The University of Portsmouth Paladins are heading international for the first time as they prepare to make a name for themselves at Worlds. They are one of three National Student Esports (NSE), and one of six EU teams competing in Worlds. They qualified through their 3rd World Cup placement, and their EURC win, making them the #1 EU seed.
The team is made up of Psycho, Mercy, and Bread2k, and are coached by Reiiko. Psycho joined the team in 2019, and is in his 3rd year of a computing degree. He started playing Rocket League in 2015. Mercy joined in 2021, and is in his second year as a Project Management Degree Apprentice. He started playing Rocket League in 2016. Bread2k joined in 2021, and is in his first year of digital marketing. He began playing in 2016 as well. All three have played in the high bubble scene separately throughout their career before joining Portsmouth, giving them a bit more experience with tough competition before their collegiate play.
Breaking Records and Making Ranks
Each brings a strong element to the team. Mercy’s mechanics and speed set the team apart. He ranks #1 for fastest player in Worlds at an average speed of 1663.03.
“I know we had a player at one point during EURC literally break his controller, he could only accelerate through the game, and still come nowhere near Mercy,” said Nualoach in the pre-tournament coverage stream for Worlds.
Bread2k holds the team together with his strong positioning and infield passing, and Psycho stays consistent in his pressure and scoring to bring it home. He also is on the board in World stats, with a shot conversion of 32.48%, the 6th best individual in the tournament.
Fierce Drive, No Pun intended
So far, the Esports Club has won a Portsmouth Union award for their varsity event against SVGE, winning best student group event of the year. Portsmouth have also consistently placed in the top 5 of the British University Esports Table in the last few years, but this year rose to 3rd in the table.
They all joined the team out of their love for competitive Rocket League, and all get along as a team and have a natural chemistry that comes without intentional team building. They have been fighting to prove themselves as the best team in the EU since. Their speed, skill, and motivation all come together to form a powerful force.
“We never give up,” said Mercy. “We have an insane ability to adapt to teams and we are one of the most capable teams of holding ICE against the other.”
In their previous season, they battled and lost to Berlin. After gaining Bread2k however, they matched up again with Berlin in the 2022 EURC and had a redemption win when it mattered. Their win then sent them to Worlds, where they hope to make an even bigger splash.
“Winning or placing highly in (Worlds)…would put Portsmouth on the map”, said Shabaan Ali, founder and president of Portsmouth’s esports society in an interview with TV Solent.
The Underdog Factor
Portsmouth has scrimmaged CCA teams once, but were on poor setups and are ready to adequately take on an international LAN for the first time.
In pre-comp streaming, the casters generally agreed that Portsmouth would make it out of group state. They gave them the win against UNLV but collectively agreed that they wouldn’t make it past a matchup against Saint Clair, despite acknowledging Saint Clair may have had an easier ride getting to Worlds. Instead, they still viewed Berlin as the dominant EU team, despite Portsmouth’s triumph against them. This has only motivated Portsmouth though, who are eager to prove themselves.
“We just feel just excited and confident,” said Mercy. “We feel like we are being underestimated and we are ready to take advantage of that.”
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