This article is part of our Additional Recaps series.
The first ever Rocket League Universal Open wrapped up in Santa Ana on Sunday with Gale Force Esports taking down Method in the grand finals. While the grand final ended up being a straightforward, if not still exciting series, the entire weekend saw with plenty of upsets and endless overtime periods. Let's break down all the action.
Gale Force Storms Through the Competition
While Gale Force came away with the win after a strong second day of competition, their first couple series were rough around the edges. Both the opening round and the quarterfinals saw Gale Force barely come away with 2-1 victories over Incognito and Ambition Gaming. Jos "ViolentPanda" van Meurs even admitted himself after the grand final that their first day was "a bit iffy," but they put that performance behind them moving into Day 2.
They opened with a matchup against DapG in what was one of the closest games of the day as Courant "Kaydop" Alexandre tied things up for Gale by keeping the ball off the ground and scoring with no time left on the clock. Kaydop then grabbed the overtime goal to take the first game before Gale swept the series 2-0. That led into the winners' finals against Method where Gale torched the opposition in a 3-0 series.
With a game in hand going into the grand finals against Method, who took down fan favorites SizzleurCob in the losers' finals, the stage was set for an electric series. Method came out hot with 4-1 and 5-4 wins to take a 2-1 win in the series. Gale Force then came alive with three straight dominating wins to lock up the grand finals win. Along with the bragging rights of winning the first Rocket League grand final broadcasted on NBC Sports Network, Gale Force walked away with the $32,500 first place prize.
Method Almost Brings It Back
Method didn't end up winning it all, but boy did they have a hell of a run towards the end of Day 2. After being swept 3-0 by Gale Force in the winners' finals, they went into the losers' final against SizzleurCob and then dropped another two games to stare down elimination. At that point, Method rattled off an impressive five straight wins between this series and the grand finals. They swept Sizzle in those final three games by a 14-0 score and then outscored Gale 9-5 in the first two games of the grand finals. Their run came to an end once Gale got back into a groove and won the final three games of the grand finals, but this was a strong run, nonetheless.
Rise of the Hybrids
I'd be remiss if I left before talking about the two hybrid teams at the event, DapG and SizzleurCob. DapG comprises NRG Esports' Garret "GarretG" Gordon and Renegades' Chris "Dappur" Mendoza, while SizzleurCob consists of NRG's Jacob "Jacob" McDowell and Rogue's Emiliano "Sizz" Benny. While it may seem odd to have these mixed teams, it only happened due to the 2v2 format of this tournament.
While most tournaments use the 3v3, Psyonix switched things up for this one and go with 2v2. This allowed players to play in these mixed teams to still have fun in the downtime until the Rocket League Championship Series Season 4. Despite not having played together for long, both hybrid teams finished in the top-6 of the tournament, with Sizzle even making it to the top-3.