Championship Series: Ghost upsets NRG, Method upsets FlipSid3 and Gale Force

The second week of Rocket League Championship Series League Play wrapped up over the weekend, with the second week of action proving to be just as exciting as the first.

Last week, Method and Frontline each pulled off upsets to start off their seasons undefeated, with Frontline beating both Gale Force Esports and Mock-it Esports, and Method sweeping Team EnVyUs (last season’s world champions).

The North American region didn’t quite have the upsets, but there was dominant play from the teams that were expected to be dominant, and every team that was favored by Elo won their series. The second week didn’t quite follow the same pattern, as Ghost Gaming pulled off a massive upset over NRG Esports, and Rogue reverse-swept FlyQuest.

The second week of League Play was definitely exciting, and if you missed it, don’t worry; here’s our breakdown of the action.

North America

Rogue (3) vs. FlyQuest (2)

As mentioned, Rogue pulled off an impressive reverse-sweep over FlyQuest to kick off the weekend, improving to 2-1 in league play, and forcing FlyQuest to start with an 0-1 record.

This series really was a tale of two series, as FlyQuest held Rogue to just one goal in the first two games before Rogue exploded with 13 goals in the final three games. Sizz was particularly great for Rogue, finishing the series with seven goals and four assists.

Ghost Gaming (3) vs. NRG Esports (1)

The North American region has been pretty predictable up to this point in time, so Ghost’s 3-1 victory over the three-time North American Champions was the first major upset of the season. Ghost definitely earned the victory, outshooting NRG 35-31. Considering that NRG’s bread and butter last season was pinning their opponents in the defensive end and piling shot after shot on target until the defensive rotations broke, this kind of performance from Ghost shows that they didn’t allow NRG to dominate them – they controlled play, generated their own scoring chances, and earned every bit of this victory over NRG. How they perform going forward will certainly be something to watch.

On the topic of NRG, I’d like to point out that this is yet another match where the typically dominant possession team struggled from a possession standpoint. Here’s what we had to say after their week one performance:

Last season, they outshot North American opponents by 3.94 shots per game on average, and this season, they haven’t come close to matching that total – they averaged 0.33 shots more than Renegades, and actually averaged a -1.25 shot differential against Emotion.

Their poor performances carried over into this week, and, unfortunately, it cost them a series. They were able to bounce back against Rogue, however, and looked more like the NRG we saw dominate North America in Season 3.

Cloud 9 (3) vs. Allegiance (0)

Cloud 9 may have struggled with their shooting accuracy last week, but none of those issues seemed to plague them this week. They finished their series against Allegiance with 13 goals on 37 shots, looking like one of the top teams in North America in the process.

Allegiance couldn’t really get anything going against Cloud 9, managing to tally just 26 shots over the course of the series. Cloud 9 truly was the better team, and it showed.

NRG Esports (3) vs. Rogue (1)

After a rough outing against Ghost Gaming, NRG bounced back with a strong performance against Rogue, dominating their opponents in terms of shots (37-20) and picking up an easy 3-1 victory in the series. Though it’s not a perfect start, NRG is in the upper half of the standings with a 3-1 record, and still have a great shot at finishing in the top two.

Rogue, on the other hand, falls to 2-2, and with matchups against Ghost Gaming, G2 Esports, and Renegades remaining on the schedule, they’ll have to battle to clinch a top-six finish and a spot in the regional playoffs.

Cloud 9 (3) vs. FlyQuest (0)

This series could accurately be described as the Gimmick show, as the RLCS rookie almost single-handedly carried Cloud 9 to victory. He was involved in all nine of Cloud 9’s goals, scoring six and assisting on three, and finished with 12 shots in just three games.

Headed into the season, Cloud 9 was the best team in North America, according to Elo. They’ve done nothing to dissuade that notion so far, though this week’s matchup against G2 Esports will be huge in determining the final standings.

More was expected out of FlyQuest, though, and they’ll certainly have to improve moving forward; they’re already behind the eight-ball, losing their first two series of the season.

Europe

Method (3) vs. FlipSid3 Tactics (2)

Method had an incredible weekend, starting with their reverse sweep of FlipSid3 Tactics. The team definitely started off on the wrong foot, but started to find their offense, and barely snuck past FlipSid3 in game five to pick up the victory.

The series was incredibly close, with both game three and game five being decided in the dying seconds of the match.

On a lighter note, this series was simply incredible – if you didn’t get the chance to watch it live, I highly recommend sitting down and taking the time to watch it.

Gale Force Esports (3) vs. exceL Esports (1)

exceL Esports started out the series strong, with a solid 4-3 win over Gale Force, but then faltered under the blistering offensive attack from Gale Force, and ended up losing the series. The immense number of shots Gale Force was able to pile onto the exceL goal is so impressive, as they averaged a ridiculous 10.75 shots per game (compared to exceL’s 6.5 per game average).

Gale Force was definitely the better team here, and they improved to 2-1 with the victory, while exceL fell to 0-1.

Team EnVyUs (3) vs. Team Secret (0)

The skill of the individual players on EnVyUs is much greater than the skill of the individual players on Team Secret, and it showed during this series. The fact that gReazymeister finished with zero saves, but still was second in average score per game really tells the story of how this series went.

With the win, EnVyUs improved to 1-1, while Team Secret fell to 0-3.

Method (3) vs. Gale Force Esports (2)

 

Method shocked everyone with their second reverse sweep of the day, beating Gale Force in the most dramatic way possible and securing a 4-0 start to their season (with three of the victories coming against EnVyUs, FlipSid3, and Gale Force).

Gale Force, on the other hand, fell to 2-2, as losses to Frontline and Method will most likely keep them from finishing league play atop the standings. Their loss to Method really can be attributed to a lack of shooting accuracy – they fired 56 shots on net, scored 11 goals, and had 33 shots saved, meaning that 12 of their “shots” weren’t actually on target, but were still close enough to the goal that the players were given credit for a shot. If they had been more accurate shooting, it’s likely that they would have avoided the reverse sweep, and taken down Method to improve to 3-1.

Also, this happened.

Sometimes it’s just not your day.

FlipSid3 Tactics (3) vs. Team EnVyUs (1)

In the final series of the day, FlipSid3 tactics simply outplayed Team EnVyUs, with miztik looking particularly dominant after a shaky performance against Method. The final goal tally was 12-5, as FlipSid3 simply proved to be too much offensively for EnVyUs to handle.

FlipSid3 finished the week with a 1-1 record, a solid start for a team looking to return to championship form. EnVyUs, however, is struggling, with a 1-2 record (and their only win coming against Team Secret). They’ll have to improve if they want to finish in the top half of the standings.