The Rocket League Championship Series is only six weeks away. That leaves enough time for weekly team-by-team previews of the world’s best Rocket League teams. This series will act almost as previews for what to expect during Season 7 for each team.
The fourth preview features the team that most threw themselves under the microscope this off-season: Rogue.
Season 6 Results: The team formerly known as FlyQuest finished 3-4 and 5th place in the RLCS NA. The team got swept by NRG Esports in the first round of the Regional Championships.
Off-season Movement: Cameron ‘Kronovi’ Bills (0.86 GPG, 0.43 APG, 1.43 SAPG) replaces Ronin ‘PrimeThunder’ D’Auria (0.74 GPG, 0.49 APG, 1.11 SAPG).
Off-season Performance: Lost in the group stage at DreamHack Leipzig, 7-8th in WSOE Qualifiers, 9-12th DreamHack Open Qualifiers.
Team MVP: Austin ‘AyyJayy’ Aebi.
Realistic Team Goal: Avoid Relegation.
Background and Team History
Rogue used to be composed of Jacob ‘Jacob’ McDowell, George ‘Joro’ Kolev and Emiliano ‘Sizz’ Benny, but that group got relegated last season and the org decided to move on. They acquired FlyQuest’s roster of AyyJayy, PrimeThunder, and Nicholas ‘Wonder’ Blackerby in the off-season.
That group won more RLCS series than any other RLRS team in league history. Season 6 saw FlyQuest beat Ghost Gaming, Jacob’s Rogue team and NA champs Cloud9. Rogue took notice and when their squad fell to the Rival Series, jumped on the opportunity to remain in the RLCS.
They let go of Jacob and Joro, but kept Sizz on as a content creator and substitute. The move was huge, but wasn’t the end of Rogue’s monumental off-season.
So boom, they bring in Rocket League’s oldest superstar Kronovi in place of PrimeThunder. They added a legend to a roster that showed the most potential in NA last season.
After disappointing tournament performances in the off-season, the question has to be asked: was adding Kronovi for PrimeThunder the right move? Should another player have been replaced? Should the roster have stayed together and run it back?
On paper, Kronovi is the upgraded version of PrimeThunder. He averaged more goals, more saves, and had a better shooting percentage than Prime on G2, but can he adjust to his new teammates?
Rogue’s Best Case Scenario
Rogue’s best case scenario actually played out live on Twitch during Day 1 of DreamHack Leipzig. In their first ever series together, Rogue dominated Savage! and swept them to move on to the Winner’s Finals of their group. The squad was scoring goals with easy and managed to keep on of Rocket League’s most high-flying offenses in check.
Playing solid defense is essential for Rogue because it cost FlyQuest dearly last season. They gave up 2.57 goals per game during Season 6 league play, worst in NA. Their fifth place finish despite a -18 goal differential is astounding. The defense sorely needed fixing.
That’s where Kronovi slots in nicely. He averages 1.42 saves per contest, but, more importantly, has a high IQ when it comes to defensive positioning. PrimeThunder was last in the league in saves per game, so the team relied heavily on Wonder to carry the defense.
He did his best, but given their league worst save percentage, Wonder couldn’t do it alone. Kronovi can help supplement the defense while continuing to provide the offensive pressure that defined the team last season. If Wonder can move up with confidence, AyyJayy will be able to knock in more goals from his passes.
Wonder is the glue that holds the team together, but AyyJayy will have to be the motor. Prime was the team’s leading scorer and could score half-chances at an impressive clip. Rogue’s onslaught style will only work if AyyJayy develops into a full fledged net sadist. He needs to consistently hit the target and hit it hard.
If everything works out, Rogue could find themselves trading blows with NA’s big three of G2, Cloud9, and NRG. Maybe they could even qualify for LAN as a four seed and beat up on an OCE team at the World Championships.
There’s always the possibility that things won’t work. Rogue has its fair share of variables that could go wrong and lead to their worse case scenario: relegation.
Rogue’s Worst Case Scenario
At DreamHack Leipzig, viewers saw Rogue’s worst case scenario as well. After their 3-0 thumping of Savage!, Rogue only scored two goals in three games against Cloud9. The team then lost to EU bubble team Mindset in the loser’s bracket and saw their tournament hopes come to an end.
It was a true Jekyll and Hyde performance in Leipzig, and Rogue’s Hyde version looked really bad.
Mousesports‘ new addition Linus ‘al0t’ Möllergren could be the first player to be relegated in consecutive seasons, and Rogue could be the first org to be relegated in consecutive seasons. There’s a fairly large drop off in talent between NA’s top 3 and the rest of the league, so there will be a massive scrap at the bottom.
The last two seasons in NA have seen such scraps. Ghost flirted with relegation in Season 5 and only stayed up because they lost one less game than Counter Logic Gaming. Ghost again narrowly avoided dropping because six of seven of their series went to deciding game fives in Season 6 and gave them a nice game differential.
The point here is that things get hairy in the bottom four and if Rogue plays like they did after beating Savage! in Leipzig, they’re in trouble. The difference between staying and dropping could be one or two games. This is where PrimeThunder will be missed.
Even against really strong teams, Prime was good for a goal or two. Kronovi relies on consistent offensive pressure and precision passing to get shots on net. What will happen if the situation isn’t right for Kronovi to score? What if AyyJayy doesn’t make the jump and Wonder can’t carry the offense as well as the defense? Rogue drops to the Rival Series, that’s what happens.
There’s no way a player as prestigious as Kronovi drops to the RLRS. If Rogue find themselves on the outside looking in, he could easily move on to another team or retire. That is bad news for all the fans that followed Kro from G2 to Rogue.
TL;DR: Kronovi could be the perfect upgrade that boosts Rogue to a LAN appearance. If he isn’t and his teammates can’t correct course, Rogue could be facing relegation. Again.
Featured image courtesy of Rogue.
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