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What to Watch for at DreamHack: Montreal

DreamHack: Montreal

DreamHack: Montreal is ready to kick off this weekend. The LAN is the fourth such event this year, and offers fans the final chance to see their team in action before Season 8.

Welcome to Rocket Launching, a midweek RLCS column that discusses the wonderful world of Rocket League esports. This week we look ahead to the FA Cup of Rocket League with “my dog after I accidentally bump his food bag” levels of anticipation.

DreamHacks are fun, punchy bits of action. Great teams fall to less great teams, Kyle “Scrub Killa” Robertson gets thirsty and someone heads home a whole lot richer. If you haven’t watched one yet, I can’t wait for you to meet Wade Penfold.

New Look Frontline

Team Reciprocity signed the former Frontline/PSG roster of Victor “Ferra” Francal, Emil “Fruity” Moslund and Thibault “Chausette45” Grzesiak.

DreamHack: Montreal
Chausette45 – courtesy of Jennika Ojala for DreamHack

This is nice for the boys, but it’s a huge get for a relatively unknown org like Reciprocity. Reciprocity are bringing in a player who has a legitimate claim as the best in the world right now, one of the best support players in the game and an entire airbus. Once he figures out how to air roll, Ferra is going to be unstoppable.

Those consistent org checks bring peace to the players’ mind. They’re the second see heading into this weekend and are the reigning DreamHack champs. Reciprocity must have made a great offer.

Will G2 or FC Barcelona Keep the New Major Winner Streak?

This is a strange stat, but it’s sort of revealing as to how much parity there is in Rocket League. The last seven majors have had seven different champions. Since ELEAGUE We Dem Girlz/TSM has won, Flipsid3/The Bricks have won, Dignitas has won, Cloud9 has won, Renault Vitality has won, PSG has won and NRG have won.

The only teams on the upper echelon of Rocket League are G2 and FC Barcelona are the only winless teams, and they’re in the same group.

FC Barcelona are breaking in Aldin “Ronaky” Hodzic in Yanis “Alpha54” Champenois’ place (more on them later). It’s tough to ask a new roster to win a major in their first go, but it’s not out of the question. FCB have also made the top eight at the last three DreamHacks. DreamHack: Montreal may be their moment.

G2 are the best hope to keep the streak alive. When they’re not playing Rock, Paper, Scissors they make deep runs at most every tournament but haven’t got higher than second. Second at the World Championship means a lot more than second at WSOE, but they haven’t won since ELEAGUE in 2017.

A lot has changed since then, and they need to break their losing streak eventually. They haven’t done well at the last two DreamHacks, but they’re skilled enough to beat anybody. If they hadn’t coughed up Game 1 against Vitality in the Grand Final it may have been Scrub Killa with the monkey on his back.

The rest of the field is made up of solid to unknown teams. Rogue, Spacestation and The Bricks could do some damage. Ghost will play with Massimo “Atomic” Franceschi. The Peeps, Plot Twist, Paradox (ex-Splyce + David “Miztik” Lawrie) and maybe one of the OCE teams could make a run.

The streak could end at seven, which would be incredible either way. Hopefully G2, FCB or one of the field keep it alive.

Coaches on Stage

DreamHack: Montreal
Gregan – Courtesy of Todd Gutierrez for Beyond the Summit

No thirsty Scrub Killa this time, no siree, Bob. Scrub tweeted about wanting to have coaching between games, and that’s a very valid concern. DreamHack: Montreal quenched that desire so we’ll see a lot of Mike “Gregan” Ellis on stage.

This rules. Imagine a football coach having to just sit idly by and take notes on what his team is doing when they’re playing. Imagine Bill Belicheck not talking to Tom Brady between plays or Gregg Poppovich never using a timeout.

Some of the most important coaching moments happen in the most high pressure situations. As the game matures more and more Rocket League veterans turn back to coaching. Dignitas just added John “Virge” Willis, TSM brought in Jake “Jake” Edwards and the list goes on.

The more tweaks and outplays because of strategy the more upsets happen. I love upsets. Let’s have 100 coaches on stage at all times.

Last Chance to See Teams before League Play

Alpha54 will make his TSM debut this weekend. So will Ronaky. So will Tshaka “Arsenal” Taylor. Same for Aidan “ZeN” Hui. And Nick “Mist” Costello. This list keeps going.

It’s also the last full speed tryout for Linus “al0t” Mollergren and Atomic. I’m not sure if Miztik is considering moving to NA, but he’s playing with Jamie “Karma” Bickford and Jake “JWismont” Wismont. That would make for a fun Rival Series team. DreamHack: Montreal will be a snack size preview for Season 8. I’m really excited for Team SoloMid and Spacestation. They are both going to look so different and they’ve had plenty of time to play together.

This will not be Beyond the Summit, though. This as serious as Rocket League gets, and has more value in terms of future evaluation. I don’t know if the DreamHack : Montreal winner becomes the new RLCS 8 favorite, but if it’s Vitality, NRG or Cloud9 I think it’s over for the rest of the world.

There are about four RLCS level and two RLRS level teams in each group. Somebody is going to fall out on Day 1. My money’s on Barcelona and Chiefs.

There’s a lot to unpack and study here. Will Maello “AztraL” Ernst take Dignitas to the next level? Does Pierre “Turbopolsa” Silfver completely solve NRG’s LAN problem or was BTS a fluke?

Underdogs? Maybe?

Team Echo Zulu were the only DreamHack Cinderella run since the Muffin Men in Atlanta, but does that really count? They had Mariano “Squishy” Arruda and Jesus “Gimmick” Parra. Just because we hadn’t met them yet didn’t mean they weren’t among the best in the world.

One time Y0 almost beat Vitality, but they had Raul “Roll Dizz” Diaz and Jackson “Ayjacks” Carter who all play in the RLCS now. MOUT GANG won a couple of series that one time. Dang. Is the day of the underdog now dead?

DreamHack: Montreal
Roll Dizz – Courtesy of Todd Gutierrez for DreamHack

Maybe? There’s enough churning between high level teams to keep things interesting, but an out of nowhere top eight performance would make me so happy. My favorite team is Bull Send. I like their name.

Lotus are the first SAM team to play at a DreamHack. They probably won’t make Day 3 though. Afterthought with Jason “firstkiller” Corral should be interesting. Linked-Up, Plot Twist, RBG Esports and The D00ds are fun but they’re Rival Series regulars. I can probably get behind Randoms, but it’s hard to see anyone going far.

Monkey Business is the coolest team but they have zero chance of advancing. Maybe we’ll never have a below RLRS-level team make the top eight again.

If anything, you should cheer for 1Ne eSports, the team from Asia, Lotus, Chiefs Esports Club or GroundZero Gaming. They probably can’t win it all, but one of the rest of the world regions has to make something happen eventually.


Featured image courtesy of DreamHack.

Follow me on Twitter: @connorssanders.

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