From Gale Force to Dignitas
The defending Rocket League champions will try to win back-to-back titles at the RLCS Season 5 World Championships while competing under a new name. After spending the entire season as part of the Gale Force Esports organization, the squad of players Kaydop, ViolentPanda, and Turbopolsa have been lured away to the Dignitas organization.
Players switching teams is hardly unique in esports. Roster changes happen all the time. But this move is such a strange occurrence. Right in the middle of a season — two weeks before the most important tournament — Dignitas swooped in and claimed the trio that’s probably the most heavily-favored team to win it all.
(There are a handful of teams that could reasonably be crowned champions. NRG, G2, Cloud9, and Team Vitality are all strong; but Gale Force, err, Dignitas is the top seed in Europe and its three players all have the experience of having won RLCS before.)
There isn’t really a recent precedent for this, at least in the Rocket League scene. Two seasons ago, an unsigned team was picked up by Rogue before the World Championships based on the strength of its performance in the Regional Championships. But that’s a story about some plucky players earning themselves a sponsorship. This is different. This is one huge organization muscling out another mere weeks before the game’s premier competition. It’s weird, right?
Let’s parse this through a hypothetical analog from traditional sports. The Philadelphia Eagles won the most recent Super Bowl. Imagine if two weeks before the Super Bowl, all the Eagles players decided to play for some team from Omaha. And that Omaha team wasn’t even in the NFL. But they were still allowed to play in the Super Bowl as the Omaha team and then they won the whole dang thing. So the Omaha, I don’t know, Cornshuckers were the 2017 NFL Champions.
Yeah, that’d be weird.
Compounding matters, Dignitas already had a Rocket League team! Prior to this season, it signed Turtle, Zol, and Chicago who were playing in RLRS — ostensibly the minor leagues where teams can be promoted to the main competition, while RLCS teams can be relegated. Those guys are seemingly out of an organization now.
Psyonix appears to have endorsed the change, as the RLCS schedule now features Dignitas’ name instead of Gale Force’s. Essentially, at the eleventh hour, Dignitas has bought itself a chance at adding a championship to its proverbial trophy case. Maybe this is the sports purist in me talking, but it seems like these sort of swaps should be restricted to the off-season. Otherwise, the names that these titles are won under don’t really mean much at all.
Via Upcomer Esports