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Winners and Losers from DreamHack: Valencia

DreamHack: Valencia

Well, DreamHack, you never fail to entertain us.

Welcome to Rocket Launching, a midweek RLCS column that discusses the wonderful world of Rocket League esports. DreamHack: Valencia had much better storylines (see: Randy Gibbons’ River Rats) and much lower stakes than DreamHack: Dallas (seriously, NRG made the Grand Final and they barely practiced). It was a hurricane of upsets and surprises. Let’s take a look back at the winners and losers from DreamHack: Valencia.

Winners: Johnnyboi_i and Shogun

Callum “Shogun” Keir and John “Johnnyboi_i” McDonald were the true stars of DreamHack: Valencia. Every series these guys called was a party. There is such a good chemistry between the two. They play off each other like they’ve been friends since they were lads (get it, cause they’re British?).

The Shogie and The Nose combo brought a completely different energy to the broadcast booth. This is no shade to James “Jamesbot” Villar and Michael “Achieves” Williams, who are excellent in their own way. The conversational nature of Shogun and Johnny’s casting perfectly fit the overall mood of the tournament.

I know that the more chit-chat-natured style is common in European casting, and I’m all about it. This partnership made me laugh at four in the morning on a Saturday.

It’s not like they were just blabbing over the action either. Shogun and Johnny are extensively knowledgeable about Rocket League, and they know precisely when to flash that knowledge. When the match fell into a lul, they made some wacky comparison and laughed for a second. When a chance popped up, they locked back in with the serious commentary. 

They even yelled! When something exciting happened they got excited. At times they just shouted incoherently. That yelling is the hallmark of esports, and it was very tastefully done. 

Drooling over Shogun and Johnny is about as far as you can get from a hot take. I think they deserve a round of applause for their performance. In the same way Thibault “Chausette45” Grzesiak put on a masterclass on the pitch, Shogun and Johnny put on a masterclass in the boot. Figure out a way to keep these guys involved, Psyonix/Epic.

Winner: Chausette45

Speaking of the little sock, Chausette45 was full-tilt unbelievable on Sunday. This was the culmination of the Frenchman at the peak of his powers. Every time you watch a series where Chausette disappears in the future you’ll remember how unstoppable he was in Valencia.

DreamHack: Valencia
PSG – Courtesy of DreamHack: Valencia

Chausette unleashed an arsenal of dribbles, ceiling double touches and flicks that would make JHZER salivate, but he didn’t do in unranked, he did in the Grand Final of a major.

He also had the audacity to use a Fennec while he did it. Chausette45 was born in 2001, but he rocked that 80’s car like he’s seen all three seasons of Stranger Things. I really hope he mains the Fennec in the future. The diversity of car use in the RLCS is akin to the selection of a Payless Shoestore (limited).

C45 (I’ve said Chausette45 way too many times in this section already) also became a member of the Players Who Made a Small Change in Their Appearance that, for Whatever Reason, Unlocked Their Full, God-like, Potential Hall of Fame.

His inclusion in P.W.M.A.S.C.I.T.A.T.F.W.R.U.T.F.G.P.H.O.F. was unexpected. Fennec Chausette45 joins the likes of Untucked Kyrie, Hatless SonicFox, Short-fro Kobe and One Short Leg Rolled Up Cristiano Ronaldo. This made up hall of fame has a pretty prestigious group of inductees, and Chausette’s performance was just as legendary.

Watch this goal and tell me he wasn’t using aim bot:

It felt like finally Chausette reached his potential and it was beautiful to watch. These performances make it so frustrating to watch him during League Play at times. I don’t know where this ranks in the pantheon of Rocket League pop offs, but I do know this. Chausette45 was the best Rocket League player in the world on Sunday.

Loser: LAN Builds; Winner: Radical Summer

If you’re a useless item lover like me, then you probably noticed that at the Season 7 World Championship players’ car designs were very similar. No one ever uses Alpha wheels, but during the World Championship basically everyone was. There were hoards of Zomba wheels, but none of them were Titanium White, which is like getting a Ferrari and putting one of those stick figure family portraits on the rear windshield. Why?

DreamHack: Valencia

Swami Raman from asked Kyle “Scrub Killa” Robertson about the bland items in a press conference and he clued on us into the LAN builds that all players must use at the World Championship. Apparently there’s a preset group of items and banners that Psyonix makes for each of the players. That’s why they all used the default banner and had the RLCS logo as their picture.

Those builds don’t include colored car bodies or any even vaguely interesting wheels, so everyone used either Cristianos or Alpha wheels. DreamHack: Valencia was the opposite of that, and I didn’t realize how much the cool car designs add to the experience.

A perfect flick is going to look cooler in a titanium white octane. It just does, okay. I can’t explain why, but watching Niels “Nielskoek” Kok flop around in a Goopy breakout just felt so right to me.

Chausette gave Psyonix the best advertisement they’ll ever need with his performance in the Fennec. The 80’s themed Radical Summer event is probably the best that Psyonix has thought up. 

Seeing some of the Radical Summer items on display was, well radical, and I hope Psyonix eventually does away with LAN builds at World Championships. Let the players show off these cool item designs you’ve come up with.

Loser: Karma, Winner: Drippay?

So, The Peeps + Jamie “Karma” Bickford bombed out of DreamHack: Valencia on Day 1. They ran into an unstoppable Renault Vitality squad and then an even more unstoppable MOUT GANG gang.

When you mess with the Mout, you get the gang, but that’s no excuse for The Peeps + Karma. Jayson “Fireburner” Nunez’s retirement could start a chain of roster moves that brings parity to NA, and The Peeps could be the benefactor or whatever the opposite of the benefactor is of that parity.

If Markydooda isn’t available, NRG are going to have to poach a player from another team or sign someone from out of the blue. That shuffle could leave Karma and Splyce on the outside looking in.

Matthew “Drippay” Den-Kaat on the other hand is probably licking his chops right now. I doubt that Slater  “Retals” Thomas and Jirair “ExplosiveGyro” Papazian are coming away from Valencia with any assurance that Karma is their ideal teammate. That doesn’t mean they have to blow it up, but it does give Drippay the chance he’s so desperate for.

Is he the right fit? Would he have been able to stop the MOUT GANG freight train?

Jokes aside, MOUT GANG are a sub-RLRS level team, and the last time an NA RLCS squad lost on Day 1, Spacestation kicked Matthew “Satthew” Ackermann. It wouldn’t be ridiculous to see The Peeps move on from Karma and kick the tires on Drippay and EG.

Loser: Team SoloMid

Team SoloMid are by far the most frustrating Rocket League team in the world to me. They bomb out of DreamHack: Leipzig, look terrible in Season 7 League Play and the make the Grand Final at DreamHack: Dallas. Then they revert back to form and lose to GroundZero and have to watch Day 2 from the crowd again.

There is something strange about this team. All three players are good, solid Rocket League players. I think you’d be hard pressed to find someone who thinks these players aren’t RLCS quality, but they can’t win with consistency. Well. They can seem to lose with pretty good consistency, but based on what I’ve read that can actually be a bad thing.

DreamHack: Valencia
Remkoe – Image courtesy of WSOE

After they won ELEAGUE TSM were hailed as the new kings of Europe. Then they missed LAN a few months later. Their playstyle is so heavily reliant on mistakes by the opposition that mediocre teams who play it safe can scramble by them.

I should give credit where credit is due. Remco “remkoe” den Boer went from some flip resets and weird backboard shots that he never would have tried before. They’re obviously conscious to their lack of creativity, but can they retrain their brains enough to turn the team around?

I’m not sure. To me this team is desperate for splash of fresh blood like Complexity were before they signed Flakes. They might be able to play themselves out of the slump and back to the top of EU, but they need a swift kick in the pants to get their blood pumping again. Maybe the DreamHack: Valencia result is the thing to do it.

Winner: al0t and Speed

This is the second straight DreamHack where Jack “Speed” Packwood-Clarke and Linus “al0t” Mollergren fist bumped and cheered their way to the final day. This time they brought Francesco “Kuxir97” Cinquemani along with them, and they might have just found their new third man.

I don’t know what the team dynamic was like with David “Miztik” Lawrie, but fist bumping Kuxir is my favorite kind of Kuxir. It seems clear that Speed plays his best when he’s relaxed and having a good time. It also seems clear that al0t prefers to operate under similar conditions.

Kuxir is notoriously quiet, and Speed is notoriously loud. Pair these guys with another crazy person and you’re well on your way to a great team dynamic. 

Now, ask TSM about how far the team dynamic will take you. It doesn’t matter how nice of a guy al0t is if he doesn’t mesh with Kux and Speed on the field. So far he’s played really well with Speed, and Kux is an upgrade over Maik “Tigreee” Hoffmann.

The Bricks narrowly avoided relegation, and al0t was the first player in Rocket League history to be relegated in consecutive seasons. He was good with mousesports in Season 7, but I’m not sure if he has the upside needed to carry the team farther.

Maybe al0t actually does have the upside, but it doesn’t come from his play. If he can unlock Speed’s insanity and ferocity for scoring goals, then The Bricks will reach their ceiling. If al0t is an upgrade over Miztik, Kuxir is as rock solid as ever and Speed is pulling off shots like these:

Then The Bricks will be very dangerous in Season 8. Hopefully an org signs them so they can start calling themselves something less dense than The Bricks.


Featured image courtesy of DreamHack.

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