RLCS League Play Week 1 Recap: North America - Upcomer
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RLCS Season 6 finally kicked off with League Play for North America on Saturday. After an off-season with a lot of roster changes (though most of them in Europe), the biggest Rocket League tournament continued with its first-ever $1 million prize pool.

Before we begin with the recap, however, a very important announcement was made halfway through the day. Whereas Psyonix usually waits far too long with announcing the location and dates for the World Championship, they broke the news on the very first day of league play this time that the RLCS Season 6 LAN will be held on November 9-11 in the Orleans Arena, Las Vegas! This is a welcome change for all the fans, who often had to wait for the announcement up to just four weeks before the event began and therefore could not make it.

With that out of the way, let’s look at how the teams in North America did.

Match 1: Flyquest vs. Allegiance

The very first match-up of this season’s RLCS was one between two newcomers, both promoted from RLRS. It was no surprise that the series was incredibly balanced with games—and goals—continuously going back and forth.

While Allegiance took the first game in the best-of-5, Flyquest fought their way back and won the following two series to bring the score up to 2-1 in their favour. But it wasn’t an easy fight. Every time Flyquest put a goal on the board, Allegiance quickly responded and equalised. After going up 2-1 in the series and requiring just one more win to secure their first victory in RLCS, however, Allegiance kept doing what they’d been doing and brought the series to game five.

Game five was the series in a nutshell: extremely balanced between two recently promoted teams. In the end, overtime was necessary after a 0-0 draw, which was ended with an incredible backboard goal from Allushin, punishing Flyquest’s mistakes like he’d been doing all series long. With that goal, he secured the first ever win in RLCS for him and his team, Allegiance.

Final score: 2-3

Match 2: Cloud9 vs. Rogue

Cloud9 starts RLCS after a very strong off-season and is perhaps the most dangerous team in North America, while Rogue comes off a roster change with Joro replacing Insolences. While they hoped to take one or perhaps even two games off C9, nobody doubted C9’s ability to win the series.

But Rogue quite simply couldn’t match C9’s pace and individual skill. Jacob played a fairly strong game, but Joro struggled to keep up and Sizz failed to perform at the level that was necessary to even challenge C9.

Cloud9 took the series in a 3-0 sweep with relative ease and continue their strong performance from the off-season. They look to be the team to beat in North America this season, and if they are ever going to claim that World Championship, this is the time.

It would be unfair to judge Rogue on a single series against one of the best teams in the world, but if they want a shot at going to Vegas, or even to avoid the relegation tournament, they will have to step up their game for the rest of the season.

Final score: 3-0

Match 3: Evil Geniuses vs. Ghost

EG and Ghost, both sporting their new teammates with Chicago and Memory respectively, were on paper the teams to be fighting each other for the (likely) final LAN spot after Cloud9, NRG, and G2 are expected to take the others. It was going to be extra interesting to see who would take the very important win between these two teams.

Chicago had a strong performance and had no problem keeping up at the highest level, which is exactly what EG needed to take the series 3-2. Ghost dreamed of a reverse sweep after going down 2-0, but EG remained calm and collected to secure their first victory this season in game five.

Still, it’s only the first day of league play, so Ghost has plenty of time to catch up to their direct competitors. Memory, like Chicago, managed to keep up with the rest and looks to be a worthy new addition to RLCS.

Final score: 3-2

Match 4: G2 vs. Allegiance

Allegiance played their second series against one of the favourites, G2. Expected to take one of the top three spots, G2 performed according to plan, taking the series in a sweep.

It’s a loss Allegiance can afford after coming off a win and playing against one of the top teams, but with the tie-breaker being Game Differential followed by Win Percentage, every win in every series matters, whether you lose it or not.

G2 showed up strong with solid defence and reliable offense. They will be fighting for a top-2 spot for straight qualification, but it won’t be easy with the likes of NRG and C9 having the same goals. If they can perform to their potential though, G2 is a force to be reckoned with.

Final score: 3-0

Match 5: NRG vs. Flyquest

Flyquest, a newcomer, had to play last season’s grand finals runner-up, NRG, who missed out on becoming World Champions from a loss to Dignitas with a single goal in game seven overtime. Quite the task for Flyquest to try to take their first win of the season against them.

NRG immediately came out of the gates blazing, scoring goal after goal, looking incredibly solid in offense, barely even allowing Flyquest to escape their pressure. Game one alone ended in 5-0.

Flyquest stepped up their game though, improving both offense and defense, and boldly took game two, levelling the series to 1-1. While they continued to put up an impressive performance against one of the favourites, Flyquest didn’t manage to pull in another win and lost the series 3-1. Still, Flyquest can be confident going into the rest of the season after a strong series.

NRG secured their first victory of the season with many more expected to follow. They showed dominance and solidity, and the other teams will have to play their absolute best to keep NRG from taking first place.

Final score: 3-1

The final standing after week one, then, isn’t far off what many people expected.

Michael Kloos is a Dutch esports journalist and enthusiast with a particular like of Rocket League and VALORANT. He is also an avid fantasy/sci-fi reader and writer. He spends most of his time trying not to be in the real world.