Including teams such as TSM and FC Barcelona...
The ninth season of the Rocket League Championship Series has come and gone, and despite no international finals, many of our pres-season questions have been answered, in particular, the performance of the new rosters. In this 2 part series, we'll evaluate all the new rosters from RLCS S9, their new players and the impacts, both good and bad they had on their team. First up, the three European sides who added a new third.
TSM - remkoe, Metsanauris, Mognus
Anything about TSM’s Rocket League endeavour is hard to talk about positively, and this season has been no exception, although its hardly a surprise. With the literal carry of their offence Alpha54 departing for Renault Vitality, and a short off-season to take time to find an adequate replacement, Mognus was brought in, a skilled player but perhaps more to reunite him with his duo in Metsanauris. The issue this created is Mognus isn’t typically leading the offence on any side he plays for. And 84% goal participation is not something remkoe was ever going to make up on his own. Therefore the responsibility of goals falls on the entire three-man roster, and no one has delivered. The main man in question is Mognus, who’s put up the league lowest 0.26 goals per game, tied with teammate Metsanauris. Lowest in shots per game and shooting percentage as well, it was inevitable TSM would barely avoid auto demotion to the RLRS.
However, perhaps this is down to the system TSM plays. Unlike a 1-2 rotation were one player covers the goal, the other two agress up the pitch, like the famous Method/Complexity roster from 2017/2018, Metsanruis & Mognus are the duos of a 2-1 rotation, where they both spend a lot of time in the back have (54% in the defensive third) and ping the ball upfield for their striker to score. This worked back then when al0t had peak synergy with the duo, but remkoe isn’t who you want as your main goalscorer in 2020. Therefore perhaps Mognus & remkoe should swap roles, remkoe is a capable anchor and Mognus has had moments of magic this season., otherwise even if not fully his fault, the move for Mognus might have ended TSM’s run in Rocket League.
FC Barcelona - Deevo, Ronaky, Flakes
On paper, Flakes had a very tough task on hand, replacing the EU MVP in Bluey, who’s departure had absolutely nothing to do with a lack of talent. Despite this, Flakes has slotted into the FCB system with no issue. Car changing shenanigans aside, when FCB is at their best is when all three FCB players are on the same wavelength, seeking out passes and being able to read each other. Flakes last season, while the standout for Complexity, was quite selfish in how he played, often brute-forcing solo plays, especially out of defence with little trust in his teammates. However external factors aside, Ronaky & Deevo are two very solid consistent performers. Give Ronaky a decent pass he will score, while Deevo will cover your mistakes as the last man on defence.
On the scoreboard, Flakes replacing Bluey has been a lateral move, but his high percentage of time spent behind the ball lends itself well compared to Bluey who would often cut rotation to make a dazzling solo play. And with his teammates covering his bases, Flakes does have an adequate amount of freedom to go solo, and he absolutely can in the RLCS no questions asked. It is ultimately a lateral move, however, as when things go bad they tend to collapse, and Flakes can revert back to his solo orientated ways as his default, struggles vs all of the RLCS bottom four in March show that. Regardless, Flakes has found a good home at FCB where he’s been able to thrive as FCB placed 3rd-4th in the EU regional playoffs.
Renault Vitality - FairyPeak!, Kaydop, Alpha54
The most controversial move of the season, the decision by Vitality to release the prodigy Scrubkilla, arguably their strongest performer in favour of going full French was met with some scepticism. We all know Alpha54 is a phenomenal talent, but would he be good enough to fill a very big void. The answer is yes. Even if you want to claim a drop-off from losing the regional playoffs finals to Dignitas, the answer is still yes.here were fears he wouldn’t know what to do with an all-star duo like Fairy & Kaydop by his side, and in his first few matches, particularly vs Endpoint & Singularity, he looked lost on the pitch. But as time has gone on, he has developed into the perfect midfielder for the deep 3rd man FairyPeak, and the GOAT level striker Kaydop. Including playoffs, he led in assists per game for Vitality. He still spends a lot of time behind the ball, 77% in fact, 3rd highest in the league, as he is still fond of the occasional solo play, but we all know he’s extremely capable of those.
While it may not show up on the scoreboard, Vitality’s supposed reasoning for going full French was communication, and compared to Vitality rosters of the past, the double commits have ground to a halt. Their league play showing was perhaps the most complete Vitality yet, so much so they could literally afford to sabotage each other in their final match vs Veloce to achieve individual accolades, and still win the series. Whether this side lives up to world championship success like with Scrubkilla remains to be seen, but based on the expectation of Fairy & Kaydop, plus Alpha’s transition to no longer be the sole dependant of a team’s success, there’s no reason why they can’t, especially if Alpha continues to grow as a player, which he most certainly has in his service to set up teammates. Therefore despite replacing Scrubkilla, Alpha54 to Vitality was the best roster move for RLCS season nine.
Image via Psyonix