Welcome to Rocket Launching, a midweek RLCS column that discusses the happenings from the past week’s Rocket League action. Here are some of my favorite observations from the first week of RLCS Season 7.
Recently promoted RLRS teams looked amazing this weekend. Splyce put up a hefty fight against Cloud9 despite being swept. Later they looked dominant in a 3-1 victory of RLCS regulars Ghost Gaming. Spacestation Gaming pushed G2 to their limit in a 3-2 loss after winning the first two games. That’s a pretty impressive debut for both of the squads.
Over in EU Triple Trouble beat their former teammate Jack “Speed” Packwood-Clarke and The Bricks 3-2 to kick off the season. That was an intense five game series that ended with Andy “Kassio” Landais scoring in overtime. TT’s loss to mousesports later on in the day was the only true blemish on the RLRS’ weekend. FC Barcelona looked like the soccer club against Dignitas. Dan “Bluey” Bluett was all over the field and Yanis “Alpha54” Champenois has rookie of the year potential.
It was a great overall showing for the former Rival Series squad, which leads me conveniently into my next point.
It’s Time to Beef Up the Rival Series
This point has been made plenty of times, but boy it sure seems like there are some world class players missing out on the highest stage. There were a plethora of NA and EU top seeds that missed out on the tournament because of mismatches and a small sample size.
What are the disadvantages to including more Rival Series teams? Longer broadcasts? More work on Psyonix’s end? More talented players vying for promotion? I don’t see why Psyonix couldn’t beef up the RLRS to ten or twelve teams. Lower leagues don’t exist solely to make money, so having some broadcasts that don’t pull tons of viewers is no problem. The issue is that Psyonix isn’t capitalizing on their most valuable talent enriching resource.
There are plenty of community driven things that allow non-RLRS caliber players compete, but the best place for teams to develop and flourish is in organized leagues where they’ll play often. Maybe they can play around with ten RLCS teams, but I understand not wanting to over saturate the top league. I don’t see why teams like Team Echo Zulu, Sway eSports, Nordavind and Avocado have to sit around and wait for next season.
Maybe I’m severely overrating the quality of bubble teams. Are there really that few great players outside of RLRS? Maybe we should find out and make the RLRS larger.
So, people are just doing flip resets all the time now, and I’m here for it.
WELCOME TO NA, @DrippayRL!
WHAT. A. SHOT.
— Rocket League Esports (@RLEsports) April 6, 2019
Matthew “Drippay” Den-Kaat did this after saying at the top of the broadcast that OCE is more focused on team play than mechanics. Then in his first series in NA he pulls one of the most unconventional flippy r’s I’ve ever seen. Wow.
There were loads of attempted and successful flip resets last weekend. For awhile the flip reset was considered the highest level mechanic in the game and was reserved for only the true mechanical gods like Mariano “Squishy” Arruda. That’s no longer the case. Now everybody is trying to land all four wheels on the ball.
Austin “AyyJayy” Aebi went for a bundle of flip reset attempts in Rogue’s series against EG.
This one didn’t result in a goal, but it shows that there is a change of mindset in the viability of the mechanic. I saw Hato do a flip reset just to get better car position on a 50/50 in the RLRS play-ins. There will be plenty more where that came from AyyJayy and the rest of the RLCS.
I don’t know how many Rocket League people follow the NBA, but I noticed some similarities between the Eastern and Western conferences and NA and EU. For the uninformed, the NBA’s Eastern Conference is painfully top-heavy. There are four good to great teams and then 10 average to horrendous teams that fill out the league.
Sound familiar? The old guard might be changing, but this is reminiscent of NA’s big three. Cloud9, G2 and NRG are the Bucks, Raptors and 76ers of Rocket League. After that it’s a toss up for who will make the playoffs. There are five good but not great teams in NA that will all battle it out for the last spot, just like how there are five teams angling for playoff position in the East.
The parallels continue in EU. EU is like the West in that there a plethora of good teams, but it’s hard to distinguish the truly great ones from the Sacramento Kings. EU also has a high level of competition from top to bottom, but Dignitas aren’t the clear elite team like the Warriors in the NBA.
Al0t Back on the Backboard
Did you guys see Linus “al0t” Möllergren looking like his old self this weekend? In Mouz’s series against Triple Trouble the man was unstoppable. Many considered al0t the worst player in the RLCS last season, but he disproved that claim on Sunday.
He scored eight goals and picked up 12 saves against TT. The Swede was scoring from every angle and had a hat trick in less than a minute in game two. He topped it off with this saucy double tap.
Welcome back, al0t. We missed you. Also thanks for scoring 664 fantasy points as the lowest valued player.
Org Items on the Horizon
A few weeks ago I made a joke about org items being a sham in an early predictions piece, and wouldn’t you know it, I was wrong. Well, probably.
Psyonix announced their Esports Shop Update last week. It’s set to drop on April 16. Now, my prediction is probably wrong, but there’s still time for this update to just be flag antennas and banners. Please don’t do that to me, Psyonix. My heart can’t take it.
Barcelona FC and Spacestation in Rocket League
In other interestingly timed news, FC Barcelona and Spacestation Gaming announced they’d acquired Savage! and Bread respectively. The Barcelona move is huge. FCB only has one other competitive esport team (Pro Evolution Soccer, which is basically a publicity arrangement between Barca and Konami). This is their first real foray into the world of competitive gaming.
They’re smart investors who have teams worth of people evaluating every decision. Barcelona’s involvement bodes well for the future of the esport as a whole.
Spacestation has deep Rocket League roots and is a solid NA organization. They had an RLRS team back in Season 5 and are a good, stable org. It’s always a plus to have new orgs joining the scene.
Speed Is Cursed
The Rocket League team formerly known as Flipsid3 Tactics finally adopted a name, The Bricks. After their original idea was shot down The Bricks played their first RLCS match under their new name. I feel bad for Speed. He left Red Reserve because it was folding to join the more reliable Flipsid3 organization, then they can’t come to an agreement and leave.
Speed just can’t seem to find an org that needs him. The question needs to be asked, is Speed cursed? Does every org he touches die? Will he ever find a true home.
That’s obviously a joke. Their team name on the other hand? Pretty dumb. That’s not a joke.
I saw a Reddit post about this, but my goodness the broadcast pacing was improved. I’m a huge fan of using the preshow to please fans that want some analysis and prediction and starting the games at the beginning of the broadcast. There was also a lot less downtime between matches except for when commentator Isaac “Turtle” App pulled a Jamesbot and joined a match instead of spectating.
It’s alright Turtle. We all needed the laugh even if it came at your expense.
Brody “Liefx” Moore did a nice job as host, and Adam “Lawler” Thornton is a great desk analyst. I missed him casting but the balance and overall flow felt a lot better this weekend. Now nobody can whine about “Talk-it League.”
Allushin, Allushin, Anybody, Allushin?
Ghost really needed to replace Christopher “Zanejackey” Jacobs, but I’m not sure if Braxton “Allushin” Lagarec is the right replacement. He looked flat out bad against NRG and lost against Splyce. In game five against Splyce he crept up too far as the third man and surrendered a goal and then had a bad whiff to let in their second goal.
This move cannot come back to bite Ghost. If Allushin is somehow a step backward from Zanejackey, Ghost will be relegated. Treyven “Lethamyr” Robitaille and Michael “Memory” Moss are solid players but NA is too good to let series squirm away from you. That’s exactly what Allushin did in game five.
The move never made sense to me. It’s not like Allushin killed it with Allegiance last season. His performance on Saturday was what I thought we’d see out of al0t for Mouz. It’s early in the season, but G2 and Cloud9 are still on the schedule for Ghost and they’re already 0-2. This loss to Splyce may be the deciding factor on whether or not they participate in RLCS Season 8.
Featured image courtesy of DreamHack.
“From Our Haus to Yours”