Rocket League Championship Series
GenreRocket League tournament
Location(s)Various
Years active2016–present
InauguratedSeason 1 (2016)
Most recent2022–23
ParticipantsVarious throughout season
World Championship: 16
Organized byPsyonix (2016–2023)
Blast ApS (2024–present)
Websiteesports.rocketleague.com

The Rocket League Championship Series (RLCS) is an annual Rocket League esports tournament series produced by Blast ApS and endorsed by Psyonix, the game's developer. It consists of two online qualification splits in several regions, with teams earning points towards qualifying for midseason tournaments known as Majors and the Rocket League World Championship, both of which are held as LAN events worldwide.

History

Psyonix had observed the popularity of Rocket League matches on Twitch and other live streaming platforms like YouTube by early 2016 and were looking to use the game more in Esports.[1] In March 2016, Psyonix announced the first Rocket League Championship Series; the finals took place in June 2016 with a US$55,000 prize pool, and was won by Cameron Bills, Brandon Lachin, and Ted Keil of iBUYPOWER Cosmic. [2][3] The second season of the championship series took place in December 2016 with a $125,000 prize pool, and was won by Mark Exton, Francesco Cinquemani, and Marius Ranheim of FlipSid3 Tactics. [4] A third series began in March 2017, with the $300,000 prize pool finals taking place three months later. In this season, two teams from the oceanic region were also invited to compete.[5]

A second division, the Rocket League Rival Series (RLRS), was added in Season 4. The two teams finishing at the bottom of the RLCS and the two teams finishing at the top of the RLRS for each region play each other in a promotion tournament at the end of the season to determine if teams are promoted or relegated. At the advent of Season 5 in June 2018, Psyonix organised and managed the event alone. Previous to this, they partnered with Twitch. Season 6 started in September 2018 and featured a $1,000,000 prize pool.[6] For Season 7, Psyonix introduced South America as a new region.[7] Season 8 took place in December 2019. The Season 9 championship was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with winners of the regional championships being considered the champions.[8] In July 2020, Psyonix announced a new format for the tenth season of RLCS, known as RLCS X. This format did away with league play and the RLRS in favor of teams earning points through three regional splits, all culminating in three seasonal majors.[9]

The 2021–22 season began in October 2021, bringing in four new regions (Middle East and North Africa, Asia Pacific North, Asia Pacific South, and Sub-Saharan Africa), a more reliable circuit similar to Season X, and a $6 million prize pool. The new circuit consisted of 3 splits, containing 3 regionals and 1 international LAN major each, culminating in a World Championship to finish the season. The season was won by Evan Rogez, Enzo Grondein, and Alexandre Paoli of Team BDS. [10]

For the 2022–23 season Asia Pacific North and Asia Pacific South were combined into a single region with point totals being lowered and each regional event being called the Open, Cup and invitational. This season was won by Zen, Alpha54, and Radosin of Team Vitality, beating Team BDS in the grand finals 4-0 after they completely swept the Spring split, winning the EU Open, Cup and Invitational for the split as well as the Spring Major.[11]

Unlike the past two seasons, there was a considerably longer offseason after 2022-23 accompanying the removal of one of the splits, meaning that the 13th season of the RLCS wouldn't begin until January 26, 2024.[12][13] The 2024 season will see the removal of the Open, Cup and Invitational system for each region in favor of three new open qualifying stages, those being a double-elimination qualifying bracket, a Swiss-system tournament featuring the top 16 from open qualifying and a knockout stage featuring the top 8 from the Swiss stage. This open qualifying cycle will be repeated three times per split, awarding RLCS points after each stage, before the top teams in RLCS points in each region from those stages advance to that split's Major, which will feature the Swiss and knockout stages from open qualifying and award additional points. The combined standings will decide who advances to the World Championship, which will be reduced from 24 to 16 teams in the process using the same format as the Majors.

On January 4, 2024, it was announced that Blast ApS, a tournament organizer known for the Blast Premier circuit in Counter-Strike as well as organizing the esports circuit for Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege, would take over from Psyonix as organizer for the RLCS in 2024, having previously run the Fortnite Champion Series (Previously run by Psyonix's parent company Epic Games) since 2022.[14]

Seasons

Season Dates Finals location Champions
1 April – August 2016 Los Angeles iBUYPOWER Cosmic (G2 Esports)[15]
2 October – December 2016 Amsterdam Flipside Tactics[16]
3 April – June 2017 Los Angeles Northern Gaming[17]
4 September – November 2017 Washington, D.C. Gale Force eSports[18]
5 March – June 2018 London Dignitas[19]
6 September – November 2018 Las Vegas Cloud9[20]
7 April – June 2019 Newark Renault Vitality[21]
8 October – December 2019 Madrid NRG Esports[22]
9 February – April 2020 Dallas Cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with regional champions crowned instead.
X August 2020 – June 2021
2021–22 October 2021 – August 2022 Fort Worth Team BDS [fr][23]
2022–23 October 2022 – August 2023 Düsseldorf Team Vitality[24]
2024 January – September 2024 TBA

Notes

References

  1. ^ Hussain, Tamoor (February 15, 2016). "Rocket League Dev Explains New Esports Drive". GameSpot. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  2. ^ Makuch, Eddie (March 2, 2016). "Rocket League Pro League Announced, Offers $75,000 in Prizes". GameSpot. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  3. ^ Lemmon, Kyle. "Introducing the Rocket League Championship Series". Rocket League. Archived from the original on October 17, 2016. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  4. ^ Faletti, Ian. "NRG Tactics conquer RLCS Season 2 grand finals". ESPN. Archived from the original on December 7, 2016. Retrieved December 7, 2016.
  5. ^ Minotti, Mike (February 7, 2017). "Rocket League Championship Series season 3 will have a $300,000 prize pool". Venture Beat. Archived from the original on February 7, 2017. Retrieved February 7, 2017.
  6. ^ "Introducing RLCS Season 6". rocketleagueesports.com. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
  7. ^ Nowakowski, Ian (January 29, 2019). "Introducing RLCS Season 7". Rocket League. Retrieved February 18, 2019.
  8. ^ Ocal, Arda. "RLCS championship canceled due to coronavirus outbreak". ESPN. Retrieved July 14, 2020.
  9. ^ Jones, Alistair. "Rocket League Overhauls Its Entire Esports Structure". Kotaku. Retrieved July 14, 2020.
  10. ^ "Announcing the RLCS 2021–22 Season". Rocket League Esports. Retrieved September 27, 2021.
  11. ^ "RLCS 2022-23 Season Information and Sign-Ups". Rocket League Esports. Retrieved December 21, 2022.
  12. ^ "Community Events Take Over the RLCS Offseason". Rocket League Esports. Retrieved January 4, 2024.
  13. ^ "The RLCS Returns for 2024!". Rocket League Esports. Retrieved January 10, 2024.
  14. ^ "BLAST to operate the Fortnite Championship Series (FNCS) and the Rocket League Championship Series (RLCS) in expanded multi-year deal". News Powered by Cision. January 4, 2024. Retrieved January 4, 2024.
  15. ^ Faletti, Ian. "A chat with Season 1 champions 617 Cosmic". ESPN. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
  16. ^ Faletti, Ian. "Eclipse Tactics conquer RLCS Season 2 grand finals". ESPN. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
  17. ^ Hayward, Andrew. "Bizarre Gaming on Their RLCS Win and What's Next". Red Bull. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
  18. ^ Parker, Max. "Gale Force's RLCS win marks new era in Rocket League supremacy". post-gazette.com. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
  19. ^ Mejia, Ozzie. "Team Dignitas Wins Rocket League Season 5 Championship After Wild Final Flurry". Shacknews. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
  20. ^ Mejia, Ozzie. "Cloud9 shocks Team Dignitas to win Rocket League Season 6 Championship". Shacknews. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  21. ^ Mejia, Ozzie. "Renault Vitality wins Rocket League Season 7 Championship". Shacknews. Retrieved June 24, 2019.
  22. ^ Mejia, Ozzie. "NRG Esports wins Rocket League Season 8 Championship". Shacknews. Retrieved December 15, 2019.
  23. ^ Bencomo, Brian. "Team BDS win RLCS 2021-22 World Championship". Nerd Street. Retrieved July 3, 2023.
  24. ^ Marsh, Jack. "Team Vitality win RLCS World Championships 22-23". GGRecon. Retrieved August 13, 2023.