Man, what a time to be alive. The fall European circuit for the RLCS has come to an end, and we are left with our five EU representatives going to the Rotterdam Major. Europe had THE wildest roster shuffling we had ever seen in an offseason last summer. We saw new rosters formed such as Karmine Corp (Vatira, Exotiik and Itachi), G1 (Marc_by_8, Atomik and Dorito), and Solary (Chausette45, Fairy Peak and Kaydop). We saw some of the absolute best players in the world be available for pick up, such as Aztral (who went to Moist for Vatira), Joreuz (who formed the current Oxygen roster with other top players in Archie and Oaly), and Kash (who formed Goldbridge Ball alongside RelatingWave and Eekso before getting signed by Quadrant). We still also had a top tier team who had only ever played one split prior in Team Liquid. We even had some of the region's top players just flatout leave and move to North America (Crr, ApparentlyJack, and Noly). We even had (have) a young prodigy, who some say is already the best player in the world (talk about jumping the gun) in Zen, who is still banned from the RLCS. If you needed any sort of entertainment, then Europe was your region. And I didn’t even mention the reigning and defending world champions: Team BDS.
The first thing we learned is that being prepared before the start of the split, especially in a region as volatile as EU, is very, very important. Teams like Oxygen and KCorp, who formed entirely new rosters, hit the ground running, both being grand finalists of the first regional. On the other hand, Team Vitality got off to a very slow start when the red lights went out. They didn’t even qualify for the first regional, effectively ruining their chances of making the major, barring a miracle run. Now, to be fair to them, the miracle run almost did happen, but considering they only missed out on the major by 11 points, and having been in the running up until the final Saturday of the split, they will be kicking themselves for not performing at the first regional. One bad result can cost you your LAN spot.
On the contrary, the second thing we learned is that one good result can get you your LAN spot. Teams like Oxygen (who won the first regional), Liquid (who won the third regional), and Quadrant (who made grand finals in the second regional) all gathered at least half of their major-qualifying points in one singular event this split. Even Karmine Corp, who dominated the split, were considered shoo-ins for Rotterdam just after making the grand finals in regional 1. The same way how one bad result can end your major contention, one great result can almost guarantee it.
The third thing we learned is that the reason for this volatility in the EU circuit is due to the number of highly competitive teams and talent available. Teams like Williams Resolve, Solary, Aogiri, Tundra, Vitality, Evil Geniuses, G1 and BDS (wait, what?) all had a chance to make the major when the swiss stage of regional 3 kicked off. It was one of the most exciting online days of Rocket League ever, with all of the underdogs making it through swiss and having a chance to book a vacation with the Dutch. In the end, Team Liquid won the sweepstakes, taking the regional and the major spot away from Team BDS. The other side of the Atlantic (or your side :) depending on who’s reading this, greetings from America!) is filled with cut-throat competition at the RLCS level.
The fourth thing we learned is that past success does not equal future success. I feel like it was just a couple weeks ago we were in the 95 degree heat of Fort Worth (35 degrees Celsius, it is an EU recap after all) where Seikoo, Monkeymoon and Extra were lifting the trophy and earning the title (shoutout Marc) of RLCS World Champion. Yet, a mere three months later, here we are talking about how the last Fall Major champions have missed out on the upcoming Fall Major. Team BDS, honestly, didn’t even have that bad of a split. Two top 8s and getting knocked out in round 5 of swiss doesn’t sound the greatest, but the context cannot go unnoticed. Their first regional ended with them losing on Champions Field to Quadrant in the top 8. Their second regional, where they went 3-0 in swiss, gifted them a red hot Karmine Corp in the quarterfinals, who went on to win the whole event. Then their third regional ended with them being knocked out in round 5 of swiss by Team Liquid, who also went on to win the entire event. Some could argue that BDS’ lackluster results is simply down to the format/who they had to play against.
However, it seems that their issues were primarily off the field, as opposed to being on the field. Between Mew’s (the BDS coach) interview with LifeIsCool, along with a Monkeymoon tweet expressing his distress, it’s clear that the roster has been dealing with serious personal issues outside of the pitch. This definitely has posed to be a distraction for them (and for good reason) and is probably the root of their woes throughout the split. We have also seen similar distress from other players, namely Vatira, who apparently is even considering the option of dropping out of school due to the stress of exams, homework and assignments, alongside being a professional in his craft. The fifth thing we learned from this split is that your mental health isn’t just important, it’s a priority. You cannot do whatever you are called to do, in the way that you are supposed to do it, if your mental and emotional health is not in good standing. If you need to take a break, or if you need to reprioritize certain things in your life, do it. If you need to express it artistically, whether it's through drawing, painting, poetry or even just writing it in a journal, do it. If you need help, please, please reach out and seek it. If you have nobody else to talk to, my Discord is Don XXVII#6318. You are not alone in whatever you are dealing with, and as always, thanks for reading! God bless.
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