The Rocket League Championship Series (RLCS) kicked off this weekend and it delivered beautiful plays, clutch moments, and exciting storylines. It was one of the biggest opening weekends in RLCS history, so let's forego the intro and jump right into what stories you need to know.
It seemed like no matter how well eUnited performed at the Season 8 World Championship, they were destined to come into Season 9 as underdogs. They got to work in Week 1 and destroyed that notion almost immediately. They torched Cloud9 in a dominant 3-0 sweep that proved they're more than underdogs—they're bonafide contenders.
eUnited was led by a breakout performance from Jackson "ayjacks" Carter, who scored two goals, dished two assists, and stonewalled Cloud9 with eight saves. Those numbers led to him earning the honor of North American RLCS Player of the Day, and helped give eUnited a 1-0 record to start the season. He and the rest of eUnited have an attackable match up with Ghost Gaming in Week 2 that could easily result in a huge 2-0 start to the season. If eUnited continues to build on last year's impressive rookie season, they've got a great chance at earning their second-straight appearance at Worlds. We still need a larger sample size for this season, but the early signs are promising.
If we're being completely honest, G2 Esports would love to forget about last season. The team's lackluster performance not only led to them missing the World Championship, but also to them being sent to the Promotion Tournament to fight for their spot in the RLCS. Thanks to perhaps the most superhuman effort in Rocket League Esports history by Jacob "JKnaps" Knapman, G2 Esports earned their spot back into the RLCS for Season 9.
Their first match back did not disappoint. They were matched up against a newly revamped Rogue roster that now features Wunderkind, Jason "firstkiller" Corral. G2 Esports rose to the challenge, demolishing Rogue in a 3-0 thrashing that was led by none other than the Knapsack (JKnaps). It was a hugely promising start for a team that faced significant adversity last season, but chose to stick together and work back to the form that sent them to the Season 7 World Championship Grand Finals. It may be a bit early to call it now, but all signs point to G2 Esports being back and ready to contend for the North American title.
The expectations for TSM coming into the season were understandably low. They lost one of Europe's biggest talents, Yanis "Alpha54" Champenois, to Renault Vitality and replaced him with Joonas "Mognus" Salo. Mognus was fresh off a demotion to the Rival Series as part of the now-disbanded Complexity roster. On paper, it was one of the biggest downgrades of the off-season, but it didn't feel that way on Sunday.
TSM had a lot on their plate as their first-week match was against a Dignitas squad who was red hot after a huge performance at the Season 8 World Championship. TSM quickly went up 2-0 before dropping the next three games in a razor-close reverse sweep. Most people had TSM pegged for a shellacking, but the trio held strong and nearly pulled off a massive upset. The outcome may have not been a win, but it was proof that TSM could hang with the top dogs in Europe. If TSM goes back to the drawing board to make a few tweaks to spark the offense, they could easily start putting quality wins on the board. If anything, TSM proved that it's dangerous to sleep on any team at this level, especially if they've got a chip on their shoulders.
mousesports scored the biggest free agent in the off-season by swooping up Kyle "Scrub Killa" Robertson who was dropped by Renault Vitality in favor of Alpha54. The move instantly catapulted mousesports into European RLCS contender status. Scrub Killa's potent mix of playmaking ability coupled with an uncanny knack for defensive heroics has made him one of the biggest names in the game. Fans clamored for a chance to see how he'd mesh with his new teammates, Francesco "kuxir97" Cinquemani and Jack "Speed" Packwood-Clarke.
When mousesports hit the pitch against AS Monaco, they immediately dropped the first game. Just as the alarm bells were about to start ringing, mousesports found their stride taking two straight overtime victories and rounding out the series with a sound 2-0 win in Game 4. As the series went on, Speed and Scrub Killa formed a two-headed attack that was anchored by the reliable veteran and legend, kuxir97. With that being said, mousesports still has chemistry issues to sort out, but that's normal for a newly formed team. This is especially true at RLCS-level competition, where the smallest misstep can spell disaster. If mousesports continues to build their team synergy, they could easily become one of the most dangerous teams in Europe come Regional Championship time.
Make sure to tune in on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. PST (7:30 p.m. UTC) and on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. PST (4:30 p.m. UTC) on Twitch and YouTube as the teams hit the field for Week 2 of League Play. Don't forget to follow us on Twitter to keep up to date with all things Rocket League Esports!