Rocket League Championship Series Fall Split Major preview Part 1
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Two years of waiting has led to this moment. NRG Esports’ iconic win over Team Vitality at the Rocket League Championship Series Season 8 World Championships in December of 2019 was the last fans saw of international Rocket League competition. On Dec. 8-12, that wait finally comes to an end with the RLCS 2021-2022 Fall Split Major in Stockholm, Sweden.

Sixteen teams will qualify for the event. Two of them are from regions that have never before played on an international RLCS stage. Asia Pacific and the Middle East and North Africa finally have their chance to play among the greats, while North America, Europe, Oceania and South America get to battle over who improved most in the last 24 months. Will NRG extend their reign or will Dignitas rise from the ashes?

This is the RLCS Fall Major preview, Part 1 of 4.

North America: NRG

  • Garrett “GarrettG” Gordon (USA)
  • Justin “jstn” Morales (USA)
  • Mariano “Squishy” Arruda (Canada)

The last RLCS LAN winners and world champions, NRG are one of the few consistent factors in the RLCS. After seven seasons of falling short, they finally won their first RLCS World Championship in Season 8. Since then, they replaced Pierre “Turbopolsa” Silfver with former Cloud9 star and world champion Squishy. The trio has remained at the top of NA RLCS in the last year, winning the RLCS Season X Championship Series and qualifying for the 2021-2022 Fall Split Major as the first seed.

NRG have high expectations for the RLCS Fall Split Major. With a heap of LAN experience between the three of them, the NRG superstars seem to thrive under pressure. Many players in Stockholm will make their LAN debut, and NRG will have a significant advantage over them. As NA’s No. 1 seed, a finish below the top four or even top two can be considered a failure, even when they only won one out of the three regionals.

Expect impeccable game sense and extreme mechanics from this team. Squishy and jstn are both known for being a menace on the ball, while GarrettG not only has kept up over the last six years but also stayed on top of the ever-changing meta. He is considered one of the greatest players of all time but, at the very least, he is the GOAT in North America.

Europe: Dignitas

  • Kyle “Scrub Killa” Robertson (Scotland)
  • Joris “Joreuz” Robben (Netherlands)
  • Jack “ApparentlyJack” Benton (England)

Dignitas is back, baby. Well … sort of. The roster is actually completely different from that legendary RLCS Season 8 semifinal, which is the last time we saw Dignitas on stage. In fact, Scrub Killa played against Dignitas in that semifinal, while ApparentlyJack and Joreuz hadn’t even made their RLCS debut yet.

Dignitas are an iconic name in Rocket League but has seen various rosters over the years. Since the Dignitas dynasty fell in the Season 6 grand final, the team has never gotten back to its glory days. However, they have always hovered near the top. This new trio is extremely talented, but also one without much experience on LAN. Scrub Killa is a former world champion and outstanding player under pressure, but ApparentlyJack and Joreuz have not been tested yet. It’s going to be fun to see the god-like 1v1 triplets on the RLCS Fall Split Major stage together.

Oceania: Renegades

  • Cameron “Kamii” Ingram (New Zealand)
  • Cameron “CJCJ” Johns (Australia)
  • Lachlan “Fever” Aitchison (Australia)

Despite winning two out of three regional events, Renegades enter the RLCS Fall Split Major as the second OCE seed. Their rivals, Ground Zero Gaming, finished in second place twice and first place once; just enough to overtake Renegades, who only reached top eight in the third regional.

Still, since GZG ruled over Oceania in Season X, Renegades have truly stepped up. They were the first to qualify for the major in OCE and have been giving GZG a run for their money by beating them in both finals of the first two regionals.

The highest placement an OCE team ever reached at an RLCS LAN was top four, back at the Season 6 World Championships. That was also the last we saw of fan-favorite CJCJ, albeit on a team that finished in ninth place. CJCJ is famous for his iconic walkouts; something the fans have dearly missed since he failed to qualify for Season 7 and 8. Season 9 and X were, of course, canceled. Hopefully, CJCJ has some new tricks up his sleeve for the RLCS Fall Split Major.

Renegades look strong this season, but OCE has always played catch up with EU and NA. Can they finally break into top four again this time, or will they face the harsh reality that regions such as SAM and MENA are also overtaking them?

MENA: Sandrock Gaming

  • Ahmad “Ahmad” Abdullah (Saudi Arabia)
  • Mohammed “Trk511” Alotaibi (Saudi Arabia)
  • Ahmad “SENZO” Ayed (Saudi Arabia)

Sandrock Gaming are a long-awaited debutant at the international level. The fully Saudi team has been impressive over the years but never before had the chance to play in the RLCS. This may, however, help them, as many of the teams haven’t played them before. But, it also means they have no international LAN experience.

SRG were expected to dominate the MENA region and that’s exactly what they did. But then, just as they had qualified, the team (and the community) were met with some bad news: star player Khalid “oKhaliD” Qasim can’t make it to the major due to personal reasons. It’s a massive blow to the team’s expectations because even though SENZO is an excellent player in his own right, oKhaliD is one of the best players the MENA region has ever seen.

Without oKhaliD, expectations for Sandrock Gaming at the RLCS Fall Split Major have diminished significantly. The team hopes to see him in future majors but, for now, they’ll have to make do with a sub. That sub, incidentally, is a former starter who took a break due to internet issues. SENZO is by no means just a benchwarmer. He was part of the trio that reigned over the middle east for years.

Regardless of their results, even making it to the major will provide the team with LAN experience and a decent amount of points to qualify for Worlds. We’ll finally get to see SRG play among the greats, and who knows? Perhaps the lower expectations will relieve some of the pressure on them.

Michael Kloos is a Dutch esports journalist and enthusiast with a particular like of Rocket League and VALORANT. He is also an avid fantasy/sci-fi reader and writer. He spends most of his time trying not to be in the real world.
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