Every week, GGRecon highlights one team performing well, and gives context to their performance. This week, we look at the history, recent results, and expectations of Top Blokes.
Top Blokes have asserted themselves in the RLCS since the very start of season X. The mostly British team has stood in the shadows of Team BDS and Renault Vitality for a long time, but now they might not be the underdog for much longer. Their coach, Reece “RamS” Mullins, shares his thoughts on his team with GGRecon, and tells us about what’s behind their success, and what’s next for Top Blokes.
HISTORY: BOUNCING BACK
Top Blokes was formed after the roster was released from Veloce Esports. Veloce had a roster from all over Europe, with Sandro “FreaKii.” Holzwarth, Jack “FlamE” Pearton, and Andy “Kassio” Landais. They achieved success at the end of 2019, finishing Season 8 with a third place in EU and making the top six at Worlds in Madrid. But after that, they couldn’t perform the same anymore and fell off a little.
Varying results in the first half of 2020 came with some changes to the team. Former pro David “miztik” Lawrie left as the coach, and RamS came in to coach Veloce. But not for long under that name, because less than a month later, Veloce released their roster, and the story of Top Blokes begins.
Top Blokes started without Freakii, who went to Fadeaway, but with Archie “archie” Pickthall. Archie, being only 15 years old, is one of the fastest upcoming talents in EU. Before Top Blokes, he played with fellow prodigy and good friend Joris “Joreuz” Robben on a team called The Clappers. With that team, he already showed potential in the Spring Series, where they finished in the top six.
They just missed out on qualifying for The Europcup 10K, so the first real chance for Top Blokes to prove themselves was at Rocket Baguette’s Summer Grand Prix. There, they made it to the group stage, where they were knocked out by Renault Vitality and Team BDS. That’s nothing to be ashamed of, but they were hungry to do better than finishing barely in the top eight. With archie on board, it was time for Top Blokes to bounce back from their Veloce days, and show up at RLCS X.
RECENT RESULTS: FAN FAVOURITES
They bounced back, and how! The first Regional Event of the Fall Split was a big deal for the young and talented team, and they made good use of it. Making a run to the grand finals and falling only to Team BDS is more than they could have hoped for. The $15,000 chunk of the prize pool coming their way is great of course, but their performance had a bigger impact than that. A second-place finish meant that Top Blokes immediately established themselves on the RLCS points leaderboard. If they could keep up those results, they were quickly securing their place for Majors and, eventually, for Worlds.
A team like Top Blokes, who is able to challenge Team BDS and Renault Vitality, quickly earns respect and support from many Rocket League esports fans. Top Blokes also made respectable runs in the second and third Regional Event of the Fall Split, getting all the way to the semi-finals and quarterfinals respectively. Their performance in The Grid has seen more varying results. They placed first and second in week 4 and 6, but also got knocked out in the first rounds in other weeks. All in all, they kept gaining points for the leaderboards, and experience for themselves.
According to coach RamS, their greatest strength is their adaptability. “All three players are very good individually and have their own strengths, but we can adjust in between series, games, and goals to make sure we are playing at our best. Small little adjustments that we make to make each other better is what makes us consistent, even on bad days.”
When the Winter Split came around, Top Blokes weren’t a brand-new team anymore, and they could use their experience from the Fall Split to build confidence and improve as a team. They came out swinging in the Winter Split, and won the first week of The Grid, and most importantly, they won the second Regional Event. They had to beat Team BDS and Team Queso twice to win, and they did it in astounding fashion.
RamS attributes their recent success to hard work, and time. “We were a new roster with archie, who was fairly inexperienced before joining us, so it was always going to take a little bit of time to reach the levels we know we are capable of. We work hard for each other, and that really pushes us to improve individually and as a team.”
With Winter Regional 2 under their belt, the future of Top Blokes is looking bright. They are catching up in RLCS points to front runners BDS and Vitality. Team BDS is still ahead by a lot of points, but overtaking Renault Vitality isn’t out of the question for Top Blokes. Rams knows his position. “Realistically, we would like to be eclipsing Vitality in points by the end of the Spring Split – it won’t be easy though, since Vitality are still a top team and I think it’s unfair to dismiss them after one or two shaky performances.” But Vitality isn’t a worry for Top Blokes. They stay focussed on their own results: “Winning a Regional will always be our aim every time we compete.”
A team like Top Blokes, who can hold their own with the best, certainly deserve the support of an esports organisation. Without one, they have to rely on the prize money they earn, and it leaves RamS to coach and manage the team on his own. Is there any hope for Top Blokes signing to an organisation? RamS responds in emoji form, with a smirking face. We’ll let you decipher that as you will…