This past weekend the Play-In for the North American and European Rival Series took place, and saw a total of ten new teams take their place in the league. Here is an overview of the new and old teams of the Rival Series.
North America saw a large shake up with only two of the four teams in the Rival Series keeping their spots. Last season, The Peeps, Compadres, Allegiance, and Rogue managed to stay in the RLRS either through a top four finish or by demotion from RLCS. Both Allegiance and Rogue were dropped from their organizations, and both disbanded due to not adhering to the 2/3 of previous roster rule. This left six spots for new teams to fill.
The Peeps, even after a strong third place finish, wanted more and hoped a roster change would do the job. As such, their starter Pirates left the team and Retals, previously on team Honduras, joined longstanding members Arsenal and ExplosiveGyro. This new roster has shown promise with close games against G2 and sweeping the new RLCS Rogue team in the off-season. How will they do with their new member? We do not know for sure but hints of brilliance give The Peeps hope for this season.
Excited to announce that @RetalsRL will be joining me and @ArsenalRL on The Peeps for this season of RLRS. We are still looking for an org to represent us this season. DMs are open, business inquiries in my bio.
— Jirair Papazian (@ExplosiveGyro) February 13, 2019
Over the off season, the Compadres re branded themselves as Continuum, and had a roster change as well. This previously top four team of Astroh, Aeon, and Moses switched Moses for past Magicians player Rapid. Last season, Rapid was in the RLRS competing against Compadres, but this system has banded together with them to try and secure a top two spot. This team has had no results during the off season, but they have surely been grinding and building team chemistry.
Contenders for a top spot: Birds and the Beez
The first of the batch of new RLRS teams is Birds and the Beez. This team of mist, hockser, and Roll Dizz came into the day as the second seed and proved that they belonged there by getting through the bracket only dropping one game. This team may be better known as the Afterthought that made waves at WSOE, but dropped their player Shock. The Birds and the Beez have been playing solidly, and are sure contenders for a top spot.
As per the name of the league, a rival of the Birds and the Beez entered the RLRS: Afterthought. Keeping the previous brand, Shock found two members to join him, Hato and TyNotTyler. Both of these players have had RLCS experience, along with the rising star Shock who showed off his skills at the aforementioned WSOE. This dynamic between Shock and the Birds and the Beez will be sure to make the matchup an exciting one, while also answering the question of how these RLCS players and young gun will do in the cutthroat league. After upsetting the first seeded team of Sway Esports to get into the league, Afterthought is on the right track.
So surreal and amazing. See you guys in RLRS 🙂
— Shock (@Shock_RL) March 30, 2019
The third new team to enter the North American Rival Series is Plot Twist. This team of Pirates, Taroco, and Mectos came in as the number five seed, and only lost one game in their journey to RLRS. Pirates will face his old team of The Peeps, and will hope that he can prove that his team is better. Plot Twist has been playing is many off season tournaments, and showing promise with their new squad.
Another familiar name: The D00ds
Another team entering the RLRS adds familiar name to a new team: The D00ds. Last season’s team under this banner was RollDizz, Retals, and Ralph. RollDizz and Retals moved to previously mentioned teams, with Ralph adding two new players: Skillz and JoeFreshness. This new squad had a close series against the Birds and the Beez, but ended up dropping to the lower bracket where they swept fourth seed Avocado. Proving themselves as above their 7th seed, they will surely be trying to make waves in the RLRS.
Keep The D00ds name for this new team ????????????????????
— Ralph (@Ralph_080) February 16, 2019
The first team of all rookies is Defiant, who as their name suggests, would not lose in the lower bracket. This team of Sosa, Grills, and Demonator lost early on, and won six straight series to secure their spot. They beat the sixth and tenth seed to lock in their spot. No one knows how these rookies will perform, but with how much they played in the off season, they are sure to give it everything they have.
The final North American RLRS team is Upper 90 eSports. This is the lowest seeded team to make the league at 11th. Despite this, Demokat, Radoko, and Shadow fought their way through to a relatively clean upper bracket run. They have played in many off season tournaments and the work seems to have paid off. If they can keep their form up, they are sure to impact the Rival Series and challenge for a top spot.
Unlike North America, all the European RLRS teams held their spots, meaning there were only four new teams. Just as in North America, the promotion playoffs led to four RLCS teams being demoted, and the top two RLRS teams of both regions entering the RLCS. These demoted RLCS teams stuck together unlike Ex-Rogue and Ex-Allegiance of North America.
The first RLCS team that is now in the RLRS is Vikings, who used to be Fnatic. Seemingly dropped from their organization, the team still stuck together to hopefully reclaim their spot in the RLCS. Snaski left the team to coach the new look Dignitas, and as such Pwndx joined Maestro and MummiSnow on this all Danish team. While they will be vying for a top spot, they will have to mentally battle to keep up motivation.
— Maestro (@97Maestro) March 29, 2019
The second RLCS, Complexity, had what some people call the biggest roster blunder going from top three two seasons in a row to RLRS. With Al0t leaving the team and Flakes taking his spot alongside Mognus and gReazymeister, this team is also looking like a strong contender. This team has shown themselves at Dreamhack Leipzig beating eventual runner up team Vitality and making it to Day 2.
Third place team last season, Method, lost Kassio to former rivals Triple Trouble, but with their addition of Oscillon are looking stronger than ever. With Rix Ronday and Borito B, this team has recently swept Savage! to win the Renegade Cup finals. If history has told us anything, this Method team will surely be keeping a top four spot, and trying for much more.
Veloce fighting for an RLCS spot
The final team to keep their spot is Veloce Esports. This team of FlamE, FreaKii, is now joined by Nielskoek. Last season, under Team Secret’s banner, they kept a top four spot with Tylacto, but now Tylacto has moved to a substitute spot, and will be supporting the team from the sidelines. After a mediocre LAN debut at Leipzig, they will be fighting to return to the RLCS as all the players have previously been in it.
The first play-in team is the most unlikely, Baguette Squad. A team composed of all rookies: Extra, RizuaL, and SwoOpin, came in as the 19th seed, and had to face third seed Team Echo Zulu in the second round. Not only did they take them down, they also took down 7th seed Nordavind to secure their spot. If they can keep up that form, they could turn from unknown rookies to contenders.
We made it only dropping a single game. GGs to everyone we played!
— Calix (@CalixRL) March 31, 2019
The second play in team, The Rightovers, are hoping to channel their brethren the Leftovers. This squad of veterans Skyline, Bilbo, and Calix came in as the 9th seed, and only lost one game on their way to the Rivals Series. They even swept the 7th seed Dutch Bim Bam to finalize their spot. This team has shown their capability, and will hope to continue their form.
The grind paid off for ARG
One of the play-in teams that arguably has played the most this off season is ARG. Coming in as the as the fourth seed, this team of potentially unknown names would be familiar to anyone watching community tournaments this off season. ARG, with Spaniards Marc_By_8, GCR710, and ClayX have played in and won many Renegade cups. This team also earned a second place finish in the Renegade Cup finals. Although they lost early to the 5th seed, they rallied back sweeping the number one seed, and beating Nordavind to enter the Rivals Series. Their grind is sure to pay off in the RLRS.
The final RLRS team had an amazing run in the qualifiers, rivaling Defiant’s run. ZeNoMoon, including Zensuz, Monkey Moon, and Nolystic lost in their first match, and won seven straight series in the lower bracket to advance to the Rivals Series. Although they came in as the second seed, which ended up being the highest seed to get in, the mental fortitude to have such a long lower bracket run says a lot for the team. This team could be very scary if they can have similar performance in the RLRS.
OMGFMMFMFMFMFFM I LOVE MY TEAM MATES SO MUCH!! also ggs to dutch bim bam, they are fucking insane and i wish they would have made it too. THANKS EVERYONE FOR BELIEVING IN US, I cant fucking breathe rn i have so many mixed emotions atm
— noly (@Nolystic) March 31, 2019
The Rivals Series Play-Ins are deemed some of the most stressful days for professional players, and every team that is in the RLCS or RLRS has made that run. This season, like others, there were many surprises and neither of the number one seeds made it in. This Rivals Series may be the closest yet, with every team hoping to claim a sacred spot in the RLCS, as each RLCS team dreads having to play in the promotion playoffs. No team is for certain in either league, which makes both more interesting to watch. Join us next week where we begin to unravel each teams’ stories and place them.
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