Two years of waiting has led to this moment. NRG Esports’ iconic win over Team Vitality at the RLCS Season 8 World Championship in December 2019 was the last time fans saw international competition. From Dec. 8-12, that hiatus finally comes to an end with the RLCS 2021-2022 Fall Split Major in Stockholm, Sweden.
16 teams will qualify for the event. Two of them are from regions that have never before played on an international RLCS stage: Asia Pacific & the Middle East and North Africa. These regions finally have their chance to play among the greats, while North America, Europe, Oceania and South America will battle to see who improved most over the last two years. Will Team Vitality’s Alexandre “Kaydop” Courant play his seventh RLCS LAN Grand Final in a row, or can the South Americans of Complexity – coming through North American qualification – put a stop to that?
This is the RLCS Fall Split Major preview, Part 4. Part 1 covered NRG, Dignitas, Sandrock Gaming and Renegades, while Part 2 featured G2 Esports, Team BDS, Ground Zero Gaming and FURIA Esports. Over in Part 3, we went over FaZe Clan, Team Endpoint, eRa Eternity and Team Envy.
North America: Complexity
- Facundo “Shad” Vallerino (Argentina)
- Victor “Reysbull” Duran Parra (Chile)
- Lautaro “ajg” Gusinsky (Argentina)
Complexity’s run is, without a doubt, the most incredible story of the season so far. The team, previously known as True Neutral, obliterated their opponents in the South American RLCS Season X. In a surprise move, they also announced their relocation to North America for 2021-22. Initially, they only did so in order to play in a tougher league and to improve as a team. But, after three regionals, it is the South American newcomers who pushed out last season’s No. 2 team – SpaceStation Gaming – to claim a spot in the RLCS Spring Split Major.
The look when you take the risk to leave the South American RLCS to compete in the North American RLCS and it all pays off in one Best-of-7.
— Rocket League Esports (@RLEsports) November 17, 2021
The Complexity boys are proof of South America rising as a region. Previously, South American teams were lucky to get a win against Europe or North America. But, Complexity have repeatedly shown up in the top eight, and the top four, in NA. All eyes will be on them as they now take their rise to the international stage.
Europe: SMPR Esports
- Andy “Kassio” Landais (France)
- Archie “archie” Pickthall (England)
- Thibault “Chausette45” Grzesiak (France)
SMPR Esports have been doing okay so far this season. Last season, they finished in third place as team Top Blokes. Currently, they are sitting in fourth, behind the surprisingly good Dignitas and Team Endpoint. Their first two regionals were not as great, with two top-eight finishes. But, in the third, they reached second place. Signing Chausette45 is an upgrade over Jack “FlamE” Pearton on paper, but having finished RLCS Season X in third place, it’ll take a lot for them to move up in the rankings. The rest of Europe has also made some excellent moves, so SMPR cannot afford any mishaps.
Due to how volatile the European region is, SMPR were ensured a spot at LAN before they played their first knock-out match in the third regional. In a previous game, Endpoint and Dignitas knocked out Karmine Corp and Team Queso, respectively. Meanwhile, Team Vitality lost control of their qualification fate after losing to Team BDS. They needed SMPR to come out on top in their match against Evil Geniuses. By the time they were going to face off with Evil Geniuses, SMPR had already secured their spot, but EG had to defeat SMPR in this match to even qualify. Ultimately, SMPR were the victors, so Vitality made it in as well.
SMPR have looked decent in RLCS 2021-22, but need to step it up a notch if they want a chance of competing for the top spots at the Fall Split Major.
Asia Pacific: Tokyo Verdy
- Shogo “ReaLize” Ikeyama (Japan)
- Itsuki “Maru” Fukuda (Japan)
- Tenhou “Tenhow” Igushi (Japan)
Asia is the second region to make its debut. Ahead of the season, it was clear Tokyo Verdy were one of the favorites to claim the single LAN spot.
APAC is split up into two regions, North and South, which directly battled for a spot at the RLCS Fall Split Major. However, with how strong Tokyo Verdy — and especially ReaLize — are in all of Asia, any other result would have been an upset. In the semifinal of the qualifiers, the kings of APAC South, Pulse Clan, kept it close and even looked like they might kick Verdy to the lower bracket. But, in the end, it was ReaLize and the boys that made it to the final via the uppers. The rematch in the final could have been closer, had Pulse not given away some leads.
A fair warning: the video below is loud.
The moment pic.twitter.com/n6WPdBaPEm
— ReaLize (@ReaLizeRL) November 22, 2021
ReaLize made it to an international LAN once before at DreamHack Montreal 2019. He faced two strong European teams, so any dreams of a deep run were quickly shut down. Tokyo Verdy’s chances at the RLCS Fall Split Major are likely to follow in a similar vein. They are expected to be one of the bottom teams for now, but with time, the roster can gain some experience on the international stage and start improving in the long run.
Europe: Team Vitality
- Victor “Fairy Peak!” Locquet (France)
- Alexandre “Kaydop” Courant (France)
- Yanis “Alpha54” Champenois (France)
Team Vitality were on the brink of not making it to the RLCS Fall Split Major. The RLCS Season X Champions’ first regional went disastrously as they bombed out on day one. Their saving grace was their second-place finish in the second regional, while various competitors underperformed. Then, in regional three, they only made top eight and their fate was no longer in their hands.
When just two more RLCS Fall Split Major spots were open, it was between Vitality and Evil Geniuses. Vitality were already eliminated, so EG just needed a win against SMPR Esports in order to steal the LAN spot. But, SMPR Esports — who had already qualified — did their job and knocked Evil Geniuses out, which locked Vitality in for the major.
The RLCS Season 7 World Champions and Season 8 runners-up were almost absentees, but in the end, Kaydop will be able to battle for his seventh RLCS LAN finals in a row. Vitality improved drastically since that terrible day one effort, so don’t count them out just yet.