The 2021–22 RLCS season in Europe had a rather peculiar finale. LAN play began in Sweden back in December, but aside from Evan “M0nkey M00n” Rogez and Alex “Extra” Paoli, the greatest Rocket League combination ever, the region looked entirely different heading into Texas.
When they arrived in Texas, Dignitas, Endpoint, and SMPR had all yet to demonstrate why they should be considered among the top 16 teams in the world, while teams like Liquid were at home despite being in much better shape by the end of the regular season. As a result, many of the teams that represented the region limped their way into the world championships.
It was obvious there would be a significant squad movement in the offseason months before the season had ended. Fans weren’t let down because 14 fresh teams will compete in this Friday’s Fall Open.
The only teams who didn’t move were Team BDS and Liquid, but here’s the worrisome part: they didn’t dominate qualifying and lost out to new rosters with players who appeared reenergized and prepared to challenge the order of Rocket League’s most illustrious region.
Ole “Oaly” van Doorn, Archie “archie” Pickthall, and Joris “Joreuz” Robben reconnected under the Oxygen banner, and all three players displayed outstanding form en way to a 3-0 run in Swiss. Damian “Tox” Schäfer helped Evil Geniuses reload, and they now appeared better than ever. The G1 superteam from Spain lived up to the hype.
Moist discovered what a pleasure it is to have Mallo “AztraL” Ernst as a teammate. The new Williams Resolve, made up of Jack “FlamE” Pearton, George “Breezi” Rusiecki, and Noah “noahsaki” Gillespie, came close to winning the Swiss tournament despite the fact that their five opponents had 14 players on their rosters who finished in the top eight or better at a Major or Worlds the previous year.
Although there has been much discussion about North America and its increased depth, the Top 16 and the Closed Qualifier demonstrated that Europe may still be the most difficult area to compete in. For the top players, there won’t be many issues because Sundays will include a combination of BDS, Karmine Corp, Moist, Oxygen, Liquid, and a wild-card team that has a successful weekend.
Even if they have been moved around, the depth is still there. The current test for Europe is whether they can maintain these rosters for long enough to develop and improve one another for the full campaign rather than giving up after the first difficulty.