The Rocket League Championship Series Season 8 Finals have come to a close. NRG Esports now stands alone as the world champion for the first time in their history.
NRG’s season started with a major roster move, bringing in three-time world champion Pierre “Turbopolsa” Silfver from Europe. He joined top North American talent like Garrett “GarretG” Gordon and Justin “jstn” Morales to form a super team. From that point, NRG was domestically more unstoppable than usual.
After placing first in the regular season and winning their fifth North American RLCS title, NRG was pegged as a favorite to win the international finals. But despite being a contender for the cup in multiple previous seasons, NRG never beat their final hurdle. After being the runner-up in Season 5, they bowed out in the top 8 in Seasons 6 and 7. This year would be different.
NRG’s Season 8 Finals journey began against Lowkey Esports in the Group A winners’ semifinals. The South American second seed were easily dispelled by NRG in a 3–0 sweep. In the Group A winners’ finals, NRG faced Renault Vitality, one of the strongest teams in the tournament. An intense five-game series against the European second seed ensued. In the end, NRG came out on top 3–2, earning a first-round playoff bye.
A day later, NRG convincingly dealt with the North American third seed, Spacestation Gaming, earning a place in the RLCS Season 8 Grand Finals. On the other side of the bracket, Vitality was locked in a grueling match against the European fourth seed Dignitas. When Vitality was on series point, Dignitas extended Game Six to 5-minute overtime where they scored a lifesaving goal.
Despite that mental blow, Vitality took Game Seven 1–0, earning a rematch against NRG.
Grand Finals began with NRG taking an early series lead with a 4–1 victory. This would be the only game not decided by a single goal. Vitality went on to win the next two games, barely managing to hold a lead in both. Wanting to get to championship point, Vitality played aggressively in Game Four. But the game went to overtime where NRG scored a goal to equalize the series.
NRG were the first to make it to three wins, but Vitality earned their own equalizer game right after. Both teams were inseparable after six games, resulting in a sudden-death Game Seven on Champions Field. Three minutes later, jstn shot an amazing air dribble and goalie demolition ball into Vitality’s net.
However, it wouldn’t be a Rocket League world championship without a Game Seven overtime. Vitality slipped a ball past NRG’s defenses with 30 seconds to play. With everything on the line, NRG reset their mentality and delivered the final blow just 20 seconds into overtime.
The World Championship MVP award went to Turbopolsa who racked up 18 goals, 10 assists, and 26 saves on Sunday. He is now a four-time world champion, with multiple teams to boot.
For GarrettG and jstn, this win is a culmination of all of the hard work put into their careers. Both have been around the professional Rocket League scene since its inception over four years ago. Despite their “This is Rocket League” moment in Season 5 Grand Finals ending in heartbreak, they never lost hope and kept trying. Finally, their dedication paid off.
Season 8 is now finished and many more great seasons surely await in the future. Rocket League continues to provide some of the most exciting and passionate moments that esports has to offer, and there’s no better time to take notice.
Written by Zakaria Almughrabi