By Joseph Lacy
Photo via Endpoint CeX @TeamEndpoint on Twitter
WIth the RLCS 2021-2022 season getting underway across the globe there have been many questions on who the top teams in each region will be. There are definitely some sure fire picks from the RLCS X season from the previous year. However, in Europe, there were many roster changes that occurred which seemed to shake up most analysts' top 5 teams. Two RLCS broadcasters, Joey “Jorby” Ahrens and Jack “Corelli” Collier took to twitter to give some preseason power rankings for the Europe region. The respective lists, in order from 1st to 5th, are as follows: Karmine Corp (Aztral, Stake, Itachi), Team BDS (M0nkey_M00n, Marc_by_8, Extra), Vitality (Kaydop, Fairy Peak, Alpha54), Dignitas (ApparentlyJack, Joreuz, Scrub Killa), and SMPR Esports (Chausette, Archie, Kassio) for Jorby. Corelli had the same top 5 but he had Team BDS in first and Karmine Corp in second. Both of these lists are respectable and given the results from the previous seasons, make total sense. That’s the beauty about Rocket League Esports however, often it makes no sense at all.
Europe is a very stacked region as a whole. The team that dominated the region last season was Team BDS. Team BDS managed to win 8 out of the total 13 major events during RLCS X. This kind of domination had not been heard of for a full year lengths of time since seasons 4-6 from the European roster of Kaydop, Turbopolsa, and Violentpanda. The story that unfolded this past weekend is not about Team BDS continuing their reign of terror in their respective region. What happened in the first Regional for European RLCS is nothing short of a classic sports Cinderella story.
Endpoint CeX Overview
Endpoint as an Esports organization has been involved in Rocket League consistently since May of 2020. They previously hosted a team back in 2017 with no real results to show from them. During the RLCS X season the Endpoint roster consisted of Metsanauris, RelatingWave, and Virtuoso. This roster was typically a middle of the pack team, peaking at a 2nd place finish in the 3rd regional event of the fall split from RLCS X. With some mixed results the team saw a change: Virtuoso was replaced by a young prodigy by the name of Seikoo.
For the RLCS 2021-2022 season there were question marks surrounding this roster heading into the fall split. During the Invitational Qualifier for the first event Endpoint went 3-2 in the Swiss Stage which means they qualified for the main event. This definitely came as a surprise to some people as the Endpoint team managed to place higher than two teams typically in analysts top 10 — those two being Guild Esports and Vodafone Giants.
During the Swiss Stage of the main event, the first round matchup Endpoint got slated against SK Gaming. This roster of Yukeo, Eekso, and Tox has been consistently improving across every event they play together. This matchup was as close to a 50/50 toss up as it could get. Endpoint managed to take the series 3-2 placing them into the round 2 high matches for the format. In the second round Endpoint was set to face Misfits Gaming. The Misfits organization had acquired the roster of Arju, Mittaen, and Kash prior to the main event. In preseason tournaments and scrimmages the Misfits roster was meshing really well. Many analysts and players placed them at around 7th in the region. The projected results seemed to be a correct assessment as Misfits took down Endpoint 3-1. Endpoint now with a 1-1 record head into round 3 facing a pivotal swing series against an intimidating opponent: Dignitas.
As stated above the roster of Dignitas is considered a top 5 team in Europe by many reputable analysts and casters for the RLCS. Scrub Killa is the new kid on the block for the team and he is no slouch. Previously the most sought out prospect in all of Europe and a RLCS Champion in Season 7 with Vitlaity, Scrub is expected to bring a lot of stability to the young duo of ApparentlyJack and Joreuz. All this praise however, does not equate to an automatic series win. Endpoint will ensure a hard fought battle. The first 3 games of the series go into overtime with Endpoint coming out on top in 2 of them. With the series win in sight, Endpoint came out firing on all cylinders putting Dignitas into the dirt, beating them 4-0 in the final game to advance to 2-1. With 1 series win standing in between them and the playoff bracket Endpoint will also be sure to be facing some stiff competition in their round 4 match.
Taking a look at the other 2 round 4 matches, Endpoint seemed to have been the beneficiary of some seeding luck as they did not have to face Team BDS in this round. Team Queso was the opposition and Endpoint did not disappoint. Team Queso acquired the roster of Joyo, Vatira, and rise during the off-season. All 3 players have experience of some sort in the RLCS so this roster is nothing to overlook. Going into the series Endpoint were definitely the favorites with how they had looked prior in the day. When they needed to show up, they had been, and this series was no different. A perfect sweep, 3-0, without allowing Team Queso to score a goal was the result and Endpoint had qualified for the playoff bracket!
Yes we are in fact talking about playoffs. The 8 teams (in order) to qualify from the Swiss Stage were: Karmine Corp, SMPR Esports, Endpoint, Team BDS, Misfits Gaming, Evil Geniuses, Dignitas, and Williams Resolve. In the first round of playoffs Endpoint got matched up against Misfits. The one team that had beaten Endpoint thus far in the tournament was given another chance to prove they’re the better team. Endpoint had different plans this time around. The confident Misfits went down 3 games early. Endpoint on the brink of back to back series sweeps, with all the momentum on their side, have somewhat of a wash for game 4 losing 4-1. With the series win still in sight all it took was one goal in game 5 and Endpoint took down their adversaries and moved onto the semi-finals. The other playoff match winners were Dignitas, Team BDS, and, Endpoint’s opposition in the semi-finals, Karmine Corp
Karmine Corp was the number one seed going into the playoff bracket. They went 3-0 in Swiss and only dropped 2 games in the first stage. Their first playoff match against Williams Resolve was somewhat of a different story. Going up 3 games to none and leaving Williams Resolve in the dust was typical of Karmine Corps talents. Another bad habit this roster seems to have is letting off of the gas. Karmine Corp allowed Williams Resolve to bring the series back all the way to game 7 overtime. Thankfully, for Karmine Corp, they pulled out the overtime win and advanced forward to face Endpoint.
Endpoint coming off a hot series win against Misfits knew now would be the opportunity to capitalize against Karmine Corp. The first game going in favor of Karmine in overtime was not the end of the series for Endpoint. They had been down before and showed plenty of resilience this series. Endpoint returned to form and took games 2 and 3 very handily. Games 4 and 5 are where Karmine regained their footing. They had completely outclassed Endpoint and put themselves on match point. After game 5 Endpoint took a timeout and gathered themselves before heading into what could have been their last game. Keyword, *could* have been. Endpoint took game 6 by a score of 3-1. The entire series reset to a 1 game playoff, winner take all and a spot in the grand finals with Team BDS who had taken down Dignitas earlier in the day. The game started out slow, each team making long clears to the opponents half of the pitch. Neither team wanted to make a mistake. Then, with a minute and 15 seconds left in the game the newcomer to Endpoint, Seikoo slots a shot to the far post of the net securing the only goal scored during the game. Endpoint had done it, they took down Karmine Corp and had a date with Team BDS for the championship.
The last two teams standing: Endpoint CeX and Team BDS. For the entirety of RLCS X these teams only crossed paths once during a regional event. BDS took that series in a 3-0 sweep. Endpoint typically would lose before getting the chance to face BDS late in the tournament, regardless of the format. This is also Seikoo’s first time matching up against the European power house. He would not disappoint.
Team BDS wasted no time getting out to a quick 2 game lead in the first best of 7 series. In the finals in RLCS 2021-2022 the team who wins 2 best of 7 series is crowned the winner. Already down two games in the first best of 7, Endpoint had to turn the match around before it got out of hand. A staunch defense would lead Endpoint to a game 3 victory, which would fall apart in game 4 causing a 4-1 loss. The series is now on match point for BDS. All hope seems lost for Endpoint. BDS had not lost 3 games in a row very often. Not until today. Endpoint rattled off 3 straight wins out scoring Team BDS 9-4 and took the first best of 7. The team was ecstatic. This was their first series win against Team BDS during a main event since the inception of their roster.
A quick break and the players are right back into the games. Endpoint was 4 wins away from dethroning the kings of Europe. BDS would not go quietly into the night however and they took game 1 in the second best of 7. The next 3 games would be a much different story and the Endpoint defense would hold the electric BDS offense to just two goals and put themselves 1 game win away from being the champions. Similar to the first best of 7, BDS would go on a roll. They took game 5 and the thoughts of blowing a 3-1 lead had crept into the Endpoint players heads. Game 6 went into overtime and BDS came out on top as well. Was Endpoint about to get a taste of their own medicine?
Champion’s Field; the setting for any final game for a best of 5 or a best of 7 in Rocket League. The pitch where legends are born and cement themselves into RLCS history. The game started off slow but by the passing of the first minute in regulation Endpoint had begun to mount pressure against BDS. Slowly but surely withering away at the goalline defense, a shot was bound to go in. Just when Endpoint thought they had secured their chance, BDS made a quick transition downfield and put a goal into the back of the Endpoint net. 1-0 in favor of BDS with 3:39 left on the clock. Team BDS had begun to chew the clock, time and ball possession being in their favor. Endpoint had struggled to clear the ball out of their half until a mid field pass from Seikoo reached RelatingWave at the center of the pitch. RelatingWave hit the ball to the backboard, his momentum and remaining boost carried him the rest of the way for the double touch… but he had missed. The two BDS defenders had expected him to make the play, not being able to make a clear. Rushing from the top of the box came Seikoo as he slotted the ball into the BDS net, free of defenders, with 1:21 to go. A tie game and this one would head to overtime. Lots of back and forth possession occurred over the first minute of overtime. There was no way to tell who had the upper hand in this match. Every shot was countered by a well timed save and every mid field clear was broken up by the enemy. These teams were going blow for blow, until the 160th minute of overtime. Marc_by_8 of Team BDS was left alone on defense with Metsanauris and RelatingWave barreling down on him. Metsanauris took the ball up the left wall into the corner and managed to put it past Marc_by_8 leaving a wide open net for RelatingWave to shoot at and seal the game for Endpoint.
Endpoint had taken down the goliath of Europe. Team BDS will have to run back to their quarters with their tails between their legs and reevaluate for the next event on November 5th. This regional event win marked as Endpoint’s first major win in the RLCS. Congratulations to them and especially Seikoo as it was his first ever major competition. An unpredictable European RLCS always makes for the most entertainment because you never know who is going to take home that crown.