January 30, 2022
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Rocket League Championship Series’ Winter circuit has already started, and as we head to the second series of regional events, we have a lot to discuss about what already happened. As you should know by now, the first batch of Winter Regional tournaments were packed with surprises, and there’s a lot do dig.

So, let’s get right into it and remember the biggest takeaways we saw during the first step of the Winter circuit in RLCS.

DROPPING THE BALL

Coming to the first Winter Regionals in Europe and North America, EnVy and SMPR both had high expectations built around them. EnVy had just left the Fall Major with a disappointing result, but many expected them to bounce back in early 2022. SMPR, in the other hand, finished in 3 – 4th place at the Fall Major, and the English-French mix definitely looked like one of Europe’s finest.

Comes the opening Winter Regional event, though, and both squads failed to impress. EnVy gave fans more of the same that they had show at the previous Major, disappointing plenty. SMPR barely survived their group – which they were supposed to be favorites – only to be eliminated in their first playoffs game to Kermine Corp – another underdog.

So, it’s fair to say that any hope for EnVy at this point has been lost. It’s clear that losing Massimo “Atomic” Franceschi will force the squad to rework on themselves, and until they do, they’ll be putting underwhelming performances. Their showing at the second NA regional was slightly better, but still not enough for a team under the EnVy brand. As for SMPR, not all hope is lost. Still, their performance shows some serious red flags, and they will need to better prepare themselves going forward.

ROCKET LEAGUE’S FINEST

NRG won the first winter regional

It’s fair to say that right now, the two best teams from Europe and North America are, respectively, Team BDS and NRG. Both teams have performed very well recently, with the former winning the Fall Major and the latter finishing in second after completely dominating their region during the online era.

Coming for the first series of regional events in the Winter circuit, both teams were expected to at the very least reach top four – and so they did. NRG dominated their group and went to the upper-bracket in the playoffs. There, they demolished Oxygen, had a close battle against FaZe and comfortably defeated Spacestation Gaming in the grand-finals.

Team BDS in the other hand didn’t have such a smooth journey, though. Much like NRG, they dominated their group, and crushed Endpoint in their first playoffs game. However, they were then beaten by Team Queso in the UB Finals. Then, BDS faced another 0 – 4 defeat to Dignitas in the lower-bracket. While BDS finished in 3rd place, they failed to have the same impact as NRG did in their region, and they are looking far more beatable than their NA counterpart. The French-Spanish team still is one of the best in the world, but just not quite as threatening.

As for what’s next, after two North American regionals NRG is the first team to qualify for the Winter Major. Team BDS shouldn’t have any issues qualifying either. However, some might lower their expectations for what they can accomplish at the Major.

RISE OF THE UNDERDOGS

If you’re a fan of good underdogs stories, then you must have loved this batch of regional events. Team Queso obviously takes the spotlight as the English squad came all the way from the closed qualifiers to winning the first European regional. Williams Resolve and Oxygen Esports also deserve a mention as both overcome expectations to reach high placings.

However, it’s fair game to say that upsets have just started. In 2022, we should see more and more upsets happening in Rocket League. After all, teams such as Williams Resolve and Karmine Corp .are starting to touch on their full potential as a unit. Back in Fall last year, we saw plenty of roster moves happening, and most of them will start showing results now after all.

Still, while upsets should be more common, this doesn’t take anything from what these teams accomplished in the first regionals. Team Queso looked incredibly dominant for most of the event, only facing difficulties against William’s Resolve, for example.

Also, let’s not forget about Dignitas and Endpoint. While both teams have already proven that they can become elite teams, some might still be unconvinced by them. Well, at the first European regionals they shown once again why they are rising in the EU ranks. Each match from these two teams gives less and less reasons to doubt their potential. It’s underdog season, and Dignitas and Endpoint are on the vanguard!

LEVELING UP

Noble won the South American regional.

While I’ve talked mostly about the European and North American regionals, we can’t forget about other regions. Most specifically now, the first Winter event in South American saw an incredibly storyline coming from Noble.

While Noble is one of the strongest teams in SA, they hadn’t show signs of being a dominant force. During the tournament’s group stage, Noble finished in second of their group, and not much was expected from them. However, they went on to prove that they aren’t just one of the good teams in their region.

In the playoffs’ lower-bracket, Noble beat every other high ranked team from their region. This includes FURIA, eRa Eternity and KRU – and they beat all of them. Most impressively, they also shown to be very dominant, taking down KRU and eRa comfortably in their best-of-five series.

It’s safe to say that by winning the first South American regional, Noble got some eyes on them. They were considered a good team before, sure. Now, however they’ve shown that they can be more than just that. It’s early to consider them a global contender, sure. But they are on the right road to reach the top of their own region.

SETTING UP THE SECOND BATCH OF REGIONALS

The first series of regionals are over, and the second batch are already happening. The second NA regional already had its share of surprises. Now, we are sure that other regions will also have their own share of upsets and interesting developments.

So, make sure to follow us in order to not miss a beat about anything related to Rocket League esports!

@mjunior