RLCS World Championships: Day Two Round-Up
And then there were six... Rocket League fans could not have asked for a more competitive and shocking series of games. Nearly every series was neck and neck, but small mistakes made all the difference. At the end of the day four teams were sent home.
If you haven’t had a chance to catch up, check out the stream here.
Game 1: Ghost (#2 NA) vs. Gale Force (#1 EU)
Ghost was a fitting name for the performance they put up against Gale Force — they didn’t show up on offense. Unfortunately for Ghost, they faced the most dominant and quickest team in the tournament. Throughout the series, GF dictated the pace by maintaining ball control and starving Ghost of midfield boost. Ghost was forced to play a low-boost defense, struggling to launch the ball away from their half and maintain any sort of significant offensive effort for more than 30 seconds.
During offense, Ghost continually tried redirecting from the side walls to the midfield, which GFE either intercepted or forced favorable 50/50’s. But to Ghost’s credit, the losses could have been more devastating. Ghost still allowed eight goals from GFE, while only managing to score two. All in all, Ghost’s weakness was their pace. Because they were too slow and passive and gave GFE too much space to work with. They almost never reached the ball first which allowed GFE to completely control the game.
That lack of pressure from Ghost played in GFE’s favor, allowing more quick midfield plays and some outright disrespectful back and forth passing. Torment was the MVP of that series, earning four goals, two assists, nine saves and 15 shots. GFE will play Method tomorrow and Ghost will have another chance at redemption with a match against Cloud9.
Game 1: 2-1 GFE
Game 2: 4-0 GFE
Game 3: 2-1 GFE
Game 2: PSG (#4 EU) vs. Method (#2 EU)
Method found themselves in another tight series against a relentless PSG team. Both teams came off series decided by one goal and carried that intensity with them. These games went by deceptively quickly because of the quick, back and forth pace and near-perfect play from each squad. Neither showed signs of letting up and the few goals only came from simple mistakes.
PSG dominated aerial play and reached the ball first, but those first touches were sometimes inaccurate or too powerful. When PSG broke away from passive play and became overaggressive, it often resulted in giving up possession and disrupting any offensive rhythm they had. PSG might have been quicker on offense, but Method shut down most of their possessions. PSG’s defense was also flawed, having instances of poor mechanics, weak clears and rotational issues which led to easy goals that could have been avoided. Most goals scored by PSG were not outplays but misreads by Method. In each game Method won, PSG was scoreless; PSG had to fight for their two victories, which were decided by one goal.
Method’s fast but patient strategy worked for them. As the series went on they slowly dissected PSG’s defensive strategy, grinding away their nerves with pressure and scoring in the smallest of windows when a defender was slightly out of position.The series probably should have been over in four games if Method was more consistent and capitalized on open nets. But they did most things right by making use of the midfield, passing often and maintaining aggressive positioning.
Method will test their patient and decisive playstyle against GFE in the winner’s final tomorrow while PSG must face the fan favorite G2 squad.
Game 1: 1-0 PSG
Game 2: 2-0 Method
Game 3: 1-0 Method
Game 4: 3-2 PSG
Game 5: 3-0 Method
Game 3: Chiefs (#1 OCE) vs. NRG (#3 NA)
I don’t think anybody saw this coming. The Chiefs proved the casters wrong in this series and made a complete 180 from the team they were yesterday in their series against G2. Again, as most games in this tournament have shown, getting the first (and accurate) touch on the ball will put you at an incredible advantage. By being quicker, the Chiefs consistently obtained possession, shot from beyond the box or at the backboard, drawing an NRG defender or two out of goal, forcing a favorable 50/50 and turning that into a goal.
NRG also capitalized on defensive mistakes but often forced opportunities through bumping. But it seemed as though too much of the weight was on Fireburner’s shoulders. Each team had their fair share of crazy goals, but those missed clears after shots hit the crossbar were the deciding factor in NRG’s lost. I don’t want to overanalyze the series because if you watch any of these games, definitely watch this one.
NRG became the first team to be eliminated from the tournament, while the Chiefs moved on to Cloud9.
Game 1: 3-2 Chiefs
Game 2: 2-1 NRG
Game 3: 4-1 Chiefs
Game 4: 4-0 NRG
Game 5: 4-0 Chiefs
Game 4: Mock-It (#3 EU) vs. Pale Horse (#2 OCE)
Pale Horse made Mock-It look like Rocket League gods in this series. A missed touch by PH gave Mock-It the early lead and it stayed that way for most of the time. PH once again showed signs of having nerves from playing on such a large state against a team that has been there before. That timidness was projected in their gameplay, mechanics and lack of urgency to get to the ball.
Mock-It never took their foot off the gas pedal, reading almost everything PH threw at them and turning the smallest mistakes into counter attacks. PH had some confidence starting off the series in game one, but one Mock-It caught up to them they soon retreated back into a hesitant offensive and defensive record. If PH had at least remained consistent with rotations it could have been a different game.
Game 1: 5-2 Mock-It
Game 2: 6-1 Mock-It
Game 3: 5-1 Mock-It
Game 5: Cloud9 (#1 NA) vs. Chiefs (#1 OCE)
After that shocking victory over NRG, it seemed like the sky was the limit for the Chiefs. But they couldn’t reach the caliber of play, at least not as high at Cloud9 resided most of the match. The Chiefs won the first match by making use of the backboard and drawing defenders out, but it didn’t work all series. After that loss, Cloud9 adjusted their defense and played with a consistency the Chiefs could not match.
What lost these games for the Chiefs was simply missed opportunities. They blew too many chances when they had clear shots, open lanes for passes and they were just inaccurate at the worst possible times. Nonetheless, it was an incredible run for them. I expect them to fare well in the OCE region next year.
Game 1: 3-1 Chiefts
Game 2: 3-2 Cloud9
Game 3: 4-2 Cloud9
Game 4: Cloud9
Game 6: G2 (#4 NA) vs. Mock-It (#3 EU)
Again, the best was saved for last. G2 needed a chance at redemption and they got it, pulling off an upset against what on paper was a stronger Mock-It squad. Their first game of the tournament did not set high hopes for them since they were heavily carried by Jknapps. But they flipped the script, involved all players in the offense, bumped whenever they could, stole boost and kept Mock-It on their toes, trapped in their own half. Mock-It had things down to a tee, but their defense was lacking.
There were defensive mistakes on both sides, mostly two players committing to a ball and poor clears. But G2’s quickness to transition from defense to offense and turning the smallest misplay into counter attacks that led to quick goals. Those quick goals came proved to be crucial, as some games were decided within the final seconds. G2 happened to be better this time around, had some luck on their side and played more consistently. If G2 can keep up this style of quick play it could mean trouble for teams ahead.
Game 1: 3-0 G2
Game 2: 1-0 Mock-It
Game 3: 3-2 G2
Game 4: 3-1 Mock-IT
Game 5: 4-2 G2
Some predictions for Championship Sunday:
Gale Force > Method
Cloud 9 > Ghost
G2 > PSG
G2 > Cloud9
Method > G2
Method > Gale Force
A few highlights: