The Rocket League Championship Series’ Winter Major is well underway, but this weekend, the tournament will reach its climax. Not only the event will move itself to the YouTube Theater as all matches from now onwards are going to be played in front of a crowd, but the stakes after all surprises we had during the week couldn’t be higher. So, in order to be ready for the last two days of the RLCS Winter Major 2022, here’s everything you need to know.
In a few hours, Rocket League’s Winter Major will be kicking off its final two days live in Los Angeles. The first game of this final stage of the competition will kick off at 5:00 PM UTC. The first match will see a game between Team Queso and Evil Geniuses in the lower-bracket of the playoffs, which the loser being sent home. Afterwards, the second match of the lower-bracket will be played, followed by the upper-bracket series.
As for the tournament format, we’re now in the playoffs of the Winter Major, which runs a double-elimination bracket. The first two rounds of the lower-bracket are best-of-five series, while the remaining ones are BO7s. Also, four teams that reached the playoffs have already been eliminated – this includes favorites such as Dignitas, Endpoint and NRG.
Lastly, the team that wins the event this Sunday will be taking home $90.000, as well as 701 circuit points. Finally, let’s head to the headlines from the event.
EVIL GENIUSES – PREPARED TO SURPRISE
Evil Geniuses has surprised some by making this far into the tournament. Yet, those who have followed the team recently aren’t quite as surprised by their success. Leonardo “Catalysm” Christ Ramos has been able to prepare his team to an impressive point where they have been able to perform very well under pressure compared to most other teams at the Winter Major.
However, even more impressive has been Riccardo “Rizex45” Mazzotta form at this tournament. The 19-year-old has always been a highly competent player, but he has been even better this week. With Catalysm pushing the team forward and Rizex45, Evil Geniuses has found a formula for success. Sure, they aren’t unstoppable, but they are a very complete roster right now.
Be that as it may, Evil Geniuses will be facing its biggest challenge at the Winter Major this Saturday. The squad will be facing Team Queso next, and the English squad will surely give EG hell. As great as EG might’ve looked, Team Queso defeating NRG earlier on certainly gave them a momentum boost, and as good as Catalysm’s squad might look, Team Queso is one step above them.
Yet, not all hope is lost, and if this tournament taught us anything, is that everything can happen in LAN. When we consider the live audience element, then upsets are even more likely at this point. Are Evil Geniuses underdogs? Sure – but this team has undeniably potential.
FAZE CLAN – ON THE EDGE
FaZe Clan came to the Winter Major as one of the best teams from North America, but they were in for plenty of surprised this week, and none of them were good. The squad got beaten by Version1 in their debut game with a 3 – 0 record. They recovered and beat the group underdogs, but couldn’t keep up with Team Queso in the final two games of their series.
Now, FaZe is an incredibly talent-packed team, but their issues are becoming more and more transparent by every game. This is a team with strong offenses, but weak defenses, and this week they showed some very questionable decision-making, too. Again, the potential is there, but the holes in this roster are starting to show up.
Still, Austin “AYYJAYY” Aebi and his teammates are still in contention here, and there are no signs that this roster will just drop the towel. If anything, their latest game which saw them eliminating Endpoint shown that FaZe have started working on their issues, and they want to make a deep run here.
Now, much like Evil Geniuses, FaZe has a massive opponent ahead of them – Team BDS. Now, while FaZe looked far more convincing today than they did earlier in the event, Team BDS struggled against Pioneers. This certainly gives FaZe a chance of beating the Europeans, and if they managed to beat them, then the sky is the limit for this roster at the Winter Major.
FURIA – BRINGING THE SPOTLIGHTS TO SOUTH AMERICA
FURIA came to the RLCS’ Winter Major 2022 as an underdog, and they are now in the playoffs as one of the most dangerous teams in competition. The Brazilians still have a lot to prove, sure. Yet, it’s undeniable that this is the best performance we’ve ever seen from a South American team at the Rocket League Championship Series.
Now, FURIA didn’t had an easy group at all in the Winter Major, and this makes this run even more impressive. The Brazilians won against Endpoint and NRG in the group stage, two of the favorites to win the whole event. They failed to win against Renegades, but achieved first place in Group B by defeating Endpoint a second time. All these victories weren’t flukes either – FURIA looked good, dominant even at times. They can control the pace of their game, and were quite effective in their advances.
We’ve yet to see FURIA in the playoffs since they have qualified for the upper-bracket, but it’s going to be very difficult to stop this team now that they have their momentum going. The Brazilians are well aware of how they are making history in Rocket League for their region, and this is the kind of backing that can push FURIA forward.
As for what’s next for the Brazilians, FURIA will be facing G2 next. G2 is, of course, one of the best squads in the entire world, which means that FURIA is taking the underdog role once more. For FURIA, though, this doesn’t seem to be any problem. The Brazilians have a realistic chance of winning this event, and tomorrow will decide how their chances goes.
G2 – PLAYING LIKE THEY SHOULD
The RLCS Winter Major 2022 was packed of surprises, and many favorite teams were at the bad end of these surprises. From NRG barely qualifying for the playoffs to Dignitas being surprised by Evil Geniuses and being sent home earlier, this hasn’t been an easy Major on the favorites.
G2, however, is an exception to the rule. Jacob “JKnaps” Knapman have been excellent this week, and a big factor in G2’s run at the event’s group stage. The remaining of the squad are still question marks, but at least the team is playing very well as a unit. G2 is capitalizing on JKnaps good form and supporting him in order to balance the team’s performance.
The Americans’ real test will begin tomorrow, though, as they face FURIA. As mentioned above, the Brazilians are in top form, and they are coming to this series with a lot of momentum. G2 has a world-class roster, but Reed “Chicago” Wilen needs to step-up his game if this roster wants to have a chance to win the Winter Major.
SPACESTATION GAMING – NO CEILING
Spacestation Gaming have been looking quite good recently, but their performance at the Winter Major so far has been a level above their online showings. Daniel “Daniel” Piecenski is looking incredibly comfortable playing on LAN, and Tshaka “Arsenal” Lateef Taylor Jr isn’t too behind either. This team have been excellent when it comes to their defensive side, and their offensive game isn’t half bad.
Furthermore, Spacestation is a developing team, after all. Daniel, the latest addition to this roster, has been with the team for less than four months. This means that they’ve had time to fully implement his strengths into the team’s gameplan, but he has shown time after time that he has more to show in this roster. Right now, he’s able to do his job very well, and he’s giving Arsenal plenty of space to work in the offense, sure. But what else can come from the 15-year-old? That’s what we will be seeing later on.
Overall, SSG chances are good. They are a very stable team with a player who still have to reach their ceiling. They have plenty of strengths, and they have been able to constantly work on their flaws which held them in the past. At the end of the day, this Winter Major is shaping up to be an opportunity for various teams to breakthrough, and Spacestation might be the one to do so.
TEAM BDS – SHAKY
Team BDS started the Winter Major in a good way. However they weren’t been able to keep the same level they showed on the first day of the event. BDS, of course, has in their ranks two of the best Rocket League players in the world. Yet, they haven’t been quite able to demonstrate how good these two are.
Now, BDS’ latest showing wasn’t quite as impressive as it should. While they ultimately won against Pioneers, the Australians were able to mount a comeback against BDS. If not by an underperformance by Ethan “Scrub” Klumpp, there was a real possibility that BDS wouldn’t be here.
The reason for that seems to be clear – Team BDS’ mental game isn’t there. Fortunately for them, their coach, Javier “Kael” Ojeda, certainly will be working on it. Still, their next opponents from FaZe, will certainly pressure BDS. We could be seeing them crumbling like they did against Pioneers and not coming back.
BDS were one of the favorites before the start of the Winter Major 2022, but things are different now. Evan “M0nkey M00n” Rogez is a world-class player still, and Marc “MaRc_By_8.” Domingo can be quite the star for this roster. Yet, something has been missing from this squad this week.
TEAM QUESO – NEVER SLEEP ON QUESO
This week has been marked by a lot of surprises as we mentioned above. FURIA stole the spotlights for some, while G2 is the one keeping the light alive for others. In the European side of the equation, BDS are the ones under the microscope. And Evil Geniuses have been the surprise of the region. Still, no one should forget that Team Queso still is contention – and they have been doing very well through the season.
Regarding the Winter Major 2022 specifically, Team Queso has been doing well. They managed to beat FaZe Clan in a close encounter, while being defeated by Version1 in their opening game. In the playoffs, they eliminated NRG, which were the favorites but after the group stage, were shown to be quite disappointing. These are mixed results overall, but when compared to the remaining contenders in the Major, their chances are decent.
As mentioned above, Queso’s next challenge will be Evil Geniuses. EG, of course, have been quite surprising so far, but as long as Joe “Joyo” Young can keep the team’s defenses strong, and Axel “Vatira” Touret strong continues delivering on the offenses, this team has all they need to continue in the event. It’s up to Queso to decide how far they can go here.
VERSION1 – UNEXPECTED FAVORITES
Before the final North American Regional Event, Version1 qualification for the Major was unsure. Since then, however, things have taken quite an upside turn for Landon “BeastMode” Konerman and his teammates. They won the third NA Regional Event without losing a single game. Now, they’ve continued this streak in the Winter Major. Finishing on the top of their group, Version1 has been indomitable.
Now, in a Major where nothing can be taken as guaranteed, Version1 seems to be the team to not drop the ball compared to other favorites. If anything, Version1 has now proven that they are one of the best rosters in North America, and mostly important, BeastMode has shown that he’s one name to keep in mind when the discussion about the best RL players in the region comes up.
Now, Version1 still is being questioned by some as Kyle “Torment” Storer and Robert “Comm” Kyser both need to step up their game. Again, Version1 with BeastMode has the potential to win this Major, but everyone needs to pull their weight in order to improve their chances. Sure, BeastMode has shown to be able to be a force of nature on his own, but with teams like FURIA and G2 around, you can’t leave any flaws visible.
THE WEEKEND STARTS SOON
Today, RL will finally have its first international LAN played in front of an audience since the online era. In order to not miss a beat about Rocket League or any other esports title, make sure to follow us here.