The start of the third and last split, the Spring Split is upon us and there is no better time to be a Rocket League esports fan.
We're onto the final stretch on our way to the World Championship event where only the top six teams in North America will be advancing to the LAN party.
With so much cash to give out and so many RLCS points to tally up, the Spring Split is make-or-break time for organisations and independent teams alike.
So, without further ado, here is everything you need to look out for in NA’s first Spring regional, the Verizon 5G Ultra Cup.
G2 need to move on
G2 holds a soft spot in many Rocket League fan's heart. The talented yet natural underdogs with one of the most likeable personalities the scene has ever seen in Dillon “Rizzo” Rizzo.
All of that looked like it could change though, with rumours that that Rizzo was being replaced by The Peeps’ own, Austin "AYYJAYY" Aebi, after some less-than-great performances, with an apparent offer made from the American organisation ultimately declined by the young superstar.
AYYJAYY declared his decision with a cryptic tweet, a scene from the 2013 film The Wolf of Wall Street quoting Leonardo Dicaprio’s scene “I’m not f****** leaving.”
(Image: G2 Esports/Facebook)
Not only did Rizzo comment under the original tweet but also tweeted the same video and scene himself only ten days later.
Since the whole will they/won’t storyline we have not seen G2 Esports play ever since.
In sixth place in the North American standings, and with a real risk of failing to qualify for the World Championship, G2 and Rizzo will need to forget what actually happened in the Martin Scorsese film and play as if all of this never happened.
It's Dappur’s time to shine with eUnited
After the 22-year-old transferred from Kansas City Pioneers to eUnited last week, Chris "Dappur" Mendoza and company made it all the way to the first Spring regional, cruising through the qualifer.
Changing rosters will always be difficult but this was perceived as the right move for Dappur’s career since his KCP position was the roster’s fourth man as a substitute that never played a single series during his tenure.
Now in eUnited, a team that reformed by letting go former third-man Michael "WondaMike" Santoriello more than a month ago, Dappur can be the deciding factor between a repetitive and mediocre split or a profitable and beneficial one.
While qualifying for the World Championship out of their reach with just 620 RLCS points and almost 10 spots below the top six, eUnited still have a lot to play for.
Yes, the LAN Event is the endgame for most of the RLEsports teams, but all of the “too-far-from-Worlds-but-still-in-the-Spring-Split” squads' goal before the RLCS Season X is over is to make as much damage as possible.
With only 20 teams in the tournament, there is no way eUnited can replicate their bottom 24 finish from last regional -- not even with Dappur dropping the ball.
Could Musty make his RLCS debut?
Not only did we actually predict Wyatt AKA Musty’s inclusion in the NRG squad as part of their "major roster transition", but we are making another bold, bold statement: Musty debuts sometime in the Spring regional #1.
It is a very long tournament consisting of three phases over four days: a five-team round-robin, a top 16 double-elimination knockout gauntlet and a top eight single-elimination Championship Sunday.
While it might not be a custom in the Rocket League competitive circuit, we could be seeing NRG reinventing the substitute position as an actual game plan instead of a back-up plan.
With Coach Emiliano "Sizz" Benny’s personality and creativity, we can see him making the suggestion as soon as the announcement was made.
But whether it’s for strategy or because Justin “jstn” Morales lost his power momentarily, we have a feeling Musty’s debut will come as a shock for everyone but us. We'll see you on the other side.
Oxygen Esports make their second debut
After a complicated roster decision was made a little more than a week ago, Oxygen Esports is back in the RLCS scene, now over in North America instead of its previous home in the old continent.
The organisation moved from Europe after releasing the rest of its roster and then signing, Jamal Jabary.
The move was criticized by many as they essentially gave up a EU tenth place with 1140 RLCS points to an American 16th place with 570 RLCS points.
Moving regions seemed more important than winning championships, or at least that’s the public assumption after forfeiting a promising World-Championship-qualification spot.
Whether it was a Solary buy-out of their former roster or the roster imploding departure by departure, the reality is that Oxygen is currently NA-bound.
Going through Group A for Round-Robin Day 0 against NRG, Kansas City Pioneers, Pittsburgh Knights and Stromboli will be no easy task, but aiming for a number two seed isn’t far fetched either.
Team Envy face off against NRG for the No.1 spot
This one seems like a no-brainer. NRG is the current 1st place in North America after winning the Winter Major against Rogue, separating themselves exactly 200 RLCS points from Team Envy who finished 3rd in the tournament, currently 2nd place in the region.
Their back-and-forth throughout the RLCS Season X has been a pleasure to witness, but NRG has pulled away from what seemed like a pretty even rivalry.
After Team Envy conquered three consecutive NA regionals in a row, NRG bounced back earning higher placements than their archnemesis in two consecutive tournaments.
This meant that NRG ended up reeling in more RLCS points than former 1st place Team Envy, hence losing their top-of-the-food-chain spot last split.
But that’s just a game theory. Come Championship Sunday, we just hope and pray all four days of the tournament are exciting and the regional isn’t won by Team BDS.
Make sure to tune in from Thursday 18th March to Sunday 21st March to catch the first NA Spring event, the Verizon 5G Ultra Cup.