The OCE pro Rocket League pre-season kicked off early in 2018, with the introduction of the Gfinity Challenger Series and now we've just seen the online qualifiers for the Throwdown OCE Open Series take place. We're about half way through the pre-season and so far it's fair to say it's been a very interesting one to watch. In the past four weeks we've seen twelve Challenger Series Competitor Cups and now we have the four week long, OCE Open Series to look forward to! With the first month of pre-season behind us and another month ahead, this is what we've taken away so far.
1. Bango Is Back!
After going on hiatus, the "Bangod" has exploded back into the competitive scene with a brand new team. With four major championships under his belt, Bango was considered one of 2016's best offensive players in the region.
Last year Bango went to LA to compete at the RLCS Season 3 World Championships, where him and his team failed to produce good results. Following his RLCS debut, Bango decided to take a step back from Rocket League to focus on school, and boy did we miss him.
Now the young gun is back and in form with his new teammates, Walcott, a very strong up-and-comer, voted last year's Rising Star, and Decka, a rookie with a monster amount of skill. The team plays under the name "hehe :)" and have already been showing strong performances.
In the GFinity Challenger Series, "hehe :)" has managed to defeat every team at least once. Sitting third in overall playing performance, they've won two out of twelve GFinity Competitor Cups and have finished within the top four in all but two of them. The team has now qualified for the Throwdown OCE Open Series, and it's safe to say this will be an exciting team to watch.
2. Cyrix is back on the hunt for his first major win
Cyrix has been competing in OCE Pro Rocket League ever since its inception. However in his two year career he has never won a major championship. The regional veteran has been a runner up in five major championships, including the famous nail-biter at the 2016 PAX Australia grand finals. He has competed in a total of eleven out of twenty major championship playoffs but has never managed to come out on top.
He has once again been striving for success during the pre-season and he's looking better than ever! His new team consists of himself with Siki, another highly skilled veteran who played alongside Cyrix last season, and Delusion, another strong up and comer who won last season's semi-pro VN-League. The team has been playing under the name "We Win When We Can" and have been showing substantial results in the GFinity Challenger Series. They have the best overall playing performance winning three out of twelve Competitor Cups, finishing runners up five times and third/fourth, three times. They have an impressive pre-season 3 - 2 record against OCE titans the Chiefs. They've now qualified for the Throwdown OCE Open Series but the question is once again; will Cyrix be able take that last step of victory and win for the very first time?
3. The Chiefs are still dominant, but is the gap closing?
The roster of Chiefs ESC has been the dominant force for just over a year now. Their dynasty started in late 2016 with their first major win at the Sennheiser Classic. They have won all but one major championship since then. The only time being the Throwdown Season 3 Challenge finals, during which they were known as Billy Fan Club. Besides that one event, the team has torn through the region, stacking up nine major championship victories and three international appearances.
During the pre-season, they too have been competing in the GFinity Challenger Series, and have been performing as expected. However the young squad that is the "pride of OCE" have been consistently challenged by other teams. They currently sit at a close second in overall playing performance, barely behind "We Win When We Can". They've won five Competitor Cups, however have finished second twice, both to the aforementioned "WWWWC". They've shown superiority so far in the pre-season but not without weakness. The Chiefs were invited to the upcoming OCE Open Series, which over the next month will likely show if the Chiefs will stay on top this season, or if we'll have a new titan in OCE.
4. Has Legacy lost their touch? If you've been watching proffesional OCE Rocket League for the past two years, you would know Legacy Esports have always been an inclusion amongst the top teams. At the very beginning of the competitive scene, the original roster of Soma, Eren and Orion held a long standing dynasty. During which they had also produced one of the most outstanding substitutes in Penor. Their run was broken by the original Athletico roster, before Legacy came back strong to win the 2016 PAX Australia Finals with what was arguably the most famous match in OCE Rocket League history.
With GroovyGrape and Eren going on leave, Legacy were a completely different roster and the team produced a mediocre 2017 in result. They participated in all nine major leagues, however qualified for only two playoff finals, placing last last in both of them. Unfortunately Legacy had fallen behind leaving the hopeful fans waiting to see if Soma and the squad would return to their former glory. Though this would not be the case as Soma, the most decorated player in OCE Rocket League history, announced his retirement in early November. This left Plitz and the newly introduced ZeN to pick up the pieces.
With no inclusion of the original roster, the team has shown a lack of results to be excited about during the pre-season, and it's only gotten worse. Last Sunday the team fell to "Retirement Home" twice in the double elimination open qualifier for the Throwdown OCE Open Series. For the first time in almost one and a half years, Legacy Esports will unfortunately not be included in a major tournament. We now look to see if Legacy can prove their worth throughout the remainder of the pre-season and we hope to see them compete in the first season of 2018.