Halfway through the very first day of the European RLCS 2021-22 season, defending champions Team Vitality are already in trouble. The Frenchmen — who repeatedly lost to Team BDS throughout last season but ultimately beat them when it mattered in the championship-winning grand final — went 0-3 in the Swiss stage and got eliminated.
Team Vitality were considered as one of the favorites to win it all this season of the Rocket League Championship Series. However, after going 0-3 in the first event, they earned just 40 points in the standings and will have an enormous mountain to climb if they want to reach the Fall Major. Team Vitality lost to 00Nation, Vodafone Giants and Evil Geniuses, each with a 1-3 scoreline.
Team Vitality in trouble in the European RLCS
Vitality’s losses are a prime example of the European RLCS growing more competitive than it was before this season. While Team BDS reigned over the region in Season X, anyone else could take wins off each other. Bubble teams, such as Atlantide Wave (now Williams Resolve), began their rise from the depths, while new talent forced other former titans to step aside.
But Team Vitality, a team of former world champions and that arguably features the best Rocket League player of all time in Alexandre “Kaydop“ Courant, still conquered Europe in the end. While BDS were relative newcomers and immediately rose to the top, Vitality were always on their heels, showcasing that the veterans still had what it takes.
As Season X progressed, more and more new talent stood up, and those up-and-coming players’ success stories continued into the offseason. Teams like German Amigos (now Evil Geniuses) won various tournaments while others shook up their rosters and made improvements.
Vitality had an okay offseason, winning the European Intel World Open by representing France in the Olympic-related tournament, but they finished fourth in the WePlay Esports Rocket League Invitational. According to RLCS caster and content creator John “Johnnyboi_i” MacDonald Vitality’s tendency to take their foot off the gas when little is on the line, like they did during the spring split after qualifying for a top two seed for the championships in RLCS Season X, could point to any number of reasons for this misstep.
“Everybody was underrating them coming into Championships and saying they would lose to everybody and finish fourth, but I said they were gonna make final, I knew they’d show up,” Johnnyboi_i said. “So the fact that they haven’t shown up today, it’s either pressure getting to them, or just a bad day, or maybe they underestimated how stacked the bubble teams were gonna be.”
While Johnnyboi_i’s words hold true and Vitality usually get results when their backs are against the wall or play in a final, the Frenchmen are now sitting at the bottom of the EU RLCS table. There is going to be a large point gap between them and their competitors for a spot at the Fall Major, happening later this year. With just two more events until then, Vitality must get results if they do not want to fall behind and play catch up for the rest of the season.