Hard work, dedication, and sacrifice is required to reach the top in esports. The Oceanic teams and players have strived for glory for years, and have poured their time and effort into competing in the Rocket League OCE Championship over the last few months. It’s the end of the season, and the players have returned home from the World Championship, but it’s important to look back at the highs and lows that was an extraordinary RLCS World Championship run for Oceania.
While Chiefs looked stronger than ever, cleaning up the OCE Championship without dropping a single series, Tainted Minds had to make a killer resurgence just to qualify. It was that grit and their calm under pressure that took them across the line, as they had to eliminate both of their closest rivals, Dark Sided and Legacy Esports. For those two teams, their blood, sweat and tears would not be enough, and they’ll need to wait, heartachingly, for another half a year for their next opportunity to qualify for the biggest Rocket League stage in the world.
The Chiefs Drippay Jake Torsos and Tainted Minds CJCJ Julz Kamii had the incredible opportunity to arrive early in London. Travelling together, they each set to bootcamping, with the chance to practice against the best in the world in the lead up to the competition. They’d be able to hone their skills, gaining valuable experience that they aren’t able to get when 1000's of kilometers away in Oceania.
The World Championship kicked it up a notch this season, with a full arena stadium in the form of London Olympic’s Copperbox Arena. The players would be surrounded on all sides by shouting fans cheering on their name, and the Oceanic players quickly became the crowd favourites.
The three day competition began on Friday with The Chiefs taking center stage in the most anticipated match of the tournament. Chiefs and the North American team Evil Geniuses had been firing harsh words back and forth across twitter, with both teams confident that they’ll win the first round. Torsos had an incredible performance, and in a series that went the distance with a full 5 games, they held it out and took victory to give them a chance against the previous World Champions, Dignitas. While they took a game against Dignitas, they didn’t have enough in the tank to take down the best team in the world.
Tainted Minds had a daunting battle against the team that came 2nd last season, it was Julz’s first time, and they weren’t able to hold up against the experienced Complexity roster. Despite losing 0 - 3, they went into 2 overtimes and kept every game incredibly close. A great first showing that would lend them to day 2 performance against Team NV. If they won this, they’d end up in showdown with their home rivals Chiefs, and they were up 2 games to 1, 3 goals to 0 in game 4, ready to become the first OCE team to beat an EU team at LAN. But, with the comeback of the century, NV tied up the game, and pulled back the rest of the series to knock Tainted Minds out. While they couldn’t quite take the series, they took the hearts of the crowd, with the best walkout in RLCS history CJCJ drove a toy car into the arena, decked out in sunnies and everything.
The last hopes of Oceania would be Chiefs, with the ability to avenge Tainted Minds against NV and reach top 6. No team from OCE had ever reached championship day (day 3) of the tournament, and this was the time for Chiefs to make history in front of what was essentially a home crowd. NV had won the world championship 2 seasons prior, but that didn’t phase the Chiefs, a clean series 3 - 0 had them in high hopes and going into the record books. This would give them the chance to play against Cloud9. The most famous organisation in the world knocked them out last season in a devastating defeat, and it seems that they would become the Chief’s kryptonite as Chiefs took a rough 3 - 0 loss where they would be out of the competition.
Chiefs and Tainted Minds showed the world that the spirit of OCE is strong and determined. That a set of islands with a tiny portion of the population can take it to the big guys, and the underdog story is still alive as each season we see remarkable improvements, and magnicifent moments coming from our local players. While knocked out of the tournament, the crowd was still cheering for OCE and Australia all the way through to the Grand Final, and in the hearts of the crowd, Oceania was still there front and center stage.
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