The World Showdown of Esports fourth edition will feature Rocket League this weekend with a prize pool of $100,000 on the line. The tournament will be held in a private studio in Las Vegas with no live audience.
The LAN event will be the first top flight tournament since the Eleague Cup ended on December 2. Many roster moves have been made since We Dem Girlz won in Atlanta and this weekend’s LAN is chock full of story lines.
How Will the New Rosters Jell?
Four of the nine confirmed teams have been affected by the roster shakeup that has rippled through the esport over the last two weeks. WSOE 4 will be the first time Rocket League fans see how the newly configured squads perform against the game’s elite.
Team Dignitas will begin the integration of former Flipsid3 Tactics player, Maurice “Yukeo” Weihs, into the team’s fast paced and technical style. Yukeo has shown he has the talent, but needs to show that he can match teammates Jos “ViolentPanda” van Meurs and Pierre “Turbopolsa” Silfver in rotation and precision.
Flipsid3 will replace Yukeo with temporary stand in Jack “Speed” Packwood-Clarke. Speed had a solid season six with Red Reserve in the Rival Series. A good performance could solidify his spot with Flipsid3 for the future. It seems that the opening is his to lose but there will be plenty of eyes on the Englishman this weekend.
G2 Esports rolled through the NA qualifier after the addition of Reed “Chicago” Wilen. They will be looking to make a statement after the team replaced long time G2 icon Cameron ‘Kronovi’ Bills.
Chiefs Esports Club has yet to announce who will replace OCE MVP Matt “Drippay” Den-Kaat. This weekend will be the team’s first event without Drippay since the team formed in 2016. It will be interesting to see who they use as their third and how they perform.
The Introduction of South America?
When the tournament was announced, there was a TBD slot available for a South American team. WSOE 4 would be the first ever LAN to feature a South American squad.
WSOE has yet to announce who that team will be or even if there will be a team at all. Not many of the top SAM players have American visas, so if there is a represented team it would likely have to be some kind of mashup of the region’s top players instead of a previously constructed squad.
The current government shutdown probably isn’t helping things either. Fans have been looking forward to seeing a South American team compete at a LAN event where they wouldn’t be hampered by internet issues.
Predictions: The Favorites
The tournament will feature round robin play of two groups of five teams. The top three teams from each group will advance with the winners of the groups advancing straight to the semi-finals of the playoffs. Let’s look at each team’s chances this weekend.
Cloud9 did pretty well the last time they were in Las Vegas. This time they won’t be playing in front of a live audience, but they have history and roster continuity on their side. If there were gambling odds for the tournament, C9 would likely be the favorite.
Speaking of teams who can win on American soil, Team SoloMid will be making their Rocket League debut this weekend. The team won Eleague in Atlanta under their previous moniker, We Dem Girlz, and will head to Vegas with confidence. The team will be looking to prove that they earned the opportunity to sign with TSM. They are a front runner for the tournament’s grand prize.
Dignitas is another heavyweight contender. They come to WSOE with a chip on their shoulder. They’ll be out to show that Alexandre “Kaydop” Courant’s move to Renault Vitality won’t translate to a drop in quality. It would be no surprise to see them lift the trophy come Sunday.
NRG Esports had a solid showing at Eleague despite their disappointing showing at the season 6 World Championships. They should comfortably advance to the playoffs.
Predictions: Everybody Else
G2 could make a seismic splash or be a gigantic flop. There’s lots of potential with this squad. They looked solid in the qualifier, but haven’t played together on a big stage yet. If they can mix their skills quickly, they’re the dark-horse to take the trophy home.
PSG and Flipsid3 both have a pretty strong chance of making it out of their group. Flipsid3 looked pretty convincing in the qualifier, and Francesco “Kuxir97” Cinqemani thrives in the brightest moments. The same goes for PSG’s Thibault “Chausette45” Grzesiak. Both of these teams could advance to the playoffs but it would be an upset if they advanced much further.
Afterthought had a stellar run in the NA qualifier for the tournament and the squad is playing its best Rocket League right now. They comfortably disposed of RLCS teams Rogue and Bread on their way to the team’s first ever LAN. They may be a bit out of their weight class against the world’s elite. They’re the closest thing this tournament has to a Cinderella story.
That leaves whatever comes of OCE/SAM. Chiefs post Drippay could be a bit of a disaster, but this would be a good chance to try out a new third option. The SAM mashup will be under the pressure of representing their region and getting the LAN lifestyle figured out before all of the complications with Visas. Both of these teams should learn from the opportunity to play against the best players in the world and build toward the future.
The tournament will be streamed at twitch.tv/wsoe Saturday, Jan. 26 and Sunday Jan. 27 beginning at 9:30 a.m. PST.
Featured image courtesy of wsoe.com.
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