RLCS X Championships – Can they be on par with the cancelled LAN?
For the second time in a row, Rocket League fans found themselves disappointed – the RLCS Championship has been cancelled for the second time in a row. Last year as well, the LAN event had to be called off due to Covid concerns and restrictions. Earlier this moth, Rocket League developers Psyonix announced and launched the RLCS X Championships, which is a collection of regional tournaments to take over for the cancelled LAN.
These regional tournaments will last a week, and they will be exclusively online, since in-person events still can’t be held without safety concerns. The prize pool will be split between the 4 participating regions – $400k for Europe and NA each, $100k for Oceania and SA respectively. But, can they keep the audience engagement strong after almost two years of no international competition.
RLCS X Championships Format
In total, 16 teams will be competing, but only a maximum of 6 per region. The tournament will follow a unique format where, instead of familiar formats, teams, will be given ‘seats’ and fighting each other – and only those who win a certain number of best-of sets in will advance. This is only for Europe and North America however. Six teams from Europe and North America each will be competing in their regional competitions.
The two teams each from Oceania and South America will be competing directly in the RLCS X Championships Final for their regions. GroundZero Gaming and Cringe Society for OCE and True Neutral and FURIA for SA, are only a match win away from being called champions.
Now, in EU and NA best-of sets are made up of up to three best-of series – whoever wins 2/3 takes the set towards the series. Normally, teams would just win a series – here, instead, they’ll be fighting best-of 5 or best-of 7 sets, all the way up to the Grand Finals. There, the last two teams will be competing in a more traditional format… but still in a Bo7 setup.
This is a somewhat bold choice, and one that likely will draw additional attention, if only because of the huge prize pool that’s up for grabs. Even with esports tournaments scaling up every year, prize pools crossing the million-dollar line for individual tournaments are still a little unusual. It’ll also motivate players to take part in the event itself… after all, who wouldn’t want to try their hand at winning that much money?
Of course, there’s no guarantee that even that will soothe the sting of another year without the main LAN event of the year happening. If 2020 proved anything, it was that esports fans REALLY love their LAN competitions – and even though esports and surrounding industries like esports betting still survive without them, they are missed quite keenly.
The event itself will last from Tuesday, June 15th, all the way to June 20th. Events and stages are staggered, meaning that you can easily catch multiple grand finals if they interest you, and no matter where you are, there should be at least one of the finals that fits your schedule! Naturally, you can catch the events live on the official Twitch and YouTube channels, as well as watching reviews of content you may have missed!
Are the RLCS X Championships enough?
The straightforward answer is no.
While we all understand the need to respect health and safety and precautions are welcome in every scenario. We are also increasingly seeing a rise in LAN events across the board. MSI 2021 and VCT are well underway in a LAN environment, and Six Invitational is just around the corner. LAN is definitely not out of the question.
With a sprawling scene hoping for an off-line event where regions compete against one another, Psyonix are depriving thousands of fans from the experience. Especially for fans in South America and Oceania where just a single match up is supposed to replace the hopes and dreams of a loyal following to cheer their teams as they take on the giants.
Granted the bulked-up format will likely give us plenty of matches to watch, but they are all going to be against the same familiar teams we see at the GRID and regional RLCSX competitions anyways. To this end, RLCS X Championships are just an extension of the regular ol’ Rocket League Esports we’ve been watching thus far, but with more money on the line.
We shouldn’t be surprised if this event doesn’t garner as much traction as RL Esports hopes for. We just hope it wont be taken as lack of interest in competitive RL, but a lack of interest in the same status quo we’ve been watching for a year.