dfthaman, Co-owner of RLX
You know that Rocket League as an esports title has arrived in South Africa when kids run to their favourite players to take photos with the real-life legends of the game they have become accustomed to seeing online. This is exactly what happened last month (which was previewed here), when the first LAN event of the calendar year for local Rocket League was held in Johannesburg, at the Nu Metro Gaming area in Emperor’s Palace. Rocket League Xpress (RLX) & Raving Mad Gamerz (RMGZ) collaborated in order to bring a professional occasion that set the standard for future live events. Exdee Gaming emerged as the champions with a cool R2700 prize cheque, but not before staving off some strong opposition from teams such as Carfind VIDERE Esports, who almost made a remarkable comeback in the upper-bracket finals with that 0-second goal from Lorenzo “Mr.Low” Fransman (which is now basically part of his routine at LANs).
This continues Exdee’s incredible run though, of not having lost a live game ever, much to the delight of their manager (and organisation owner), De Wet “RidditZ” Lombard-Bovey (who is famous now for his deep celebratory roars of “EXDEE!”). This also makes Christian “mOTHER” Massyn the only player to have won three consecutive LAN events in South Africa, while also being undefeated at live tournaments. Furthermore, new and up-coming teams such as Vicerus – Levitate & Graphite managed to show the fans how much potential they have in their ranks.
1st: Exdee Gaming – cpZebra (c), mOTHER (c), Snowyy
2nd: Carfind VIDERE – Mtpromises (c), Mr. Low & Pwnflakes
3rd: BerZerk Gaming – li0n_za (c), Timmy_JS & Lazybutt_oz
4th: Vicerus – Levitate – Falacer, Elf_ZA & Delta_Force_ZA
Most Valuable Player: Gareth “Snowyy” Spiers, who receives R200 which was sponsored by Dane “Magoo” Carpenter. He also became the first player to score a flip-reset at a LAN event on stream, which he successfully executed in the Grand Final. You can check out the full breakdown of all the players’ stats here.
Fans and supporters in attendance
This tournament will also be fondly remembered for its use of technology to give a more comprehensive package to fans, one that is on par with Europe according to one of the captains of Exdee Gaming, Nick “cpZebra” Fourie. Two of South Africa’s best casters, Michael “Ulturism” Oerder & Gavin “Gavi-G” Vogel, took center stage behind four screens, to provide spectators with all the information they needed. In-between games, they would switch to me, DF “dfthaman” Luttig, where I would update the audience on some of the other matches on the floor.
Leon “li0n_za” Havenga was also enthralled by the amazing venue, and when I spoke to the players and spectators, the consensus was that this was an amazing event for them to attend. Everyone seemed to be particularly impressed by the setting and use of broadcasting technology to facilitate a polished and effectively-run tournament. Hearing how the fans ran up to guys like Snowyy after a match, or how VIDERE captain, Cameron “Mtpromises” Thomas, was quite overwhelmed in his first LAN regarding the fact that people would come up and ask to take a picture with him, shows that Rocket League has elevated its status in local esports. Speaking to popular streamer, THEED3, on camera, he affirmed how much the scene has grown and how impressed he was with the quality of this tournament.
Our very special guest was present – Jordan, a 9-year old cancer warrior (more info on donations to his cause can be found here). He is also an avid gamer and was able to interact with the fans and players. He even scored his first Rocket League goal much to the delight of the crowd. Carfind presented him with his own happy hamper of goodies, and in one of the kindest acts, mOTHER gave his legendary Exdee jersey to the little guy. René “Crematia” Venter from RMGZ also interviewed Jordan’s mother in a special segment towards the end of the event, before Jordan was presented with his own Rocket League VIP medal.
Just a thank you to the owner of RMGZ, Hein “Zethanias” Labuschagne, and his right-hand woman, René, for being very generous and warm to our community. Thanks to your organisation for arranging the event and supplying photographers and referees. Thanks to the official photographers for the event, Stefan and Simonè, from M M Photography. Thanks to Nu Metro Gaming’s/Emperor’s Palace team for the very cool arena with all its state-of-the-art systems in place that ran everything smoothly. Thanks to all teams, players, organisations and sponsors for attending, with a special mention to Neil “Zoltan” Strydom and Francois “Inquisitor_” Matthee, from Vicerus Esports and serving on the RLX Executive committee, for being referees at the event too. A big thanks to our broadcasters as well for providing top-notch commentary. Thanks to all fans, viewers, spectators, significant others and parents for attending, watching and supporting as well. Of course, there’s always room for improvement and we all will take the feedback and hopefully make the next one even better.