The Rocket League Championships Series (RLCS) Season X is over and done. Ten months of intense Rocket League action saw four regional champions. While they were unable to fight for a world championship title, the new and upgraded season taught us a number of things. Here’s what we learned.
1. Best-of-sets have a place in RLCS
The RLCS X Championship showed that the new best-of-sets format, which forced teams to win two best-of-5s or best-of-7s, was exciting and raised the stakes of matches. However, out of the 14 sets across all regions, only four went to a third series. Out of these four, only one was a reverse-sweep. In the Oceanic final, Ground Zero Gaming lost the first series to Cringe Society but went on to win the next two to claim the title. Australian player Daniel “Torsos” Parsons was obviously happy with the format.
“I really liked the best of set format,” Torsos said. “I think the longer format consistently finds the better team where a single best of series might not. Considering we lost our first series in the OCE finals and then won the next two series convincingly I can confidently say I’m a big fan. I’d like to see the format return in other very meaningful RLCS tournaments like majors or worlds as opposed to regular regionals where the result doesn’t matter as much.”
The community was equally happy, with most fans on Reddit speaking favorably on the format.
2. Kaydop is (arguably) back as the GOAT
This may be more controversial, but after RLCS X, Team Vitality’s Alexandre “Kaydop” Courant is back as arguably the greatest Rocket League players of all time. However, NRG’s Garrett “GarrettG” Gordon should also be mentioned in that regard. Many consider four-time world champion Pierre “Turbopolsa” Silfver the greatest, while others give that honor to three-time world champ Kaydop, who played in eight consecutive RLCS grand finals. GarrettG, in turn, is the only player to make it to every single RLCS World Championship, winning season 8. With his NA win this season, he proved once more that he is as relevant as ever.
Kaydop missed out on just a single RLCS world championship with season 1, dropped out in fifth place in season 2, but since then has either finished in first or second place. His presence at the top and his continued success through Season X put him just ahead of Turbopolsa and GarrettG. But, it remains a close-fought battle.
3. The new 10-month season is a definite improvement
The RLCS Season X was an unprecedented season. Where previous seasons were held twice a year, RLCS X introduced a 10-month-long season with a $4 million-plus prize pool. Spread over three splits and twelve events, the season allowed dozens of up-and-coming players to prove they have what it takes among the veterans of Rocket League.
While it were the veterans who ultimately claimed the titles, we were introduced to a host of new talented players who otherwise would not have been in the spotlight. Teams such as Vodafone Giants would have been stuck in the lower division for another season, while Team Queso, who finished RLCS X in third-fourth place, would even have to qualify for the lower division before getting a shot in RLCS.
Fans also got more action. A regular season was just eight weeks long before it moved on to regional finals and then the world championships. To put that into perspective; according to community member FoolsLove, who ran the numbers on the Rocket League Esports subreddit throughout the season, NRG’s GarrettG played 535 games for a total of 119 series in RLCS Seasons 1-9, which ran from April 2016 until August 2020. In RLCS Season X alone, he played 761 games for a total of 177 series.
4. Season 11 cannot be without LANs
COVID-19 wreaked havoc upon much of the world. Due to the pandemic, RLCS X was played fully online. This made it difficult for the majors to stand out as more significant events. To the fans, they simply felt like yet another regional event.
Towards the end of the season, other esports began to introduce offline tournaments again, but Rocket League wasn’t one of them. The world championship was cancelled and players felt their motivation levels dip.
The new format has proven successful, but if Psyonix wants to continue growing Rocket League esports, then RLCS Season 11 must have LAN events. Even if that means the off-season goes on for a little longer until coronavirus is under control.
5. It’s time for RLCS to go global
Okay, it’s not Season X that taught us that other regions deserve a shot at competing in the RLCS. We knew the Middle East has some phenomenal players and that Japan has a passionate player base that would love to compete. After introducing Oceania in season 3 and South America in season 8, Season X reminded us once more that the lack of other regions is beginning to stick out like a sore thumb.
Fortunately for those regions, Psyonix seems to be taking notice. Both Japan and the Middle East were given the spotlight in a show match during the RLCS X Championships. This summer, that spotlight continues with the Intel World Open, which is an Olympic tie-in event across the world that allows players to represent their country in regional tournaments. However, an RLCS Season 11 announcement without the introduction of at least Japan and the Middle East, would be a major disappointment.