The authors here at Rocketeers have spent a lot of time focused on the ins and outs of the RLCS Season 5 in North America and Europe, as the weekly streams on Rocket League’s Twitch Channel generally highlight both regions due to their longer history in the game’s pro scene.
However, as Rocket League continues its momentum into esports, players in regions like Oceania have earned their spots on the world stage, and have just finished their Season 5 League Play on the ThrowdownTV Twitch Channel. Oceania found its introduction to the RLCS World Championships in Season 3, with Just a Minute Gaming and Alpha Sydney (now Chiefs eSports Club) displaying the talent of the region at the highest level of Rocket League. Season 4 saw Chiefs eSports return to the RLCS World Championships, even going as far as to beat the North American powerhouse NRG in the first round of the Losers’ Bracket. Pale Horse eSports was the adjoining team from OCE in the World Championships.
As we are just a few days away from the OCE Top 6 playoffs, here is Rocketeer’s recap and thoughts going in to the Throwdown eSports: RLOC Season 5 Finals, where the top two teams from the region will book their tickets to the World Championships. Here are the major takeaways from League Play:
1. Chiefs eSports Club Remain Dominant
For anyone that has watched the past two RLCS World Championships or follow the Oceania pro scene, Chiefs eSports Club dominant league play is far from surprising. The roster of Jake “Jake the Tyrant” Edwards, Daniel “Torsos” Parsons, and Matthew “Drippay” Den-Kaat is an absolute powerhouse between the incredible passing and chemistry of Jake and Drippay, often undershadowed by the raw, individual talent of Torsos. The team has stayed on top of the region since the beginning of the pro scene, taking first place in every major Oceanic LAN competition in the last year. Picked up by the Chiefs eSports Club in August of 2017, the trio has stuck together under three organization switches, but don’t appear to be leaving the Chiefs anytime soon.
As League Play began five weeks ago in Oceania, the Chiefs played in the first match of the season, facing the newly formed Love Decks from New Zealand. Love Decks roster is composed of Connor “Montyconnor” Montgomery, Cameron “CJM” McGrouther, and Adam “Addzey” Meechan, who all previously played on large Oceania organizations like JAM Gaming, Dark Sided, and Scylla eSports.
The newly formed Love Decks provided a large challenge to the veteran Chiefs, stealing Game 1 with a score of 1-0. The teams traded wins in games 2-4, leading to the all-important Game 5. In a surprising outburst of goals, Love Decks took a 3-0 lead coming onto half-time, until Drippay unleashed his inner-sniper, helping his team cut the deficit and send the game to overtime. Just 7 seconds into the overtime, Drippay scored the game winning goal (scoring 7 goals in the series with a 51% shooting percentage) to take the series and start the Chiefs eSports Club off on the right foot.
— Throwdown Esports (@ThrowdownTV) April 3, 2018
The series against Love Decks proved to be the toughest challenge for the Chiefs, as the team cruised to a 7-0 League Play run, only losing 3 more games in the process. Drippay ended the season with the Golden Striker award, holding a goal per game average of 1.19, with his teammate and passer Jake being awarded the Clutch Playmaker award with an assist per game average of 0.96. The organization enters the Throwdown eSports: RLOC Season 5 Finals as the top seed, where the final four Oceanic teams will battle it out for the sought-after two spots in the RLCS World Championships.
#RL | SEVEN. AND. OH.
GGWP! Eyes on @RLEsports Championship Series Now!
— The Chiefs Esports Club (@ChiefsESC) April 15, 2018
2. Legacy eSports Finds Success in New Roster
Legacy eSports has been one of the main organizations in Oceania since the beginning of the Throwdown Series. Failing to place in the top four in Season 1 (following Season 2 of RLCS), and then placing sixth or seventh in the following three seasons, Legacy eSports has cycled through four rosters, only keeping SOMA on each roster, now acting coach of the current Legacy squad. The organization was originally a division of the Oceania eSports powerhouse Avant Gaming, until the team eventually left and created their own organisation.
The current roster of Legacy eSports consists of Nathan “Cyrix” Baxter and Christopher “Siki” Magee, both of whom came from the previous Avant Gaming, also picking up Aiden “Delusion” Hendry who had been jumping around smaller teams until finding the Legacy boys. Formed in February of 2018, less than one month before the start of the qualifier, the team quickly found their chemistry and cruised to the top of their bracket to join the Chiefs and Tainted Minds, along with the other qualifying teams to join, in the upcoming League Play.
— Respawn Ninja (@RespawnNinja) February 12, 2018
Legacy eSports found plenty of success in League Play, finishing 5-2 with losses to the Chiefs and Dark Sided in both well-fought series. The team started their season with wins against Legs are Silly (the previous Legacy roster), Retirement Home, and Love Decks until meeting their first real challenge in their midseason matchup against the Chiefs. Torsos’ individual efforts carried Chiefs to the series win, however the Legacy boys jumped back into their winning habits with series wins over JAM Gaming and Tainted Minds in the following weeks.
Entering their last game against Dark Sided with a 5-1 record, Legacy lost another closely fought series that could have been the perfect end to a massively successful season. Legacy eSports now sit patiently in second place, waiting for the top two teams to come out of the upcoming playoff.
Welp. 1-1 today. Terrible series against DS. Gotta hope Chiefs play well ?
— cyrix (@simplycyrix) April 15, 2018
3. The Middle Four are in Tight Competition
Simply looking at the League Play standings for Oceania this season does nothing to show the chaos of fixtures that occurred during the season. While looking at the records of the middle four teams (placing third through sixth), it could be easy to infer that Dark Sided and Tainted Minds are the better teams. This did not appear to be the truth in League Play however, as each head-to-head showed the advantages and disadvantages come to fruition for specific teams.
— Throwdown Esports (@ThrowdownTV) April 15, 2018
Dark Sided is a great example of this. Finishing third in League Play was no easy achievement as they had to earn all four wins that got them there. Being the only team other than the Chiefs to beat the second place Legacy eSports squad in their matchup in Week Five, Dark Sided took some big wins, but also took some unexpected losses. Losing to two of the three other middling four, Dark Sided missed several opportunities to secure the second-place position in losses to Tainted Minds and Retirement Home. Dark Sided proved their ability to play big games, but needs to play consistently to see success in the upcoming Playoffs.
On the other end of the four, Just a Minute Gaming (JAM Gaming) managed to squeeze past the Legs are Silly squad holding the same record based on game-win percentage, topping them out by 6%. JAM Gaming, similar to Dark Sided, took a big win, but also suffered from poor losses. Ending just 2-5 on the season, JAM’s sweep over Tainted Minds in Week 1 proved to be the win that they needed to secure a spot in the Playoffs, however their placement took a massive hit from their sole match in Week 3.
Love Decks found their only win in their 1-6 season against JAM Gaming, taking a surprise series 3-1 and putting JAM Gaming lower in the rankings than any team would have liked at midseason. Regardless of those losses, watch for JAM Gaming to surprise us again in the Play offs.
Tainted Minds and Retirement Home fill the fourth and fifth spots of League Play respectively, both stealing victories from an otherwise successful season from Dark Sided. Both teams had relatively unsurprising seasons, finishing with their only difference as their head-to-head ending in a sweep in favour of Tainted Minds. There is a good chance that the teams could play again in the upcoming Playoffs, however it depends on how their first matchups go.
Opinions on the Playoffs and RLOC Finals
Sunday, April 22nd sees the Top 6 Playoff begin, where the third through sixth ranked teams will fight for the last two spots in the RLOC Finals along with the Chiefs eSports Club and Legacy eSports, set to take place on April 29th. The Playoff works as a “Best of Seven Hybrid Bracket”, where the top two teams will play alongside the bottom two teams.
The winner of the top teams’ matchup instantly qualifies for the RLOC Finals, where as the loser will play the winner of the bottom two teams’ matchup to earn the final qualification spot. The first matchup of the day is between Dark Sided and Tainted Minds. In their League Play head-to-head, Tainted Minds took the series 3-2, however the series was fought all of the way into the last minute where Tom “Julz” Jullienne scored to win the game and series. Tainted Minds sheer speed defeated the Dark Sided squad’s more focused and strategic approach to playmaking, so watch for a change in style from Dark Sided in the match up. Tainted Minds continues to show promise leading in, and is expected to take the series.
— Throwdown Esports (@ThrowdownTV) April 15, 2018
The second match of the day will be played between Retirement Home and Just a Minute Gaming. The last match of League Play was played by these two teams, making their upcoming game still hold the weight from last week’s match. Retirement Home took the series 3-1, outplaying JAM Gaming on offence in a barrage of shots. JAM Gaming’s defence is nothing close to weak however, with players like Michael “Bango” Eason averaging 1.96 saves per game in some stellar defensive performances. Expect an incredibly close series with a lot of end-to-end action, however JAM Gaming’s performance throughout League Play makes it hard to envision a victory here, leading Retirement Home to a chance at RLOC Finals Qualification.
If the opinions above hold any accuracy, then the last match of the day may be played between Dark Sided and Retirement Home. Their head-to-head matchup saw Retirement Home winning 3-1 on the back of their leading striker Alex “Kia” McDonald, in a series where Dark Sided looked unorganized and unlike the top-tier team that they proved to be. If Dark Sided can manage to stick to their systems and trust in each other, they can gain their revenge on the teams that beat them and grab the last qualification spot for the RLOC Finals.
The RLOC finals work much like the standard RLCS World Championship bracket: double elimination best-of-five series, with best-of-sevens in the winners’, losers’, and grand finals. The top two teams from the four will punch their ticket to RLCS, and expect a hard-fought day with some major highs and major lows. Without knowing the two other teams joining the Chiefs eSports Organization and Legacy eSports, it is hard to say which picks we might see in RLCS, however a few thoughts do come up:
- Expect to see the Chiefs coming up strong, looking to secure their 3rd consecutive spot at the RLCS LAN this summer.
- Legacy eSports’ roster is overall untested, but will look to continue their hot season against the top team from the Playoffs this Sunday.
- Of the four teams in the Playoffs this Sunday, watch for Dark Sided to make the immaculate “lower bracket run” if it happens in the RLOC Finals.
- Regardless of the outcomes, we are looking forward to a fun two weeks of Oceania Rocket League here at Rocketeers, and you can follow the action on ThrowdownTV’s Twitch streams, this Sunday and the Sunday following.