This weekend marks the start of the RLCS 22-23 season for players from the Middle East & North Africa region. After a long off-season, the teams will be hoping their hard work has paid off in a group effort to take down the Middle Eastern Titans: Team Falcons.
Along with the $30,000 prize pool, the teams are fighting for the vital RLCS points in order to qualify for the Fall Major, taking place in Rotterdam later this year. Teams can earn up to a total of 16 RLCS points with a first place finish at this event. With only one spot being available for the MENA region at the Major, there are huge amounts of pressure on the teams to perform well at every regional. There is no room for error or they will miss out on the spot.
MENA Fall Open Format & Dates
Similarly to last season, the RLCS Fall split regional tournaments will all have a Swiss System format. On October 1st, the top 16 seeded teams will compete in a Swiss Qualifier, where the top 8 will qualify for the Main Event. The remaining eight teams will then compete in another Swiss Closed Qualifier against eight teams coming from the Open Qualifier. The eight teams who make it past this round will also qualify for the Main Event.
The main event will have a similar format to the qualifier. The 16 teams will compete in another Swiss Stage, where the top 8 will be seeded into a single elimination bracket, which will be played out over Saturday and Sunday. Last season the final included a best of 3 set for a best of seven, in which the winner would have to win 2 best of 7s in order to be crowned victorious. However this has changed this season, and the final will be a single best of 7.
Main Event Dates
- Day 1 – Friday 7th October (15:00 UTC)
- Day 2 – Saturday 8th October (15:00 UTC)
- Day 3 – Sunday 9th October (15:00 UTC)
Nwpo Banned – Young Superstar Unable to Participate
This season many fans were excited to watch Hisham “Nwpo” Alqadi, who was said to be MENAs greatest hope of finally taking down Team Falcons. His previous team “Cola” was one of the only teams able to beat the Falcons all season. They actually managed to beat them twice in consecutive regional events, however they could only manage to do it in the upper bracket and ended up losing the final both times in a bracket reset.
Earlier this month he formed a team with the young twins Yazid “Kiileerrz” Abdullah and Saleh “Rw9” Abdullah, a trio which looked set to challenge Falcons in regionals and fight for the Major spot. However last week Psyonix announced that due to his past actions that violated the competitive ruling, Nwpo will receive a year-long ban from the RLCS, and unfortunately will not be able to compete this season. The twins will be looking for a replacement third before the season begins, but I am sure that even without Nwpo they will still be one of the best teams in the region.
Falcons set to Continue Their Dominance
This devastating news for Nwpo and his team will certainly have an impact on the region, but it may also provide some relief for the Falcons who will now be clear favourites to continue on their extraordinary nine win streak in RLCS Regional tournaments. The level of dominance from this team in RLCS 21-22 was unheard of anywhere else in the World, and has easily beaten Team BDS’s record, who won an impressive five out of nine regionals in Europe in RLCSX.
Despite their regional dominance, Team Falcons will still be hungrier than ever. After shocking the world with a second place finish at the Spring Major, a disappointing top 12 finish at the World Championships means that this team still has a lot left to prove. The team will be fighting harder than ever to ensure that they don’t miss out on a qualification spot for the Fall Major in Rotterdam, and in a region where teams are constantly improving, they cannot afford to take any team lightly.