In the Intel World Open – The 2020 Tokyo Olympics tie-in event – Rocket League players will represent their nation in an official event for the first time ever. Originally, the tournament was to take place in Tokyo, Japan as an offline event with the world’s best nations. Due to COVID-19, they’ll instead be online regional tournaments. Here’s who qualified for the Americas finals. The other regions are EMEA, Asia Mainland, and Asia Maritime and Oceania.
- Garrett “GarrettG” Gordon (NRG)
- Wilen “Chicago” Reed (G2 Esports)
- Jason “Firstkiller” Corral (Rogue)
The United States is the country with the most top-tier players in the RLCS. Therefore, to qualify in order to represent the USA at the IWO Americas is no easy task. In the qualifiers, there were the many mixed up teams. While several players from the United States are already in their regular RLCS teams together, a large number chose to team up with new teammates.
However, with the superstar trio that qualified, even many RLCS rosters cannot compete. All three players are in the conversation for best player in North America. GarrettG is the veteran who has always kept up in both game sense and mechanics, challenging both experienced players and the new mechanical kids on the block. Chicago is an excellent playmaker who always seems to find his teammate. And, Firstkiller is the mechanical genius on the team. His creativity and offensive presence make him a menace for any defense.
This team would have been an enormous mountain to climb should a worldwide offline event have taken place. As it stands, the US will have to make do with just the Americas, where they are expected to meet little resistance.
- Mariano “SquishyMuffinz” Arruda (NRG)
- Jacob “JKnaps” Knapman (G2 Esports)
- Braxton “Allushin” Lagarec (FaZe Clan)
Less represented in the RLCS, but almost equally dangerous in IWO Americas, is Canada. Also composed of top RLCS players, Canada is expected to be one of the few challenges to the United States.
The Canadian qualifiers were considerably less stacked. The qualified trio is on some of the top teams of North America, but the rest of the country is a tier below these stars. Still, that does not mean Canada should be counted out. Squishy is the most recent RLCS Champion, while JKnaps finished in third-fourth place alongside Chicago with G2 Esports, which also played with a new pick-up.
Allushin is the wildcard of this team, as FaZe Clan recently parted ways with Jirair “Gyro” Papazian. Many fans expected Allushin to be cut from the team after a disappointing RLCS X Championship run. The 21-year-old seems to struggle to find his form, but that does not mean he’s not an absolute top-level player. Canada has a solid chance at taking the win in the Americas.
- Luiz “AztromicK” Fellipe (Rebel)
- André “snipjz” Mendonça (Rebel)
- Yan “yanxnz” Nolasco (Rebel)
Brazil, as it turns out, is a volatile region. FURIA was the favorite heading into the qualifiers, having reigned over the South American RLCS for years until True Neutral showed their faces last year.
However, the Rebel roster that qualified to represent the country has been lying in wait and took their shot when their opponents least expected it. The trio almost cruised their way to the finals, defeating South America’s third and second-place RLCS finishers Noble Esports and FURIA in 3-1 and 3-0 victories. A rematch against FURIA in the final resulted once more in a sweep, solidifying Rebel as a legitimate contender in the region.
Brazil may not be of the North American RLCS pedigree, but they should not be counted out entirely.
- Lautaro “ajg” Gusinsky (True Neutral)
- Facundo “Shad” Vallerino (True Neutral)
- Lau “Szaro” Araya (Flow Nocturns Gaming)
Out of the three Argentines that qualified for the IWO Americas finals, two are South American RLCS X Champions. Shad and ajg have been on a tear in South America in the last 10 months, dethroning the Brazilians of FURIA Esports as the top team in the process. They are so strong that they moved to Mexico to play in the North American RLCS next season.
They may not have their Chilean teammate to complete their usual line-up of 17-year-old stars, but they’ve instead brought on the 20-year-old Szaro. Szaro found little success in RLCS so far, but he is an experienced player who has been active since 2016 and fell short in just one season. With him, the Argentines had no issue qualifying, winning every series 3-0 to make it to the Americas finals.
While Argentina is not entirely out of contention, winning the IWO Americas against the likes of the United States and Canada would be a definite Cinderella story.
- Sebastián “PAN” Parra (Teamless as of the end of RLCS X)
- Victor “Reysbull” Duran Parra (True Neutral)
- David “Davitrox” Gárate (Pudim)
Chile can be considered an underdog in the Americas and even just South America. While they have a South American RLCS X Champion with Reysbull, the other two have found fewer victories. They should not be fully dismissed, however. Both PAN and Davitrox had respectable finishes in RLCS. For example, sixth and eighth place, respectively, in the Season X South American rankings.
Still, to go up against the top of South America and the world stars of NA in the Intel World Open, Chile will need a small miracle to to claim the title of best in the Americas.
- Fernando “Ness” Cázares Vargas (Teamless)
- Sebastian “Sebs” Mendoza (Estorm)
- Jorge “Cokita” Miguel Martinez Aguilar (The Mamacitos)
Mexico (particularly Ness) has begun to show its face in the North American RLCS recently. It is an underrepresented region who, when qualified, failed to find significant success.
All three Mexican players made numerous attempts to qualify for the RLCS but only Ness has managed to do so. He is always found on the top teams in Mexico. Cokita is considered as one of, if not the best, 1v1 player in the country. Sebs, according to RLCS analyst and caster Abner “Chamako09” Custodio Gonzalez, is “someone who is not going to carry the team, but he is always on good teams. He’s a very good complement to the other players and he was the most consistent player in the closed qualifiers.”
Mexico’s playstyle, however, leaves something to be desired.
“They’re thinking of hitting the ball and that’s it,” Chamako said, “and ‘wherever that leads, we’ll follow.’ They still have that in their DNA. They’re doing their best to play as a team and to be ahead of the play, but it’s still a struggle.”
Regardless, the Mexican trio is without a doubt the best in the country. They may be considered below the United States and Canada, but their IWO qualification was not a fluke. They will likely not be a pushover.
- Crs (Teamless)
- Mathias “mathz” Bequio (Teamless)
- Nahuel “Navarro” Navarro (Teamless)
Some might remember Crs and mathz under different names. They used to go by Fasi and Radley, respectively. In South America, they are not of the same caliber as the top teams. They qualified in the Uruguayan IWO qualifiers with relative ease but, as a country, Uruguay lags behind the others.
Along with Puerto Rico, they can be considered the biggest underdogs for the Intel World Open Americas. It is unlikely that they’ll be steamrolled, but winning a series against other teams is probably not on the table.
“It’s not like they’re going to lose 7-1 in every match,” Chamako said. “But do they have a chance to win a whole series against one of those better teams? I don’t think so. Maybe one game here, one game there, but that’s it.”
- Nooizyboy (Teamless)
- Christian “Owl” Merced (Skull Cracker)
- Franco “Madman Lugos” Lugo (Teamless)
Puerto Rico is a region that is allowed to play in the North American RLCS, but only one of the players found his way there. Madman Lugos, previously known as AuntJemima, made it to the lower division of the Rival Series on the Manhattan roster as a sub. However, he was previously retired due to many internet issues. He used to be the best player in Puerto Rico, but because of his inactivity, others have caught up to him.
“Owl is probably the captain of the team,” Chamako said. “He’s one of the most tactical players and very methodical about his decisions. He’s the one who keeps the team centered.”
As for Nooizy, he is the most inexperienced of the team. He was visibly nervous in the qualifiers and made some mistakes here and there. If the team is warmed up, they click a little better, but the jitters of playing on a bigger stage is a factor for the Puerto Rican team.
“You can tell that there’s some chemistry issues with the team,” Chamako said. “Puerto Rico doesn’t rotate sometimes, they double commit every now and then. They’re not polished yet.”
Mechanically, they’re slightly behind Mexico but, comparatively, Puerto Rico makes the more thoughtful decisions. Clever bumps, passes and 50/50s are what will make the difference for the Puerto Ricans.
Michael Kloos is a Dutch esports journalist and enthusiast with a particular like of Rocket League and VALORANT. He is also an avid fantasy/sci-fi reader and writer. He spends most of his time trying not to be in the real world.