We spoke to coach RamS about what’s changed in just one off-season.

19:30, 14 Sep 2020

Just a few months ago, Veloce Esports was a (perhaps infamously) team known for their counterattacking playstyle, punishing teams for over-aggressing with fast transition plays.

However, since leaving the British organisation, and picking up Archie ‘archie’ Pickthall in place of Sandro ‘Freakii’ Holzwarth, Top Blokes have been rising up through the European ranks in the RLCS. Currently sitting at second in the Regional rankings, and fourth in The Grid, it’s been a dramatic turnaround for the team. So then, what changed?

Last season the team was (in my opinion) the best defensive team in RLCS.

- Reece ‘RamS’ Mullins

Out with the old, in with the archie

According to Top Blokes coach Reece ‘RamS’ Mullins (who replaced now-Alpine coach Miztik when the change was made), “the obvious answer is we made a roster move, Freakii out and Archie in.” It’s undeniable how much of an impact the English rookie has made. Of the teams that reached the playoffs of the first European Regional, he finished with the highest score and shots per game totals, as well as the fourth-highest goals per game tally. Archie’s incredible speed and mechanical prowess “allows for the team to be a lot more balanced and generate a lot of offence, and at times create a goal out of nothing.”

RamS added that “Last season the team was (in my opinion) the best defensive team in RLCS, and also considered at times boring.” By introducing this new ability to create chances out of seemingly nothing, “archie added a whole new level for us and really increased our ceiling.”

Pass, pass, pass

The other significant difference between Veloce and Top Blokes is the increasing amount of infield passing plays. This new dimension coming about at the same time as RamS joining the team is no coincidence. “One of my main philosophies as a coach is to be able to pass between teammates with ease.” It doesn’t take much watching to see the fruits of their labour, as Top Blokes are able to pile on pressure simply through the sheer number of options that each player has. “It’s something I was working hard on with before I joined [Top Blokes],” the former Triple Trouble coach continued.

One major drawback of a pass-heavy playstyle is the risk of a leaky defence. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if the new lineup was considered one of the top defensive lineups in Europe? Absolutely perfect! “Coming into this Top Blokes team with an already great defensive team, and trying to encourage a more positive, passing style of play worked surprisingly easy, and really allowed the team and the players to develop into a more dangerous team.” Veloce’s gameplay often revolved around playing a solid defence until the opposition made a mistake. That’s now a thing of the past as, “instead of waiting for a mistake from the opponent, we are able to create and substation pressure.”

Although it definitely helped, Veloce’s defensive style wasn’t all that helped, with Kassio and FlamE both having previously been on pass-heavy sides in the form of Triple Trouble and Team Secret. Such a dramatic turnaround in just a couple of months, yet according to the team’s coach, “it wasn’t a hard adjustment to make.”

In just a couple of months, a Veloce Esports side that struggled to shake off the tag of the most boring team in the European RLCS has completely turned things around. With a Grid win, a Regional grand final appearance, and plenty of other impressive results along the way, Top Blokes have redefined themselves as one of Europe’s most exciting teams to watch. With so much Rocket League yet to be played this season, it’s only a matter of time before another team goes through a similar transformation. In the meantime, stay tuned to GGRecon for more RLCS X content.

Image via Zeebo

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