Flipsid3 Tactics rose above the competition to win the World Showdown of Esports Four in Las Vegas this weekend. They take home $50,000 of the $100,000 prize pool of the event. It is the first Rocket League Esports major LAN victory of the new year.
The team was led by temporary replacement Jack ‘Speed’ Packwood-Clarke who led the team to the first place in group play and a dominating run through the playoff bracket. This is the first LAN victory for Flipsid3 since the DreamHack Summer in June of 2017.
Day One: Group Play
Flipsid3’s performance earned them the top of Group B and a first round bye in the six team playoff. Overall the group was fairly predictable. Flipsid3, Dignitas and Cloud9 all finished 3-1 and advanced to the playoffs. Flipsid3 topped the group on game difference after they swept their previous teammate Maurice ‘Yukeo’ Weihs and Dignitas. F3 had plenty of momentum heading into day two.
On the other side of the coin, Group A was very competitive. NRG Esports dominated their group and clinched a first round bye. The next three teams in the group finished 2-2. Team SoloMid finished second in the group through game difference. PSG won their last match of the day against South American squad TBD, but needed TSM to take at least two games off of G2 Esports in order to advance. G2 Esports beat TSM 3-1 and secured their place in the playoffs.
The other three teams in the tournament looked pretty over matched. TBD and Chiefs Esports didn’t win a series and struggled to maintain the pace against the world’s top teams. There were extraneous circumstances that lead to TBD’s struggles (including visa issues due to the government shutdown), but Chiefs find themselves in a pretty tough position after Matt ‘Drippay’ Den-Kaat left the team earlier this month. Aidan ‘ZeN’ Hui was their third for this tournament and played decently, but they need to play with more power if they’re to continue their reign atop OCE.
Surprise qualifiers Afterthought took a game off Cloud9, pushed Flipsid3 to game five and beat Chiefs 3-1. The squad showed out well and got some valuable experience heading into Rival Series qualification.
“We learned that we’re able to compete at this level,” said Afterthought captain Nathan ‘Shock’ Frommelt. “We had a lot of close games and heartbreaking losses… I know we can win series in the future against top teams.”
Day Two: Playoffs
G2 rode their new signing Reed ‘Chicago’ Wilen to playoff qualification, and he continued his solid run of play in round one vs Dignitas. Jacob ‘JKnaps’ Knapman flashed his RLCS season four brilliance throughout the series. Dignitas seemed to be a half second behind the fast paced play of G2 and G2 advanced 4-2.
Cloud9 muscled out some close games against Team SoloMid. TSM won the first game of the series but lost the next four by one goal each. Their mechanically punishing play style pushed them past TSM who made a few too many individual mistakes in key moments.
Three NA teams made the final four and the first semifinal match featured two of the continent’s brightest teams in NRG and G2. NRG swept G2 during league play, but G2 had a lot of confidence after their win against Dignitas. They went up 2-1 after three games, but NRG answered back with three straight victories. Jayson ‘Fireburner’ Nunez and Justin ‘JSTN’ Morales really stepped up their play in the last three games and helped NRG to the finals.
The other semifinal started off on a peculiar note. Flipsid3 and Cloud9 took a scoreless game into overtime and 35 seconds in, the LAN client onsite froze and left F3 out of position. Cloud9 scored and took game one. The series continued on and Flipsid3 won the next three matches. After game four tournament officials made the decision to replay the freeze plagued overtime from game one. Francesco ‘Kuxir97’ Cinquemani scored in the replay and F3 were through to the final.
NRG played very well in the final and the series was tied 2-2 heading into game five. Then Speed and David ‘Miztik’ Lawrie took over in game five and six. Flipsid3 clinched the tournament with a 5-1 route in game six and the tournament was theirs.
WSOE didn’t have any official awards for the tournament, but instead had bounties that awarded the team who scored the most goals in a game, had the most saves in a game and the team that starred in the most viewed clip on Twitch.
In light of that decision, here are some unofficial awards for the tournament, courtesy of the Game Haus.
Talk about a debut performance. In Speed’s first ever major LAN he leads one of Rocket League’s most storied teams to victory. The striker was all over the pitch, knocking in insane redirects and supporting his teammates in defense.
He joined Flipsid3 on loan from Red Reserve, and was non-committal about his future with either team. One would imagine that F3 are going to do everything they can to convince him to sign, but Red Reserve won’t want to release him after such a great performance. It will be really interesting to see how this unfolds.
Best Position Heading into 2019: NRG
NRG looked absolutely amazing all tournament long. F3 has a big roster decision to make, Cloud9 and TSM didn’t live up to their expectations and the other elite teams have all seen recent roster shuffling. NRG has had the same roster for more than a year now. They will be one of the world’s strongest teams in 2019.
Worst Position Heading into 2019: Chiefs Esports
Chiefs looked bad at WSOE 4. They looked lost without Drippay and Tainted Minds are only going to get better as the year goes on. There’s plenty of time to figure things out, and ZeN had some bright moments, but they have some wrinkles to smooth out.
The stream peaked with 58,211 viewers and had an average of 36,640 viewers during 16 hours of broadcast time, per Esports Charts. WSOE Commissioner Christian Bishop told The Game Haus that there will be a sequel to WSOE where Flipsid3 Tactics will be able to defend their championship. Top teams from this tournament will be invited to return and there will be open qualifiers for the next event as well.
TBD’s inclusion was a milestone in the Rocket League community. WSOE 4 was the first LAN event to feature a team from South America. Much of WSOE’s focus in creating these tournaments is inclusion, as evidenced by their all-female Hearthstone tournament at WSOE 2. The open qualifier made way for an unknown team like Afterthought to perform on the big stage. It was nice to see some new faces around the game.
While there were some blips along the way, the tournament had great production quality and the unique format was something never before seen in Rocket League.
Feature image courtesy of WSOE.
“From Our Haus to Yours”