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Rocket Launching: JKnaps’ Domination and Should We Be Mad at Flakes?

RLCS Promotion Tournament

The Rocket League gods finally drew a line in the sand.

As a humble worshipper, it’s hard for me to say what drew the gods to anger against Cloud9 and G2, but their wrath nearly obliterated two of the game’s most beloved organizations.

What was the sin? Did they break Rule #1 in a ranked match? Perhaps one of the players was lined up on the right but didn’t go for kickoff. Maybe they did the unthinkable and didn’t quick chat “gg” after a win.

No matter what they did to incite the wrath, Cloud9 and G2 finally saw their torment (get it?) come to an end in the Promotion Tournament. Not even the Rocket League gods are savage enough to send Mariano “Squishy” Arruda to the Rival Series.

Somehow they survived.

For the first time ever, I think we can unanimously agree on something: no one saw this coming. You’d have been called a madman if you had predicted one of NA’s Big 3 to finish in the relegation zone, but two? Get out of here.

The season has been utterly bonkers and with only the World Championship left on the horizon, we better tie up some loose ends before we shift all of our focus on Madrid.

Here are my favorite observations from the Promotion Tournament:

JKnaps’ Domination

According to octane.gg:

Amount of goals JKnaps scored during Season 8 (seven series): 20

Amount of goals JKnaps scored during Promotion Tournament (two series): 22

Jacob “JKnaps” Knapman was out of his mind on Saturday. Look at this, who in their right mind would even consider trying to pull off something like this:

I don’t know much of that was planned, but it was more delicious than Momma’s yams on Thanksgiving day. It looked to me like JKnaps was going for a regular double-tap and kind of hit it to himself on accident, but the way that man was playing it was probably 100% intentional.

JKnaps’ (and Cloud9’s) performance proved why fans shouldn’t give up on these orgs. I don’t know if the teams coasted, put too much pressure on themselves or just had five off weeks in a row, but I still think both of these orgs have a major LAN left in them.

What’s More Disrespectful, Tweeting Mid-Series or Using a Merc?

Alright, so Hrant “Flakes” Yakoub did some heavily criticized things on Sunday en route to Complexity’s demotion. If you missed any of the tea, Flakes used the bug, ugly Merc during his series against Team Singularity and people were kind of endeared by it but mostly confused.

Then Maurice “Yukeo” Weihs tweeted at Flakes to ask why he was using the Merc, and Flaked responded two minutes later, smack dab in the middle of the series.

That begs the question: would you find it more disrespectful if a player used a meme car against you, or if he had the audacity to tweet about it mid-series like it’s nothing?

If Flakes had won the series and stayed up, he would have pulled off some high-class bad-assery. It would have been like Allen Iverson stepping over Ty Lue only a whole lot dorkier.

To me, using the meme car is more disrespectful, but no matter where you stand, the move absolutely blew up in his face.

Should We Be Mad at Flakes?

So to recap: Flakes used a Merc and tweeted mid-series. The Rocket Gods were evidently not pleased.

Both of those decisions don’t exactly scream professionalism, but I don’t find them as repulsive as many others did. They’re not shining examples of character, but Flakes doesn’t owe anyone anything. He’s playing the game, being himself. Slater “retals” Thomas does it all the time and everyone loves him for it.

Losing definitely makes his aloofness seem more misguided, but I feel like everyone was so Big Mad that they just jumped on a player who has clearly emotionally disconnected from the game.

RLCS Promotion Tournament
Courtesy of @ZeeboDesigns on Twitter

I wonder if Flakes even wanted to play in that tournament. He’d spent so much time just making it to the RLCS only to watch it all burn down in front of him after one season.

That’s not to excuse Flakes for burning every bridge he could on his way out, but I don’t think we should be so self-serious as to condemn a 19-year-old for acting a little petty during a video game tournament. Who cares about professionalism? What does it matter?

We talk about professionalism like it’s an expectation, but if you’re good enough at the game you can play at the highest level. Stop with all this, “orgs won’t want an immature kid,” talk. If you’re good enough, none of the off-field stuff matters.

It’s not like Flakes threw a tantrum either. He used a car with the exact same hitbox and took two seconds to reply to a couple of tweets mid-series. Was it smart? Of course not. Was it really that big of a deal? I don’t think so.

Remkoe Retiring?

It seems like Remco “remkoe” den Boer might be moving on from Team SoloMid, but he might just be on that loner boy vibe that he gets on sometimes.

 

You don’t say “regardless of what’s next” if you’re planning on things remaining exactly the same in the foreseeable future. That’s what you say when you’re graduating college, not what you say when you’re going to hop back on the grind for another season.

Remkoe is 24 years old, which is basically ancient in Rocket League. Cameron “Kronovi” Bills is 22 and Pierre “Turbopolsa” Silfver is 21. Remkoe has them beat by a while and it seems like he might be on his way out.

RLCS Promotion Tournament
Photo Credit: Stephanie ”Vexanie” Lindgren

He struggled in Season 8 once again, finishing third to last in octane.gg’s rating system in EU. Otto “Metsanauris” Kaipiainen looked like his old self in the Promotion Tournament and Yanis “Alpha54” Champenois is certainly not going anywhere, so if TSM want to upgrade, it will probably be Remkoe’s roster spot.

It makes sense for him to go out on his terms. He’s experienced the entire spectrum, from facing relegation to winning a World Championship and ELEAGUE. If this truly is the end of the road for him, I’d like to applaud him for traveling it as far as he has.

 

Featured image courtesy of TStephanie “Vexanie” Lindgren for DreamHack.

Follow me on Twitter: @connorssanders.

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