Pierre “Turbopolsa” Silfver completed his move to NRG last week, and now the period of speculation is over. The most coveted roster opening of the offseason was filled by one of the game’s most decorated candidates.
There’s a lot to unpack here. First among them is that while Turbopolsa is one of the game’s most respected legends, he did just get kicked from the team he helped build into a dynasty. The separation may have been mutual, but it was a separation nonetheless.
Heck, they didn’t even want to give it one more go at DreamHack: Valencia or do Turbopolsa the service of keeping the release on the downlow. Dignitas announced the release right before the RLCS Season 7 World Championship.
This is not to say Turbo has lost his game or isn’t a good player anymore. Dignitas struggled in Season 7, and Turbopolsa contributed to that result. Can he turn things around and take NRG to the heights he denied them during the Season 5 Grand Final?
Short answer? Probably. Long answer? That’s the point of this whole article.
Replacing Fireburner’s Production:
Jayson “Fireburner” Nunez was, to put it briefly, one of the most statistically solid players in NA’s history. In the three seasons since NRG added Justin “JSTN” Morales, NRG are 18-3 in League Play series, and 57-28 overall. That speaks to two things: 1. NA is ridiculously top heavy and 2. JSTN is one of Rocket League’s most important difference makers.
Turbo is walking into a very, very good situation here. In three seasons NRG have lost only three series, and they all happened in Season 6. It’s not like Turbopolsa is joining a rising squad with potential or a fringe contender. He’s not joining Atletico Madrid or AS Monaco. He’s teaming up with Rocket League’s Real Madrid.
That bodes extremely well for NRG. They have the potential to be like the dynasty-era (Season 4-Season 6) Dignitas statistically, and may even surpass those teams in terms of production. In Season 7, JSTN won Savior of the Season, Fireburner won Clutch Playmaker and Garrett “GarrettG” Gordon won Golden Striker. It was the most dominant statistical performance by a group of players in NA history.
So where does Turbo fit in? Here are his stats from the last three seasons:
|Turbo Season with Dignitas||GPG||APG||SAPG||SHPG|
It’s interesting to note that while Kaydop was with the team Turbo didn’t lead the team in goals, but once he left, Turbo was forced into the striker role and led his team in GPG. It’s also worth noting that in the Kaydop seasons, Turbo led his team in saves, but when they finished 5th in with Maurice “Yukeo” Weihs in Season 7, Turbo was second on the team in saves.
It comes as no surprise that Turbo’s worst League Play record came when his assists numbers were at their lowest. He loves to play and receive in-field passes, and when it wasn’t working his team struggled.
Peak Dignitas Turbo enjoyed a more traditional third man role where he scored largely organically. The system generated chances that he converted on. Season 6 Dignitas overwhelmed their competition just like NRG in Season 7. Dig led EU in every statistical category and scored nearly three goals per game. How does he compare to Fireburner?
|Fireburner Season with NRG||GPG||APG||SAPG||SHPG|
Fireburner never led NRG in GPG during that span, but he led the team in assists the last two seasons. Season 6 was a real struggle for NRG, in large part because Fireburner couldn’t capitalize on the chances the offense generated with consistency. His shots per game were consistent across that span, but the goals dipped significantly in Season 6. That has a lot to do with the quality of chances created, more on that later.
Peak Fireburner made a bunch of saves, led the league in assists and scored open chances. Sound familiar?
Obviously these players played in different regions, but in Seasons 5 and 6 they had nearly identical assist numbers. This could be a predictor of Turbo’s future success with NRG.
NRG passed the ball so much in Season 7 it was just ridiculous. Every player on their team was in the top five in APG and as a team, they had a 0.82 Assist to Goal ratio, the third-highest in NA.
Turbo was dead last in APG in EU last season. He’ll benefit from more reliable teammates and a more top-heavy region, but Turbo needs to create as much as he scores for NRG to replicate the regular-season success they enjoyed in Seasons 5 and 7.
It’s not like Turbo wasn’t trying to pass with Dignitas. His assist numbers are not a reflection of him being selfish. Dignitas’ offense was the worst in EU by a good margin, so an uptick in Turbo’s production seems inevitable after he joined NA’s most prolific offensive attack.
Before moving on, it’s worth noting how both Turbo and Fire learned to do more with less as the meta evolved. Turbopolsa scored 0.69 GPG on 2.27 SHPG in Season 7, while Fireburner scored 0.78 GPG on 2.33 SHPG. Turbo doesn’t need to bombard the net all game long. He’ll just need to hit the target on the two or three open chances he gets. He’s over-qualified for that.
How Will Turbopolsa Fit on the Field?
Once again, Turbo and Fireburner have similar skill sets and comfort zones, so the transition should be fairly smooth. NRG tend to not over complicate things, and why should they? Give the ball to JSTN and GarrettG, and let them cook.
Those old glory days Dignitas teams didn’t really have that level of 1v1 filth. Kaydop is a very fine 1v1 player, but JSTN and GarrettG do things like this on the regular:
These plays happened in an important League Play series (!) against the World Championship runner-up, G2 (!!), in consecutive games (!!!).
When the 1v1 opportunities don’t lead directly to goals, Turbo will be tasked with hitting shots around goalies or making touches to keep the ball on the backboard in order to maintain pressure.
NRG also love to score on infield passes. Seriously, NRG has a deep affinity for placing pixel-perfect passes on late runs into the box.
Back in Season 5, Dignitas rode the in-field to greater heights than anyone has ever achieved in Rocket League. Turbopolsa was on the end of plenty of those passes. If he can build the near-telepathic chemistry he had with Kaydop and Jos “ViolentPanda” van Meurs with JSTN and GarrettG, Turbo will be scary.
It’s underrated how important timing is on infield passes. If the passer and the shooter aren’t on the same page then the attempt will fail. The timing of the approach really is crucial. If the shooter is too early, even by a hair, they won’t have time to position their car right and the shot won’t be fast enough to score. If he arrives too late the defense will extend out and block the shot. Turbo has a really good feel for these moments.
Really just passing, in general, is a hallmark of NRG’s success. NRG almost always play the ball in the direction of a teammate.
They love to pin opponents in and bombard the net until someone messes up and they score. Turbo can lock down the midfield with the best of them, and as long as the quality of touches is solid, NRG will have no trouble tightening up the midfield on slower teams.
Transition is where NRG are at their most dangerous, and it’s where Fireburner was at his best. GarrettG plays saucy passes into the middle that Fireburner used to absolutely destroy into the corners of the net.
Turbopolsa’s shooting percentage was slightly down in Season 7 (30.51%, 7th in EU vs. 31.88% in Season 6, 3rd in EU), but he was trying to convert more difficult chances on less shots per game. Go back and watch any Dignitas game from Season 5. Turbo ended up being open in front of net a lot because of the individual brilliance of Kaydop and ViolentPanda.
That’s not to say Turbopolsa can’t create his own chances, the point is that when others create chances for him, he’s even more special. In transition, GarrettG and JSTN have acres of space and can use flicks, air dribbles or wall play to open up gaps in the defense.
JSTN is, perhaps, the most mechanically capable player in Rocket League, especially in the air. No player executes more air dribbles and flip resets than JSTN. Turbopolsa has never played with a player quite like him, because there simply aren’t many players like him out there.
It could be tempting for Turbo to get a little antsy and want to throw himself at the ball when JSTN is doing his thing. Fireburner learned to be extremely patient in these kinds of situations, and his replacement will have to do the same.
All in all, Turbopolsa might be an even better player than Fireburner on paper. Their skill sets overlap in a lot of ways, but Turbo will still have to get used to playing with JSTN and GarrettG. Shouldn’t be too much work. Those guys seem fun to play with.
What Does Turbopolsa Bring Off the Field?
This move feels very similar to Karl Malone leaving the Utah Jazz for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2003. If you don’t follow the NBA, this is like Gianluigi Buffon joining PSG for one season despite playing his entire career with Juventus. Some call it ring chasing, others call it veteran leadership.
Turbopolsa is not a washed player looking to latch onto a title bound team. He’s ready to contribute to a potential World Champion. He’s done it before, and he can do it again. NRG as an org would not go through the headaches of a cross-region transfer for a merely average player. They think he will take them to the next level.
The best comparison might be Cristiano Ronaldo leaving Real Madrid for Juventus after knocking them out of the Champions League. If you can beat em, join em.
There really is something to be said in having someone like Turbo on your team. Someone with World Championship pedigree, and someone who beat NRG in the Grand Final of Season 5. Turbo will forever have the last laugh on JSTN’s zero-second goal, and now they’ll chase a title together.
When Kaydop left Dignitas for Vitality, it made so much sense. Kaydop had put in an honest shift, and it was time to move on. Bringing in fresh blood (albeit elite fresh blood) was the kick in the pants. Victor “Fairy Peak!” Locquet and Kyle “Scrub Killa” Robertson needed to stop double committing and play world-class Rocket League.
JSTN and GarrettG probably don’t need a kick in the pants, but a new third brings new energy to the team. It makes training more intense, it makes scrimmaging more fun and it makes playing Rocket League different. When you’re 6000+ hours in like the pros, mixing it up can make a world of difference.
Beyond that, Turbopolsa is a very charismatic and fun person. There’s a reason the community adores him and pros love to hang out with him. He’s fun to be around. When Yukeo and Dignitas struggled at WSOE, Turbopolsa cracked jokes with him to keep things light.
GarrettG has played seven seasons of Rocket League without a World Championship. He’s the only active player that played at Season 1’s World Championship that still hasn’t won one of his own. That has to weigh on him.
Then again, Dignitas did not seem overly sentimental in his departure. It’s good practice to be wary of a player whose team dismissed him, but Turbopolsa seems to still have plenty left in the tank.
If we learned anything from Matthew “Drippay” Den-Kaat’s move to Evil Geniuses, it’s that cross-region transfers headed to NA have loads of paperwork and appearances to make in order to stay in the United States. NRG wouldn’t put themselves through the hassle if they didn’t think that Turbo was the only man for the job.
Featured image courtesy of Psyonix.
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