Team BDS, a former Rocket League Rival Series squad, are running laps around the rest of the European Rocket League Championship Series so far.
Having won five out of the last seven European regionals, including one major, the newly promoted roster has already cemented its position as one of the best Rocket League teams in the world.
The team’s results are made even more surprising by the behind-the-scenes story of Team BDS, who made it to the top of the league with two longtime players in the lower ranks of the Rocket League scene and whose best player went winless as an RLCS rookie last season.
Despite appearances, though, the journey from Rival Series to being an RLCS contender has been a steady climb, not a sudden spike.
“I’m pretty sure that some of the top teams put their eyes on our players in the last RLRS season, as we were looking really strong as a team and our performance was at its peak,” team manager and coach Javier “Kael” Ojeda said. “But we decided to stick together because our potential as a team was really promising.”
Team BDS consists of a trio of previously lesser-known competitive players in Marc “MaRc_By_8” Domingo, Evan “M0nkey_M00n” Rogez, and Alex “Extra” Paoli. They are all names that longtime fans might have seen before this season began, but never on the RLCS Worlds stage, and certainly never with these kinds of results in mind.
The team is playing its first season at the very top of Rocket League and is already 900 points clear at the top of the leaderboard. BDS could skip the winter major and still remain on top.
With an 8-1 series score and a plus-19 win differential in the Rival Series, BDS promoted directly to the RLCS for this season. Despite their promise and previous results, no one suspected Team BDS to slap around Rocket League powerhouses like Renault Vitality and Dignitas. But soon after their promotion, BDS started a rampage reminiscent of Dignitas’ rule over Europe back in Seasons 4 to 6.
Kael puts it down to Team BDS’s latest addition.
“Extra joining the team has allowed us to build a very good synergy and that’s why we’re finding the best of success,” Kael said. “Extra has been a revolution for our playstyle. We used to play with two players looking really offensive and a third one who stayed on the field with a more defensive role. Now, with Extra, we’ve found the ability to do a non-stop pushing and pressure on our opponents, being extremely careful with our recovery in defense.”
A team on the rise
The results speak for themselves.
Team BDS seem nearly unbeatable, and veteran RLCS players have to respect the debutants’ results. Of course, BDS aren’t entirely new in the scene. While MaRc_By_8 and M0nkey_M00n are playing their first season in the highest league, all three BDS players have been a consistent presence near the top of lower divisions, particularly in the Rival Series.
MaRc_By_8 originally played with Alejandro “ClayX” Carbonero on a fully Spanish roster with ARG. Once M0nkey_M00n became available and joined MaRc and ClayX, the groundwork for the dream team was laid. It took them a season to get going, but Team BDS promptly proceeded to demolish the Rival Series. Finishing first and earning a promotion to the RLCS, however, wasn’t enough for this year’s stars.
“We needed some fresh air on our team after getting the promotion,” Kael said, “and then we made the decision to drop ClayX and find another player to replace him. Despite dealing with some issues to find a good play style in Extra’s tryout, we gave him a chance to compete in The Eurocup with us, as he was an experienced RLRS and RLCS player. After a talk between us, we managed to find the right synergy. We felt really comfortable on the field, becoming champions of the tournament.”
Extra, the difference-maker for BDS, played in the RLCS last season for AS Monaco but his debut season grew into a nightmare as the team finished without a single win. Despite being a standout player for AS Monaco, Extra found himself out of the top league and without a team when the roster split up at the season’s conclusion. But of course, a star-in-the-making like Extra would have no trouble finding a new team. When he joined the Team BDS roster after the release of ClayX, the group elevated its game and its attitude.
“Making sure to keep focused on finding good vibes all the time is one of the keys to not losing our way,” the coach said.
Will Team BDS’s success translate to LAN tournaments?
Some might think a good Rocket League player is just that: good, and they can perform anywhere. But the online scene is a whole different beast compared to the LAN stage. Where one player thrives under the pressure and chants of an audience, the other buckles. And we have yet to see Team BDS set foot on that stage.
It’s unclear when or if RLCSX Worlds will happen this year. After last year’s cancellation, fans are eagerly awaiting the next LAN event. And now that a new team is showing it can rule over the old, everyone wants to see if they can do it on a world championship stage against the teams across the pond, and in front of a churning mass of fans (and enemies).
“Our dominance in online events must be proven on the stages when LANs return,” Kael said. “I think we’re mentally prepared to play on stage.”