Rocket League: 3 Methods of Surviving in Solo Queue
Sat 2nd Jun 2018 - 8:31pm
Rocket League, like most competitive online games, can be a wasteland of toxicity and frustration (especially while solo queuing). I've been playing 2v2 and 3v3 as a solo player for over two years and I'm confident I've figured out how to maintain good performances and consistent wins with any random teammate without completely losing my mind. I'll break it down into three steps!
Step 1: Working With Your Team and Not Against Them.
A lot of players are guilty of joining a game and within minutes deciding they are better than their teammate and are therefore being held back by them. We've all been on both sides of this, sometimes your teammate will make ridiculous mistakes throughout the match which leaves us feeling a bit hard done by. Other times it's us being the potato and whiffing simple chances. No matter what the situation is in a game, you need to adapt and learn from what's happening. Telling your teammate to ''rotate'' or ''stop ballchasing' may sound like a good idea from your perspective, but that's going to tilt them 100% of the time, resulting in an even worse performance.
For example, if you find yourself cleaning up after your teammate time and time again, play a very conservative game. Allow them to push forward and challenge the ball while you stay in the half-space between midfield and your box, ready to jump on mistakes or recycle. Taking control of the defensive side of the game is a great way to minimise mistakes from a Rambo teammate, giving them confidence and freedom. Dominating the half-space and midfield is how you win games.
If you're having a bad game and notice your teammate's quick chat spam going through the roof, slow it down and assess your gameplay. This tends to happen to me most often when I find myself ball-chasing too much, challenging too early, or wandering out of position. Mistakes will happen. Learn from them and relax!
Step 2: Making Decisions Confidently
Being cautious and taking your time is a natural impulse in some games. Nobody wants to make mistakes after all. However, I believe this to be one of the main reasons a lot of people struggle, particularly while playing solo. Hesitating, stopping the ball during a play, not making your mind up in time, etc.; these are all things that will confuse your teammate and lead directly to the opposition putting pressure on you. This way of playing is most dangerous against good dribblers who will punish you for any hesitation.
At every stage of the game, you need to think fast and commit to your plays. If you see your opponent trying to dribble the ball out of their own box and up the wall, steal their boost and slam that ball in-field to create a chance out of nothing. If it's you who's trying to get the ball out of the box, do it fast and have an idea of where you want to send the ball. When I'm clearing a ball, I'm almost always looking to send lofted high balls down the middle of the pitch for my teammate to attack (if they're in a good position to do so, of course). If they're not, then that sort of pass can be tricky to defend and you can use that to apply pressure.
Step 3: Recognizing Opponent Weaknesses
This one is my favourite and has won me countless games. Recognizing a weak link in the opposition team is something that professional teams in every sport and eSport in the world have been doing forever, though it's not as easy as it sounds.
My method of approaching this is to always keep an eye on situations in the game where you come out on top or that you keep finding success with. For example, if in a game you've been creating countless chances by winning 50/50 challenges in midfield against the same player, you can identify that as a target. When you have a chance to challenge the ball against this player, you can do it with confidence knowing that they're too slow. If you're finding that neither player is challenging you on the wall in their corner, make a point of constantly attacking those corners. If one player on the opposing team is a ball carrier or dribbler, cut them off as soon as possible and limit their time on the ball.
If the other player isn't a ball carrier and you've identified that, you can use this to spring an attack knowing that they'll most likely look to take a shot or hard clear and you can position yourself accordingly.
These will change game to game, but you'll usually have a few things to look out for. The ones I've mentioned being the most common in my experience. Another I've found success with is noticing a poor keeper. If you or your teammate have taken a shot on goal and seen that your opponent has made a panic save or clear, use that as a catalyst to take more shots. Pepper the goal with shots and force them to make saves. If they flop at a few shots early on, you can guarantee that they'll be flopping throughout the game.
In essence, the key to surviving solo queue is adapting. Don't freak out if you're working hard to win the ball back only to discover your teammate is 3 inches behind you, just keep this in mind and play a defensive game, reading the play with confidence and relaxing will see you creating more chances and being much harder to beat.
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