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Rocket Launching Week 4: All-RLCS Teams and New Playoff Formats

Rocket Launching Week 4

Welcome to Rocket Launching, a midweek RLCS column that discusses the happenings from the past week’s Rocket League action. Here are some of my favorite observations from the third week of the RLCS Season 7.

All-RLCS Teams

The NBA and NFL have “all-pro” teams where a bunch of writers decide who the best players of the last season were. They balance team success, individual performance, statistics etc. to determine the very best of the league. This hasn’t made its way to Rocket League, but if it did, after four weeks here would be my best six players in RLCS Season 7:

1. Justin “JSTN” Morales, NRG (5-0), (1.17 GPG, 0.89 APG, 2.06 SAPG)

JSTN is the frontrunner for NA MVP and for good reason. He’s first in NA in goals, assists and saves per game and has really elevated his game for NRG. Whether he’s pulling off flip resets or solo playing all of G2, JSTN has been unstoppable all season. NRG are the best team in the world right now, and JSTN is the reason why.

2. Alexandre “Kaydop” Courant, Renault Vitality (5-1), (0.90 GPG, 0.67 APG, 1.57 SAPG)

If JSTN is the best player in Season 7, Kaydop behind by a finger nail. Kaydop has been special for Vitality this season. He made the move from Dignitas and then happily displaced them from the EU throne. This season he proved he’s not just a product of the system and that he can win anywhere. That’s the true indication of talent. Let’s say Kaydop passed and RV ended up getting Marius “gReazymeister” Ranheim as they were rumored to. Where would Vitality finish? Kaydop turned a middling team into a championship contender.

3. Reed “Chicago” Wilen, G2 (5-1), (0.92 GPG, 0.79 APG, 1.46 SAPG)

Rocket Launching Week 4
Chicago – courtesy of @Chicgo_RL on twitter

You can really take your pick between Chicago and Jacob “JKnaps” Knapman here as they’re averaging almost the exact same score per game. I value offense a bit more than saves, so Chicago gets the nod. Chicago has been huge for G2. He’s third in NA in both goals and assists per game, but more importantly has replaced Cameron “Kronovi” Bills perfectly. G2 never really had a chance of winning it all with Kro, but their odds are better with Chicago. He’s a fantastic shooter, plays strong in the midfield and is reliable on the walls and backboard.

4. Emil “Fruity” Moselund, PSG, (4-2), (0.54 GPG, 0.81 APG, 1.62 SAPG)

PSG have the inside track on finishing top two in EU and Fruity is why. Victor “Ferra” Francal scores more goals per game and Thibault “Chausette45” Grzesiak makes more saves, but Fruity is the crux of this team. Ferra and Chausette are fifth and sixth in scoring in EU. I wonder why. It’s because Fruity finds ways to get them open looks on net via delicious passes and violent demolition plays. He’s tied for first in assists this season. Watch PSG and pay special attention to how Fruity orchestrates PSG’s offense. He’s been massive (pun intended) for PSG this season.

5. Kyle “Scrub Killa” Robertson, Renault Vitality, (5-1), (0.95 GPG, 0.81 APG, 1.33 SAPG)

Scrub and Kaydop are the favorites for MVP in EU right now, and Scrub may have the better case. The Scotsman is second in scoring, tied for first with Fruity in assists and is first in octane.gg’s rating system. Scrub and Cloud9’s Jesus “Gimmick” Parra are the only players to ever score better than a 1.25. If Scrub holds course he could put together the greatest season in RLCS history (other than JSTN who is currently sporting a 1.52! Are you serious?). Vitality have a special three man connection a-la Cloud9 in Season 6 and Dignitas in Season 4. Scrub is an important part of that.

6. Jesus “Gimmick” Parra, Cloud9, (4-1) (0.83 GPG, 0.83 APG, 1.67 SAPG)

Gimmick has the exact same number of goals and assists (15) and if you add his assists together, you’ll get his total save count for the season (30). That doesn’t really support my argument, but boy is it cool for math nerds. Anyway, this last spot is very tight between Gimmick and Garrett “GarrettG” Gordon, but I already have an NRG player and Gimmick has played well this season. He’s sixth in goals and second in assists. He’s been involved in 63.8% of C9’s goals and lead the team in saves. This last spot is definitely up for grabs, but as of week four, Gimmick is deserving.

If we made this list in the All-Star or Pro Bowl style where it’s conference specific, here’s how it would look:

NA:

1. JSTN 2. Chicago 3. Gimmick 4. GarrettG 5. Drippay 6. JKnaps or Sypical for represntation’s sake.

EU:

1. Kaydop 2. Scrub Killa 3. Fruity 4. Fairy Peak 5. Kuxir97 (can’t leave off the leading goal scorer) 6. Ronaky.

The New Playoff Format

Gibbs mentioned in the NA preshow that the Regional Championship will now be in the “page playoff” system. This system forces the third and fourth place teams to face off in the first round. The winner advances to LAN, and the loser faces the winner of the fifth/sixth place match. The winner of that match is in. This is a nice upgrade to the previous single elimination format.

The old format usually spat out the best four teams in each region, but theoretically a team could wander through league play, finish in sixth, have one good series against the three seed, and boom they’re in. So now if Dignitas finishes in sixth, they have to beat the fifth place team AND the third/fourth place team to get in. This puts a lot more emphasis on the regular season and should prevent teams from taking series off.

Now if a fifth or six seed makes it, it will at least be well deserved. Last season in NA FlyQuest had the best season for any promoted RLRS team ever, finishing fifth in league play and beating Cloud9. Their reward? a 4/5 single elimination matchup against NRG they never had a chance in. The page format completely prevents that from happening again.

The World Championship will also have a new format after the inclusion of South American teams. There will be four groups of three. I’m assuming the top two in NA and EU will captain the groups and they’ll fill the rest in with OCE, SAM and lower NA/EU teams. I love this format. Two teams advance from each group, so overmatched teams won’t move on to the tournament, but two good performances would be enough to get you in. I wonder how the broadcast of the event will change? Hopefully there’s enough room to have every single game on stream.

Flip-reset Season Continues

Back in the first Rocket Launching, I predicted that Season 7 would be the season of flip-resets. All of the top players are so skilled now that flip resets have become common place.

Veloce Esports player Jack “FlamE” Pearton pulled off this insanity in the RLRS last week (warning not safe for children):

I love how nonchalant Correlli is here. Either he wasn’t paying attention, or doesn’t even care about flippy r’s.

Then Yanis “Alpha54” Champenois scored this one against mousesports:

He gets to that ball so fast, catches it so gently and places it perfectly. What a work of art.

Austin “AyyJayy” Aebi scored one for Rogue in Week 3:

Flip-resets are so commonplace at this point that pros are faking them to draw players out.

I mean come on, GarrettG, stop cheating. Watch how Dillon “Rizzo” Rizzo watches on the backboard, respecting the shot. Then Garrett doesn’t even get the reset, boosts to the ground, and there’s nothing they can do but watch. My goodness.

Pinch Kuxir, He’s Dreaming

Francesco “Kuxir97” Cinquemani lives dangerously close the relegation line right now. The Bricks (dumb name) are 1-4 with matches against TSM and Dignitas left to play. Kuxir has scored a lot of goals this season, but hasn’t seen the success he’s known for. Barcelona beat them 6-1 in the series, and never trailed. His team was awful, but we at least got a vintage Kux moment.

Yeah you saw that right, Kux went for two of his patented pinches in a row, even though all three Barcelona players where on the other side of the field. This made me laugh because everyone watching knew exactly what he was going to do when the ball came back toward the wall. He probably had time to control it or bang it off the wall for a pass, but no way. Kux only knows one way to operate. And that way is 140 kph pinch goals.

Relegation Scrum (NA)

We’ve officially adopted the name “Small Five” for all the NA teams outside of the Big 3, and Splyce are the smallest among them. They were predictably disqualified from the top six after being swept by EG last week. They put together a pretty impressive streak of losing before they left though. After beating Ghost 3-2 in week one, Splyce lost twelve consecutive matches. The combined score from that stretch was 8-39. Oof.

It must be especially bitter since everything is falling into place for Spacestation Gaming to be the first RLRS team to make LAN. Spacestation have been solid this season and they most likely punched their ticket to New Jersey with a 3-1 win against Cloud9. They’ll watch Splyce in the promotion tournament from their hotel overlooking the swamps of NJ.

If Spacestation get swept by both Splyce and Rogue, EG/Ghost sweep each other, Rogue sweep NRG and a bus falls out of the sky, Spacestation would end up bottom two. If they win one, single game, they’re top six. One series and they’re most likely top four. Congrats, Spacestation. You’ve escaped the scrum.

Evil Geniuses and Ghost Gaming made a blood pact before the season to stay up. They have the exact same record and game differential, so whoever wins the series between the teams will make top six.

Everything else depends on Rogue, who play Spacestation and NRG on Saturday. Rogue need to beat one of them to have a chance to survive. If they beat Spacestation 3-2 and win one measly game against NRG, they’ll escape. If they are swept by NRG and the EG/Ghost series goes to five games, they’re cooked. We could see Kronovi in the Rival Series.

If I had to bet on it, I’d say Ghost are going out. EG always seem to find a way, and I just don’t think the Rocket League gods want Kronovi to be relegated. I don’t think Ghost will actually drop though. They’ll just play in the promotion tournament and win.

Relegation Scrum (EU)

For the first time in history, things are less complicated in Europe. If you call Kuxir97 or Pierre “Turbopolsa” Silfver being relegated “less complicated.” Whoever wins the series between The Bricks and Dignitas is probably through, but both teams play TSM earlier in the day and that could muck things up.

The only other team directly affected by this is Mouz. If mousesports pull off a miracle victory against Vitality and TSM beats The Bricks and Dignitas, Mouz would survive. They don’t have much of a chance to beat Vitality, and TSM have always struggled with Dignitas, so it’s doubtful. It is however the funniest scenario, because Mouz escaped by the skin of their teeth last year, too.

I think The Bricks are most likely to drop. They’ve looked uninspired all season, Jack “Speed” Packwood-Clarke didn’t pan out and Mouz were the only team they even tested.

There is a very real chance that both Kuxir97 and Kronovi get relegated. Or that Braxton “Allushin” Lagarec and Linus “al0t” Mollergren get relegated in consecutive seasons. Or that Rogue are the first org to be relegated in back to back seasons. There’s so much potential for calamity this weekend.

Allushin on the Lighter Side

As always, we end Rocket Launching on the Lighter Side. In the first Rocket Launching, we didn’t end things on the Lighter Side. I called out Allushin for poor positioning and bad defensive touches, but by golly, he turned it around.

Now, I too, have benefited from what I’ll call the Allushin effect. That’s when you set expectations so low that when you perform adequately everyone thinks you’re a hero. Allushin scored seven goals in seven games on Saturday. That’s pretty solid. Alpha54 scored nine in four but that’s neither here nor there.

I’m just kidding, Allushin was excellent last week, and he saved Ghost’s season. A loss to either Spacestation or Rogue would have put them in the bottom two, but they pulled it off. It just goes to show you should never give up on yourself because a journalist boy said something mean about you.

 

Featured image courtesy of TechInSecs

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