The Rocket League Championship Series is only a few weeks away. That leaves just enough time for weekly team-by-team previews on the world’s best Rocket League teams. This series will act almost as previews for what to expect during Season 7 for each team. Catch up on the other previews here.
This week’s preview features one of Rocket League’s biggest anomalies, Ghost Gaming.
Season 6 Results: Finished 6th place at 2-5 in the RLCS. Lost to EG in the first round of NA Regional Championships.
Off-season Movement: Braxton “Allushin” Lagarec (STATS) left a relegated Allegiance team to join Ghost in place of Christopher “Zanejackey” Jacobs.
Off-season Performance: 9-12th, Day 2 finish at DreamHack Leipzig. 2nd DreamHack Leipzig closed qualifier, 5th WSOE North American Qualifier.
Team MVP: Treyven “Lethamyr” Rabitaille
Realistic Team Goal: Qualify for LAN
Background and Team History
Ghost had one of the strangest seasons of any team in Season 6. Six of Ghost’s seven series went to game five last season and the only one that wasn’t was a 3-0 sweep of the region’s worst team Allegiance. They were really unlucky to finish 2-5. If they had been a little bit better on Champion’s Field, Ghost could very well have finished in the top four or even the top two.
In the end, it didn’t matter as NRG pummeled them four games to two in the regional playoffs. The season could have gone better, and the team decided to move on from Zanejackey. According to octane.gg’s rating system, Zane was the worst player in NA last season. He just couldn’t seem to find his role on the team, and they decided to bring in Allushin instead.
Allushin is a strong player, but didn’t exactly look overwhelming with Allegiance last season. He’s surrounded with better talent this time around, and maybe his play will elevate to match his teammates.
Lethamyr is one of the most mechanically capable players in Rocket League. He’s a self proclaimed ball chaser, and one of the most spectacular finishers in NA. This was a blessing and a curse last season. Sometimes Leth’s scoring resulted in a reverse sweep, but most of the time it resulted in losing game five’s. He has a tendency to cut rotation and try and take on players when the going gets rough. Sometimes it results in goals and other times it results in conceding.
While it had its flaws, Lethamyr’s play was the reason Ghost managed to stretch all of their series out. Michael “Memory” Moss makes Leth’s aggressive play style viable. Memory is a consistent defender and won Savior of the Season way back in Season 3 for SetToDestroyX. His reliable maintenance of the net allowed his teammates to push forward.
That being said, Ghost conceded too often and let too many close games slip away. Allushin is an upgrade over Zanejackey, but can the team overcome their late series mistakes?
Ghost’s Best Case Scenario
If Ghost would have just won two more game five’s they would have finished in third place. Hindsight is 20/20, but even at the time it was frustrating to watch Ghost look great against teams like Cloud9, G2 and NRG in the first four games, then lay an egg in the clincher.
Their best case scenario is that Allushin spices things up and they start to perform better in the clutch. If they can take a few close series off of the league’s best, it’s not out of the question that Ghost finish top two. They have enough talent to finish high.
Ghost finished in sixth place each of the last two seasons. They made roster moves after both seasons, and their revolving door approach hasn’t born fruit. If Allushin can step in as the clear cut third for this team, they could make their first LAN since Season 4.
In order for that to happen we’ll need to see prime Memory and ultra-prime Lethamyr. They’ll need to add a layer of unpredictability to their offensive mindset. Maintaining pressure while keeping your goal safe is perhaps the founding principle for successful RLCS teams. Ghost has the roster makeup to bring that plan to fruition.
In Ghost’s best case scenario, Lethamyr emerges as one of the five best players in the world and Memory and Allushin develop into world class role players. Allushin needs to lock down the midfield, Memory needs to protect the net and search for open shots on net and Lethamyr needs to score everything that comes his way.
They ride their newfound roster construction to a LAN appearance and make top four. The revolving door of roster movement finally closes and the team can settle in on a squad to build upon for the future.
Ghost’s Worst Case Scenario
After playing chicken with the Rival Series the last two seasons, Ghost can’t escape the bottom two and gets relegated. Their worst case sees the team disband after Ghost backs out from representing them in the Rival Series.
Lethamyr is a respected player, but he just hasn’t been able to win at the highest level recently. Another season outside the playoffs could leave him in the same boat as Rocket League legends Matt, Dappur and Maestro. If a great player can’t surround himself with other high quality talent, they’ll flame out before they reach their true potential.
It seems inevitable that if Ghost under-performs the blame will fall by default onto Lethamyr. He’s been doing incredible things in the world of workshop maps and if he doesn’t play well, fans will question his commitment.
Allushin is a solid player, but he doesn’t change Ghost’s final destination much. He was the safest bet available, and Ghost didn’t want to roll the dice on a less proven player. He was objectively bad in the RLCS last season and players don’t tend to get better after their team gets relegated.
Their worst case scenario is that Ghost is bad enough (no matter where they finish) that Lethamyr feels like he needs to move on. He’s in the Kawhi Leonard/Anthony Davis zone, where the player is good enough to be a title contender but just can’t get the right players to surround him. If this season goes poorly then the revolving door will continue and Lethamyr will be the next one to walk through it.
TL;DR: Lethamyr has the potential to be one of the five best players in the world. If he reaches his potential this season, Ghost could see automatic LAN qualification. If not, this may be the last season that Ghost Gaming owns a Rocket League team.
Featured image courtesy of Ghost Gaming.
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