Today marks the start of the second round of regional events in the Winter Split of RLCS season 11, so could there be a better time to look back at regional one for all of the major regions and check out who took the wins? Were there any surprises or did everything go exactly as we were expecting? It’s worth remembering too that the first regional of the Winter Split directly followed the FIRST RLCS LAN event in around 2 years! So teams got a taste of the big stage again. More to play for, right?
Before we get started it’s worth noting that the winter split sees a change in format. The Fall split saw a Swiss Stage, followed by a single-elimination bracket for the playoffs, with the finals being contested in a Best of 3 Best of 7 series. So you had to play, potentially, 21 games in the grand final.
This split however features seeded league play, before a double-elimination bracket. Meaning those in the upper bracket get TWO bites of the cherry, once they lose they move to the Lower Bracket. Because of this, if you make it to the grand final from the Lower Bracket, you have to win TWO best of 7s to take gold. This is because the team from the Upper Bracket still has their life! Now that’s done, let’s get into it!
North America (NA)
Moving from the LAN into RLCS Regional 1 for NA was an interesting one, the offseason saw plenty of BIG transfers, firstly we saw EnVy & G2 trading Atomic for Dreaz which was a pretty big move. Atomic has been a huge name in the scene for many years and Dreaz is considered the new blood coming through. Next, Allushin after absolutely killing it at the LAN for FaZe was released, he was picked up by EnVy as the, uh checks notes, coach… Interesting.
To replace him FaZe took Sypical from Spacestation Gaming (SSG) which was a massive transfer, SSG replaced him with Daniel, those who are new to the scene might not know of him but he’s a 15-year-old prodigy who only become eligible to play in the RLCS in December 2021. Spoiler alert, Daniel was fantastic in regional 1.
ANYWAY NA teams didn’t exactly perform up to scuff at the Fall Major. FaZe started 3-0 in the Swiss stage, NRG went through 3-2 having to go to day 3 of the Swiss, Complexity made it through 3-1 after their transition from SAM to NA. But Envy and G2 both went out in the Swiss stage which was crazy to see, NRG eventually made it to the final but would they keep it up in the Winter Split?
Yes, they did. NRG took the first regional of the winter split rather comfortably honestly, they 3-0’d the group, met a very solid looking FaZe in the upper bracket Semi-Final where they went to game 7, winning 4-3. FaZe then dropped to the Lower Bracket Final where Sypical saw his old team SSG. SSG took the LB-Final 4-2 to set up an absolute classic against NRG which, unfortunately, for SSG fans at least, saw NRG take the win. 4-2
South America (SAM)
Next up, RLCS South America! LAN didn’t really go as planned for SAM, eRa Eternity was knocked out of the Swiss stage on day one going out 0-3 with FURIA making it to day 2 but eventually going out 1-3, getting knocked out by Renegades from OCE. The old True Neutral boys now repping NA however did well as previously mentioned, which I guess is a win for the SAM region too right?
Regional 1 for SAM saw True Neutral putting up their new roster, formerly Endlxss Team (Klawzt, Navarro and Crs, as coach and Seck promoted from the True Neutral Academy team.) and unfortunately, their split got off to a terrible start, dropping out in the group stage after going 0-3. TN really haven’t had an ideal return to the SAM region as an organisation, meanwhile, their old roster is kind of thriving in NA.
The other big names in SAM had decent regionals though with both eRa and Noble making it to the Upper Bracket Final and Lower Bracket Finals respectively, Noble moved onto the final where they played KRÜ Esports, taking a 2 set victory 4-1 4-1. Great result for Noble who will be looking to push on and get their names in the running for the Winter Major! Fantastic start to the split from them!
Alright, time for the next MAJOR region, RLCS Europe. EU had a pretty great showing at the Major, with 4 of the 5 teams representing the region making it to the playoffs, only Vitality fell short and honestly, I’d say the teams in the Major carried their form over into the Winter Split for the most part! There weren’t many huge transfers to take a look at for the EU other than some rosters disbanding.
BDS, Endpoint and Semper all started somewhat how you’d expect from them, all comfortably making it to the playoffs. However, Semper did come 3rd in their group with a 2-1 record, surprisingly having their group topped by Williams Resolve? Dignitas however qualified 3rd in their group with a 1-2 record, Team Queso topped their group.
The Upper Bracket Finals saw Team BDS playing Queso. BDS the reigning LAN champions just couldn’t get it going against the cheese boys, getting sent to the Lower Bracket Final losing FOUR-0 only managing 2 goals, 1 in game 1 and one in game 2. In the LB-Final they came up against Dignitas who were on the up again after a poor group stage. So how did they do against Dignitas..? Yeah Dignitas won 4-0, perfect sweep. BDS couldn’t even register a SINGLE goal. Outrageous.
The final was a different kettle of fish altogether however, goals galore, Team Queso absolutely flying. Picking up what was only their SECOND regional win as an organisation, the first coming against Solary back in RLCS X, they did also have a 2nd place finish against Top Blokes (now Semper) but that’s about it, is this the start of a bright future for Team Queso? Only time will tell!
Coming into this split I honestly don’t think anybody could see a team other than Renegades or Ground Zero Gaming winning an RLCS regional and honestly, regional 1 started almost exactly as I would have expected. Renegades topped their group, Dire Wolves topped their group, R!OT Gaming topped their group, Ground Zero Gaming uhhh, came second in their group?? Behind Wildcard Gaming, Wildcard by name Wildcard by nature huh?
ANYWAY, Renegades set up a match in the UB-Final with Dire Wolves where they ended up getting knocked down to the LB Final, Dire Wolves taking that one 4-1 moving onto the grand final, Ground Zero on the other hand got knocked out in round 2 of the Lower Bracket, losing out 3-2 to Forkidden who went onto the LB-Final, where they dished up a second defeat in a row for Renegades, both 4-1.
Dire Wolves Vs Forkidden in the final then, a final I don’t think anybody expected to see. Yet here we were. Forkidden took games 1 and 2, before what can only be described as an emphatic fight back by Dire Wolves, winning game 3 SEVEN GOALS to 2. After that Dire Wolves mostly controlled the game to win their first-ever regional event in the RLCS. Could we see them make a charge for a space at LAN? RLCS OCE could get spicy!
Closing thoughts on the first RLCS Winter Split regionals
And that’s going to do it for me today! Those who know me know I’m a gigantic fan of Rocket League Esports, as a player who floats between diamond and champ in 3s, the pro scene absolutely blows my mind. It would be interesting to see how many other RLCS fans we have in the community and for those fans, who is your favourite team?
Personally, I like to see EU teams do well, I have a soft spot for Sandrock Gaming from MENA but mostly follow as a neutral, I just LOVE top tier Rocket League! Keep your eyes peeled for more RLCS roundups moving forward! Take care folks and stay safe!