With the regular season in the books, it feels like everyone is still catching their breath after one of the strangest seasons in Rocket League’s history.
Two perennial powers face the Promotion Playoff. A team that got handed an RLCS spot in a most unusual manner, then proved their worth by auto-qualifying for LAN. Rogue beat up on NRG to avoid relegation. The reigning MVP in EU is in the Promotion Playoff. It got weird.
The dust has peacefully settled and it’s time to acknowledge that we are living in the most chaotic RL timeline. With the Regional Championship in the oven for this weekend, let’s take a look at this season’s best performers.
North America: Caden “Sypical” Pellegrin (0.90 GPG, 0.38 APG, 2.21 SAPG)
There’s a pretty decent argument to be made for Justin “JSTN” Morales to repeat as MVP (0.85 GPG, 0.62 APG, 1.31 SAPG on the region’s best team), but this is the chaos timeline. Sypical should win the MVP in just his second RLCS season, the fastest path to MVP in the region’s history (outside of the first two seasons).
He was unreal. Sypical is incredibly pacey. He gets up to attack the ball quickly and decisively. There isn’t a pass he can’t get on frame right now. Last season there were flashes of brilliance in a game or series, but he recreated those performances week in and week out in Season 8.
Now he’s got his team headed to Madrid, and when push comes to shove they might have a chance at the title. It’ll be tough in their first LAN appearance, but Sypical is the real deal, and right now he’s one of the five best 3v3 players in the world.
Europe: Thibault “Chausette45” Grzesiak (0.82 GPG, 0.29 APG, 2.04 SAPG)
The situation in EU is much more complicated when it comes to MVP. There are probably four players legitimately in the conversation, but it’s hard to argue with Chausette45 given his team’s success. The best player on the best team isn’t a fun choice, but a plus six game differential doesn’t lie.
Chausette45 had the season everyone had been asking for. He didn’t get carried away in going for nutty plays and was a beast in nearly every series he played. No player besides Chausette had more than nine game MVPs in EU this season. Chausette had 12.
Might as well applaud his gaudy shooting percentage (31.08%, 2nd in EU), and his pop off potential heading into LAN. As of now, he poses NRG’s greatest challenge at the World Championship, and deserves the MVP.
If you just look at statistics, Dan “Bluey” Bluett is clearly the MVP (0.82 GPG, 0.64 APG, 2.07 SAPG). He’s a very deserving candidate, and if any of the three game fives they played against Reciprocity, mousesports or Veloce goes their way, he’d probably be the clear choice. I really value team performance, and there’s still a pretty good chance FC Barcelona misses LAN.
We’ll talk about the other candidates in the next section.
This team, much like the NBA’s All-NBA team, is meant to point out the players who performed the best in the league regardless of region or conference. The issue with including Oceania or South America though, is the talent disparity between the top of the region and the bottom.
So, hat’s off to Caio “CaioTG1” Vinicius and Chris “Siki” Magee, but let’s just use NA and EU players for this exercise. This isn’t a ranking of the best players, just a way to honor Season 8 performance beyond just an MVP.
1. Sypical – (0.90 GPG, 0.38 APG, 2.21 SAPG)
Pretty obvious as to why he’s here. Led the region in GPG and was second in SAPG. Auto-qualified a former Rival Series team in just his second season. Even if he doesn’t win MVP, he’s clearly been one of the six best performers from either region.
2. Chausette45 – (0.82 GPG, 0.29 APG, 2.04 SAPG)
Not going to waste too much breath here either. Best player on the best team in EU. Third in GPG, fourth in saves and just a generally rock solid season.
3. Bluey – (0.82 GPG, 0.64 APG, 2.07 SAPG)
There’s a very healthy statistical argument to be made for Bluey here. Led the league in APG. Scored one goal less than his teammate Aldin “Ronaky” Hodzic to finish second in GPG. His team finished 3-4, but had a plus three game differential.
When Yanis “Alpha54” Champenois left for Team SoloMid, the creative duties on offense fell to Bluey and he responded emphatically. He could unravel a defense with one touch at times in Season 8. Ronaky had a good year because he wasn’t ever really asked to do too much. Bluey had done the hard work for him.
It’s unfortunate that they’re sixth in the standings, because FCB probably deserve a top three spot. Bluey will have to clutch it out vs Dignitas and Vitality/Mouz (two teams they lost to in League Play) to make LAN.
4. JSTN – (0.85 GPG, 0.62 APG, 1.31 SAPG)
JSTN just plugged along on the world’s most dominant team (sorry, Lowkey). NRG did not have the same offensive onslaught as Season 7 (down to 2.27 GPG in S8, from 2.71 in S7), but they still led the league in both GPG and goals allowed.
A lot of that has to do with JSTN. There isn’t a more mechanical player in the game. He has an uncanny ability to get to tough balls and score in tight spaces. If Garrett “GarrettG” Gordon finds him in transition, then it’s over.
In a way, JSTN’s place here represents Garrett too, because he was also nearly unblemished in his play this season. They also deserve a lot of credit for integrating Pierre “Turbopolsa” Silfver into the lineup. The rest of the region crumbled around them,but NRG stood strong. Maybe their time is coming soon, but for now, JSTN cannot be stopped.
5. Sandro “FreaKii” Holzwarth – (0.77 GPG, 0.39 APG, 2.65 SAPG)
Wow, FreaKii exploded in his first season back in the RLCS. He led the league in SAPG and was fifth in GPG. He came up huge in close series (Veloce played at least four games in every series this season).
FreaKii’s versatility allowed Jack “FlamE” Pearton to run wild and be a nuisance on offense. FlamE finished in the bottom five of GPG and SAPG, but FreaKii did that work for him.
A lot of the same arguments used to prop up Chausette as MVP could be used in favor of FreaKii. Veloce completely outperformed preseason expectation, and were leagues ahead of Complexity. Thankfully promotion/relegation is changing, because it would have been a shame to have had them in the Rival Series this season.
6. Alpha54 – (0.79 GPG, 0.52 APG, 1.86 SAPG)
Listen, I know what I said about team performance earlier, but Alpha54 deserves to be here even if his team is in the Promotion Playoff. The stats don’t lie about him.
He finished fourth in GPG. Alpha was the only player other than Bluey in the top five for scoring that wasn’t in the bottom third of the league in APG. He led the league in percentage of team score, was fourth in percentage of team’s saves and led the league in goal participation.
Only Bluey had a better all around statistical season in either region. His teammates really let him down, but Alpha54 was one of the best performers this season. At times he got his axles broken defensively, and that negative five game differential hurts, but Alpha54 carried TSM as far as he possibly could this season.
Others receiving votes: GarrettG, Slater “retals” Thomas, Reed “Chicago” Wilen, Jack “Speed” Packwood-Clarke (who I thought was the clear MVP favorite before Week 5), Alexandre “Kaydop” Courant, Michael “Memory” Moss, Maello “AztraL” Ernst, Massimo “Atomic” Franceschi
All-Stars (best in the region):
NA: Sypical, JSTN, GarrettG, retals, Chicago, Memory.
EU: Chausette45, Bluey, FreaKii, Alpha54, Speed, Kaydop.
Featured image courtesy of Spacestation Gaming.
Follow me on Twitter: @connorssanders.
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