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Remembering Rizzo: A Rocket League Legend's Pro Career Comes To An End

Zeebodesigns

Written by 

Elliot Gray

Posted 

14th Jul 2021 17:27

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We’ve known it was happening for a long time, but parting is such sweet sorrow. Back in March, G2’s ‘Rizzo’ announced he was retiring from competitive Rocket League.

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A star since the birth of car-football esports, Rizzo had been on the scene since 2015. Having spent the last four years of his career with G2, Rizzo was not only an exceptionally talented player, but also a rare example of continuity in top-level esports.

So as this RLCS mainstay says goodbye to the scene, and officially leaves G2 for a career in content creation, we thought we’d take a look back at the career of one of the most decorated Rocket League players

In the history of the pro-rocket-powered car soccer scene, while Rizzo began his career back in 2015 as a spritely fresh-faced 18-year-old, 2017 saw him truly arrive as a top player on the scene. Joining G2 Esports on the same day as long-standing partner ‘JKnaps’, the duo set about taking the NA RLCS scene by storm.

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Their first couple of seasons were beset by setbacks, disappointments and exhilarating highs. It also included falling at the final hurdle and failing to reach Worlds in Season 3, and a Cinderella run to reach not only the World Champs in Season 4, but also secure an unlikely and ridiculously impressive top-four finish. By the time the NA Championships rolled around in Season 5, only two teams were ever in contention.

The imperious NRG stood in Rizzo and G2’s way in the final, and their shot at RLCS glory. A back and forth series took the match to a deciding game 7, and once again G2 looked set to be undone at the last minute. With the game tied, NRG piled on the pressure, with Rizzo leading a commanding defensive display.

Just seven seconds on the clock, the ball breaks away, and G2 are on the counter-attack. Who else could the ball fall to but Rizzo? And with a simple tap in, the NA RLCS crown was theirs. Other successes would follow, with Rizzo providing the foundations of an incredibly good G2 side. His exceptional reading of the game and defensive prowess allowed his partner in crime, JKnaps, and the young upstart Chicago to shine as the seasons went on.

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Perhaps the only blip on Rizzo’s record as one of Rocket League’s greats, is that he never won a Worlds during his time as a professional player. Lots of players, much higher rated than Rizzo, can say the same, but the G2 man came within touching distance back in RLCS Season 7. G2 Esports were a force to be reckoned with that season, coming second in League Play and beating Renault Vitality, PSG, and Rogue on their way to the World Championship final.

They’d already beaten the Europeans in the groups stages, so confidence was high in the G2 camp. The Rizzo/JKnaps partnership had hit its peak at just the right time, but it wasn’t to be - Vitality came out swinging taking an early 3-0 series lead, though every game bar one was a one-goal game. Despite G2 taking game 4 in their quest for an unlikely reverse sweep, it was the Europeans who took the trophy home at the end of the night.

But this wasn’t quite the end of the story for Rizzo and G2. Season 8 was a write-off, but Season 9 saw a team reborn and out for blood. Losing just 13 games in their League Play matches, the Samurai secured a top-two finish, the enduring figure of Rizzo securing the Regional Championship MVP award. G2 destroyed all competition at the NA Championships, including old enemies NRG and the dominating Spacestation Gaming in the final 4-0 to bag yet another title.

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RLCS X may have ended a little disappointingly for G2, but Rizzo was already on his way. He has nothing left to prove, and with more than $200,000 to his name in winnings, no one can blame the now-former pro for hanging up his pro controller and settling into a happy retirement as a Rocket League content creator.

His legacy at G2 secure, Rizzo’s place will go to another young upstart, looking to make his name - but don’t expect him to be out of the game for too long. He’s part of the RLCS furniture, and we’re going to miss him.

 

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AYYJAYY On Achieving Childhood Dreams And Ambitions For WePlay Inivitational

ZeeboDesigns

Written by 

Jack Marsh

Posted 

16th Sep 2021 16:47

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