Ground Zero Gaming is breezing past the competition in the Rocket League Championship Series Winter Major despite being from one of the smaller regions in Rocket League, Australia — or OCE. Despite this disadvantage, Ground Zero Gaming is set to take on G2 Esports for a spot in the Quarterfinals, and the squad thinks they owe it to their skills and hype.
At the Rocket League Championship Series Winter Major at DreamHack in San Diego, Ground Zero Gaming participated in a press panel where the team discussed practicing in the OCE as well as coming together as a new squad.
OCE is a region that’s locked away from the rest of the higher comp around the world. Have there ever been any discussions about boot camping in a major region? Does having a lack of higher-level practice and less competition lead to more of a struggle at international events?
CEO Beau “Xcell” Melia: As an org, we want to give the boys the best opportunities, so we’re actively looking at opportunities to go abroad. We want to do that as early as possible so they can get a good boot camp in. When we qualify for the next major, we want to give them an extra couple of weeks with the teams.
You have to factor in the time difference too. They gotta get sleep before the boys get into it.
Lachlan “Superlachie” Gordon: OCE doesn’t have the biggest competition. It’s definitely important to get out there. We’ve been to a few majors where we got some good practice in with teams beforehand.
Ezequiel “Fiberr” Aranda-Lovito: It’s necessary to boot camp with other regions because we don’t have enough practice with NA and EU.
It seemed like when Superlachie was added to the team, you were a bit rejuvenated.
Josh “kaka” Watters: We obviously weighed options and decided that the majors weren’t certain. If we don’t make the major, points are irrelevant anyway. So we decided to drop our points and play with intention of winning as much as we can, playing the best we can.
Fiberr: All three of us came together… We were all on different teams. We wanted to get back at the Pioneers and prove who really is the best in OCE.
You alluded to forfeiting points, which is a difficult decision to make. What went into that thought process? Did you talk with org owner and staff members? What led you guys to basically have the confidence to throw points away and start fresh in the Winter Split?
kaka: We spoke with Beau when it became a possibility. It’s hard to start from zero, so we weighed options. There was no certainty that we would even make majors with the other roster… So our thought process was to assemble the strongest team we could at that moment, and whatever happens, happens.
Xcell: We risked it for a chance to get back to an international, and we’re here.
OCE could benefit from a top 8 team from a different region moving to OCE.
Superlachie: I don’t know why a team would ever go to a minor region with less money and less exposure, but we’d benefit as a whole from being exposed to a stronger region. I wouldn’t condone doing it if you’re in the top eight.
Fiberr: It would help OCE if we had a top-five NA or EU team come over… The way they play is different.
At the Winter Major, what gameplay differences did you notice in the other regions? What was a challenge for you to get used to?
Fiberr: The teams were more consistent than OCE in many ways, mainly rotating, speed… While being here, I’ve definitely noticed it a lot. It’s not about getting trick shots, you just need to play some basic Rocket League and make sure you’re consistent.
Superlachie: What I’ve noticed is that NA and the Middle East are a lot quicker than what we are used to back home. NA teams are about speed and the individual — who can make a play. EU is a lot more team-based, with a lot of passing.
Superlachie, do you feel validated that your old team, Pioneers, is eliminated and may not be what it once was without you?
Superlachie: I have no grudges for those guys. I lost that a while ago. It’s all about trying to rep OCE better. Obviously, it feels a bit better now. There’s more proof that I’m still going.
Casters from the OCE have said that your team is very boisterous. How does that weigh into your performance, you think?
Fiberr: For us, we wear emotions on our sleeves. once we get going… Beau gets going, too. With us, once we get hype and good vibes, we just feel unstoppable. We absolutely feel unstoppable. Once we get rolling, it’s hard to stop us.
Superlachie: He said it perfectly. Going from my old team… It was there at the start, but it died down a bit. When you’re the only one like that… Here it’s different. Everyone has the energy. Everyone’s excited to play. We’re confident.