRS (7-0, 21-8). Lost to The Bricks in the Promotion Playoff, but earned promotion after Triple Trouble disbanded.
Off-season Movement: Added the man who made the decision, Andy “Kassio” Landais (0.57 GPG, 0.33 APG, 1.43 SAPG) in place of Niels “Nielskoek” Kok (0.83 GPG, 0.45 APG, 1.14 SAPG in the Rival Series).
Off-season Performance: 9th-12th DreamHack: Montreal Closed Qualifier.
Team stats (Rival Series): 2.21 GPG (1st), 1.62 APG (2nd), 4.31 SAPG (7th), 7.83 SHPG (4th), 1.59 GAPG (2nd)
Team MVP: Jack “FlamE” Pearton
Realistic Team Goal: Avoid relegation.
Background and Team History
Veloce owe this season to Aldin “Ronaky” Hodzic. Ronaky’s Triple Trouble team made the quarterfinal of the World Championship with Andy “Kassio” Landais and Euan “Tadpole” Ingram. Ronaky and Tadpole evidently wanted to reach even higher and tried out Jordan “EyeIgnite” Stellon in Kassio’s place.
Kassio, assuming he was kicked, accepted a trial with Veloce. When The Game Haus reported Ronaky’s bombshell move to FC Barcelona, it left Kassio in a compromising position. Should he stay with the team that gave him his RLCS debut but didn’t see him as a part of their future? Or should he go to the team that wanted him and would be promoted if his old team disbanded?
The decision affected a lot of people, but ultimately Kassio chose Veloce. Triple Trouble no longer abided by the 2/3 rule and were forced to disband. Veloce were the best Rival Series team to not earn promotion last season, so they inherit Triple Trouble’s spot.
Now they’re here and that’s all that matters. Veloce as an org have invested significant time and content into Rocket League and seem to be another committed org ready to contribute to the scene.
Veloce are likely going to struggle. They played well in the Rival Series but haven’t performed against RLCS competition at DreamHack events. Unless Kassio becomes Alexandre “Kaydop” Courant this offseason, they’re going to play from behind a lot.
That doesn’t mean they have no chance at doing well, it just means that they should have realistic expectations. Then they can blow those expectations out of the water.
FlamE has always been on the fringes of promotion, and now he finally gets his chance. That’s all anyone can ask for. Now they have to go out and prove they deserved it.
Best Case Scenario
Because of the nature of how they qualified for the RLCS, Veloce have been written off by nearly everyone. Veloce were really good in the Rival Series. Their schedule was strange (they played five of their seven games in the first two weeks) but they survived and won the league.
No one is expecting Veloce to win the league or even make LAN. They don’t need to worry about surpassing expectations because there aren’t many people expecting them to crush it this season.
Triple Trouble and FC Barcelona may have changed the narrative surrounding promoted teams, but before last season no promoted team had made LAN. In fact most went right back down after their first season.
Teams that bounce between the leagues never last. Allegiance, Fnatic, Splyce and mousesports are testaments to that. It’s hard winning at the highest level, but once a player has made the highest league demoting seems like the end of a career.
Sandro “FreaKii” Holzwarth and FlamE are the outliers. FlamE was a member of the first relegated team in EU. Team Secret went 0-7 in Season 4, and the Englishman has been in the Rival Series since. Freakii was dropped from Renault Vitality in place of Kyle “Scrub Killa” Robertson.
They’ve been together since Season 6 and are back in the RLCS after two seasons on the fringes. Their perseverance to this point bodes well for the future. Especially with Kassio joining the mix.
Kassio played a much more defensive role for Triple Trouble, but back in his days with Method he shredded the Rival Series. Kassio outscored and out-assisted Ronaky and FreaKii in Season 6 and is a versatile player. He can settle into any role the team needs.
His most likely position is as a striking partner with FlamE. FreaKii has struggled with shooting accuracy in the past and will most likely settle into a defensive role. FlamE’s superior mechanics are best utilized in front of net, so he’ll likely continue to lead the team in goals per game.
Veloce’s only goal should be to retain their RLCS spot. If they can prove they belong they can stay awhile. They owe nothing to anyone. What happened happened and now they just need to focus on playing good Rocket League. No one will care how they got there if they play well.
Veloce’s Worst Case Scenario
Like Splyce in Season 7, FlamE and FreaKii seem to be bound to the Rival Series by destiny. It would be poetic for Veloce to fall back down and have to start all over again.
There really isn’t much they can do. They have proven themselves to be high level players, but the hump to the next tier might be a bit too steep. It’s scary to say it, but they may never make it over the hump.
There’s no shame in being among the 50 best Rocket League players in the world. Veloce may have to accept that they’ll never be the best team in the world. That’s the hardest realization a player has to make, and it may be on the horizon for Veloce.
Kassio completely changed his playstyle in order to fit in with Triple Trouble. Will they ask him to go back to his offensive style or will he play a lot of defense? How will he handle the transition?
Adding a player is always a gamble, and it can be especially difficult if the player is asked to revamp his playstyle. Maybe Kassio can adjust on the fly, but adjusting at the highest level would be tough for anyone. Kassio is a great player. He might not be great enough to take Veloce to LAN.
The worst case scenario is that they finish 0-7 and return to the Rival Series. It may be inevitable. Maybe they’ll prove the world wrong. Maybe they won’t be able to outrun the second division.
TL;DR: No matter how you cut it, the odds are stacked against Veloce. If they can prove they belong, they may be able to last a while. If they drop, it’s hard to see FlamE and FreaKii sticking it out.
Featured image courtesy of Todd Gutierrez for DreamHack.
Follow Connor on Twitter: @connorssanders.
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