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Rocket Launching: Looking Back on RLCS Season 7 Previews EU Part 1

RLCS

Welcome to Rocket Launching, a midweek RLCS column that discusses the wonderful world of Rocket League esports. Before Season 7, I wrote a series of team previews that outlined the best and worst case scenarios for each Rocket League Championship Series squad from NA and EU.

As mentioned in NA’s season reflection, the context of the season is just as important as the result. There can be no underdogs without preseason doubt. There can be no puncher’s favorite without the slightest inkling of uncertainty in the offseason. So let’s take a look back at EU’s Season 7, and see how each team stacked up compared to their preseason preview.

Read NA’s two part review here.

Team 8: Mousesports

RLCS 7 finish: 8th place (1-6, 10-19), relegated in the Promotion Playoffs by The Bricks.

Season 7 team statistics and finishes: 1.83 GPG (5th), 1.55 APG (3rd), 5.17 SAPG (2nd), 2.83 Goals Allowed Per Game (8th), 9.07 Shots Allowed Per Game (8th)

Best Case/Worst Case Spectrum: Diving head first into Worst Case.

Most heinous preseason take: “Tigreee emerges as a star on a LAN playoff team. He leads the team in saves, goals and assists and Mouz avoids relegation with a star player and a legendary striker to build around for the future.”

Most spot-on preseason take: “The worst case scenario feels much more reasonable than the best case one. Staying up after promotion is a heavy task for any team. It’s especially tough given how much the league has improved since last season.”

If we’re being two tequilas in honest, then we must acknowledge that Mouz shouldn’t even have played Season 7 in the RLCS. The fact that they even stayed in the premier division after their abysmal 2-5 Season 6 performance. They showed the importance of avoiding sweeps to maintain a safe game differential.

They almost rode that same style to another sixth place finish. The only time Mouz looked truly helpless was when Dignitas bounced back with a 3-0 forearm shiver in Week 4. They kept every other series close, and if a couple of Game 5’s go their way, they would have avoided relegation. Seriously. They lost in OT of Game 5 against The Bricks and gave up a late Game 5 goal against PSG. They nearly finished 3-4.

Their offense was pretty dang potent this season. Linus “al0t” Mollergren was a massive upgrade over Kevin “Skyline” Carvalho on that side of the ball. Look at their offensive numbers again. That’s a pretty strong balance of averages. They made plenty of saves and capitalized on weaknesses in the defense.

RLCS
Alex161 – Courtesy of Stephanie Lindgren for DreamHack.

Unfortunately on defense al0t was a slight downgrade from the uber-defensive Skyline. It didn’t help that Maik “Tigreee” Hoffman struggled and Alex “Alex161” Ernst may have played his way into retirement. Statistically, their seasons weren’t deplorable (0.48, 0.48, 1.79 for Tigree, 0.55,0.62, 1.72 for Alex), but they were far from spectacular. 

So unspectacular in fact that al0t’s incredible Season 7 will be lost in the mix up. He went from the consensus worst player in EU in Season 6 to reestablishing himself as one of the game’s most prolific strikers in Season 7. He completely revolutionized his game, but his team just wasn’t good enough to support him.

Their defense was comically bad. They gave up nearly three goals per game. It doesn’t matter how great your offense is. If you can’t prevent your opponent from scoring, you’re cooked. Just ask Evil Geniuses.

Al0t definitely deserves another chance with an RLCS team, and Alex161 announced on Twitter that he’s leaving Mouz. Tigreee’s situation is up in the air, but all signs point to disbanding, which might not be a bad thing.

Team 7: Triple Trouble

RLCS 7 finish: 4th place (4-3, 14-16), Lost in quarterfinal of the World Championship to Rogue.

Season 7 team statistics and finishes: 1.80 GPG (6th), 1.48 APG (4th), 4.53 SAPG (T-5th), 2.00 Goals Allowed Per Game (T-4th), 8.57 Shots per game (1st).

Best Case/Worst Case Spectrum: Completely destroyed my expectations. Best case times 200.

Most heinous preseason take (Geez, I was all in on Dignitas): “Dignitas is really the only team in Europe who has no chance of being relegated. That means you can’t rule out Triple Trouble having a rough season and getting bumped from the RLCS.”

Most spot-on preseason take: “Their fun style of play attracts a new org and the team makes the LAN playoff after a top four finish in the regular season. This team is talented enough to not have to rely on other team’s mistakes to create scoring chances.”

If Triple Trouble would have found an org, I would have been the happiest man alive. I was really high on TT before the season and with good reason. Adding Andy “Kassio” Landais to an already prolific attack of Euan “Tadpole” Ingram and Aldin “Ronaky” Hodzic seemed to have the silhouette of an elite offensive team.

Kassio was fine for Triple Trouble in Season 7, but it was abundantly clear early in the season that they missed Jack “Speed” Packwood-Clarke. Speed brought an element of unpredictability and energy to the team that Kassio couldn’t quite replicate. That didn’t seem to matter too much.

RLCS
Triple Trouble – Courtesy of Rocket League Championship Series

Despite leading the Rival Series in goals in Season 6, Kassio settled into a more defined third man role, which pushed Tadpole forward. This was the key to success for them in Season 7. Tadpole may well be the most underrated player in Rocket League right now. He’s incredibly versatile (led the team in assists and finished seventh in the RLCS in shots per game) and he has an uncanny ability to be at the right place at the right time.

He was the third man for TT in the Rival Series, but he responded well to Speed’s departure. Tadpole was the player that impressed me the most at the World Championship. He’s not afraid to rise to the occasion and make big plays in big moments.

Kassio made a few too many mistakes throughout the season, which could lead to his replacement. He was an important part of this team, and scored the goal that sent them to the World Championship. If he does move on, he will be missed.

Jordan “EyeIgnite” Stellon played with them in the DreamHack: Montreal qualifiers, but Triple Trouble didn’t even win a series. I’m not sure if that means he’s out of the running for the third spot, but TT could use his striking ability. That may push Tadpole into the third man role, which wouldn’t be the end of the world. I really like him as a distributor, but we’ll see.

Their lack of org representation still hangs over the team. I’ve heard whispers that they’ve received offers, but they haven’t exactly been competitive. Patience is the name of the game when looking for an org, and if they can’t find a worthwhile offer, I see no incentive to jump into a bad contract.

Still, it’s going to be hard to continue to compete in DreamHacks and the like without an org. These players can’t live on coaching and streams forever. Eventually the time will come when they need to start cashing checks. Hopefully a proper offer comes in soon. They deserve it.

Team 6: FC Barcelona

RLCS 7 finish: 2nd place (5-2, 17-10), Lost in quarterfinal of the World Championship to Cloud9.

Season 7 team statistics and finishes: 1.97 GPG (3rd), 1.29 APG (7th), 4.53 SAPG (T-5th), 1.55 Goals Allowed Per Game (2nd), 0.65 Assists to Goals ratio.

Best Case/Worst Case Spectrum: I thought they’d be better than TT, but they were the one of the five best teams in the world. If their best case was the bell at the top of strong man contest, the little meter careened uncontrollably into it after the hammer fell. 

Most heinous preseason take: “Their worst case is that Bluey and Deevo can’t hack it at the highest level anymore and Alpha54 is overwhelmed by a role he isn’t ready for yet. Their attacking style is easily shutdown by more organized teams and they finish bottom two.”

Most spot-on preseason take (seriously, I can’t believe I wrote this before Season 7): “Their best case scenario is that their aggressive style of play transitions smoothly to the higher level of competition. Alpha54 could emerge as one of the best five players in the world and carry Savage! to a top two finish and an automatic bid to LAN.

David “Deevo” Morrow is the Peter Crouch of Rocket League. I’ve been waiting for a platform to say that on, and I guess now’s the time. They’re both super tall, very good in the air and they’re both from England. Change my mind. Also Dan “Bluey” Bluett looks like Elon Musk’s younger brother.

Anyway, I thought there was a chance that one of the RLRS teams would make LAN, but I never expected that both would. I’m really glad I was wrong, because FC Barcelona were so much fun to watch this season. 

Yanis “Alpha54” Champenois is the kind of breakout star that completely changes the trajectory of his teammates’ careers. After Season 5, it seemed like Deevo and Bluey were on the same path Alex161 is on now. They were definitely good players, but they couldn’t find a spot with other RLCS teams.

RLCS
FC Barcelona – Courtesy of Rocket League Championship Series

They came into the Rival Series with an ungodly bang. That translated directly into the RLCS and no one quite knew what to do about it. If we ignore when Vitality swept them without giving up a goal, Barcelona were virtually perfect. They were 17-7 in every other series and clearly emerged as the Beach Boys to Vitality’s Beatles in EU.

Their offense was incredible. Alpha54’s creativity and skill will keep him around the scene for a long time. He’s just 15 years-old too. Can you imagine what he’s going to be like once he gets his sea legs under him?

They haven’t had the marquee LAN success needed to cement their position as an elite team, but they’re still in their first year together. FC Barcelona is also a unique and exciting org to play for, so I don’t see any of them being eager to move onto a new situation. 

Can you imagine if Barcelona did some promotional thing where like Antoine Griezmann played Rocket League with Alpha54? That would be the dopest of the dope. Griezmann loves video games, and they’re both French. Get on it Barcelona.

Team 5: PSG Esports

RLCS 7 finish: 3rd place (4-3, 16-14), Lost in quarterfinal of the World Championship to G2.

Season 7 team statistics and finishes: 1.94 GPG (4th), 1.62 APG (2nd), 4.98 SAPG (3rd), 1.68 Goals Allowed Per Game (3rd), Games played: 47 (1st, no other team played more than 40).

Best Case/Worst Case Spectrum: Closer to best case than worse, but still room to improve.

Most heinous preseason take: “Two teams have to fall, and the EU region is stacked with talent. It’s not unreasonable to say that PSG could be relegated.”

Most spot on preseason take: “Fruity has to pop off for PSG to be anything other than mediocre this season. They’re organized enough to take care of lesser opponents, but are they talented enough to match the quality of the upper echelon? If Fruity’s playing his best, they can be.”

This is another team whose context was critical. PSG almost beat G2 at the World Championship, and if they had, I feel like they had a special run in them. We saw their potential during DreamHack: Valencia. 

Emil “Fruity” Moslund is exactly what this team needs. He’s not a flashy or reckless player, and he’s the foundation of this team. Thibault “Chausette45” Grzesiak makes the insane mechanical plays to create chances, Victor “Ferra” Francal scores those chances and Fruity fills in everywhere in between.

When Chausette45 finds his form and starts scoring everything he touches, they’re unstoppable. He puts so much pressure on the defense that everyone is over extended which opens the net up for Ferra. When it rains it pours.

Fruity
Fruity – Courtesy of Todd Gutierrez for DreamHack.

On the other hand, Chausette45 has a tendency to disappear for games at a time. You’ll forget he’s on the field, then all of a sudden he’s pulling a wavedash ceiling shot off like it’s nothing. I’m sure teams gameplan around his ability, but he wasn’t very productive during some stretches.He led the team in both goals and saves, so I’m not saying he’s trash. I just wish he would grab the game by the steering wheel a bit more often and dribble fools. That’s when PSG shine brightest. Their season was a definite improvement over Season 6. They contended for top three and were one of three teams to finish with a positive overall record at 16-14.

It’s worth noting that the four best defensive teams in EU made the World Championship. The rankings for goals allowed almost perfectly mirror the final standings as well. Defense truly wins championships in the RLCS which bodes well for PSG.

When Chausette45 leads the entire league in saves and Fruity isn’t far behind, they’ll be in good shape. Unleash the sock and you’ll keep winning. It’s as simple as that.

Make sure to check back tomorrow for Part 2 where we’ll reflect on TSM, Dignitas, The Bricks and Vitality.

 

Featured image courtesy of Rocket League Championship Series.

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1 comment

Rocket Launching: Looking Back on RLCS Season 7 Previews EU Part 2 • The Game Haus July 24, 2019 at 6:05 am

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