- Delayed RLCS Season 9 peaks at over 141,000 viewers.
- Cloud9 look to be in trouble.
- Dignitas start title defence with a win.
- Scrub Killa makes his long-awaited debut for mousesports.
After a week of delays and uncertainty of the stability of the servers the Rocket League Championship Series kicked off its 9th season this weekend with the commencement of North America and European regular league.
This was backed up by the viewership - Saturday's North American League Play peaked at 141,000 concurrent viewers - the sort of numbers previously only seen during World Championship LANs.
But if you missed all the action from this weekend, don’t worry! Each week we will recap all the action from RLCS Season 9 - keeping you up to date with everything that is going on.
RLCS Season 9 Week 1 - North American Round-up
The weekend kicked off with Pittsburgh Knights vs Flights. The newly-promoted Flights started strong winning the first two games, but Pittsburgh Knights coming off a strong Worlds performance and the signing of Austin “Ayyjayy” Aebi, by game 3 had found attacking cohesion and successfully completed the reverse sweep.
NRG Esports started their title defence with a 3-2 win against the other promoted side - Soniqs Esports. Soniq will take a lot of heart going into the rest of the season with their performance against the best side in the world. In Nathan "Shock" Frommelt they have a player who played with a composure and intelligence far above his experience level and they have shown enough about them to pick up points in a season where survival is the goal. NRG, unchanged since their RLCS Season 8 Championship win, looked a bit slow, but they got the win and you know they are just warming up.
It was the worse start possible for Cloud9 losing to eUnited 3-0, much has already been said about Cloud9’s roster moves or lack thereof but going off this performance they could easily find themselves in another relegation battle this season. It was easy work for eUnited, who looked clinical, but sadly for Cloud9 fans, bigger tests await.
Up next was Spacestation vs Ghost Gaming. There was a routineness to Spacestations 3-1 win that will worry fans of Ghost. New signing Nick “Mist” Costello played well making a couple of crucial saves in game 3 to secure Ghost their one win. But if they want to stay in the RLCS they will need to collectively raise their game with Braxton “Allushin” Lagarec, in particular, needing to cut out the defensive mistakes in his game.
Ending the day was Rogue and G2. All eyes were on Jason “firstkiller” Corral, Rogue’s 15-year wunderkind making his debut in the RLCS. The early signs were good, firstkiller plays with a speed and energy that few players can match. However, it wasn’t enough to get the better of a G2 side who are looking to re-establish themselves at the top of the RLCS after last season’s struggles. In many ways, the three of Jacob “JKnaps” Knapman, Reed “Chicago” Wilen and Dillon “Rizzo” Rizzo are a perfectly balanced team and if they keep playing like this an appearance at LAN is a given.
RLCS Season 9 Week 1 - European Round-up
Team Reciprocity finished 1st in Season 8 league play and they showed why in their game vs Team Singularity, beating them 3-1. Victor “Ferra” Francal impressed enough to pick up the player of the day award. A LAN appearance is a given for this team, it’s about what they can do once they’re there that will measure their success. Team Singularity, promoted last season from the RLRS, will be pleased with their performance and they will know that easier opponents await them.
Renault Vitality’s game against Team Endpoint marked the first official game since the French-side replaced Kyle “Scrub Killa” Robertson with Yanis "Alpha54" Champenois. And while they ultimately won 3-1 it is not yet clear if this is an upgrade or more of a sideways step. They wanted Alpha54 in because Scrub Killa couldn’t communicate in French so it’s clear that Vitality feel there is another level to go in their attacking play. It might be a few weeks until we see the reasoning in their decision.
The match from FC Barcelona and Veloce Esports was the battle of two sides that don’t really excite, it was close, but unremarkable with Barcelona winning 3-2 with Aldin “Ronaky” Hodzic being the stand out player. Based on this performance both sides will be happy to make LAN.
SCARAB IN THE RLCS MAKING PLAYS!@FCBeSports takes Game 1. Don't miss any more action, tune in below 👇— Rocket League Esports (@RLEsports) February 9, 2020
Team SoloMid have a lot to prove going into this season, and in their game against Dignitas, they went a long way to answering the lingering questions about their roster. New signing Joonas “Mognus” Salo was a force in defence and attack, but it wasn’t enough to defeat Dignitas who are hoping to build on a successful Worlds. In Maello “Aztral” Ernst, Dignitas have a player who can do things others can’t - he was at the heart of every attack and if he keeps up this form they can win it all.
The last match of the day was one of the most anticipated. The signing of Scrub Killa was a long drawn out process and he must have been happy to finally take to the field and play Rocket League with his new org - mousesports. He started slow but quickly began exerting his influence on the midfield and his range of passing was impressive. The link-up play between Francesco “kuxir97” Cinquemani, Jack “Speed” Packwood-Clarke and Scrub was a joy to behold and if this is in them in Week 1 we are in for a real treat. Their opponents AS Monaco Esports gave a good account of themselves and in Alex “Extra” Paoli they have a player who can score the goals vital to surviving in the RLCS - it wasn't enough this week though ultimately losing the tie 3-2.