When Season X of the Rocket League Championship Series (RLCS) was announced, it came with a huge overhaul. Gone were the days of round-robin league play and two world championships per year. In its place came an annual season with three splits and a new format for each split.
No one knew what these new formats would entail as each one was only announced ahead of its respective split. Now, as the conclusion of the final split nears, it has allowed many teams to shine that previously wouldn’t have played in the RLCS. Season X brought parity to Rocket League and that should continue into the conclusion of the final split.
Top Blokes coach RamS’ thoughts on the RLCS
Three new formats meant that the teams had a lot of adjusting to do from the previous league-based round-robin format. The fall split events saw 32 teams compete in a Swiss style format. The winter split was a simple 24-team double elimination. And, the spring split divides 20 teams into four groups of five. This leads to a knockout phase. Top Blokes coach and manager Reece “RamS” Mullins has mixed feelings about it.
“It’s interesting that it changes every split,” RamS said. “It definitely keeps you on your toes. I think that some formats are good for some aspects, while others are good for others. The Swiss format was very forgiving, whereas a double-elimination was a lot more harsh. Consistency would be nice because you’ll know what to expect, but I guess it’s about being on your toes and being ready for whatever’s coming.”
The constant shifting of formats does not significantly affect the preparation of Top Blokes for RLCS Season X. One can only make an educated guess as to whom they will play next in double-elimination tournaments or knockout phases. Meanwhile, the standard group stage format, which served as the format in earlier seasons and the first phase of the spring split events, allows a team to look ahead more.
“I don’t know which is necessarily better,” said RamS. “You just have to be ready at all opportunities. I think we did best in the fall split with Swiss, where the pressure of each match was a little bit less. If you have a bad game, then you can bounce back the next and it probably wouldn’t affect you too much.”
Momentum and confidence
More teams come with longer seasons. In fact, where a team used to play a total of 18 series across two seasons of league play in a single year, Top Blokes have played 122 RLCS series and counting since August. Of course, the previous format also followed up with a Regional Championship and a World Championship. But, the difference in number remains staggering. The result is both weariness and consistency, according to RamS.
“If you look at Team BDS, if they didn’t win the first regional, you’d almost have question marks whether they’d have that same level of consistency,” RamS said. “A lot of Rocket League is based on confidence, experience and momentum. We had a very good first regional and first split, so we were able to carry that over, but at the same time, it becomes very tiring. This first regional of the spring split we finished lower than we wanted. It becomes really hard to pick that momentum back up and you have to work twice as hard to get there.”
Top Blokes is currently sitting fairly comfortably in third place in the RLCS rankings and RamS remains confident about their performance going into the final regional of the season. After a slump in performance following their win at the Winter Regional 3, Top Blokes reached top four in the Spring Regional 2 by defeating the notorious Team BDS.
The prospect of underperforming during Spring Regional 3 and missing out on the major–and therefore taking the risk of not qualifying for the RLCSX world championships–is daunting, but has no effect on Top Blokes’ nerves.
“To 100 percent clinch [the world championships] we need to get top eight. But in our current situation, it will take a lot of strange results to happen for us to fall out of that spot. So we don’t have to feel that much pressure. That’s the mentality. We’re a worlds team, we’re a top four team in Europe, we’re gonna act like that. The pressure is on the other teams that have had up and down seasons.”
RLCSX World Championships
Qualifying for RLCS Worlds, however, is only the beginning for RamS and his team. Anything less than first place is not satisfactory. Since feeling what it is like to win a regional, Top Blokes has kept the mentality of “we can do it once; let’s do it every single time.”
“Ultimately, our preparation isn’t even for this next regional or for The Grid.” RamS said. “It’s all in the preparation for Worlds. That’s where our mind’s at. I don’t think there’s anyone this season in RLCS we haven’t been able to beat. We’re not really scared of anyone. We just need to go in with confidence and faith in ourselves and we’ll be fine.”
The RLCS World Championships have yet to be announced. No one knows when, where or even if it will be held. It is also unclear which format will be used. But, if the season is anything to go by, the teams that qualify will have to prepare themselves for another adjustment.