Maybe you have time to watch them all, maybe you only have time to watch a few.
No matter how much Alpha Boost you can stomach, here are the can’t miss match ups from this weekend’s Rocket League Championship Series action.
NRG vs. Pittsburgh Knights
These charitable lads from Pittsburgh sure turned into something special, huh? They play so quickly that it almost feels arrogant. Like they see every second spent with four wheels on the ground as time wasted.
NRG on the other hand is all piña and no colada. Every movement is smooth, every button press precise and every read sharp. No one has even put NRG on their back heel. The only time they’ve trailed in a series this season was after the five minute overtime Game 1 loss to Ghost Gaming.
Pittsburgh have already unseated G2 and Cloud9. NRG are the final head of the monster Slater “retals” Thomas set out to slay back at DreamHack: Montreal.
Cloud9 vs. NRG
If there was ever a chance to trade players midseason, then other orgs would be blowing up Mariano “Squishy” Arruda’s phone right now. Maybe he would fit in nicely in Massimo “Atomic” Franceschi’s spot on Ghost.
Trades aren’t a part of the RLCS ecosystem, so that leaves Squishy, Jesus “Gimmick” Parra and Kyle “Torment” Storer to swim or drown. They’re 1-3 and haven’t even played NRG or G2 yet. They’re closer to relegation than the top two. It’s like watching an unsuspecting surfer lazily swimming along in a Jaws movie.
If Cloud9 fall to NRG they’re in deep trouble. They’d shrug off the Promotion Playoff, but Madrid drifts farther away with each passing game.
This match up could fluctuate with NRG’s result against Pittsburgh. Will they be drained after having to play at breakneck pace against the Knights? Or will they roll through Cloud9 after sweeping PK like they did G2?
Sidenote: Squishy is seventh in NA with 0.65 GPG. Torment (0.41) and Gimmick (0.35) are fourth and third to last in scoring in NA.
Vitality vs. Reciprocity
The two best teams in Europe coming into Season 8 face off in Sunday’s final series of the stream. They’re very similar teams, and every meeting they have is a classic.
Both teams have two French players. Both have simple, but incredibly effective game plans, and both seem to see each other as the only real obstacle on the way to the Regional Championship.
Vitality almost seemed aloof last week against Barcelona and Mouz. Maybe dropping six goals to Mouz in Game 4 knocked them off kilter. They blinked against Triple Trouble in Season 7 and still won the World Championship.
Put Kyle “Scrub Killa” Robertson and Thibault “Chausette45” Grzesiak on any field together and it will be hard to look away.
Dignitas vs. Mousesports
If Vitality lose to Reciprocity or Veloce stumble against Team SoloMid or FC Barcelona, Mouz could take the inside track to top two in EU.
Assuming they brush by Complexity they’ll be 3-1 facing a team they’re fairly evenly matched with. Dignitas play better defense, but Mouz scores more goals. They’re an interesting match up for each other on paper.
At this point Maello “AztraL” Ernst is must see TV. Hopefully he shakes the reigns off and gets crazy this week.
Ghost vs. G2
This is another series pitting teams with contrasting styles against each other. Ghost have the region’s third best defense and G2 have the best offense.
Their 2.57 GPG pace car is a bit of a farce though. 30 of their 36 goals came against shell-shocked Birds and Rogue outfits. They mustered just six in as many games against NRG and Pittsburgh, with half of those coming in the OT loss to NRG.
G2 have a lot to prove and are kind of fortunate that Cloud9 is absorbing the limelight for them. Losses to Pittsburgh and NRG are excusable, but a slip against Ghost changes their season drastically.
On the other hand, Ghost are knocking on the door of their first LAN appearance since Season 4. No player from that roster is still with the org. Hopefully they can find some roster continuity soon.
Spacestation vs. Rogue
Relegation looms for the loser of this series. The new relegation system where seventh and eight take on third and fourth from the Rival Series makes finishing in the cellar a bit more manageable, but someone has to finish at the bottom of the table nonetheless.
Spacestation clutched out the win against Cloud last week. They join NRG and G2 as the only teams to best Cloud9 more than once in League Play.
Rogue might have trouble sleeping at night right now. They are hemorrhaging goals, giving up more than .5 GPG than Birds, the second worst defensive team in NA. A win against SSG to go along with their win last week against Birds might be just enough for sixth place.
They’ve got NRG and C9 next week. Need to get this one.
Birds vs. Pittsburgh
Put Pittsburgh Knights on every device in the house because every series they play is like watching Gallagher smash watermelons for 20 minutes.
It’s just blow after blow, smash after smash and it never slows down. They position their third man more aggressively than nearly every other team in the world. It leads to long spells of pressure that are hard to look away from.
Nick “mist” Costello played for Birds in Season 7, but jumped ship to The Peeps when they had a spot available. Best decision he’s ever made.
Veloce vs. TSM
TSM can be hard to watch at times. Yes, Yanis “Alpha54” Champenois is brilliant, and yes, his stat line heading into Week 4 is nearly identical to Chausette45 (0.82-0.29-1.82 for Alpha vs. 0.82-0.29-2.18 for C45).
The problem is Remco “remkoe” den Boer and Otto “Metsanauris” Kaipianen can’t seem to get on the same page with him. Alpha has regressed to the mean a little bit, but his teammates have not bounced back from their Season 7.
Remkoe is somehow scoring less (0.29 GPG) in Season 8 than in Season 7 (0.36 GPG) with one of the world’s most creative players at his side. Metsa just hasn’t meshed with this team and has double committed out of confusion a few times too many this season.
Veloce on the other hand have completely flipped the script and could snag a LAN spot out of this. For whatever reason it’s still hard to believe in them. They’ve made a bunch of saves and have just played solid Rocket League. They just allow their opponents to outspeed themselves and capitalize on their chances.
Alpha54 is good enough to put TSM in a position to win, but Remkoe and Metsa have not had enough of an impact to push them over the top.
Veloce vs. FC Barcelona
Barcelona have been incredibly unlucky this season. They have a plus two game differential, but currently sit in seventh place. They swept Vitality and TSM, but fell in series they could have won against Dignitas, Reciprocity and Mouz.
They are in an incredible position despite their 2-3 record. Two series wins, even if they go five games, would push them to a plus four differential. For reference, Reciprocity lead the league with a plus five game differential.
Six teams in EU have a record of .500 or better. There will be a lot of shuffling in the table because of series like these.
Two wins on Sunday puts Veloce in the top two. One loss puts Barcelona firmly in the relegation zone.
Ghost vs. Spacestation
Feels like there’s not much on the line here beyond Spacestation’s last ditch attempt at making LAN. The Regional Championship does not have any shoe-ins beyond NRG right now, and the world is in chaos right now.
Spacestation still have a 36% chance of landing in the relegation zone according to nallen.me’s probabilities.
They also sit dead last in GPG and have looked frustratingly reckless on offense. Ghost might eat them up if they can’t maintain offensive pressure.
GroundZero vs. Renegades
Over in OCE, first place takes on second place this weekend. GroundZero are sitting pretty at 4-0, and picked up a win against Chiefs Esports Club in Week 2.
Renegades also beat Chiefs, but fell in Week 2 to Attack of the Invisible Ninja. Both teams will hope to avoid each other in the first round of the Regional Championship, and the one seed for the playoff will likely be decided in this match.
Complexity vs. Reciprocity
Five of the six games Complexity have won this season have come by the score of 1-0. They play loads of defense out of necessity. Hrant “Flakes” Yakoub can’t find any space to operate because opponents constantly key in on him.
This could be a trap game for Reciprocity with Vitality looming afterward, but it should be pretty straightforward work for Chausette45 and the gang.
INTZ vs. Lotus
These aren’t the best two teams in South America, but the winner will establish themselves as Lowkey Esports’ greatest challenger. INTZ are 3-0 and Lotus 3-1 (lost to Lowkey in Week 3), so this is a battle for second place in the region out and out.
Seeding might not end up mattering in the end because anything can happen at the Regional Championship, but building confidence with a win over a rival would be a huge boost for either team,
If INTZ can emerge unscathed, then they might feel ready to beat Lowkey in the last series of the season at the end of Week 5. This is the most important SAM series of the season thus far.
Complexity vs. Mousesports
Complexity have allowed the fewest goals per game in EU while somehow allowing the second most shots per game.
Jack “Speed” Packwood-Clarke and Francesco “Kuxir97” Cinquemani are first and second in EU in APG. Of the 26 goals Complexity have allowed this season, 25 have been assisted.
It might be a long day for Complexity.
Featured image courtesy of Stephanie ”Vexanie” Lindgren for DreamHack.
Follow me on Twitter: @connorssanders.
“From Our Haus to Yours”