The Rocket League Championship Series is only a week and a half away. That leaves enough time for weekly team-by-team previews of the world’s best Rocket League teams. This series will act as a preview for what to expect during Season 7 for each team. Check out the rest of the previews here.
This preview will discuss the best and worst case scenarios for Rocket League’s coolest team, NRG Esports.
Season 6 Results: NRG finished Season 6 in fourth place with a 4-3 record. Won NA Regional Championships against G2. Dropped into the loser’s bracket after a game five loss to Chiefs Esports Club at the World Championships. Eliminated by Cloud9 in the Loser’s Bracket Round 2.
Off-season Movement: None.
Off-season Performance: DreamHack Leipzig Semi-finalists (lost to Vitality 4-2). Semi-finalists ELEAGUE Cup 2018 (lost to We Dem Girlz 4-2). 2nd place finish at WSOE 4 (lost to Flipsid3 4-2). Rival Esports Winter Open Champions.
Team MVP: Garrett “GarrettG” Gordon
Realistic Team Goal: RLCS Season 7 World Champions.
Background and Team History
NRG are the best Rocket League team to not win a World Championship. After Justin “JSTN” Morales joined the team post Season 4, the team exploded into a Grand Finals appearance at the Season 5 World Championships. Everyone remembers the famous goosebumps-inducing “This is Rocket League” game seven buzzer beater.
It’s easily forgotten that JSTN’s wonder goal came in game seven of the bracket reset against Dignitas. NRG arrived at the Grand Finals through the winner’s bracket and did so effortlessly. They crushed Envy 3-1, beat Dignitas 3-1, and swept compLexity in four games. Dignitas had a massive lower bracket run, beat NRG 4-1 in the first series and carried all the momentum heading into the second series.
NRG responded well and fought of Dignitas to force game seven. JSTN scored his goal, then Turbopolsa scored his in overtime and Dig repeated as champions in dramatic fashion. That left NRG in a bittersweet position. In their first season with GarrettG, Jayson “Fireburner” Nunez and JSTN, they reached the Grand Finals and looked like the second best team in the world.
Now, after a disappointing Season 6 World Championship run, the question arises: was their Season 5 performance their peak?
It’s a possibility, but probably not. NRG have been the game’s most consistent team over the off-season with top four finish after top four finish. They didn’t take home any silverware, but no other Rocket League team finished in the top four at every major off-season event. GarrettG has looked like a top five player all season long and is one of the game’s most dedicated players.
JSTN is an absolute firecracker. He has a bottomless bag of tricks and can score off of anything. Fireburner is a solid player in every aspect of the game and supports Garrett and JSTN well. The problem is, this has been true for the last two seasons, and the team still hasn’t won a World Championship. Is it in the cards for NRG?
NRG’s Best Case Scenario
Winning a championship in anything is really difficult. It’s especially tough in Rocket League, because everything comes down to how a team performs at Day 3 of the World Championships. NRG have experienced both sides of the coin.
The move to drop Jacob and bring on JSTN is perhaps quietly the greatest roster move in Rocket League’s short history (depending on how Kaydop pans out, also Turbo and Kaydop joining Gale Force turned out pretty solid). JSTN has lived up to expectations and can be NA’s best player on his best day.
The team has great chemistry and understanding between the players. Each is mechanically impressive and knows where to be on the field. GarrettG is as good a captain as there comes and Fireburner is rock solid. Nothing particularly special needs to happen for this team to win, and win often.
NRG’s best case scenario is that they ditch their past demons and win the Season 7 championship. They’ve proven they can play in big moments. In Season 5, they showed how dominant they can be. There are no glaring issues with this team. They just need to put it all together and win when it matters most.
Game fives were a struggle for NRG last season. They were 2-3 in deciding games last season. That could be an issue with composure, but it’s the hardest challenge to overcome. Sometimes team’s just get outplayed or have an off game that costs them the series. It can come down to luck, and unless the clutch gene really exists, some breaks have to fall the right way for a team to win.
The point is NRG has everything it needs to win this season. It will come down to execution and game management. NRG need to play their best in under the brightest lights, and they could win it all.
NRG’s Worst Case Scenario
Someone would have to poor Mountain Dew on JSTN’s computer for this team to miss LAN. Even then, they could probably qualify with JSTN playing on a Windows 97 at a public library. It would be earth shattering for this team to finish outside of the top four. They have too many talented players that understand the game profoundly.
That being said, there is a lot of cream rising to the top this season. There will not be a lot of elbow room in the elevator for top four come World Championship time. NRG could very well get caught up in the shuffle like they did last season.
Postseason seeding will be important. NRG needs to do everything they can to avoid Dignitas and Cloud9 early in the bracket. They shouldn’t be scared of anyone, but the easier the path the better. If they drop out of LAN on Day 2, it would be disappointing. In fact, anything outside of a top four finish would be NRG’s worst case scenario.
Here’s why: if NRG reached their peak in Season 5, what incentive is there for GarrettG, JSTN and Fireburner to stick around? Maybe they’ll decide they can’t win together and kick Fireburner like they kicked Jacob. There will be plenty of orgs willing to pay Garrett and JSTN fat sums to play for them. Will they be tempted to leave for greener pastures?
Are there pastures greener than the black and red? Probably not, but these players aren’t the type to settle for mediocrity. Anything, short of outstanding will be viewed as a failure. There’s a lot of pressure to win riding on their shoulders. Can they handle it?
TL;DR: NRG have championship potential. There are no glaring issues, the team just needs to put it all together to win big. If they bomb out of the World Championships, something will have to change, it’ll just be a question of who.
Featured image courtesy of NRG Esports.
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