NRG will win their fourth North American RLCS championship in five seasons

It has taken five seasons and been denied by some final week stumbles several times, but at last we have not one but two undefeated regional champions in the RLCS. Both NRG and Chiefs went 7-0 in the North America and Oceania regions respectively, but for both squads their work is far from done. Chiefs haven’t even secured their position at the world championship LAN, though it would be a brave rocketeer who would bet against the long time regional powerhouse. NRG are in the box seat to claim their fourth North American RLCS title in five seasons, but two big names in G2 and Cloud9 will have plenty to say about that. 

In this bumper edition of Rocket Surgery we have an extensive preview of the regional finals for Oceania and North America, unfortunately power outages have delayed the final week of European league play until Friday morning AEST, leaving little time for a thorough analysis of the European regional final. First, a quick recap of the final week of league play. 

In Oceania, Chiefs assured their undefeated run the hard way, needing a reverse sweep to take down long time rivals Dark Sided and bookending their league schedule with comeback victories. Chiefs had a horror start to the series before a classic passing play tied up game two with seconds remaining, only for Dark Sided to quickly secure match point in overtime. Chiefs then fell behind early in games four and five but stormed home in both, showing the kind of clutch performance (and freakish defence) you expect from a team of their standing.

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It wasn’t all bad news for Dark Sided, who earlier took down Legacy in what may be a preview of the opening round of the regional finals. Legacy started strong in that series but were soon beaten down by Dark Sided to give up a crucial psychological advantage in a finals series where only two teams will move on to glory (and face it, one is probably going to be Chiefs). Legacy also had some joy on the day, knocking over a faltering Tainted Minds squad including a massive 7-1 Brazil in the deciding game four. 

Earlier in the day Love Decks let a chance of a top six finish slip through their fingers, dropping a series to Legs Are Silly then falling to Tainted Minds. Those losses ensured Retirement Home and JAM Gaming would only be playing for a psychological advantage in their series, unable to advance into the top four nor fall out of the top six. Both squads will meet again next week in an elimination qualifier, Retirement Home taking the honours here 3-1. 

North America packed its own surprises in the final week, with Counter Logic Gaming becoming only the second North American team to beat Cloud9 in a meaningful series in the last two seasons. Not only did CLG win, they swept Cloud9 convincingly and finally showed some of the form that had pros predicting them for great things prior to season five. It left Counter Logic with a chance to avoid the relegation playoff if they were able to take a single game from G2 later in the day, a feat they were unfortunately unable to achieve against the hot E-League champions.

G2 earlier assured Out of Style a place in the relegation playoff, winning 3-1, then Rogue locked in their own playoff position with a 3-1 win that left Out of Style winless for the season. NRG knocked over Evil Geniuses in the first leg of their double header, then delivered the first undefeated season in RLCS history by marching through Cloud9 in a match that would have no bearing on the final standings thanks to Cloud9’s earlier loss.

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