On Sunday, Europe had its turn to end the regular season of RLCS9, following the North American conclusion on Saturday. The EU is normally extremely volatile, but this time the top 2 and bottom 3 were almost decided before the final week even began. There were some outside chances of shake-ups, but it soon became evident that it would be the battle of the mid-table, including an impressive role by mousesports’ substitute Ario “Arju” Berdin.
Renault Vitality and Dignitas on top
Coming off a loss in the grand final of the RLCS Season 8 World Championships (and a win the season before that), Renault Vitality has not disappointed in the last twelve months. After the shocking announcement that they would replace Kyle “Scrub Killa” Robertson with Yanis “Alpha54” Champenois, RV looked potentially even more dangerous. They proved that the roster move worked by ending their season 8-1 in first place and are considered the massive favorites for the regional championships. RV are not messing around.
Dignitas considered picking up Scrub Killa before the season began but will be happy with how things turned out. Their team just clicked with the usual line-up. They comfortably ended in second place with a 7-2 record and an MVP-worthy performance by Maëllo “AztraL” Ernst. They are the other favorites to win the play-offs and have looked like an extremely scary team ever since they ended in the semi-final last world championships.
The battle of the mid-table
The real battle in the final week of EU RLCS was the one between Team Reciprocity, Mousesports, FC Barcelona, and Veloce. With each team on a similar footing, every result mattered. The table shifted back and forth throughout the day as results came in. Ultimately, however, Team Reciprocity and mousesports secured those comfortable third and fourth place spots.
Mouz had already secured play-offs, but there was still much to play for this week with regionals coming up. Earlier this week, Scrub Killa made an unprecedented move by departing from his team mid-season, so their sub, Arju, had to step in for the final week. Arju confirmed that RLCS9 was the season of the substitutes, as he was the third sub this season to help his team to a win after Cloud9 already used Jayson “Fireburner” Nunez and Rogue brought in Garen “Garenn” Havanjian. In fact, Arju won two series with Mouz in his first-ever RLCS appearance. Like Fireburner, he took the accolade for player of the day.
FC Barcelona and Veloce Esports have a longer road ahead of them in the playoffs, but their season is still far from over. Many RLCS teams have a tendency to ignore favoritism, and every series could go either way. You definitely don’t want to miss regionals next week.
The relegation zone
AS Monaco started off the final matchday by promptly relegating with zero wins. They were swept off the pitch by Team Singularity – who, by the way, ended in seventh place. That’s enough for them to stay in the RLCS next season, but not enough for play-offs.
The other two relegation candidates are TSM and Team Endpoint. With an already disappointing season under their belt in RLCS8, TSM hoped to earn a better result by reuniting the Finnish duo of Otto “Metsanauris” Kaipiainen and Joonas “Mognus” Salo. Unfortunately, things still did not click. Like the newcomers of Team Endpoint, they will have to defend their RLCS spot in the promotion/relegation next month.