Psyonix announced Wednesday the Rocket League Championship Series 2021-2022 season will include the game's largest prize pool ever, new regions, and an updated format when it kicks off Oct. 15.
The Asia-Pacific North, Asia-Pacific South and Middle East & North Africa regions will compete in the RLCS for the first time in the esport's history, offering dozens of new countries the opportunity to play for the $6 million prize pool. And, although Sub-Saharan Africa won't be a full participant in the RLCS, the two best-performing teams from the region will have two guaranteed slots at the Rocket League World Championship Wildcard.
The expansion also brings format standardization to all the regions competing in the RLCS. The season will still be divided into Fall, Winter and Spring Splits culminating in the Rocket League World Championship. Each Split will include three Regional events, each of which features 16 teams, begins with an Open Qualifier, and ends with a Major. But the individual splits will each have their own formats.
Up first, the Fall Split will use a Swiss format that feeds into an eight-team, single-elimination bracket. Next, the Winter Split will feature a Group Stage with four groups, the results of which will determine the seeding for a double-elimination bracket. Finally, the Spring Split will use a classic double-elimination format.
Teams can auto-qualify for Regional Events based on their performance in the previous Regional Event, but the first event requires all teams to play in the Open Qualifier.
At each event over the course of the season, teams will earn points that ultimately decide who qualifies for the Rocket League World Championship.
That capstone event has seen some changes, too. It will now have two main stages: the World Championship Wildcard and the World Championship Main Event. Eight teams will automatically qualify to the main event based on their performances at Majors, with the best regions in the top eight of Major points weighted against each other to see which earns the most auto-qualified slots to the Main Event. The Main Event will feature four double-elimination groups that feed into a single-elimination bracket.
Meanwhile, 16 teams will qualify for the World Championship Wildcard according to the follow scheme:
- North America: Three seeds
- Europe: Three seeds
- Middle East & North Africa: Two seeds
- Oceania (OCE): Two seeds
- South America: Two seeds
- Sub-Saharan Africa: Two seeds
- Asia-Pacific North: One seed
- Asia-Pacific South: One seed
Those teams will play a Swiss format, and the top eight teams will then qualify for the Main Event.
See the full scheduled below:
- NA, MENA, OCE, APAC S Regional #1: October 15 - 17
- EU, SAM, APAC N Regional #1: October 22 - 24
- NA, MENA, OCE, APAC S Regional #2: October 29 - 31
- EU, SAM, APAC N Regional #2: November 5 - 7
- NA, MENA, OCE, APAC S Regional #3: November 12 - 14
- EU, SAM, APAC N Regional #3: November 19 - 21
- Major: December 8 - 12
- Transfer Window: December 13, 2021 - January 2, 2022
- NA, MENA, OCE, APAC S Regional #1: January 14 - 16
- EU, SAM, APAC N Regional #1: January 21 - 23
- NA, MENA, OCE, APAC S Regional #2: January 28 - 30
- EU, SAM, APAC N Regional #2: February 4 - 6
- NA, MENA, OCE, APAC S Regional #3: February 18 - 20
- EU, SAM, APAC N Regional #3: February 25 - 27
- Major: March 24 - 27
- Transfer Window: March 28 - April 17
- NA, MENA, OCE, APAC S Regional #1: April 29 - May 1
- EU, SAM, APAC N Regional #1: May 6 - 8
- NA, MENA, OCE, APAC S Regional #2: May 13 - 15
- EU, SAM, APAC N Regional #2: May 20 - 22
- NA, MENA, OCE, APAC S Regional #3: May 27 - 29
- EU, SAM, APAC N Regional #3: June 3 - 5
- Major: June 30 - July 3
- Wildcard: July 22 - 24
- Main Event: July 26 - 31
The Fall Major will see the return of LAN events, but will have no crowd presence and will implement what Psyonix describes as "stringent health precautions." Crowds will remain absent from competition until at least 2022.