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RLCS 2021-2022 - Fall: North America Regional Event 1

By Joseph Lacy

Photo via FaZe Clan

The Rocket League Championship Series (RLCS for short) started back up again on October 15th for the North American Region. The top 16 teams in North America from several different qualifying tournaments had the chance at competing to be crowned Regional 1 champions and a cut at the $100,000 prize pool. The top 8 teams from this event auto qualify for the next regional event, which takes place October 29th. Meanwhile, the teams who get bounced out beforehand will have to go through another qualifier tournament to make it back to the big stage. The 16 teams competing in Regional 1 were Charlotte Phoenix, FaZe Clan, The General NRG, Ghost Gaming, G2 Esports, Integrity Esports, Rogue, Shopify Rebellion, Spacestation Gaming, Susquehanna Soniqs, Team DVS, Team Envy, Torrent, True Neutral, Version1, and XSET.

Swiss Stage

For the Fall Split of RLCS 2021-2022, the first day of each regional event will consist of a swiss style format for deciding who advances and who is eliminated. The Swiss format has been popularized across multiple Esports and Rocket League is one of the more recent adopters of it. The goal is to win 3 series. If you do, you move onto the 8 team, single elimination playoff bracket. Seeding for playoffs is first determined by game differential and then by head-to-head match-up if necessary.

The top 2 seeds going into playoffs, both going 3-0 in the Swiss Stage, were Spacestation Gaming and The General NRG. The 3rd, 4th, and 5th seeds all going 3-1 in Swiss were XSET, FaZe Clan, and Team Envy. Finally, the teams down to their last life that managed to squeeze through, going 3-2, were Version1, G2 Esports, and True Neutral.

Playoff Bracket

For the first match of the Playoff Bracket we saw two teams that always seem to be on the cusp of breaking into the top 5 teams in North America, duke it out for a top 4 finish. XSET and Version1 gave us, the viewers, a thrilling best of 7 series to start the broadcast. They traded the first two until Version1 rattled off back to back wins putting them on match point heading into game 5. XSET, with their tournament’s life on the line, claw back in it and force a game 7. After a scoreless regulation time, game 7 heads into overtime. Golden Goal is the name of the game for overtime in Rocket League; and Version1 comes out on top, scoring at the 58th second, securing themselves a spot in Semi-Finals.

The second match of the day would prove to be arguably the most nerve racking series to date. The General NRG found themselves matching up against long time rival G2 Esports, and this series between the two rivals did not disappoint. Each game ended in regulation tied: all 6 games played went into overtime! The two teams traded games back and forth until The General NRG found themselves some momentum and managed to secure a series win in 6 games, beating G2 Esports 4-2. They would go onto face Version1 in the Semi-Finals.

Truly the toughest draw for opponents came with the 3rd match of the day. FaZe Clan and Team Envy have been fighting tooth and nail to solidify themselves as a top 2 team in the region (The General NRG typically being the other). FaZe Clan over the off-season recently brought in the very talented Firstkiller to their roster to compete alongside Ayyjayy and Allushin. The trio would not disappoint in this match and ultimately took down Team Envy in 7 games with a series score of 4-3.

This leaves the last match of the day: Spacestation Gaming versus True Neutral. A team that last season played in the South American RLCS, True Neutral moved as a roster to Mexico in order to compete in a more competitive region. A true Cinderella story was on the cusp of unfolding, however, Spacestation had other plans. Spacestation ends up sweeping True Neutral, holding them to less than a goal per game over the 4 game set.

Championship Sunday

With the Semi-Finals set, all there was left to do was win one more best of 7 to place top 2. In the first series, The General NRG came out swinging, promptly sending Version1 home with a 4-1 series win. Spacestation and FaZe Clan had something else in mind. A grueling seven game series to decide the opposition to NRG in the Grand Finals. With Spacestation on match point in game 6, FaZe Clan was down to their last shot. In miraculous fashion, FaZe managed to pull through and win the last two games by one goal each. The Finals have been set: The General NRG and FaZe Clan.

The Finals in RLCS 2021-2022 are slightly different from those in years past. This time around the two teams played a best of set, meaning a team must win 2 best of 7 series in order to be crowned champions. FaZe came out hot in the first series, taking down NRG quickly 4-1. The final game went in favor of FaZe, 5-0; momentum was completely on the side of Ayyjayy, Aluushin, and Firstkiller. With a quick break and some twitter drama to boot, the teams were ready for the next series. With their regional crown at risk of being stolen; GarrettG, jstn., and SquishyMuffinz bounced back and, very poetically I might add, defeated FaZe 4-1. NRG is by far the most decorated team in North America in terms of accolades. All 3 players have won a World Championship in the past. It would be safe to say that experience and composure was on the side of NRG.

One. More. Series. This one is a winner take all. All the pressure building up to this final best of 7. Every goal scored prior, every single goal line save tallied, and every assist recorded does not matter anymore. The bloodbath concluded finally after a tumultuous 16 games played, 6 total overtimes, across 3 best of 7 series, each team putting their best car forward; but in the end, FaZe Clan took down NRG and claimed their title as Regional 1 Champions! This marks the first ever event win for FaZe Clan since they entered Rocket League Esports last spring.

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