Top 6 NA Team Expectations
North America has the highest viewership of any region, fan favourites like Squishy, Turbo and Arsenal, and some of the best plays and storylines you’ll see in any esport. The only crux is that success there is so incredibly volatile. Any victory is hard fought, but there are some teams that come out on top more than others. With the new season starting, the fan theories and speculative callouts from Rocket League Esports fans are at an all time high, and it’s great to see, so I thought I’d throw my hat into the ring with how I think the top dogs of last season’s North American region will perform this time round.
(Jstn, GarrettG, Squishy)
Let’s be real, with the talent of jstn, consistency and drive of Garrett and seemingly random spurts of gold from Squishy, stuck together by the beast that is Sizz, these boys will be aiming for nothing less than another RLCS Champion accolade to add to their ever expanding repertoire. They had a very… interesting offseason. Jstn took a break from competitive gameplay (not that I’m holding that against him- we all know how enraging this game can be, but looks to be back in full swing and making a case for one of the best players in the world, if not the best. Garrett is obviously known for competing at every single LAN, but a lesser known fact is that he recently became the second ever player to score 1500 goals in S tier events. What’s more, he did it on one team. No one gets that far based purely off of luck, and it’s very feasible he’s the first to that 2000 mark. The third player on this deadly lineup is Squishy, who is by far the weakest on the team. This isn’t necessarily a criticism of him, as if either of his teammates were the weakest, you might as well give them the prize money now. Squishy isn’t as mechanical as he once was, and had a very lacklustre season 8 and 9 (and when I say lacklustre, I mean second last in RLCS 8, so the appropriate term might be closer to atrocious). He definitely stepped up last season and although he isn’t the mechanical god he once was, he’s transformed into one beast of an enabler. To complete the roster, you’ve got Sizz. People underestimate how important coaches are, but he is arguably one of the two best coaches of all time, being able to integrate Squishy into the line-up, and lead them to win so many tournaments extremely soon after the conception of their most recent line-up. Seeing their 3-0 qualification for Regional 1 through the Invitational Qualifier stopped any doubt that they could underperform going into the first split. My guess is that they’re going to be a top 2 NA seed going into the Stockholm major, with the potential of #3 if we see multiple teams play out of their mind (but even then, I highly doubt we’re getting two teams outperform this well oiled machine).
(Turbopolsa, Mist, Atomic)
You know how I said that Garrett was the second ever person to reach the 1500 goal total? Well Turbopolsa was the first. He also has more RLCS titles than the rest of active North America combined (we’re not counting Kronovi because he’s currently a substitute and not on a starting roster. The winningest player of all time, taking home the season 3, 4, 5 and 8 RLCS trophies, whilst also being the MVP for seasons 4 and 8. You may think I’m singing his praises a bit too much, but it can’t be understated how dominant he once was. His season X form was insane too, not taking a major, but instead 4 regionals, including 3 back-to-back. It wasn’t just him pulling off these record-breaking feats though, he had company. The first of his two teammates, and in my opinion, someone who was a top 5 player for his region last season, is Mist. Mist had some of the best decision making in all of NA, being an offensive powerhouse for his team, working well with some of the best support play in the entire region. The player finishing out this 3 man death squad is Atomic. Previously playing on Ghost with Mist, these two already have good chemistry, but being able to slot in with Turbo as well as he has means the opportunities to play first man have been plentiful. Atomic completes the roster in such a perfect way, and when on form, they could beat any other on form team. From what I (and the rest of the community) saw, they lost motivation to play, scrim and grind once it was announced that there wouldn’t be a worlds, meaning they had a sub-par championships. Now we know that there are LANs and a Worlds to work towards, I fully expect Envy to enter a different gear. Not only will Turbo have the home field advantage for the first LAN, but the team will have something even more dangerous and elusive, a reason to play more than 20 minutes a day… I see Envy also being a top 2 seed in their region across the entire season. Their first season together was amazing, and it’s surely only upwards from here, as they could get over the jitters of being newly formed without the pressure of throwing away a Worlds title. The promise of consistency is there, and the potential motivation is all but confirmed. All in all, they’re one of my favourites to make runs and even take the trophy, not just of the first major, but even the entirety of RLCS
(Firstkiller, AyyJayy, Allushin)
So far I’ve only gone over teams that haven’t made a roster change. Well, FaZe did, and arguably the biggest one of the entire offseason. Over the course of season X, people talked about whether Firstkiller or jstn was the best player in the world, and what it would be like having a team with them combined. Unfortunately, we didn’t get that, we got the next best thing, a Firstkiller to FaZe transfer. After watching AYYJAYY and Firstkiller dominate the recent Dreamhack 2v2 circuit, a lot of people (myself included) brushes it off as ‘well of course they were going to win, they’re some of the best offensive players in the world’, and nothing more. Well, they went that one step further and officially became teammates. Qualifying through the Invitational bracket tied 1st with NRG, they’ve entered the scene firing on all cylinders. I don’t think they had the absolute hardest matchups, but they were dominant in every single game of every single series, pretty much without a falter. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think they’re going to be topping their region, but they’ll be giving it a red hot go. They had a very disappointing conclusion to their last season, with their old squad of AYYJAYY, Allushin and Gyro getting decimated in the Championships (getting 3 of the 4 lowest fantasy scores in the entire event, and I’m still not over how badly AYYJAYY let me down). They were constantly pushing for a top 6 spot, and only confirmed it once they won a playoff series in game 7 of the final major of the year against Shopify Rebellion (who they also knocked out of contention of the exact same Championship spot). Firstkiller was the carry on Rogue, but only after Taroco joined, so don’t expect him to solo carry. FaZe also has their own Taroco, but going under the name of Allushin. He’s got great offensive potential, but more and more you’re going to be seeing how important the likes of Roll Dizz, Turbo and Allushin are. They’re enablers, and damn good ones at that too. Allushin is one of the best in all of North America, and if he can get it right, then it’s all up to Firstkiller and AYYJAYY to slam it home downfield. As much as they have the potential, and an amazing showing in the qualifiers, I’m not entirely convinced they will have the consistency to pull off what, on paper, they should be doing. Between AYYJAYY being notorious for sleeping in and missing scrims/showmatches/literally any important event, Firstkiller still being a child (not unlike 98% of the mechanical beasts in the Rocket League Esports scene) and Allushin probably being restricted, or at the very least feeling like he has to play restricted, I’m not sold on their success. I’ll believe it when I see it, but until then, I’m looking at them hovering around the 4/5th, and being a massive hit or miss at LANs.
(Chicago, JKnaps, Dreaz)
This is an immortal roster, with the longest standing duo of Chicago and JKnaps representing it. They had an interesting and quite frankly disappointing 80% of their season. Rizzo consistently struggled, whereas Chicago and JKnaps were always bagging themselves high Octane.gg scores, placing top 5 in all of their region. They were always top 6, but just that. No more. No less. Once Rizzo stepped down and added the prodigy of dreaz (not Dreaz, as he’ll remind you on twitter) things were looking up for them. They managed to make the spring split major an impressive showing, losing only to NRG in groups and again in the finals, after an incredible run. Once more, they went 2-1 in their Best of Set against NRG in the Championships. Think about that once more. They took on a 15 year old as a temporary replacement for Rizzo, and got to the finals of their first major, and semi-finals of the Championships, losing to NRG and literally no one else. This is a team that has the potential to play so well, given that they were looking to sign Firstkiller instead of dreaz. Now, the FK deal was (I’m pretty sure) out of their hands, but they decided to stick it out and persevere. They’ve even got Jahzo as their coach, who managed to find a way to integrate dreaz into their very unique playbook. He’s going to be the biggest variable for them this season. They have a playstyle that resembles a slightly more organised ex-Queso (now Giants). Still heavy on the offense, but with some semblance of rotation, when worked on, this team could do some serious damage. The start of the season may be a bit rocky for them, and I don’t know if I have full confidence in them making any sort of run in Stockholm, but they managed to qualify 3-5th in the Invitational Qualifier, which is higher than I expected them to place. This new and ever improving G2 roster should really be able to take at least one regional this season, depending on form, but it’s truly a matter of if they can turn up day after day against increasingly cutthroat opponents. They’ll be content with a top 3/4 finish, and it doesn’t seem too far-fetched, but I don’t see them doing any better than that.
(Sypical, Retals, Arsenal)
Spacestation Gaming never really had a dull point in their season, winning both the first regional and major in the first split. They also managed to take a regional in third split, and their drought between that was pretty much solely due to NRG and Envy battling it out like the titans they are. Never dropping out of the top 3 for the 10 months that season X spanned, and an impressive performance to reach 2nd place in all of North America, Arsenal, Retals and Sypical deserve all the praise they get. Although bootcamping didn’t have the desired effect, they weren’t diabolical, and still got consistent results. After finishing first in league play in season 9, they had a lot to prove, and they did, Staying 1st in points for the majority of the season, and only falling to 3rd towards the end of the season, as NRG picked up pace faster than ever before. Sypical was a top 5 player in North America last season, maybe even top 3 depending on who you ask, and for the first third of the season, made a case for being the best in the world. Retals, who despite being the second worst mechanical player out of all the pros (after Turbopolsa- obviously), stepped up even more than the jump between the Knights and his first season with SSG. His rotations were incredibly solid, passing was pristine and most importantly, smack talking was at an all-time high. It even led to the Europe vs North America saga we got through the all star team showmatches and SMAD. Arsenal as always, was a joy to watch too. His mechanics and game sense combined meant that he would bag highlight play after highlight play in recaps. Despite some small drops in performance, he would be my pick for the most consistent player on the team and arguably any pitch he’s on. With the addition of Sathew as a new coach, and Chrome staying on as an assistant coach, it means there’ll be even more time dedicated towards reaching the top of their region, and that’s exactly what they’ll do. They have the capacity more than anyone, and they’ve all got high level LAN experience. They’ll see a semi-final appearance at Stockholm as ‘decent, but could be better’, and it’s for this reason I can all but guarantee their placement in the top 3 of their region, and consistently making appearances in the top 4 at LANs.
(Gyro, Taroco, Turinturo)
This team is in a dire position, and that’s the only way to put it. They finished 6th in their region for RLCS 8, 8th in season 9, and only managed to find form in RLCS X once ex-Plot Twist member Taroco (aka TaRock) joined forces with Firstkiller and Turinturo. Granted, this was an insane team, jumping numerous spots on the leaderboard, and taking back to back regionals (missing out on the major in between though- that one fell to NRG). Before this point, they were hobbling along with Kronovi, a member of the old guard that hasn’t adapted his playstyle enough for the new meta, especially not that of FK. This lead to one too many early eliminations in tournaments, and ultimately ended Kronovi’s time on Rogue, and the Rocket League Esports spotlight in general. Plot Twist splitting up had the same effect on the North American scene as the old old Barcelona roster did on Europe. 3 players went to different teams, and they all started destroying. None quite as much as the new Rogue team though. Consistently able to take down teams like The Peeps/FaZe, G2, SSG (this one was rare though) and even NRG in back to back regionals. Taroco was such a good third man, enabling an already flourishing Turinturo, who had joined the team in place of Wonder at the end of season 9, and had already left his mark as a brilliant first man with his aerial sharpshooting, and Firskiller, who was no longer but a mere child anymore, but an unstoppable force. Rogue’s success was Taroco and Firstkiller, with Turinturo filling what few gaps and errors were left over. That isn’t the case anymore. After Rogue and FaZe did an inadvertent trade with Gyro and Firstkiller, Rogue has been left significantly worse off. Now relying on Turinturo for all their offence, it’s not impossible, but not something I see panning out for the better. Their offence has been crippled and Gyro is nowhere near as strong of a second man than FK, it’s looking like chronic failure is all that Rogue fans are to deal with to start off. It’s not completely the end of the world if you support this team. You might have heard of someone named Daniel. The kid who came up out of seemingly nowhere to now battling for top spots on every single MMR leaderboard? Yeah, that one. Well, he turns 15 in December, meaning he’s only a couple months away from being eligible to play in the RLCS. What’s more, various leaks, sources and rumours say that he’s committed to Rogue. Think about it; how much money will Rogue have made off of the Firstkiller deal? How much will it take to convince a 15 year old to join a team that he’ll be the star of? It’s not confirmed, but it’s enough to give some fans hope, and that’s what matters right now. It’s genuinely hard to give a prediction to this team. If it stays the same, with no Daniel, they’ll be lucky to make the top 8, and won’t qualify for a single major. They were the third last team to qualify for the entire thing, only beating Version1 (pretty shocking that they were that low actually) and Charlotte Phoenix. If they get Daniel in the December trade window, they could still try and bad themselves a top 6/8 placement or even a major qualification (not that I’d have faith for them in a LAN scenario)
Side note: to me and a lot of other people, Gyro was a better player than Allushin in theory, but you have to realise that Allushin is more valuable on the current FaZe roster than Gyro, as we’re comparing who can let their teammates be free to do whatever they please.
Summarised in one sentence
Should be heavy hitters out the gate, they could take a major and definitely multiple regionals
My favourites to go the furthest, Mist and Atomic are stepping and up again and again, whilst Turbopolsa continues to be Turbopolsa
Despite their potential on paper, might not go as well as you expect them to (fingers crossed)
Their success lies with what Jahzo/Sathew can do with dreaz, Chicago and JKnaps are too good already
Are incredibly consistent and will continue to be fan favourites, expecting big things from them
Please for the love of God let them get Daniel so they at least have some sort of chance