Everything you need to know about the Rocket League Championship Series NA Playoffs
Whew, what a season, ten teams entered, and six contested for the title of North American Champion, as the largest regional championship in Rocket League history ensued. If you missed the action, we here at GGRecon have got you covered for a recap of all the happenings from this past weekend’s action.
Upper Quarter-Final - NRG Esports vs Susquehanna Soniqs
Back in league play, this was a very closely contested series to open the season, as the Soniqs came out gun hung and forced the then very recent world champions to five games. That world champion NRG would take to the field and smoke the Soniqs 4-0. The series score isn’t even representative of how huge a blowout this was: 4-1, 4-0, 4-1, 3-1. It was a brutal match. The synergy of GarrettG & Jstn was on full display, pinging passes back and forth amongst each other, setting each other with demos & bumps. If the Soniqs weren’t buried enough already with NA MVP Shock nowhere to be seen, Jstn’s dazzling solo efforts did it to them, as NRG swept Susquehanna 4-0 and advanced to the top four.
Lower Round 1 - Cloud9 vs Ghost Gaming
The trio of SquishyMuffinz, Gimmick & Torment were all on Cloud Nine heading into the playoffs, with a 12-2 game record to close out the league play season, including a sweep over Ghost in the penultimate week. For Ghost to slow down their momentum, they would have to pummel them with bombs, and they did, with an Atomic bomb no less. Atomic went nuclear in a commanding display of skill and mechanics, scoring the goal of the season with a phenomenal flip reset dunk in which like many of his other goals, Cloud 9 had no response to. However he wasn’t alone as Allushin had a great performance in his own right. With both A stars on form, it was too much for an honestly not bad C9 to handle, and though they got one game on the board, Ghost sent them packing in 6th place with a 7-1 victory in the fifth game as Ghost defeated Cloud9 4-1.
Lower Quarter-Final - Susquehanna Soniqs vs Ghost Gaming
So with Ghost looking like stars, and the Soniqs slumping, it was not a huge surprise to see Ghost finally break the top four of NA with a sweep of their own, sending the Soniqs out 0-8 on the day (and making Satthew 0-16 in the regional championship). There weren’t as many goals as the Cloud match, the Soniqs forced a couple of one-goal games, but the trio of Satthew, Shock & Dappur just have had a horrible dip in form in the past three weeks, losing eleven games in a row in RLCS, their last game win coming vs now demoted Flight. If an on fire Atomic, Allushin & mist was a tough task to topple, some unfortunate side-flips and own goals did the Soniqs no favors as well, an unfortunate end to a season where 5th place still shattered many’s expectations, but Ghost was elated as they advanced to the semi-finals vs Spacestation Gaming.
Semi-Final #1 - G2 Esports vs NRG Esports
A classic rivalry resumed as G2 faced NRG for the right to be in the NA finals, and NRG started the series like they were still playing the Soniqs. Garrett & Jstn continued to be a dynamic duo, splitting open the G2 defence with passes in the first game, and more solo efforts in the second game. The third game saw G2’s pressure intensify and after many many shots, NRG finally broke and the floodgates opened as they halved NRG’s lead with four goals in game three. It may have taken until game four, but Rizzo stepped up in a big way. His disruptive presence was increased and he was even getting involved in the attack, scoring a brace to tie up the series. NRG seemingly stopped G2’s momentum in the 5th game, quickly going up two goals, however, Rizzo & Chicago would tie up proceedings. A very nervy game went to a long overtime, with G2 getting so many chances as NRG would somehow survive every time, truly miraculous defence. Eventually, after two demos and 4 minutes, a Jknaps infield pass found Chicago as G2 advanced to match point. And G2 very nearly closed it out in six, a rare Turbo whiff let G2 go ahead, but NRG wasn’t going to go down without a fight, after a double-tap from Rizzo, Turbo, Garrett & Jstn would all get involved to force a decisive 7th game. And it was in this game seven that G2 would finally defeat NRG. In a role reversal, Chicago would demolish the last man to set up Rizzo, and one poor touch from Garrett would give Jknaps the dagger that sealed the series as G2 beat NRG 4-3 to advance to the regional finals.
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Semi-Final #2 - Spacestation Gaming vs Ghost Gaming
League table-toppers Spacestation gaming took to the field to play against the very in form Ghost Gaming, and despite the scoreline, it was a series of fine margins. The first game only ended after Atomic barely pushed forward, giving AxB an opening to punish. An Allushin brace in game two would be for nought as a Ghost over-commit forced an overtime, and then Arsenal would bump the Ghost defence to give Sypical an easy goal for the 2nd game. By the third game, Ghost’s offence had dried up and they would get a streak of four uncontested goals as they took game three and a lead into game four. This should have been a 4-0 sweep, if it weren’t Sypical locking cars with a Ghost defender, forcing a 2v2. With Sypical being renowned for achieving rank one on the 2s ranked, leaderboard, Ghost would capitalize to take the fourth game. That would be for nothing as SSG quickly got three early goals in the fifth game to seal the series 4-1.
Grand Finals - G2 Esports vs Spacestation Gaming
The grand finals were upon us, the two top sides from league play in an NA regional finals for the first time in two years. It was also that final that G2 last won a regional championship, and they were damn determined to not let this opportunity slip. In a game of fine margins, it took a double demo and the slightest mistouch from AxB to give G2 the first game. The second game was extremely nervy, both sides very passive for the big occasion, and this favoured G2 as they were at no risk of conceding if only a single player on each side was being aggressive. It took until the final thirty seconds, but with a little bit of individual magic from Jknaps, a flip reset shot found itself in the SSG net, and G2 were up 2-0. And while G2 kept rolling and rolling, SSG kept falling and faltering, their mistakes upped to an abnormal level for the then 9-1 roster on the season, and G2 wasn’t letting them off easy. Rizzo would get a double-tap and a dazzling solo dribble while arguable best player in NA Sypical was making pathetic attempts at even hitting the ball. And once Jknaps opened the scoring in game four with a simple cross-field boomer, the series was as good as over. Spacestation, on the brink of ushering in a new era had completely collapsed, G2 had punished hard, and finally became the best team in North America, as they swept SSG 4-0 to become the RLCS Season Nine North American regional champions.
Images via Zeebo Designs