Grand Final between NA Powerhouses

NRG win Rival Esports’ “Winter Open” after an intense series versus G2

March 19, 2019 - 21:57
Rocketeers / Events /

This past weekend Rival Esportsโ€™ North American โ€œWinter Openโ€ tournament concluded with an epic clash of RLCS, RLRS, and bubble teams. The format was an open qualifier that narrowed the field to four teams, who were pit against invited RLCS teams (NRG, G2, EG, and Rogue).

Open Qualifiers

The first, and most prominent open qualifier team was The Peeps. This team consisting of Arsenal, ExplosiveGyro, and the newly added Retals easily swept their way through the qualifiers, beating notable teams RBG Esports and Plot Twist, the latter which includes their former player Pirates.

The next open qualifier team was The Bubble Buddies. This relatively unknown team of AlRaz, Trey, and Blake upset The D00ds to cement their spot in the final bracket. Each of their series ended in a close, one goal deciding game five, showing the pressure this team could handle.

The next qualifying team was Momentum, and no, not the 2016 powerhouse. Instead, the group of MajicBear, Messi, and Jordan fought their way past RLRS contenders Continuum to get to the final bracket, and their shot at the grand prize.

The final qualifying team, Defiant, stuck up to their name by defeating two notable teams. This squad consisting of Sosa, Broken, and DEMoNATOR1217 beat Sway Esports and Upper 90 Esports, both top four teams at the recent NA Renegade Cup Final Tournament.

Quarter Finals

The bracket was set with the four open qualifier teams (The Peeps, The Bubble Buddies, Momentum, and Defiant) against the four invited RLCS teams (NRG, G2, EG, and Rogue). Two of the quarterfinal matches were not aired and thus only the scoreline of 3-0 was concluded. Unfortunately for them, The Bubble Buddies fell to NRG, at the same as Defiant lost to G2 Esports. While it was not a surprise, it confirmed the excellence of these two teams that are deemed part of North America’s โ€œBig Threeโ€ teams.

The matchup predicted to be the closest was The Peeps against Rogue. Rogue, still working out their roster with Kronovi being added with previous members Wonder and AyyJayy. This series ended up being a blowout, but not for the expected RLCS team Rogue.

The Peeps came out swinging and never slowed down. In a 3-0 sweep of this newer RLCS team, The Peeps scored 8 goals to the 1 of Rogue, a truely dominant performance. This set up an interesting semi final match between The Peeps and NRG, two teams who rarely face each other. This result also continued long standing questions on the new roster of Rogue.

The other quarterfinal match streamed to Twitch was Momentum against Evil Geniuses, consisting of Klassux, CorruptedG, and EPICJonny who substituted in for the new transfer of Drippay. This series seemed to be delivering a similar mismatched sweep as with the other three series when Evil Geniuses went up 2 games in blowout fashion. Poised to lose the series, Momentum fought back. The next two games were equally dominant, except they were in the favor of Momentum.

Apparently they can live up to their name as they brought a 0-2 deficit to a game 5. In game 5, Evil Geniuses accrued a two goal lead, but still Momentum fought. Barely scraping the game to overtime, the final battle for a spot in the semi finals began.

Fortunately for Evil Geniuses, EPICJohnny, the substitute, came to life and ended the overtime. Momentum could not finish their reverse sweep, as Evil Geniuses edged out the game 5 overtime in a score of 5-4. The semi finals were set.

Semifinals

The first semifinal, NRG against The Peeps gave the audience a rare matchup, that hoped to deliver after the thrilling game 5 overtime the previous matchup gave. The battle tested NRG with Fireburner, GarrettG, and JSTN were the obvious favorites, but The Peeps had just come off of an upset of another RLCS team. This series began with two close games, and moments of brilliance from both sides. The passing plays were showing up, but NRG had edged out both of these games in the best of 7 series.

While The peeps tried new things to throw NRG out of their groove, instead NRG began to style on the RLRS team and blew the out of the water in the final two games of the series. High flying redirects, crazy air dribbles from JSTN, and cray passing plays ended this series and gave the currently undefeated NRG a ticket to the grand final of the Winter Open.

The first RLCS match was set between Evil Geniuses, and G2, who are still helping their new member Chicago adjust to Rizzo and JKnaps. After a dominant game 1 from G2 with a scoreline of 3-0, a possible sweep was looming.

Evil Geniuses did not agree. They fought back in game 2 with an equally dominant scoreline of 4-1.

Tied in the best of 7 series 1-1, G2 began to warm up responding with another dominant game on their side. Now up 2-1 in the series, things slowed down. Game four ended with G2 taking a close overtime, and eventually, game 5 in the same way. Evil Geniuses, with their flashy sub were out, but are surely wanting revenge with their full roster. G2, having only lost 1 game were set to face the undefeated NRG to decide the winner of the Winter Open.

Finals

In a seemingly common matchup, G2 were facing NRG again. With their new roster, G2 were 0-3 in encounters with NRG at WSOE and Dreamhack Leipzig. With $1,000 on the line, G2 would have to step up to stop their losing streak. Game 1 saw NRG dropping a 2 goal lead to the aggressive plays of G2, and ended up losing the game. They cleaned up their playing in game 2, where they fired back with 3 goals to only 1 from G2, tying up the series, and essentially turning the best of 7 into a best of 5.

G2 stepped up in game 3 with a shutout off the back of flashy backboard plays and constant offense in NRGโ€™s half. Their series lead ended soon when NRG fought back in game 4 to tie the series at 2-2. Game 5 was a bloodbath of goals and showed the offensive prowess of both teams, though G2 ended up taking this game 5-3. With NRGโ€™s tournament life on the line, they fired on all cylinders with a dominant and almost perfect scoreline of 5-1. They had brought it to game 7. The grand final would be determined by one game, and it began. NRG scored quickly, but G2 kept a claustrophobic barrage of shots. With their stalwart defense and many counter attacks the 1 goal lead was doubled by a double touch from GarrettG. This ended up being the final goal of the tournament, and the crowning jewel to NRGโ€™s run.

This tournament gave a glimpse of not only NAโ€™s bubble teams and how they stack up, but also the matchups in RLCS that may come up. It gave a thrilling game 7 grand final, and storylines for many of the teams. From Momentumโ€™s close matchup almost leading to a huge upset, EPICJonny showing off his skill, The Peeps journey across skill levels to see how they matchup, and continuing the G2-NRG matchup that seems to follow both teams. Any other weekend there could be different results, but NRG took this one, this time.

High school Rocket League fan trying to improve his writing. Either playing sports or grinding Rocket League. Let's go G2!