Team Dignitas defeated NRG in a thrilling bout, involving comebacks, buzzer beaters, and overtime goals. It was the team’s second World Championship win in a row, and they took home the $100,000 prize.
Mail Esports caught up with Dignitas’ team captain, Jos ‘ViolentPanda’ van Meurs, a couple of weeks later to see if it had sunk in yet.
Jos ‘ViolentPanda’ van Meurs (middle) captained Team Dignitas to another RLCS Finals win
‘We’re happy about it, but we’re already focused on the next tournament,’ said ViolentPanda. ‘We’re going to Toronto in two weeks or so, we just have tournaments one after another, so we have to keep focusing for the next one. It’s not like we have a lot of time to celebrate.’
Team Dignitas had actually lost to NRG the day before, forcing them down into the Loser’s bracket. But they came through in style, defeated NRG to reset the bracket, and then again to take home the trophy.
In the final best of 7 match, Dignitas were 3-1 up and looked to be heading towards an easy victory. However, NRG brought it back to 3-3, and the teams were level at 2-2 in the deciding match up until four seconds to go, when Dignitas’ Pierre ‘Turbopolsa’ Silfver scored.
‘We were pretty happy, I don’t know if they showed it on the stream but we were screaming when that goal was scored because we thought it was over,’ said Panda.
After kick off, the clock hit zero, but the ball stayed in the air for an unthinkable amount of time. Then NRG equalised.
‘The ball went up, they scored, I think you can see on the stream one of my teammates felt bad and was like “ah s*** now it’s over,” so I tried to cheer him up.
‘Turbopolsa felt a bit bad after scoring an own goal, and the pinch, when the ball went up, at the end was also, not his fault, but it came because of him. I had to cheer him up a bit, and it turned out good after that.’
Turbopolsa ended up getting the winning goal in overtime, securing the players’ second World Championship in a row, and Turbopolsa’s third overall.
Understandably, after that roller coaster of emotions, the crowd was going crazy. Panda tweeted about how good the audience had been, and also told me about it afterwards.
‘The crowd was pretty amazing, probably the best crowd up until now. There was one section, I forgot the name, 401 or something, that was really hype the whole tournament. They were organising the waves, organising the chants for everything. It was a good LAN in general, the first one Psyonix itself had organised. They did a great job, so we’re really happy about it.’
As we all know, the UK is a fantastic place to hold esports tournaments.
ViolentPanda was then able to take in a few London sights before jetting off to Venice for a short, but well deserved holiday. He went with his girlfriend, who also happens to be Team Dignitas’ Rocket League team manager.
During the trip, his girlfriend tweeted out that she had received a ring from ViolentPanda, but he told me that people have ‘misjudged’ the photo, confirming that they are not yet engaged.
It’s been an exciting year for ViolentPanda and the rest of the Dignitas team. They’ve won two RLCS titles in a row, although the prior one was actually with a different team.
In May, Team Dignitas acquired the players from Gale Force Esports, in what was a very quick transaction.
‘It was done in less than a week,’ said Panda. ‘Overall Dignitas have treated us well, and shown us great support. For example they’re giving us a boot camp. Before Canada we’re going to the 76ers.’
Team Dignitas is now owned by the Philadelphia 76ers NBA team, an acquisition which has seemingly propelled the organisation back into the big time, with a number of top teams across multiple games.
‘They have more experience, Gale Force was just a small organisation. There are a lot more big organisations coming into Rocket League now than back then. Gale Force was good at the start, they took care of us, we had a great relationship with the owner.
‘But eventually the owner got less interested in esports, went away for a few months sometimes, and wasn’t that interested anymore. He wanted to leave esports, and then we figured out our way to get into Dignitas.’
Team Dignitas’ new CEO, Michael Prindiville, is certainly passionate about his teams, as shown by his reaction to their recent RLCS win.
‘Michael is a great guy,’ said Panda. ‘There was a 2v2 Universal tournament arranged by NBC, and Michael was the one who arranged the whole thing. We won that tournament and that was one reason for him to be really excited about picking us up. He was a nice guy, so it was another reason we chose Dignitas.’
For ViolentPanda, it’s all about practice.
‘I didn’t get any tips back in the day, it was just practice. Keep grinding the game and you’ll figure stuff out yourself. My only tip is to play more, watch the pros, see what they do, and try and bring that to your games.’
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