G2 vs. Chiefs eSports Club
It’s easy to want to chalk this up to an easy win for G2, but Chiefs make up for their lack of experience with their win column. Chiefs shutout Pale Horse in their first place finish in the Throwdown Esports RL Challenge late last month. They may have the wins, but the level of LAN competition just isn’t the same in Oceania compared to NA. G2 has had plenty of experience with the best teams in NA and the world. Sure, G2 has faced a few tough losses throughout this season of RLCS, but those losses are to teams like Cloud9. NRG and Ghost. Look out for Kronovi and Jknaps to come out firing and take the first match of RLCS and send Chiefs to the loser’s bracket.
PSG Esports vs. Pale Horse Esports
The three players that make up PSG Esports have been members of many successful teams over the course of Rocket League’s competitive scene. They began this season of RLCS as Frontline. As Frontline, they took down RLCS royalty like GaleForce and Mock-It. Both of those series went to seven games and could’ve gone either way, but Frontline, now known as PSG, accomplished those feats. Pale Horse, on the other hand, is made up of younger and more inexperienced players. Like I mentioned in the aforementioned match, the Oceanic teams are going to have a tough time hanging with EU and NA teams this year. I think PSG will make quick work of Pale Horse, and send them promptly to the losers bracket.
Gale Force Esports vs. G2
Season 4 could very well be Gale Force’s year. Violent Panda, Kaydop and Turbopulsa are going to go far in the bracket thanks to their track record this season. They’ve been on the warpath with wins against the bracket’s best like Method, Flipside Tactics, Mock-It and more. Going back to previous majors before this season, Gale Force is nearly always in the top three teams. The top spot always eluded them. That was until they took home the trophy of the 2v2 Universal Open in August. Gale Force is the real deal, and they’ve looked strong all season, except for a few losses early on. There’s a reason why they’re the top seeded team in EU. G2 has finished with strong performances, but they’ve shown signs of inconsistency, especially after losing to Flyquest early in the season. G2 will go farther in the loser's bracket, but Gale Force will be too much for them early on.
Winner: Gale Force
Ghost Gaming vs. Mock-It Esports
Now we’re getting into the must-see matches of RLCS season 4. Ghost Gaming may be the most underrated team in this year’s RLCS. Not only have they racked up an impressive resume of wins throughout this season against teams like G2 and NRG, they also swept Gale Force in the Northern Arena Invitational last month. This is a hungry group of guys who are eager to prove themselves. Mock-It aren’t slouches either, but they’ve struggled when facing the elite teams this season like Method and Gale Force. This doesn’t mean Mock-It won’t be able to hang this year. In series where they’ve been victorious, Mock-It only lost a total of nine games out of 29 total games in league play. This should be the first close series of the bracket, but Ghost gaming will take it.
Cloud9 vs. PSG
If you haven’t been watching any of the RLCS action this year, meet the great hope for NA to take home the trophy. A team from NA hasn’t been able to do this since season one. They had the best record this season on the NA side. And, they haven’t just been beating teams. They’ve been destroying them. When going up against Rogue, Allegiance, Flyquest, Ghost and Renegades Cloud9 only lost a total of three games. That’s out of a total of 22 games. They are a beastly trio, and I have them going very far in the bracket this year. PSG isn’t a bad team, but this is just too tall of a task. Cloud9 will send PSG to the loser’s and while only droping one game if any at all.
Method vs. NRG
If I could only see one series on the first day of RLCS Season 4, it would be this one. NRG began as the frontrunner for NA, and Method is one of my favorite teams to watch. Jacob or NRG does absolutely ridiculous maneuvers from ridiculous angles, but no team makes adjustments quite like Method. Method has the most reverse sweeps out of any team in this year’s RLCS league play. That means when they’re down by three games in a best of seven, they come back and win four in a row to take the series. They did the same when they faced SizzleUrCob in the 2v2 Universal Open. If they lose games early, they make adjustments and dominate. It’s something to behold. That ability to adjust is why I’m picking them to take down NRG in a very close series. But fear not. NRG will still go far.
Losers Round 1
Chiefs vs. NRG
It may not seem like I’m not giving the Oceanic teams much respect in this year’s RLCS, and I suppose that’s accurate. It’s not that they’re bad teams. They’re in the RLCS World Championship LAN. You can’t be a trio of Plats and expect to get to that level, but these teams have their work cut out for them. NRG is probably the third best team in NA. At this stage in the bracket, teams are playing to stay in the tournament. I expect Chiefs to give them a good series, but Jacob and NRG will eventually take them down.
Mock-It vs. Pale Horse
Again, apologies to the Oceanic teams, but Mock-It is going to take this one. Pale Horse has a couple of recent losses to Chiefs in the recent ThrowdownTV and Mock-It Championship Series, and Mock-It is a better team than Chiefs. Mock-It has really only struggled against the best of the best like Method and Gale Force. Look for Mock-It to sweep Pale Horse to send them home.
Losers Round 2
NRG vs. PSG
Other than facing Method earlier in the tournament (who I have them losing to), PSG is going to be their toughest opponent. PSG has NRG’s number. They bested them twice in best-of-five series, winning 3-1 and 3-2 at the Northern Arena Invitational last month. I don’t think NRG has exorcised those demons or have since found a solution against PSG. As much as I pulled for NRG at the beginning of this season, I don’t see them going past this point in the tournament.
G2 vs. Mock-It
This is my pick for the first big upset. Mock-It has been the better team between these two when looking back at how they’ve performed at majors, but I think Jknaps carries G2 to the upset victory. G2 is a hungry team having missed RLCS LAN last year, and they want to make the statement that they should be considered a top team in NA. G2 will defeat Mock-It in a close series.
Gale Force vs. Ghost
This is going to be a great match to see. Ghost is going to have to recreate that magic they stirred up early in RLCS league play when they scored a statement win against NRG. They’ve since lost to them a couple times in different tournaments, but did manage to beat Gale Force in last month’s Northern Invitational. They didn’t just beat them, they swept them. I think this is just a tough matchup for Gale Force, as good as they are. Styles make matches, and while Gale Force is one of the best teams on the pitch this year, Ghost seemed to have them figured out.
Cloud9 vs. Method
You’ll have to keep reading to see how far I think Method is going to go in this tournament. Spoiler: it’s far. Cloud9 is widely regarded as the best team in NA, and they should be. But after seeing Method play in person, these guys are beasts. It’s not just that their communication and teamwork are impeccable, but it’s the adjustments they make even after losing a game or two. Some may consider this an upset, but Method is the team to watch this year.
Gale Force vs. PSG
Now we’re getting into the matches we’ve seen before. Gale Force and PSG are no strangers to each other. They split games during this year’s league play, but PSG recently defeated Gale Force in the Northern Arena Invitational in a close 3-2 series. So they are pretty evenly matched. These are two of the most experienced teams in the bracket. This game could probably be guessed with a coin toss. I just like what I saw out of Gale Force this season, and in previous majors. You don’t get their run of second and third place finishes with luck. I think Gale Force takes it in a close series.
Winner: Gale Force
Cloud9 vs. G2
Like the match before this one, these are two teams who know each other well. Also like the match above, these two teams split wins against each other during league play. However, Cloud9 took down G2 last month at the Northern Arena Invitational. Unfortunately, this is where G2’s RLCS Season 4 run ends. Cloud9 has been playing out of their mind all season long with just a few missteps along the way. My guess is that this series goes 3-1 in favor of Cloud9.
Ghost vs. Method
Ghost is going to go on a cinderella-esque run in this year’s RLCS, but this is where that hits the wall by the name of Method. Method tends to struggle late in tournaments. In the 2v2 Universal Open, they were destroying everyone they went up against, until they couldn’t seal the deal against Gale Force in the Grand Final. I think this is the tournament where they get that under control. Method will finally send Ghost to the losers bracket.
Gale Force Vs. Cloud9
This season’s RLCS is going to be packed with blockbuster matchups and this is one of them. There’s nothing quite like seeing the best of each region go up against each other. Gale Force and Cloud9 have become legends in just the last couple months. I had high hopes for Gale Force going into this season, but they looked a little shaky early on in league play. They have since ironed out those problems, and have been on the warpath, but they showed some signs of weakness early on. I think Cloud9 is well equipped to handle Gale Force this year. Gale Force had another great run, but this is where it ends.
Cloud9 vs. Ghost
Cloud9 has shown they are the best of the best before they were called Cloud9. Once known as the Muffin Men, they shocked the world at Dreamhack Atlanta. They’re done shocking the world, since the Rocket League fans expect the high performance from them. They’re about to elevate their status to new heights when they reach the Grand Finals of RLCS Season 4.
Cloud9 vs. Method
After three long days of RLCS action, it finally comes down to two teams: Cloud9 and Method. Method is finally going to be able to close the show and cement their legacy as RLCS champs. Cloud9 isn’t going to make it easy for them though. As NA’s last hope, I can see them resetting the bracket by winning the first series. But then, Method will do what they do best: adjust. They’ll make those key adjustments in the second series and take them out to become Season 4 RLCS champs.
The RLCS WC action begins on Friday at noon Eastern. Follow me on Twitter at @GameGuyPgh for all of the updates from the event.