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RLCS Oceania season 5 finals recap

Then there were ten. With a LAN venue and date finally announced as the Copper Box Arena in London from June 8-10, we also now have our Oceanic representatives for the world championships. The season five finals of the Throwdown OCE Championship certainly saved its most dramatic moment for the biggest stage, as for the second season running Tainted Minds edged out Dark Sided to claim a place alongside the Chiefs in the World Championship LAN. Yet another seven game series between the two teams saw the result reversed from last week, as CJCJ, Kamii and Julz saved their best of the season until last.

Oh, and just casually the Chiefs only dropped a single game in three series on the way to the first undefeated season in RLCS history and their place as Oceanic champions and first seeds at LAN.

Throwdown Finals Recap

Expectations are going to weigh heavily on the Chiefs come LAN, they’ll likely enter their series against Evil Geniuses as favourites, the first time an Oceanic team has been favoured over international opposition in RLCS history, and many will be picking them for a top six or even final four finish. They are undoubtedly playing the best they ever have, Jake in particular has risen to a new level and was a deserving finals MVP. Are they a legitimate threat to take the World Championship? That may be going a bit far, but considering they have beaten or taken to the limit the top three North American qualifiers, nobody will be writing them off.

Tainted Minds were a new team on finals day, despite their eventual 4-1 series loss they signalled their intent against the Chiefs in the first series of the day, playing faster than they have all year and showing plenty of cohesion after some lacking efforts in league games. Julz had a big day after some questions over his handling of pressure situations were raised last week, the RLCS stage will be another matter altogether but his teammates have that big time experience now and will hopefully guide him through.

Dark Sided had their second “on another day, at another time” moment in two seasons, coming heartbreakingly close to qualifying and again falling to Chiefs in the upper bracket then Tainted Minds in the lowers. Their first series of the day was clinical, Legacy never reached any great heights as Delusion in particular seemed to feel the weight of the occasion, having a poor day. Legacy in the end scored less than half their season average goals per game, the smooth as silk attack of league play was nowhere to be found here and the pinpoint accuracy disappeared. Cyrix stood tall in a well beaten side, but Legacy were thoroughly trounced 4-0 by Tainted Minds in the lower bracket to be the first team eliminated, a series that wasn’t even as close as that scoreline suggests.

If Chiefs looked great against Tainted Minds they were completely unreal against Dark Sided, sweeping through in style and limiting their long time rivals to only two goals in four games. I’m out of superlatives to describe Chiefs, they are a class above Oceania right now. That left us with our “win and in” rematch of season four, new organisations and new players but the same grand prize: a place at the World Championships. There are fewer bigger gaps between the reward for a win versus a loss than this.

The series opened as tight as expected, both teams trading one goal games before Dark Sided pulled away with back to back wins. Down 3-1 Tainted Minds were in a familiar situation, and once again they somehow dug deep for the comeback. Their defence was shutdown from that point, not conceding a goal in three games. It was great drama on the biggest stage, and it was understandable that after the adrenaline dump of earning qualification in such an unlikely fashion that they would struggle against the Chiefs in the grand final. Sure enough, Tainted Minds were held to only a single goal in four games and were swept, though they kept the Chiefs dominant attack in check to gain some minor confidence from the result.

Chiefs conceded 10 goals in 13 games, going 12-1 on the day to bring their season games record to 33-6 and a perfect 10-0 in series. If they can bring this level of shutdown defence to the international stage they will prove tough opponents to anybody, and all three have proven to have the individual ability to score against the best in the world. The quality of competition they faced in OCE cannot be compared to North America or Europe, but Chiefs have never been so dominant as they were this year and in each of those seasons they managed to take a series from their international opponents. They’re a great shot to exceed those results in season five.

Tainted Minds had a rough debut at RLCS last season, and it won’t be any easier for them this time around facing the ultra-talented season four runners-up Complexity, who floundered in the regional finals to finish fourth. Tainted Minds were a lot better on both sides of the ball in the finals, but they haven’t shown a lot of consistency this season and it will be a brave prediction to tip them for the upset there. They’re certainly capable of taking a series, but it would need a big step up for them to go much higher than a 7th/8th finish.

Rival Series Promotion Playoff

Where the cream of the RLCS crop has now been decided, we turn our attention to the teams struggling to earn or maintain a place in the big leagues. Both Europe and North America Rival Series promotion playoffs took place last weekend, where the bottom two RLCS finishers in each region defended their places against the top two from the Rival Series.

North America saw a somewhat surprising result, as both Rival Series teams were promoted ahead of the RLCS veterans. Out of Style bowed out in back to back losses to Flyquest and Allegiance, a disappointing end to a rough season and there is a big question mark over whether they will even take their place in next season’s lower league.

They will be joined by Counter Logic, who started the RLCS season with LAN prospects but will now need to fight their way back into the big show after dropping the upper and lower bracket finals to the two RLRS teams. Counter Logic started with a strong win over Allegiance, but couldn’t handle Flyquest and like so many before them failed to back up after dropping the top bracket game, taking the first game in their Allegiance rematch before dropping the next four, all by a single goal and two in overtime. It is a disappointing result for a well liked and talented Counter Logic roster, who may need to switch things up to get their mojo back.

Europe saw one team from Rival Series make the big jump, Servette cruising through Excel before taking one of the most dramatic seven game series you will ever see in the upper bracket final against Team Secret. Again it was too much for Secret to back up from such an emotional moment, and Fnatic cruised through the lower final to retain their place in the RLCS. Secret had earlier beaten Fnatic 4-2 with several convincing game wins, but the RLCS veterans had it when it really counted. Excel dropped the lower final in a “tighter than the scores” 4-1 loss to Fnatic.

Gfinity Australia Update

If RLCS finals and Rival Series playoffs aren’t enough for you, the Gfinity Australia draft took place last week and gives us our first good look at how the non-Chiefs Gfinity teams will fill their Rocket League roster. These rosters are not yet complete, there may be some “free agent” signings for non-draft qualified players, and some teams will be more active there than others.

Avant Gaming did things the old fashioned way, signing one of the remaining RLCS league play teams in Legs Are Silly alongside former Conspiracy captain Hectic as a presumed sub. Ground Zero and Sydney Roar did similarly, GZ signing two thirds of the Love Decks roster in MontyConnor and Addzey, joined by former Scylla veteran Daisu, while Roar took on bubble team Weasel Mafia, who have had some success in Throwdown Community Cup tournaments and the ESL weekly and monthly events.

Interestingly, Order only took two players in the draft, likely indicating they have an as yet unannounced arrangement with other, non-draft players. Whether that is an unaffiliated RLCS team (say, Retirement Home) or a deal with a fellow org to “borrow” their players, we will soon find out, but Golde and aoe_emp are decent pickups to complement whoever they have in mind. Chiefs also took three good players in Lim, deck lover CJM and former Feint standout Tulendeena, likely as cover while their core roster plays over in the RLCS finals for the first two weeks of the Gfinity season.

Finally there is the Brisbane Deceptors, a mix of players with bubble experience ranging from Conspiracy to Team Tahit and Extricity. Whether this mix of Le Mon, Smiths, Coop0, Slurpee and Cruzza can come together as a cohesive whole is a big question, but congratulations to these guys for getting the opportunity.

While these rosters aren’t final just yet, they do little to shake the feeling Chiefs are unbackable favourites to take the title, even if the core roster misses two rounds of play over in London. While there are still announcements to be made, it looks likely that some of the best Rocket League teams in the region won’t be taking part in Gfinity, a real shame considering the scope of the event.

Other News

Finally we have some big off sesaon tournament news, as the 2v2 NBC Universal Open will return along with a second Northern Arena Rocket League Invitational in Canada. Qualifiers for both will begin shortly for North America and Europe.

Psyonix also announced its Summer roadmap, detailing the features to come over the next few months. You can check out the full announcement, highlights are cross platform parties, a new arena, and after July a brand new system of levelling and progress, with drops being tied to levelling up and level progression no longer requiring an exponential amount of XP. The “Rocket Pass” will also be introduced, which sounds like an achievement style system to earn new items, and will also include a premium element.

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About the author

Stuart Gollan

From Amiga to Xbox One, Doom to Destiny, Megazone to Stevivor, I've been gaming through it all and have the (mental) scars to prove it. I love local multiplayer, collecting ridiculous Dreamcast peripherals, and Rocket League.