No game of Rocket League is perfect. Every team will make any number of mistakes, even when totally dominating their opponents.
That’s what Mixed Bag is about. It’s a series of video clips highlighting one good moment and one bad moment for each Rocket League Championship Series team from North America. It’s pretty self-explanatory so let’s just hop right into it.
1. Renault Vitality (2-0, 6-2)
The Good: Alexandre “Kaydop” Courant and Kyle “Scrub Killa” Robertson have developed near telepathic chemistry, and it’s sort of terrifying. Watch how Kaydop attempts to play this ball off the sidewall to himself, but Scrub knows it’s coming and carries it up the wall.
Scrub has so little time to react but does so well. If Victor “Fairy Peak” Locquet places this better they seal the game before halftime against Veloce. Their connection is unreal.
The Bad: Not much bad to say for Renault Vitality, so let’s just watch another incredible pass, this time from Scrub to Kaydop.
Scrub hangs up there for so long, and he tells Kaydop exactly what he’s going to do. Maybe the bad thing is Kaydop didn’t nail the upper 90 there. Really impressive chemistry from those two.
2. Team Reciprocity (2-0, 6-3)
The Good: Once again, pretty much everything. Reciprocity dominated this series, and even though Game 3 slipped away from them, they solidified their position as a contender for the title in EU. Their defense has been impeccable this season, and this sequence by Thibault “Chausette45” Grzesiak is remarkable.
Chausette is in a tough position with his teammates committed up field. He wisely gives up the corner boost to avoid getting demoed. Pops the ball into a safe area and then turns around and nails a backboard clear all the way to Team SoloMid’s corner. He has 12 boost for almost the entire clip.
The Bad: Once again (again), not much to complain about for Reciprocity. Perhaps this prejump to protect the backboard was a bit misguided by Chausette45.
It didn’t even matter. Reciprocity are here to stay and can prove it this weekend against Dignitas and Veloce.
3. Veloce Esports (2-1, 7-6)
The Good: Veloce are reminiscent of Ghost Gaming from Season 7. Jack “FlamE” Pearton plays the Treyven “Lethamyr” Robitaille aggressor role, Sandro “FreaKii” Holzwarth saves and scores like Michael “Memory” Moss and Andy “Kassio” Landais fills in the gaps like Braxton “Allushin” Lagarec. Veloce play a ton of defense and capitalize on their opponents mistakes often.
They were put through the wringer against Vitality, but still played very well. Kaydop and Scrub Killa were up to their usual hi-jinx, but FlamE was ready for it.
FlamE makes the initial touch to force the ball away and uses all his boost. He recovers quickly and gets straight onto the backboard. By the time Kaydop pops it up Scrub’s on the ceiling and FlamE is headed up the near post. He reads Scrub’s car perfectly and prejumps the save. It’s the exact kind of quality goal Vitality have become known for, and Veloce didn’t let it happen.
The Bad: Vitality put Veloce on their heels right after kickoff throughout their series. Kickoff goals are so deflating:
Freakii also goofed up on a similar post equalizer post kickoff in Game 4. He was in a tough position both times, but those types of moments separate great teams from good teams. Vitality have those moments nailed down, and Veloce need to keep their focus to maintain momentum after a big goal. Really strong performance for them again this week. They’re a serious contender to make LAN now.
4. Mousesports (1-1, 5-5)
The Good: Jack “Speed” Packwood-Clarke is striking more fear into defenses with each series. Look at how he absolutely freezes Dan “Bluey” Bluett on the backboard here:
Then he gets the bump on his way down like a bulldozer clearing the way. He and Linus “al0t” Mollergren mesh well with Francesco “Kuxir97” Cinquemani. A true striker like al0t keeps Kux from trying to do too much on offense.
The Bad: Barcelona took it to them in the first two games, but they did bounce back well to reverse sweep. They could have played a lot cleaner series on defense though, and moments like these are headscratchers.
It’s a tough read, but one that al0t should be expected to make. No one came to challenge the ball and Bluey just walked it in. Can’t let misreads like that in and expect to win versus Vitality on Sunday.
5. Dignitas (1-1, 5-5)
The Good: Maello “AztraL” Ernst was an unproven commodity coming into the season. He was well known for his mechanical ability, but some worried he might not be able to handle the defensive duties and grind of long series. If there was ever a moment that he’d loose focus, it would be at a time like this:
AztraL deserves a ton of credit on this save. He only scored 170 points in the match, and only took two shots. It was not an exciting contest to watch, but he stayed locked in until the last touch. Jos “ViolentPanda” van Meurs is up field, and Maurice “Yukeo” Weihs got demolished, so AztraL has to make the touch, and he does so nicely.
The Bad: Yukeo is consistent in finding the frame of goal on shots, but at times his placement with defenders in net leaves a bit to be desired. He posts up in a great area here, but hits it right at the defender:
He doesn’t have a lot of time to place it, but a shot at the upper middle section of the net probably scores there. Yukeo improved on this even as the game went on:
He also scored a nice bounce shot to beat two defenders to win in OT of Game 5, so the skill is there. Against Complexity he can afford to let a few shots get away from him, but Yukeo will push Dignitas higher if he can hit the open spot in the net more often.
6. FC Barcelona (1-2, 7-6)
The Good: In terms of individual game record, Barcelona are on par with Veloce, but they’ve struggled to close series out. They dominated TSM with their speed, and pushed Mouz as well. Bluey and David “Deevo” Morrow compliment each other so well. Watch how Deevo saves Bluey’s behind after he gives the ball away here:
Deevo was incredibly fortunate that Kuxir’s shot bounced along the goal line, but he made the play anyway. Then he transitioned so quickly onto offense. He beats Kux with a great 50/50 then completely disposes of al0t on the infield pass. Deevo covers a lot of Bluey’s weaknesses, and Bluey supports Deevo using his speed. They’re fun to watch together.
The Bad: Aldin “Ronaky” Hodzic has played well this season on his new team, but at times he lets challenges get away from him. On Triple Trouble someone would would almost always be behind him to make a challenge on his touch. With FC Barcelona that’s less consistent because the second and third men are often up field or grabbing boost. When Ronaky loses his challenge al0t has a good opportunity. This time Bluey’s pace let him down:
Bluey wasn’t even close to challenging that one and it left Deevo in an impossible position. Perhaps he should have dared al0t to shoot and headed for the backboard there. Sometimes Barcelona are so caught up in going quickly that their positioning suffers.
7. Team SoloMid (1-2, 4-8)
The Bad: Remco “Remkoe” den Boer really struggled against Reciprocity despite his stats being alright. He was all out of sorts and started to show some major signs of decline on fairly straight forward plays:
Why do they double commit here? Remkoe and Otto “Metsanauris” Kaipiainen didn’t trust one another enough there. Metsa can probably block Emil “Fruity” Moselund’s angle there, but Remkoe cuts rotation. Then he whiffed on a great chance:
Yanis “Alpha54” Champenois puts so much pressure on Chausette45 here, and all Chausette can do is bang it off the backboard. These are the types of poor clears Remkoe has built his career on, and he just misses. Joey “Jorby” Ahrens asseses the situation well in his commentary on that clip.
The Good: Remkoe might be on his last legs in competitive Rocket League, but he can still make plays on defense. This block against Chausette is world class.
The timing of his block was so important there. Hopefully he can get settled in before they find themselves in a bigger hole this season.
8. Complexity Gaming (0-3, 4-9)
The Good: Hrant “Flakes” Yakoub. Flakes has had so much to do for this team defensively and has played very well. All four of Complexity’s game wins this season have come at the end of 1-0 mudbaths. They can park the bus and defend well, but they’re really exciting in transition, too:
This is where Joonas “Mognus” Salo is at his finest. His pass to Marius “gReazymeister” Ranheim is perfect, and gReazy puts the ball in an easy position for Flakes to score. Mognus hasn’t made a ton of plays this season, but still has impressive passing chops. He needs to find Flakes in space more.
The Bad: When a team is playing a defensive style, they have to capitalize on chances when they fall to them. Greazy has an open shot in the midfield in the first minute against Dignitas:
Not only does Greazy miss the target, but he doesn’t use all of his boost to get over the ball and rebound his miss. Then Flakes hits the post and the attack fizzles out. They basically have played like Veloce without the same bite in attack. Veloce have pounced on loose balls, but Complexity haven’t had as much success.
Mognus and gReazy are dead last in EU in shooting percentage. They can’t win if they don’t score open shots. It’s really that simple.
Featured image courtesy of Todd Gutierrez for Beyond the Summit.
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