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Rocket Launching Week 4: Midseason Trades and Playoff Scenarios

RLCS Week 5

What if a Rocket League team could trade players midseason?

Maybe the trade deadline would be the start of Week 3, giving teams two weeks’ worth of time to figure out what was going wrong and respond to it.

Promotion/relegation muddies this up, but there is a lot of depth to be explored in the trade market. Struggling teams could try and make win-now moves, or they could trade one of their better players for a rising star.

Imagine: Cloud9 send Jesus “Gimmick” Parra to Pittsburgh Knights in exchange for Nick “mist” Costello. I know, it sounds weird, but it could work.

Or a team who can’t get much going on offense but have an abundance of good defenders could make a trade for an attacker. Would Dignitas send Maurice “Yukeo” Weihs (0.35 GPG, 0.25 APG, 2.10 SAPG to Team SoloMid for Otto “Metsanauris” Kaipiainen (0.52 GPG, 0.52 APG, 1.05 SAPG)? 

RLCS Week 5
Photo Credit: Stephanie ”Vexanie” Lindgren

If we threw pro/rel out the window, there would be endless possibilities for roster composition, and Psyonix could adopt a model closer to traditional American sports like basketball.

What if the RLCS had a draft based format where rising stars like Jason “firstkiller” Corral and Nick “Chronic” Iwanski would play for the worst teams from League Play to try and build them up. Maybe a team could send a starter to another team for their draft pick and a substitute.

Some teams would have players they probably couldn’t pawn off on to anyone else. I think Marius “gReazymeister” Ranheim and Nicholas “Wonder” Blackerby probably wouldn’t fly off the shelves, but would Complexity and Rogue consider swapping them?

It gets even juicier when you extend trades across regions. Would Cloud9 trade Gimmick for Gabriel “Caard” Vieira right now? Tshaka “Arsenal” Taylor for Jack “FlamE” Pearton?

There’s plenty wrong with this idea. Team chemistry, the logistics, relegation etc, but it’s a fun hypothetical to think about, especially if Psyonix serious about changing the RLCS to a franchise-based format.

What we have now is incredible though, and seeing a team rise through the Rival Series and start whopping RLCS opponents will always be fun. There’s plenty of insanity to process right now anyway.

In fact there might be too much insanity. The only teams who have guaranteed their spot in the standings are NRG and Complexity, so 14 teams will find their Season 8 resting place this weekend.

To sort out all the insanity I’ve got all of the RLCS playoff scenarios here for you. Key games, necessary results, the whole nine yards. We’ll be using’s probability scenarios for all of this.

Playoff Scenarios for NA:

NRG have secured their position atop the table, but they have a chance at the best winning percentage in League Play history. A 3-0 sweep against Rogue would put them at 21-4, tying them for the best season since Dignitas in Season 6 (Pierre “Turbopolsa” Silfver is incredible).

Pittsburgh Knights’ outcome depends heavily on how Spacestation Gaming performs versus G2. If G2 wins, PK would just need to win one game against SSG to finish second and auto-qualify for LAN. If SSG beat G2, Pittsburgh have to beat them to finish second. They’re guaranteed top four, but have the inside track at second place. There is also a weird scenario where G2 beat SSG, SSG beat Pittsburgh and Ghost Gaming sweep Birds where Ghost would finish second.

Spacestation have to beat Pittsburgh to finish second. No matter what they do against G2, Pittsburgh would be 5-2 and would finish second in SSG’s place. Even if they lose in five to G2 they could still finish second with a win against PK and if Ghost drop a game to Birds. They need to avoid a sweep against G2, and beat Pittsburgh. A win against both teams puts them in second.

RLCS Week 5
Photo Credit: Stephanie ”Vexanie” Lindgren

It’s worth noting that SSG face an absurd number of possibilities that seem them finishing anywhere from second to seventh. It will be a volatile weekend, but they control their own destiny.

Ghost on the other hand, do not really control their own destiny. As previously mentioned they need SSG to lose to G2 but beat Pittsburgh, and Ghost would need to sweep Birds to finish second and auto-qualify. The only way they’d drop out of top four would be losing to Birds.

G2 can only finish top four, and sweeps over SSG and Cloud9 would nearly guarantee them fourth place. Spacestation is the team they’d have to leapfrog, so they’ll need to beat them first. If they beat Cloud9 they’ll be in the running, but they need Pittsburgh to beat Spacestation. If they finish fifth, they could very well face C9 in the first round of the Regional Championship, which would mean one of them won’t be at LAN. This season has been unreal. Also worth noting if Cloud9 beat G2 and Rogue and Birds beat Ghost, G2 could face relegation.

Cloud9 seem like the team most likely to finish sixth, but things could get crazy if Birds beat Ghost. If Ghost win, Cloud9 will make the Regional Championship, but they need to get a win first. Wins against Rogue and G2 would essentially guarantee their safety from relegation, but one win should be enough to get them beyond the line. Rogue have looked miserable all season, but so have C9. Another winless week will leave them relegated.

For Birds, they need to beat Ghost and hope Cloud9 drop both their contests on Saturday. If Cloud9 beat either team, Birds will most likely finish seventh. They have virtually no chance if they lose to Ghost though.

Rogue are in deep trouble. They’d need a miraculous win over NRG to have a chance at avoiding relegation. If they were to lose to NRG in five games, and sweep Cloud9, they could finish sixth if Ghost sweep Birds. It’s been a tough season for Rogue.

Playoff Scenarios EU:

The top of EU will most likely be determined in the mousesports vs Veloce and mousesports vs Team Reciprocity series. Mouz have the inside track to the top of the league, and two wins will put them into the World Championship. That’s easier said than done though. If they lose either series Reciprocity and Vitality could leapfrog them. If they lose in five games against Reciprocity and Vitality go the distance in both of their series, we could have three 5-2 teams, with Mouz on top.

Reciprocity basically need to sweep Mouz to win the league, but a few wins from TSM and Dignitas against Vitality should land them in second place. They’ve all but sealed a top-four spot, but their seeding will likely be determined by Vitality’s performance.

Vitality’s plus three-game differential makes their 3-2 record very enticing. They could end up first if Mouz or Reciprocity falter, but TSM and Dignitas will not be walkthroughs. They’re two games behind Mouz, so they need to make those up, but none of that will matter if Mouz win out. Vitality will most likely finish in the top three though. RLCS Week 5

There’s a pretty good chance Veloce Esports end up second in EU, but they need to beat Mouz to do it. A sweep keeps them in the running for first, but their seeding will, like Reciprocity, depend heavily on Mouz and Vitality perform. Reciprocity and Veloce will be cheering for each other, and for TSM and Dignitas. They need each other to do well to claim top two.

Team SoloMid have an outside chance of finishing top two, but it’s a small chance. They need to be Dignitas and Vitality without dropping more than two games. They’ll need help from Veloce and Reciprocity against Mouz and for Dignitas to challenge Vitality again. That’s a lot of help, so they’ll most likely finish around the middle of the table. Two series wins lands them in the top four no matter what.

Dignitas are also in a tough spot. Their negative four-game differential could send them into the relegation zone, especially if FC Barcelona beat Complexity. They do control their own destiny though, but they have some heavy lifting to do against TSM and Vitality. If they drop a series, FCB might pass them because of their goal differential.

Barcelona are plus one going into Week 5, and their sweeps vs TSM and Vitality from earlier this season might preserve their time in the premier division. If either series gets away from They’ve been in seventh for most of the season, but one series win will save them. If they lose to Complexity, they will finish seventh.

Complexity will finish eighth regardless of their results on Sunday.

RLCS Week 5 League Play begins Saturday, Nov. 2 at 3 p.m. ET. EU kick off Sunday, Nov. 3 at 1 p.m. ET.


Featured image courtesy of Stephanie ”Vexanie” Lindgren for DreamHack.

Follow me on Twitter: @connorssanders.

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