The RLCS World Championship wildcard stage has come to a close. All of the ups and downs that are required to find the eight teams that will be added to the main event are now over. I am here to bring you my three underdog teams from the wildcard stage to look out for as the main event gets underway.
Renegades is a team that a lot of people had low expectations for coming into the wildcard. They, thankfully, proved some of their doubters wrong by going 3-1 in the swiss stage. The Oceanic roster that consists of CJCJ, Kamii and Fever took down the likes of Bravado Gaming, Team Secret, and Optic Gaming. The only loss that was handed to them was courtesy of arguably the most in-form duo in the world: Aztral and Noly. I think that this team can make a ton of noise in the group stage, and has the potential to pull off major upsets against some of the best teams in the world. Fever, in particular, has been playing exceptionally well. He has arguably been the best player that their region has to offer for a while now, and he’s finally being able to show that on the biggest stage this season. Kamii is another seasoned veteran who definitely has the speed to be able to keep up at a high level, and CJCJ rounds this all out with his long time experience playing at these offline events. Their first match of the group stage will be against Team BDS, a team that has severely underperformed at the last two majors, as well as a team that got swept by another OCE team in Pioneers at the Spring Major. Renegades will be hoping to pull off the same sort of upset this time around.
I couldn’t really find a way to write this article without mentioning SMPR Esports. They are a team that some people felt didn’t even deserve to be here, with a large portion of their world championship qualifying points coming from a player who is loaned out to another team in Archie. Trying to replace a player of that caliber, even just for one split, can be a very tall task indeed. Despite the negative doubters, and just flatout haters, SMPR have pulled off no easy feat in going undefeated in the swiss stage. The all French roster of Kassio, Chausette and ExoTiik pulled off back to back sweeps against Team Secret and Pioneers, while also taking Spacestation Gaming to Champions Field and winning in game 7. Chausette is no stranger to having big performances on the world stage, most famously known for his Dreamhack Valencia performance where he popularized the Fennec back on PSG. Kassio and ExoTiik have been punching above their weight with their performances on the pitch and it’s all tied together with the great chemistry they seem to have. I believe that this team has a huge chip on their shoulder, and they’ll be looking to prove themselves against Archie’s new team, Endpoint, in their first group stage matchup. Don’t be surprised if this team makes it into the playoff stage of the tournament.
The formerly known as Team Envy roster, who are now under the title of the legendary Optic Gaming, are the final team that I have to look out for in the group stage and beyond. This roster has everything you need in order to pull off upsets at the top level of the RLCS. Mist is a veteran player, former Dreamhack Montreal winner with The Peeps, and is a player known for pulling off jaw dropping clutch saves that don’t even seem possible. Then you have a player in Dreaz (also known as dreaz) who started off his career playing with two of the smartest veterans in Chicago and Jknaps. His gifted 1v1 talent means that he is capable of creating goals out of thin air it seems at times, and he is no stranger to playing under immense pressure. You combine all of this with another experienced veteran in Allushin, who seems to step up when the lights are at their brightest, you have all of the makings of a team capable of taking a series off of any top team in the world. They open up their voyage into the group stage against tough opposition in G2 Esports. They are no stranger to G2, and when you’re being helped by Mr. Four-time Turbopolsa himself, anything can happen. Don’t be surprised if we see this team make it into the playoff bracket in Dickies Arena.
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