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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 Asia Mainland finals. The other regions are EMEA, Asia Maritime and Oceania, and the Americas.
- Shogo “ReaLize” Ikeyama (Tokyo Verdy Esports)
- Itsuki “Maru” Fukuda (Tokyo Verdy Esports/Nimmt55)
- Tenhow (Tokyo Verdy Esports)
Japan is widely considered the favorite of the Asian region, with Shogo “ReaLize” Ikeyama as the most well-known player. The 20-year-old was part of the first Asian team that played at a global LAN, when they made it to DreamHack Montreal in 2019. He recently teamed with Itsuki “Maru” Fukuda and Tenhow to compete in the IWO as well as the first Japanese showmatch during the Championships on the RLCS broadcast.
ReaLize and Tenhow are both top players in Japan, usually having reached top four or higher in past tournaments. They are both early adopters of the game and have a good amount of experience between the two. As for Maru, he is a mechanically skilled player who was picked up by ReaLize when the latter’s long-standing teammate, Yukito “Kanra” Nishikawa, took an extended break from the game.
Expect highly mechanical plays from the Japanese as they aim to take the $17,500 for finishing in first place.
- Sahid “Kaizen” Mohammed Zaiffy
- Benjamin “Poofy” Yeow
- Muhammad “Squigly” Afiq
Out of the four teams that qualified, two are Singaporean. The “Ooga Booga” roster, now known as Singapore A, consists of players a tier below the top of Asia. According to APL Esports founder Nishant “Nish” Chahar, “they are a strong team, but they’re just not there. On a good day they might [win]. All of them are good mechanical players, but I don’t really see it. If Kaizen or Poofy pops off, they might have a chance, but I don’t see them as potential winners.”
Singapore A, then, will be aiming for a dream scenario. But even if they can’t make that a reality, the IWO is an opportunity the Asian teams do not often get. The Singaporean trio will try to show the world that their region belongs in the RLCS.
- Louis “LCT” Thamrun
- Max “Maxeew” Ng
- Joshua “Ballerrees” Tng
While Japan is the favorite, the second Singaporean team can pose a true challenge. The three players each have different nationalities. LCT is an Indonesian student in Singapore, Maxeew is half-Irish and having moved there more recently, and Ballerrees is the only lifelong local. They have traded blows with the Japanese team and most recently beat them in the APL Nicecactus Clash in May. They are a team that plays at a fast pace but that comes at a price. Their speed is an asset, but it makes the roster prone to double commits and overextension.
The IWO grand final is expected to be between Singapore B and Japan. According to Nish, anyone can take it.
“Who performs better on the day can take it,” Nish said. “LCT and Maxeew are really mechanical players. The only thing they lack is the game sense at times.”
- Thrishernn “Misty” Raaj
- Kel “Blue” Joe Ang
- Ali “BunnyDummy” Madari
Malaysia may be considered the fourth-best team in the Intel World Open, but they do have Misty — who went to DreamHack Montreal with ReaLize and Kanra. He is a long-standing member of 1NE Esports, which has many former players in the Asia Mainland and Asia Maritime IWO regions. Misty is also a student in the United Kingdom. There he played with players such as Stephen “Tylacto” Griffin and Jørgen “Jwols” Olsen in the RLCS Rival Series qualifiers. He has been back home for a year now and has shown his face in Asian events again.
Malaysia has shown decent performances in local tournaments, but Misty seems to miss the mindset to close out games. He has suffered numerous reverse sweeps in Asian tournaments that took him out of contention. With one Malaysian teammate and one Yemeni, Misty hopes to overcome that struggle in the IWO Asia Mainland finals.
“If Misty is popping off and Blue is also popping off, they can put up a good fight against Singapore B and Japan,” Nish said.
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.