A handful of teams dominated their respective regions during the Rocket League Championship Series spring split, but it will be anybody’s game when 16 of the best teams from around the world take the stage for the RLCS Spring Major from June 29 to July 3 in London.
For orgs like G2 and Team BDS, the tournament will be a chance to add to their trophy cases and bank accounts, but for others, the Spring Major has huge implications on seeding and/or entry into the RLCS World Championship in August.
Others -- specifically squads from the Oceania, South America, Asia-Pacific and Middle East & North Africa regions -- are out to end North America’s and Europe’s global RLCS supremacy.
Although it might feel a bit like a warm-up before the looming World Championship, there’s plenty on the line and several interesting storylines shaping up at the Spring Major.
The third and final Major will use a standard, tried-and-true double-elimination bracket, with all 16 teams beginning in the upper bracket. Matches in both the upper and lower brackets are best of five until the semifinals and final, which are best of seven. The lower bracket finalist must defeat the upper bracket finalist in two Bo7 series to be crowned champions.
Entry into the Spring Major was the same as the fall and winter editions, with five teams each from the NA and EU regions, two teams each from OCE and SAM, and one team each from APAC and MENA.
The total prize pool for the tournament is $300,000, with $90,000 set aside for first place.
As this is the final RLCS event before the World Championship, there’s much more on the line than another championship. Many teams are looking to lock in their spots -- either for the main event straightaway, or for an opportunity in the wild card tournament to reach the final 16. With only two of eight berths in the main event clinched and several more wild card slots open, that means points from performing well in this Major will be a huge factor for many.
Teams to watch
The favorites: G2 Esports, Team BDS
Photo credit: Psyonix
G2 have been on an absolute tear since landing Massimo “Atomic” Franceschi in a trade with Team Envy in January, with first-place finishes in three regional events (two of those during the spring split) and, of course, their championship at the Winter Major. There isn’t a hotter Rocket League team in the world right now, and they’re looking at a favorable road to at least the upper bracket semis, with an opening-round matchup against the Gaimin Gladiators out of the APAC region, followed by either FURIA Esports or Karmine Corp should they advance. G2 have already punched their ticket to the World Championship main event, though, so we’ll see if they play with the same edge as the last Major.
On a similar trajectory are Fall Major champions, Team BDS. They’ve kept the momentum going with another regional win during the winter, followed by two more in the spring and are likely poised to earn one of Europe’s two spots in the World Championship main event. Despite a wildly successful season thus far, BDS weren’t content to rest on their laurels heading into this split, signing Enzo “Seikoo” Grondein -- previously of Endpoint -- and bumping Marc “MaRc_By_8.” Domingo down to the bench. Their opening matchup against Team Secret out of the SAM region (composed of the former Erased roster) looks like a warm-up before the competition heats up with Spacestation Gaming or Pioneers in Round 2.
Serious contenders: Moist Esports, FaZe Clan
Photo credit: Psyonix
AKA, the only two teams to steal a regional event from G2 or BDS during this split.
After a quiet fall split, Team Queso turned it on, taking two of three EU regionals followed by a runner-up finish at the Winter Major. Then, the members of Team Queso got dropped and Moist came calling, signing the talented roster of Joe “Joyo” Young, Axel “vatira” Touret, and Finlay “rise.” Ferguson to contracts. They’ve cooled off slightly since, coming in second and fourth in spring events before knocking off Team BDS to come away victorious in the most recent tournament. Despite their slow start, Moist are one of the best squads in RLCS, and with their sights set on securing a berth in the main event at the World Championship, motivation won’t be an issue. Should they survive Team Envy in Round 1, their top competitor for that spot could be waiting in what would be a pivotal showdown with Endpoint.
Similarly, FaZe Clan did the unthinkable in the final NA regional by upending a molten hot G2 -- though, really, they’ve been methodically climbing the rankings all season. That was only their second RLCS event win of the season, but FaZe have finished fourth or better in six others, including both Majors. Bottom line, FaZe haven’t consistently played at their highest level, yet have proven to be a tough out all season and are going to the World Championship main event as a result. As for the Spring Major, their upper bracket path doesn’t seem too daunting, with a nice opening draw in PWR out of the OCE, followed by either EU’s Team Liquid or MENA’s Team Falcons.
Dark horses: Endpoint, FURIA Esports, Gaimin Gladiators, Team Falcons
Photo credit: Psyonix
If you want to bump Endpoint up to the contenders category, be our guest. For one thing, they’ve got a lot to play for here. Although they’ve already qualified for the wild card round of the World Championship, a strong showing at the Spring Major can propel the org straight into the main event. And since Seikoo left for BDS, they’ve gradually improved with Archie “archie” Pickthall on loan from SMPR Esports this split, going from 9th-12th to 5th-6th to a third-place finish in consecutive regionals. Endpoint are probably still a bit of a long shot as things stand now, but not so long that you should count them out.
As far as non-North American or European orgs are concerned, take a long look at FURIA Esports. Not only have they flat out owned the SAM region all season, winning six of nine RLCS events, but they’re starting to make waves in these international tourneys, too. At the Winter Major, FURIA finished 5th-6th -- only Team Falcons (formerly Sandrock Gaming) have gone similarly deep in a Major this season among teams outside NA or EU. Oh, and FURIA actually have a shot at cracking the main event in the World Championship, so another solid outing is crucial to lock that in.
Though the name on their shirts has changed, the roster that is now Team Falcons has not. Ahmad “Ahmad” Abdullah, Khalid “oKhaliD” Qasim and Yahya “Venom” Alghamdi dominated MENA as Sandrock, and they’re still dominating now. Winning. Every. Single. Regional. Event. This. Season. It’s a real shame they couldn’t travel to the U.S. for the Winter Major, because they showed something in the Fall Major with their 5th-8th finish.
Of course, you can’t really count any team out, especially when they’re somewhat unknown. This will be the first international RLCS tournament for the Gaimin Gladiators, in part because the team only came into existence late last year. The roster that previously competed as 3RATS fared well in regional events, and emerged from the special APAC qualifier for the region’s north and south competitors for the first time this split.
Opening round matchups
Play begins on June 29, and here are the games that will kick off the action at the RLCS Spring Major that will ultimately produce a champion on July 3.
- G2 Esports vs. Gaiman Gladiators
- FURIA Esports vs. Karmine Corp
- Version1 vs. Endpoint
- Moist Esports vs. Team Envy
- Team BDS vs. Team Secret
- Spacestation Gaming vs. Pioneers
- FaZe Clan vs. PWR
- Team Liquid vs. Team Falcons
Lead photo credit: Brian Bencomo