One player to watch in each team at the Los Angeles Major

March 11 2022

One player to watch in each team at the Los Angeles Major
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It is that time again—international competition! The Winter Major in Los Angeles will have fans in the stands once again to cheer on their favorite players.

While Rocket League is a team game at its core, it can be an interesting exercise to look at individual players who can make an impact in their team's quest for international glory. Here is one player from each team to watch at the Los Angeles Major.

Furia

Furia's duo of Yan Xisto "yanxnz" Nolasco and Caio "CaioTG1" are both immensely talented. Still, we'll go with yanxnz as he was the top goalscorer for the team throughout the Winter Split. He utilizes his great ball control well, with a tendency for slow, deliberate touches. He is especially eye-catching in the corners, where he can set up clever air dribbles, and quick flip reset to set up onrushing teammates. He is also skilled at working the ball out of his own defensive corner, a key ability to relieve pressure against international competition. 

Detonator

After a Cinderella run through the APAC Qualifier, Detonator surprised in their qualification over Tokyo Verdy. Detonator always finished in the top three through the Winter Split and finally beat Tokyo Verdy in Game 7 of the Major Qualifier. While Shoki "Burn" Minamigawa was the team's top goalscorer, we went with Kenyo "OLPiX" as the player to watch for this squad. He is patient on the ball and finds clever ways to get past opponents. He is a bit of a trickster in attack, finding areas where he can place the ball to make it awkward for an opponent. He also has an eye for his teammates, often finding dangerous transition plays by linking up with someone. He did not have a fantastic goal participation rate throughout the Winter Split. Still, his ability to create small advantages will be crucial in Detonator's attempt to make it out of a tough group. 

Spacestation Gaming

After narrowly missing a spot at the Fall Major, Spacestation brought in highly-touted rookie Daniel "Daniel" Piecenski and were able to secure the fifth seed in North America. With only one split of Rocket League Championship Series experience, it will be fascinating to follow Daniel at such a high-profile event so early in his career. He is an intelligent player and adds an extra attacking threat to an already top-tier roster, averaging over 0.7 goals per game throughout the Winter Split. While they are one of the lowest-seeded teams in the event, their potential ceiling with Daniel could pit them head to head against anyone at the Major.

Rocket League Spacestation Gaming Air Dribble

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Evil Geniuses

Evil Geniuses proved to be a consistent team in Europe with two fantastic showings in the final two Regionals, only to be knocked out twice by Team Queso in Game 7. In an age when speed is prized above all else, Evil Geniuses do not radiate that type of style. But their almost elegant poise is credited mainly to Leonardo Christ "Catalysm" Ramos. He is a force for other teams to attempt to beat with the ball. He is consistently a thorn to opponent's attacks and is equally capable of turning his defensive stops into dangerous possession for his team. He knows when to slow down the play and when to use his ball control to threaten a counterattack. Evil Geniuses might not be known for a blistering offense, but their defense and control of the game, led by Catalysm, is always a factor that keeps them in games against even the top offenses. 

Team Secret

Matheus "math" Gonçalves has been critical to Team Secret's offensive output. He was the Most Forward positioned player on Team Secret in all three Winter Regionals. He is another player that likes to take a lot of touches. How will that impact the squad's performance against some of the best teams in the world? A lot of the team's action will revolve around him. If he can continue to position aggressively without being punished, his role could be central to defeating the more defensively minded teams and competing with the top dogs in the event. 

Pioneers

A quick look at the Pioneers' performance throughout the Winter Split tags Jon "Bananahead" Anastakis as the top scorer. However, one stat is much more revealing about his playstyle. In all three Regionals, he spent the least time on the ground per game of any player. He is certainly a high-flier and can use that aggression to create many opportunities for his team. 

It can look a bit reckless at times, but his speed in the air will be an important factor for Renegades. The Pioneers looked flat against Ground Zero Gaming in the final Regional, only scoring one goal while conceding ten. Series like that simply cannot happen at the Major if they hope to advance. Sometimes, he goes for a challenge preemptively, and the opponent can recognize that to change course, leaving the Pioneers in a tough situation. If Bananahead is reading the game well and using his speed to disrupt the opponents and create opportunities for his team, the Pioneers could be a threatening underdog. 

Version1

After winning the final Regional of the split, Version1 enter the Major looking the best they ever have as a squad. While Landon "BeastMode" Konerman's addition played a large part, Robert "Comm" Kyser's demolition-heavy style was both entertaining to watch and effective for his team's playstyle. While it might be challenging to keep track of how many demolitions he gets in each event, he has quickly become one of the more fun players to watch. Beyond simple entertainment, though, that type of aggressive style is a strong strategy for dismantling top teams. Comm's daredevil style will be the focus for determining how far Version1 can go. 

Renegades

Oceania's best team in the Winter Split, Renegades were led by Cameron "CJCJ" Johns and his offensive talent. In a video, popular analyst Adam "Lawler" Thornton said, "CJCJ is the top player in OCE again. Not just due to personality, but due to actual results… Making consistent results happen, the best scorer in the scene, he's doing a really good job for OCE right now." 

For Renegades to reach their potential at this event, CJCJ will need to be at the top of his game. He is one of the top offensive contributors on any team, and the team will go as he does. His defensive ability should not be underrated, either. He is poised in defense and capable of beating several players to work out of dangerous situations. 

FaZe

FaZe's insane potential has also led to criticism in their failure to live up to those expectations. Despite boasting some of the most creative players in North America, some defensive inconsistencies have plagued them against top teams. Caden "Sypical" Pellegrin was supposed to fix these issues. Still, without a Grand Finals appearance in the Winter, criticism has ramped up. They are still one of the most talented rosters in any region. If one big result is truly what it will take to relieve some pressure, the Major will be an excellent chance for that. Sypical is an extraordinary player, and his ability to foster possession and set the pace of play is fascinating to watch. FaZe led the charts in goals per game for Major teams in the Winter Split, and Sypical's contributions in offense and defensive improvement could see them on the road to the finals. 

Endpoint

While Endpoint's offense can look like a bit of a one-trick pony at times, it is hard not to be convinced by Enzo "Seikoo" Grondein's mesmerizing talent. Across the final two Winter Regionals, his goal participation rate was over 75%, a truly astounding number for one of the top teams in Europe. His mechanical ability often turns even his missed shots into dangerous passes for a teammate to clean up. Endpoint are at their best when Seikoo's teammates are contributing to their offensive pressure. Still, Seikoo is one of the few players who can single-handedly take on the most elite teams in the world. 

Seikoo Double Tap vs Dignitas Rocket League

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BDS

The answer here is pretty apparent—Evan "M0nkey M00n" Rogez has been widely acclaimed as the best player in the world, winning awards such as OctaneGG's Top Player of 2021. He is such a well-rounded player. With such great teammates next to him, he consistently posts one of the highest goal participation rates in Europe. Despite BDS' poor finish in the third Regional, it is not hard to imagine BDS making it back-to-back Major championships with M0nkey M00n leading the way. He is central to BDS' style, and with the best player in the world at your disposal, BDS will be one of the favorites to win it all no matter who they face. 

Sandrock Gaming

Despite coming from a "weaker" region, Sandrock Gaming enter this event as the fifth seed overall. This is largely due to players like Ahmad "Ahmad" Abdullah and his well-rounded gameplay. Throughout the Winter Split, he was a consistent threat in offense in both the goals he scored himself and the plays he set up for teammates. Oh, and did we mention he's down for scoring double taps in the Grand Finals of the Regional with the Merc? 

Dignitas

While they fell short of a trophy in the Winter Split, the Dignitas squad consistently looked like one of the most potent offenses in Europe. Jack "ApparentlyJack" Benton has stuck out as one of Rocket League's true game-changers. His mechanical ability can define a series, a trait that will be necessary to take down the staunchest defenses in the world. He led Dignitas in both assists and goals per game in the final two Winter Regionals. He is one of the fastest players in the game, a dangerous combination with his mechanical skill. Dignitas boast one of the most talented overall rosters. If ApparentlyJack is at the top of his game too, they could finish the Winter Split on top of the world after barely falling short in domestic competition.

G2 Esports

After a disappointing Fall Major, a change seemed the best move for both G2 and Massimo "Atomic" Franceschi. With Atomic now in the ranks among two offensive maestros, G2's play has tightened while still being one of the most prolific scoring teams in the region. Even after one split, G2's improvement has been obvious, with his now seamless transition to becoming a key part of G2's play. Now that G2 have stepped up in their domestic success, it will be interesting to see how far they can go in their first international event together. 

NRG

One of the most storied LAN players in Rocket League history, it would be hard not to get excited at the mention of Justin "jstn." Morales' name at another international competition. For years, he has been an elite, dynamic threat capable of doing things very few others can. He was NRG's top scorer in all three Winter Regionals, as well as in assists for two. As Sandro "FreaKii" Holzworth told G-Loot about NRG, "As a unit, they work really well and show they don't rely on individual plays but move forward as a team." The team chemistry and mechanical ability of this team will push them to avenge their Fall Major loss to BDS, with jstn. at the forefront. 

Team Queso

After earning the number one seed in the tournament, Team Queso will look to it's two young stars in Axel "Vatira" Touret and Joe "Joyo" Young to be key components in a deep run. However, the contributions of Finlay "rise." Ferguson have had an immense impact on the team's success. Rise.'s ability to influence the game in all facets of play has quickly gained attention throughout the recent split, going from unheralded third man to disruptive facilitator. Part of what has made Team Queso so successful this split is that all three members have been very involved in the offense. So even when Rise. is not bagging the goals himself, his playmaking and disruptive movement can put his teammates in better positions to succeed.  

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Stats courtesy of OctaneGG. 

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Matt Gerrity
Matt Gerrity

Sports fanatic, card game connoisseur, and fan of the Oxford comma. Make sure to support your healers.

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