The high stakes RLCS Season 8 Regional Finals are upon us, and we’ve set up shop at the LPL Studios in Auckland, New Zealand, to catch up with all of the teams in the mix. With match one serving up the juggernauts clash between Chiefs ESC and Renegades, we wanted to dive deeper into how the players are feeling.
The names on the Chiefs starting line-up are no stranger to the minds of Oceanic Rocket League fans, perhaps adding to the shock of their fourth seed entry into this season’s finals.
With a shaky start to the season, we first put the hard hitting questions towards team captain, CJCJ, asking him how the squad felt coming from their regular season into the finals, claiming that “this is the most confident I’ve ever been, coming into a top four finals. Even though it was a tough start to the season, the last couple of weeks we’ve hit the nail on the head with our training”.
The bracket hasn’t been the kindest to the Chiefs, with their fourth seed dropping them into the aforementioned much anticipated matchup against the Renegades. This however didn’t worry CJCJ in the slightest, adding that him and the squad are “happy to play against the Renegades first up. Once you’re in playoffs the regular season doesn’t matter,and we’re keen to just get Renegades out of the way.”
The sentiment was shared by teammate Express who alluded to the squads work with the Chiefs mental skills coach, and how they focussed “on keeping a positive mindset headed into series, taking one match at a time, and not worrying about any specific matchup in the playoffs”.
When asked about their ambitions for the finals, CJCJ added that “if we put it together on the day, we can go a fair way through the bracket”. The ambition was shared by Drippay who said that he’s “very comfortable with the team environment and how I’ve moulded in, and I’m not feeling any pressure for the upcoming matches”.
We backtracked with Drippay to try and pindown what happened during league play for the squad who said that the superstar squad were just “too comfortable coming into games, and any issues with the team environment had a massive butterfly effect onto our mentality on the pitch.”
He also added for the Renegades matchup that “We just need to keep doing what we’re doing, there’s no need to change anything because it’s all currently working so well.” When asked about what he sees as the biggest challenge against Renegades, he mentioned that “Siki has to carry RNG, and we are confident we can keep him under control.”
Digging into his experience in the United States under Evil Geniuses, we were curious as his comparison between the regions, “there’s a lot more consistency with rosters and the big organizations in North America”, Drippay also added that “as a region competitively, OCE has stepped up big time since I was last here. Previously there were only 2 real contenders to win, but now there are at least three or four.”
We then turned our attention to Express,who was quick to assert that the current Chiefs lineup was by far “the best team I’ve ever been on. CJCJ has really improved in the last season, and without a doubt Drippay is the best shooter in OCE, if not the best player inOCE.”
Starting strong, we dived further into what really made this team tick, with Express adding “Initially we thought we might centre our playstyle around Drippay, but quickly we found that we were by and far a lot more effective playing off a team, and working with each other. The best of each player is brought out if we work off each other, instead of just trying to play support to the one”.
We then took a step back to ask him as wellon his thoughts on league play, once again reminding us how important it was for him to take things “one game at a time. Although the season had been lacklustre at times, and we had a slow start, we’re confident that in matchesand practice we’re slowly building up to where our game needs to be.”
“Our ability as a squad has really ramped up in the last two weeks, and although I personally haven’t had a great season,I’m feeling good about both myself and the team for LAN.” Confidence was abundant for Express, and we’ll be looking for him to show that on the big stage as the Chiefs look to launch their campaign towards RLCS qualification.
To beat the drum one more time, the almighty Chiefs will face the Renegades in their first match starting tomorrow afternoon, live from the Let’s Play Live studios in the SkyTower. Keep up to date with all the competition from the Let’s Play Live Twitter and the latest and greatest from the boys in blue on the Chiefs Twitter.