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When RLCS Season 8 league play began almost five weeks ago, we thought we had it all figured out. The ‘Big Three’ in North America would keep doing what they were doing, and Europe would be all over the shop. Perhaps we’d see Vitality easily on top again, just like last season, and Reciprocity (formerly PSG) also looked like a solid top-2 team ahead of the season.
Then it all started, and now that we’re headed into the final week, almost everything is wide open. Here’s why you don’t want to miss the conclusion!
RLCS North America: Can Cloud9 and G2 stay out of relegation?
Cloud9, the season six RLCS World Champions, have found themselves in a bit of a pickle. As one of the big three, they were expected to finish the season with a comfortably positive ratio. They now sit in second-to-last place with a 1-4 record. Having lost to SpaceStation Gaming, NRG, DreamHack winners Pittsburgh Knights (formerly The Peeps), and the other newly promoted Birds, their only win came against Ghost.
With matches versus Rogue and G2 coming up this weekend, Cloud9 have their work cut out for them to get out of the red zone. While they are expected to win versus the very poor-looking Rogue, G2 is almost equally shaky with a 2-3 record. A loss against G2 would see C9 dangerously close to the relegation tournament. In return, a win would get G2 in trouble, who also play third-placed SpaceStation Gaming this weekend. C9 can, at best, end with a 3-4 record, while G2 is still looking for a positive score in 4-3.
Had Pittsburgh Knights not already started their rise to the top at DreamHack last month, they would surely be one of the surprises this season. But after their first major win, many expected them to join the big three to turn it into the big four. Now, it seems, it’s just the big one, with NRG having secured first place already. With a 6-0 record, they are well ahead of PK (4-2). Still, PK are one series win away from securing second place and directly qualifying to RLCS Worlds this December. Between them and NRG, they are the only two North American teams who could be comfortably considered a favorite to win it all.
Europe: Everything is wide open
As expected, Europe is as unpredictable as ever. Having gone 6-1 last season, defending RLCS world champions Renault Vitality now sit at 3-2 in fourth. Mousesports (formerly The Bricks) fought in the relegation tournament last season and now sit on top with a 4-1 record. Veloce, having initially failed to promote but gaining their RLCS spot due to Triple Trouble dissolving, now fight for a top-2 spot alongside Mouz, Reciprocity, Team Vitality, and TSM.
The only confirmed spot so far is that of Complexity at eighth. With an 0-6 record, the recently promoted team lost four game 5s. Had they managed to close them out, they would also be fighting for a top spot with a 4-2 ratio. As it stands, they are already confirmed to play in the promotion/relegation tournament. Who will join them, however, is up in the air. While FC Barcelona (second-place last season) have the worst record currently (2-4), all the spots from fourth to seventh could still end with a 3-4 ratio. Vitality, for example, could end up in first place, but also in seventh. All will be decided this weekend.
The North American RLCS will play on Saturday at 12:00 p.m. PT / 3:00 p.m. ET / 20:00 CET on Twitch and YouTube. Europe’s turn is on Sunday at 9:00 a.m. PT / 12:00 p.m. ET / 18:00 CET. (Reminder: Daylight Savings Time ends this weekend in North America, while it has already ended in Europe, hence the time differences across the two days.)
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.