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The fourth iteration of WSOE (World Showdown of Esports) kicks off this weekend on Saturday, Jan. 26, featuring Rocket League. It’s the first major LAN in 2019, where the players will compete in Las Vegas for a $100K prize pool spread over two days. Earlier this month they held the qualifiers, where four teams joined the already six invited.
The WSOE event
WSOE is a major LAN, played in a studio without a live audience. Ten teams from around the world will compete in a tournament that consists of a group stage and a knock-out stage. The group stage is played on day one, where five teams play in a round-robin system for a top-three finish in order to advance. The first-place finisher will advance directly to the semi-final of the single-elimination knock-outs on day two. Place two and three will advance to the quarter-final, while place four and five are eliminated.
With two groups of five each playing each other, there will, unfortunately, not be enough time to broadcast every match. Therefore, the broadcast schedule for day one is as shown below. Hopefully a second stream is announced for the other matches as we will miss quite some significant matches otherwise.
Credit: Rocket League Esports subreddit
A big debut
During the North American WSOE qualifiers, rookie team Afterthought made an enormous run. Consisting of players who have yet to show their faces in the RLCS, they made an upper-bracket run all the way to the final, eliminating RLCS teams such as Bread and Rogue along the way. They fell to G2 in the final but redeemed themselves by defeating Perfect Storm, previously known as Rogue and recently relegated to the RLRS, in the lower final. This marks the debut for Nathan “Shock” Frommelt, Colby “Hockser” J, and Nick “Mist” Costello at a major LAN. While Mist already has a season of RLRS under his belt, his teammates are mostly known from the minor Renegade Cup tournaments that are held every month. Will they impress this weekend against the absolute top of the world?
South America also debuts
We will (hopefully) get to see a South American team in a major LAN environment for the first time. Not all matches from the WSOE group stage are broadcast and none of the South American team’s is. So unless they make it to the knock-out phase on day two, we won’t even get to see them play – a rather disappointing fact. This isn’t the only chance we’ll ever get to see SAM at a LAN though, as Psyonix already announced that SAM will be included in the RLCS in 2019. Strangely enough, however, the three Brazilian players Antonio “FirefoxD” Schilling, Lucas Viera “Noisy” Garcia de Araujo, and Valter “Valt” Junior are not a team together back in South America. The players were invited individually due to visa issues with most of the other players in the region. While they are among the best players from South America, they will be at a significant disadvantage as a thrown-together team. Hopefully, this serves as a wake-up call to the other players to get their visas in order before the RLCS begins.
European roster changes
While a major LAN is played, we’re technically still in the off-season. This means roster changes are still happening as we speak and several have happened just weeks or even days before WSOE begins. The biggest change is, of course, Maurice “Yukeo” Weihs joining Dignitas. Before he left Flipsid3 Tactics, however, he helped them qualify for the event his new team was invited to.
In Yukeo’s absence, F3 plays with Jack “Speed” Packwood-Clarke from Red Reserve. The team has already confirmed that Speed’s addition to the team is not yet permanent, so he’ll have to impress in order to keep his spot. They recently played with him in the DreamHack Leipzig qualifiers, where they failed to qualify for the event.
Finally, while not a roster change, We Dem Girlz will represent their new organization TSM for the first time. Having played without an organization for six months, they were recently picked up by one of the biggest organizations in esports after winning the ELEAGUE Cup 2018 in December. Many eyes will be on TSM this weekend, who proved they are absolutely one of the favorites.
North American roster changes
In North America, the only roster change relevant to WSOE is the one of Reed “Chicago” Wilen having replaced Cameron “Kronovi” Bills on G2. Kronovi did not manage to qualify with his new team Rogue. Chicago proved himself to be one of North America’s biggest talents and will try to help G2 to their first ever LAN Championship alongside Dillon “Rizzo” Rizzo and Jacob “Jknaps” Knapman.
Who is Chiefs’ third?
Chiefs are the invited team from Oceania after finishing fourth at the RLCS World Final in December. But shortly after the invitation to WSOE, their best player, Matthew “Drippay” Den-Kaat, left the team to make the first-ever cross-region transfer to NA’s Evil Geniuses. Being down a player, Chiefs will have to find a replacement, which is still not yet determined. RLCS shoutcaster and analyst David “yumi_cheeseman” Lane seems to be hinting that he will play for the team, but as a practical joker, no one is quite certain if he is being serious. He is in Las Vegas with the team, though, but he’s only shown the two confirmed Chiefs players so far.
It would seem that Chiefs is either planning a big reveal, or yumi is indeed making his debut as a player in at a major LAN. Should he actually be Chiefs’ third, he would be the first of the RLCS casters to play in a major final. This would then immediately become one of the most interesting storylines of the tournament. Until they have confirmed it, however, it remains difficult to believe yumi is being serious. So before we make any rash announcements, let’s not make a fool out of ourselves by blindly believing his cryptic tweets.
— yumi_cheeseman (@yumi_cheeseman) January 24, 2019
Catch all of this exciting Rocket League action on the official WSOE Twitch Channel, starting Jan. 26 at 10 A.M. PST / 7 P.M. CET! For more Rocket League news and recaps, keep up to date with Daily Esports.
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.