The first Rocket League major of 2022 is just around the corner, kicking off on March 23. The event is one of many in the Rocket League Championship Series, offering up a cash prize and all-important RLCS circuit points.
This major is the first of the new RLCS format, which features a different group and playoffs stage, as well as more regions. This means we’ll see a little bit more Rocket League action than usual and it’ll play out slightly differently.
We’ll break down the event and the new changes below. Before we get into it, make sure to brush up on all things Rocket League – and let’s take a look at the event in more detail.
Who’s Playing At The Rocket League Winter Major?
As usual, the major will see 16 different teams participate, all having made their way to the event through regional rankings. This means we’ll see some of the best teams from each region – North America, South America, Europe, Oceania, Asia-Pacific, and the Middle East and North Africa.
The list of teams includes a lot of fan favorites like NRG, G2, FaZe and Team BDS, as well as some new faces like Team Secret, Detonator and many others. Overall, the team list is split by the historical strength of the regions. This means there are six teams representing North America, four European teams, two Oceanic teams, two South American teams, one Asia-Pacific team, and one team representing the Middle East and North Africa region.
It’s set to be a very high-level tournament overall, and being the second major of the 2021-22 season, it’ll give us some insight heading into the spring season and then eventually the world championship.
Rocket League Major Format Changes
A vital thing to talk about for this event are the major format changes. This event and others going forward will look quite different than previous tournaments.
First off, the Swiss stage has been changed to a group stage (played in a Swiss format). This means that teams are split into four groups of four at this major and play all the other teams in their group once. The top team of each group then advances to the upper bracket of the playoffs, second and third advance to the lower bracket, and fourth-placed teams are eliminated.
This means that the playoffs will now see 12 teams compete, up from the previous eight, and be played in a double-elimination format. Teams that place first in their group start in the upper bracket, meaning if they lose a series, they drop to the lower bracket rather than being eliminated. Meanwhile, teams that lose in the lower bracket are out.
That’s about it for the new format. It mostly means we just see more playoff games, but also makes group stage performances that much more important, as coming first and starting in the upper bracket gives teams an extra lifeline.
|The General NRG
Odds as of March 3 at Sportsbook.
Team BDS Looks To Continue Dominant Major Run
Team BDS is one of the best Rocket League teams out there, being dominant in Europe since putting together their current roster in late 2020.
The team is now on an amazing run at majors specifically, having won four in a row. Three of these were regional events and many thought they may finally meet their match with international competition returning at the end of 2021.
However, BDS blitzed through the Fall Major, dropping just one series to FaZe Clan but otherwise dismantling the competition. This includes taking down current favorites The General NRG in three different best-of-seven series – once in Swiss stage and twice in the playoffs.
The European stars now look to extend their major run to five trophies and it’s very possible they’ll be able to do just that. Of course, they face tough competition and will have to take down the American favorites battling on home soil, but major momentum is on their side.
Can Favorites The General NRG Rediscover Their Grand Finals Form?
Historically, The General NRG are the most successful Rocket League team, being the only organization to have won the world championship multiple times. They’re also incredibly successful regionally, having won a ton of trophies in North America, including a historic run of two years of domination.
They now enter the Winter Major as favorites, coming in at +200 on Sportsbook, which signifies implied odds of 33.33 percent, according to our Super Calculator. While this may not seem the highest for a favorite, the closest team behind them is G2 Esports at +600.
Given the prestige and history of the team, it’s no surprise to see NRG as the favorite. The roster has proven they can – and very often do – win everything. However, they have hit a bit of a roadblock recently.
The General NRG are still as dominant as ever and we’d have to go way back to 2020 to see the last time they didn’t place top two at any top event. But they have recently started to drop the ball when it matters most.
NRG have reached the finals of their last four events, but crumbled in the grand finals three times. This started in the Fall Major against BDS and they’ve since also dropped finals to both G2 and Version1. The team used to be absolutely ruthless when it came to finals, but have seemingly lost their edge in the last few months. Based on their form, we’ll likely see NRG in the grand finals again – but can they overcome their grand final slump?
What Can We Expect From The Underdogs?
As with any Rocket League event, there’s always the potential for the underdogs to show their worth. We’ve seen a ton of upsets before and while it doesn’t always lead to a miracle run, the underdogs are known to spice up events.
Even at the most recent Fall Major, champions BDS lost to FaZe in the Swiss stage and favorites NRG barely squeezed through it, dropping series to both BDS and Endpoint.
We’re likely to see more of the same going into the Winter Major, with a ton of underdogs full of potential making their way into the event. FaZe and Endpoint are two key names to look out for, based on the previous major results. There are also the likes of Spacestation Gaming and Sandrock Gaming, two teams with very strong regional performances and a history of shaking things up internationally.
It’s very likely that one of the favorites will take home the event, but you should be keeping your eyes on these underdogs for individual matches.