Of all the eSports — not counting actual sports sims like Madden and FIFA — Rocket League is the one that resembles a “real” sport the most. The elevator pitch is “3v3 soccer, but with cars that have rockets strapped to them so they can fly”. The best sports comparison might be NHL overtimes, but without goalies and every player can fly like Peter Pan.
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Most multiplayer video games have a “cap” on the skill curve, meaning you can only be so good at the game, and the rest of it depends on teamwork and the meta (dominant strategy) for that season. Metas change because developers tweak the code of the game. That doesn’t happen in Rocket League — the physics engine has only ever been tweaked once, and the developers almost immediately reverted the change. This means that the game has become a sort of physics sandbox, in which players are constantly figuring out new, more efficient, ways to hit the ball and maneuver their cars both on the ground and in the air.
The result is arguably the best multiplayer experience where the same satisfying feeling applies to new players who have just scored their first aerial goal and to pros who have just scored their first flip reset air dribble goal.
Rocket League DFS Strategy
3v3 matches on small courts at very high speeds force high-level RL players to be mostly positionless. At lower levels, players can essentially only play goalie and grind their way up the ranks, but once you get close to the level pro players are that strategy becomes untenable. A high level player can take a shot, rotate back and make a save, and then make a touch pass to another player for a shot, all in a few seconds. This is not a game like LoL with strict positioning for each player.
Most games are built around the strategy of hit-rotate, hit-rotate, hit-rotate, and so on. Good teams will have quick rotations and from a high level move around the court like this:
For DFS purposes, this means that we don’t necessarily need to take specific players/positions in our captain spots — we just need to pick the correct goal scorers. DraftKings has set up teams with 4 player lineups that have 2 Captains and 2 FLEX positions. Much like soccer we’re almost certainly going to want to stack teams in the hope that we can rack up an assist and a goal on the same play. Thus far we’ve seen optimal lineups usually feature 2 man stacks with 2 one-offs from other teams. Having players from opposing teams has worked out as a build too because DK doesn’t penalize teams for allowing goals. What you’re really hoping to find with your stacks are a high scoring sweep in order to take full advantage of DraftKings’ Game Length Adjustment.
The way DK has allocated scoring for Rocket League looks pretty similar to how they score soccer: we get points for shots, goals, assists, saves, and then some extra bonuses for team clean sheets, hat tricks, etc. They’re also awarding points based on the in-game Rocket League scoring system. RL will give you points for goals, assists, saves and shots, but they’ll also award you points for touching the ball or scoring a goal in a specific way (e.g. “turtling” the ball by hitting it upside down). The player at the end of a match with the most RL points is awarded the MVP by the game, DK is rewarding this player with a 3 point bonus.
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Players to Know
“SQUISHY MUFFINZ” – Cloud9: probably the most technically skilled player of all time. Just watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1FWtHNIHbg. The amount of skill it takes to pull a move like that off is absolutely ridiculous — and he’s the one who literally invented the move.
“GARRETTG” & “JSTN” – NRG: It would be unfair to list the two best players from the reigning world champs separately — they’re responsible for the highlight I linked above in this article. NRG has struggled more than expected this season, falling out of top 2 contention (meaning they don’t get a bye in the North American championships), but they still have to be the favorites to win the tournament.
“CHICAGO” & “JKNAPS” – G2: G2 are the most offensive-minded team in RLCS, leading all teams by almost a shot per game (9.89 SPG combined). Chicago and Jknaps are 1st and 2nd, respectively, in SPG and 3rd and 5th in goals per game. Based on the bonuses G2 should be a popular stack because we want shot attempts and goals.
“GIMMICK” – Cloud9: Currently leading the league in goals per game and 6th in shots.
“ARSENAL” – SSG: SSG are riding the best defense in the league to an 8-1 record currently. They allow .25 goals less per game than any other team, yet are still 2nd in goals despite taking fewer shots than most of the other top teams. It will be interesting to see how their play style, and Arsenal’s in particular, translates to DFS.
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