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Rocketeers - Memory on finally finding RLCS success with the Kansas City Pioneers


Memory on finally finding RLCS success with the Kansas City Pioneers

December 10, 2020 - 19:40
Rocketeers / Featured / Interviews / RLCS / Teams /

Michael “Memory” Moss first cracked the Rocket League Championship Series nearly four years ago as a newly-eligible 15-year-old in Season 3, but that inauspicious 0-7 start with SetToDestroyX wouldn’t come to define his pro career. He’d spend two seasons in the Rival Series before returning to the RLCS with Ghost Gaming from Seasons 6-8.

This year got off to a rough start, however. Memory joined with Flight, the ex-RBG Esports roster, and struggled with a 1-9 season that would’ve seen them relegated to the Rival Series under the old format. He moved to eUnited in the offseason and was eventually named a starter, but then was replaced about a month later. With college starting, Memory tells Rocketeers that he was about ready to “hang up the sticks” and call it a career.

However, his former teammate Jalen “Rapid” Parker convinced him to give it another shot with the Kansas City Pioneers—which had acquired Flight—and play alongside young rookie Landon “BeastMode” Konerman, as well. Together, they’ve beat most expectations since the start of the RLCS X season, including finishing 2nd in the third North American Fall Split regional event and currently sitting at 5th place in RLCS X points as of this writing.

Ahead of this weekend’s second North American RLCS X Winter Split competition, Rocketeers caught up with Memory to talk about their play so far this season, the struggles that nearly led to his retirement, and what it feels like to finally find success after several seasons in the RLCS.

Rocketeers: How are you guys feeling going into the event this weekend?

Memory: We’re feeling good. We’re just coming off of a really, really, really good Fall Split, above everyone else’s expectations. We placed second in one regional, placed 4th in one of the other regionals, and I think 9th in the other one—so overall, a really good split. Coming into this split, the first regional didn’t go so well. We were just having some really stupid problems going on, so we ended up being… I think we finished around 12th, so that was not great. But we feel a lot better going into this regional than the first one.

Can you talk a little bit about how it’s been this season to be playing with the Pioneers and having success with this team?

Yeah, it’s great. I had just come off playing with eUnited for 2-3 months. I didn’t actually get to play the season with them. Coming over here with Rapid, who I teamed with last season, and Beastmode, who’s new, just turned 15 and being eligible to play—it was like a fresh start, so to speak, with the Pioneers, a really great org. I really enjoy being with them. Obviously, we have cool sponsors like DoorDash and Under Armour, and overall the culture has been great. I love who I’m teaming with, I love the org. It’s been really great.

What was that finals like against Envy in the third Fall Split event, going all the way to Game 7?

Nerve-wracking. [laughs] It was nerve-wracking. For all of us, that was the first final that we’ve been a part of—especially BeastMode, just coming into the scene, but even Rapid and I haven’t been close to that before. It was nerve-wracking. We were all new and coming up against Envy, who have Turbo, the four-time world champ, and Mist and Atomic who are also really great players. Honestly, I feel like we could have taken that. We kind of threw it away. It was kind of in our own hands. It sucks, but it happens. For the first final, it was great. We’re happy with it.

You’ve been in this scene for ages now, first making the RLCS back in Season 3. How does it feel to be having your most consistent success now after all this time?

Yeah, it’s been a long time coming, it feels like. I’ve been playing in the RLCS now… yeah, since Season 3. It’s a lot of seasons. It’s been a long journey to get there, and I don’t think I’m anywhere near done. It really has been a long journey, I mean, my god.

During that third Fall Split event, the casters were saying that this is the best you’ve ever looked in the RLCS. Do you agree with that, and if so, how much of that is personal effort and how much of that is having the right teammates around you?

I do agree with that. I think it is a combination. For me, it was a mindset shift. Coming into this season was a lot different than I’ve done previous seasons, and a lot of that was attributed to the different format. It’s a lot more forgiving, and we were able to take a lot more risks and be overall more confident.

But the two teammates that I have are unlike any other teammates I’ve had before, and I feel like we support each other very well—mentality, as well as in gameplay. It’s just been a really great culture for me, personally, to grow and learn. Even though this is BeastMode’s first season, it’s not like there’s things we can’t take away from him, and of course with us being kind of the veterans coming in, he’s learning from us as well. It’s a different culture, and that has helped me tremendously.

You touched on it briefly, but what happened with eUnited over the summer?

Coming off of the last season, Rapid and I were going to team. We were actually looking for players for quite a long time, but I had been contacted by some of the players on eUnited and they wanted to try playing the Summer Series with me. We did that; it was alright, it went OK. We had been doing pretty well in scrims, but it didn’t translate that well to the tournament.

We played more afterward and ultimately they decided to go with me. But to be honest with you, I’m not entirely sure why they made the decision that they made. I am pretty sure that it had to do with playstyle, which is pretty confusing, because I was only playing “third man-ish,” so to speak, because that’s what they wanted. That’s what they told me they wanted when I originally tried out with them.

What I was told is that they just wanted someone who played more aggressive, but this whole situation didn’t really make much sense through my eyes, and my tweets reflected that. There’s no bad blood or anything, but I still to this day am not entirely sure why what happened, happened.

You’ve been in the RLCS for this long and there’s always this constant influx of new talent coming in. Flight struggled in Season 9, Ghost had largely been in the bottom half of the standings the seasons before. After Flight and then being replaced on eUnited, did you feel like you were going to have an opportunity at high-level success again?

After the eUnited situation, I was actually pretty close to quitting. That was probably the closest that I had ever gotten to hanging up the sticks and just moving on. This is my first year in college, so I was just going to stop playing and focus on getting my degree. But when I was approached by Rapid after all the eUnited stuff, when he found out, he was like: “Dude, we could be really, really good. We have everything that we need to be successful.”

I actually sat on it for a while. It was not a decision that I took lightly. But ultimately, at the time, I was like: You know what? I’m gonna try one more season. I’ll give one more season a go. I’m gonna play with people who I know I like, people who I know are good, and just go from there. And so it’s worked out great so far.

You’ve seen this esports scene grow from the early days to where it is now. Between the RLCS X format and the game going free-to-play, how optimistic do you feel about the future of Rocket League esports now?

I’m very optimistic. I think this game has a very wide appeal, and I think it going free-to-play and being on the Epic Games Store is just great overall. I’ve seen some of my friends who wouldn’t even play the game before, they started playing it since it went free-to-play and they love it.

For the game, it’s amazing, and then for the esports scene, it’s even better because it brings in more viewers and more attention. There’s more incentive for orgs because they can see that the game is visibly growing and that it’s not really going down. For a while there, it stagnated a little bit. I’m just very optimistic with where the game is going at the moment and the direction that Epic Games and Psyonix are taking it, and that overall the changes that have been made are good.

Lead image credit: DreamHack/Stephanie Lindgren

Andrew is the Lead Editor of Rocketeers, and has been covering Rocket League esports since RLCS S1 for publications such as Red Bull Esports, Esports Insider, The Esports Observer, and Waypoint. He is also currently the Content Lead for The Esports Journal magazine and has written about games, gadgets, etc. for 100+ publications since 2006.

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