How do you replace one of Rocket League’s most admired legends?
With one of Rocket League’s most decorated legends.
Jayson “Fireburner” Nunez’s melancholy but understandable retirement left a large hole in the squad. Pierre “Turbopolsa” Silfver has more than enough talent to fill it.
So a season after the most dominant League Play in Rocket League history, NRG may be even better? That’s a scary proposition, and it’s one North America needs to get ready for.
This is Best Case/Worst Case, a Game Haus preview series profiling each Rocket League Championship Series team. With the season just days away, now is the perfect time to project each team’s ceiling and floor looking ahead to Season 8.
Season 7 Results: 1st place in NA (7-0, 21-6). Swept Cloud9 in Regional Championship. Won Group A at World Championship. Lost to Renault Vitality in the quarterfinal.
Off-season Movement: Added Turbopolsa (0.69 GPG, 0.23 APG, 1.58 SAPG) in place of Fireburner (0.78 GPG, 0.81 APG, 1.74 SAPG).
Off-season Performance: 1st DreamHack: Valencia Closed Qualifier, 5-8th DreamHack: Dallas, 2nd place DreamHack: Valencia, 1st Rocket League Summit, 3-4th DreamHack: Montreal.
Team Stats: 2.81 GPG (1st), 2.30 APG (1st), 5.11 SAPG (1st), 1.19 GAPG (1st)
Team MVP: Turbopolsa.
Realistic Team Goal: Win the World Championship.
Background and Team History:
NRG only lost ONE more game (6) than Splyce won (5) in Season 7. There hasn’t really been a moment to talk about how overmatched Splyce were last season. Five games? In seven series? Rocket League is so hard.
Ultimately NRG’s complete and utter obliteration of every Season 7 team except for Renault Vitality was their downfall. If they had somehow dropped the five game series against INTZ, they would have finished second in Group B and fell in G2’s place.
Triple Trouble and Rogue posed no challenge to NRG. Justin “JSTN” Morales and Garrett “GarrettG” Gordon traded the belt for “Most Ridiculous Offensive Player in the World” with each transition pass.
NRG scored an outrageous 2.81 GPG during League Play last season. That’s the best offensive season in NA’s seven season history. It was second only to Season 6 Dignitas who rode the two leading scores in the region to the tune of 2.90 GPG. It was Alexandre “Kaydop” Courant and Turbopolsa and JSTN and GarrettG for NRG. Now three of those four play on the same team.
Turbopolsa struggled in Season 7. Things just weren’t clicking and he finished dead last in EU in APG. He still had a 30.51% shooting percentage, just three ticks behind Fireburner, who had a 33.33% rate.
The Swede finished third to last in EU with just 59 shots that led to 19 goals. Fireburner converted 21 of 63 shots. Their scoring stats are nearly identical, and Turbo played in an offense 40% less effective than NRG’s was in Season 7. Everything is shaping up for him to have an incredible season.
That sentiment rings true with the team as a whole. They already won Rocket League Summit 1, looked very impressive in a loss at DreamHack: Montreal and are bringing one of the three best players of all time on board. What could possibly go wrong?
Best Case Scenario:
Could this be the first team to score 3.00 GPG in League Play? If Turbo is actually an upgrade over Fireburner, as has been argued on this very website, then NRG are destined for a World Championship.
Who stands in their way when they’re at their best? When JSTN is a menace on land and in the air and GarrettG is playing fake flip resets into perfect passes to a late arriving Turbopolsa run, they’d be the favorites against any one. They’re nuts.
GarrettG could finally shake the “best player to never win a World Championship” tag. Turbopolsa could pass his frenemy Kaydop in the trophy case. JSTN could hang his hat on something other than an epic goal to force overtime.
This is a storyline rich team who will be easy to root for in Season 7. These are three beloved community figures who formed a superteam via a never before seen EU to NA cross region transfer. Add some croutons in there and you’re looking at the perfect recipe for a World Championship Caesar salad.
Reinvigorated Turbopolsa is by far the best Turbopolsa. Nothing was easy for Dignitas in Season 7. Everyone thought they’d be fine without the best Rocket League player in the world, then everyone was surprised when they couldn’t score a goal to save their lives.
Turbo will be locked in this season. If JSTN and GarrettG can stay focused during League Play and strike fear into the world they’ll cruise to a World Championship.
Season 8 NRG quietly has a chance to go down as the best Rocket League team of all time. The talent, experience and swagger is all here. NRG could lay waste to the Rocket League world.
Worst Case Scenario:
No one can tease them about choking at LAN anymore, but perhaps winning one that isn’t in front of a live audience hasn’t fully cleared out the curse. Maybe they’re halfway healed or something.
They may be a few strands of hair ahead of Victor “Fairy Peak!” Locquet and Renault Vitality in terms of the best collection of talent regardless of form. In other words if each series was to 99 games or some other greater sample size unit, then NRG would probably beat everyone in the world.
But there aren’t 99 game series. They’re five and sometimes seven chances to prove yourself. NRG have learned the hard way that sometimes you fall short, even when you play well. They had G2 on the ropes 3-1 at DreamHack: Montreal, but then they couldn’t buy a bucket.
The ever swinging pendulum of Rocket League form affects every single player. Everyone has swoons to go along with the boons, and NRG still haven’t won in front of a live audience yet. They’ve all been through the storm, but only Turbopolsa has ever emerged from the crowd a champion.
Even for all their confidence, they still have something major to prove. The crown of best team to not win a World Championship needs to be passed on to someone else, but GarrettG may have to carry it for even longer.
It’s amazing that GarrettG and Turbo have been doing it since Season 1. The 40 hours weeks, the endless hours of free play and scrimmages has to weigh on players who started so young. Then to not have earned the sweet reward of winning must be devastating. Well, as devastating as being an 18 year-old esports athlete can feel.
If NRG show any signs of weakness and get caught in a tough matchup, they could fall in the quarterfinal again. Facing Vitality was their nightmare scenario, but it happened and they weren’t able to push past it. Will it happen to them again? How will they react? For Fireburner it was enough to hang up the sticks. How will it affect GarrettG and JSTN?
NRG aren’t going to struggle this season, but they could fall short, and anything less than a World Championship will be heartbreaking. The only thing worse would be losing in the Grand Final on a zero second goal or something like that.
They were the only top tier team to make a roster move in the offseason. It came out of necessity, but Reciprocity, G2, Vitality and Cloud9 have a leg up on them in terms of chemsitry.
TL;DR: NRG could go down as one of the best Rocket League teams in history, but getting over the World Championship hump still hangs over the team. Can Turbopolsa lead them over the hill?
Featured image courtesy of Stephanie “Vexanie” Lindgren for DreamHack.
Follow me on Twitter: @connorssanders.
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