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Rocket League

11 Mar 24



Arsenal Talks New RLCS Season, Hopes for North America

During his first split with Dignitas, Arsenal talks about the RLCS season thus far and his Major hopes.

With a fresh start in the 2023-24 season, Dignitas is off to work with our trio of Tshaka “Arsenal” Lateef Taylor Jr, Jordan “Evoh” Manley, and Jirair “Gyro” Papazian. We were able to talk with Arsenal regarding performance in the first split and hopes for North America on the international stage.

Hey, Arsenal! After your four-year stay at Spacestation Gaming, you’ve joined Dignitas for this season with Evoh and Gyro as your teammates. How do you feel about the new team environment?

Arsenal: My team environment is awesome, man. I love teaming with these guys, I’ve teamed with Gyro in the past so it’s like a little reunion for us. In the old days we came up together, and Evoh is someone who, even when I was on Spacestation, has always been a close friend of mine. He’s like a little me, I would say. Of course, we butt heads sometimes, because that’s how brothers are, but I love teaming with these guys. Our environment is pretty awesome, we get to vibe and make jokes and trash-talk each other whenever possible, so that’s awesome.

Great to hear your excitement about your teammates! What are your goals with this new squad?

Arsenal: My goals with this squad are to just… win. Yeah, I want to make the major and everything, but for me, I want to win: I want to win regionals, I want to go to the major, I want to win the major. I’ve been to LANs all the time, I’ve been in close matches in the regionals and grand finals, but nothing satisfies me more than just winning.

And I’m sure that you’ll be doing plenty of winning in the season to come! This new era of RLCS brings in several changes, both for viewers and players; what are your thoughts on the new season thus far?

Arsenal: Well, I think, the new season as a whole, if I could describe it in one word, would be, unfortunately, a downgrade. I think in the format, although it’s not bad in its entirety, that the seeding really messes it up. You have teams who are getting easier runs and getting more points and then you have teams who are playing the same teams every time, like the best teams in the region. I think the format as a whole makes it a lot more rough, especially for teams who can perform well; there is no incentive for doing well.

Let’s talk about your first performance. In your first Open Qualifier, you put up a dominant Swiss stage, falling to a sweep from Rebellion but proceeding to sweep your following matchups of OG, TSM, and Luminosity. How did it feel coming out of the Swiss stage with such strong results?

Arsenal: To be honest, I kind of expected that. After the first series, it was like a wake-up call for us. There were certain things that we were doing, especially with the nerves of being in the first regional, your bad habits and everything start to show. Once we got that first series out of the way, it’s like, “Okay guys, what do we have to lose now? Let’s bring the fire, let’s play how we know we can,” and it ended up showing in our Swiss performance.

You ultimately secured a Top 4 in the event, defeating Pirates on a Boat 4-2 and only falling to G2, the ultimate winners, in a 4-1 loss; what was it like to put up such a statement performance, and what do you feel that the team did right?

Arsenal: To be frank, losing to G2 hurts, even though they won the whole event, because you always want to be on top. But for our performance against Pirates on a Boat, we were just able to keep a level head. I think we had more experience than them, all-in-all, and I think we were able to, even under pressure, perform and get certain touches we needed to get and get certain goals and save certain shots. I think our experience really showed, and as long as we can keep a good mental, throughout the series and throughout the season, I think we can achieve big things.

The second Open Qualifier, you took a series off of Leftovers, but were eliminated in the Swiss stage due to losses against Omelette, Pirates on a Boat, and OG, two of which were teams you decisively defeated in the last event; what do you think changed, and how do you feel about the 12-14th place result?

Arsenal: I do think that in the second regional, we ended up putting a lot more pressure on ourselves than we needed to. After getting Top 4 in the first regional of RLCS, it’s like, “we can really do this,” and we tried to overwork ourselves and do a little too much. I think putting pressure on ourselves really showed in our performance; we were more nervous and we made a lot more unexpected decisions. Once we got that under control, I think it was fine. I think we’ll be really good in future regionals, we’ve been working on our decision-making and challenging. And not only that, our mechanics are looking pristine, to say the least, so I think you’re going to see a new Dignitas.

Can’t wait to see it! As of now, most of NA is very close, as shown by the incredibly close point totals for this split; who do you think are the biggest NA teams to look out for?

Arsenal: To be honest, I think the only team to look out for is G2. The rest of the teams haven’t been so consistent, so it’s up in the air for who performs on the day. There’s no specific team I am looking out for, I just think it’s up to us to keep a good mental and perform when needed.

After a lopsided Spring Major and World Championship in 2023, EU teams like Vitality and KC seem poised to claim another victory in Copenhagen; what are your hopes for NA at the major?

Arsenal: I hope that NA can learn to adapt to the way EU plays. I think they play Rocket League the right way, and I think North America as a whole will be in for a shock. I think nerves will be a factor for every team there, so the playstyles won’t be as apparent as online, but I do think NA will struggle. EU plays a lot smarter, and I think that they give less space and work together.

Thank you for your time, and best of luck with your upcoming events. For our interested readers, where can they find more of you?

Arsenal: I’ll shout out my Twitter, @ArsenalRL, and my Instagram, @arsenalrlfp. Lastly, there’s my YouTube, ArsenalRL.

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