Rocket League: The Art of Faking
Sun 2nd Sep 2018 - 3:00pm
Outplaying anyone, especially an opponent, in a game is the ultimate form of humiliation. Every player has had it happen to them at least once and we all know how ridiculous you feel watching your car fly past the untouched ball. However, there is a lot more to faking than just not hitting the ball. There are a couple factors one must consider before attempting a fake, and I will be highlighting those over the course of this article, as well as giving a few tips here and there.
When to Go for a Fake
Faking someone out is very dependent on the defender’s position, as well as one’s ability to sell the fake. Usually, the best time to fake is when the opponent has no choice but to go for the ball. This situation usually occurs when the ball is rolling in front of the defender’s net, or you are closing in with a dribble and the ball is getting too close to the net.
Faking is most optimal when the opponent is approaching from a weak angle, such as this:
You can see that the defender is coming at an angle in which they only have two real options. They can either go straight for the ball or back off and let the attacker dribble.
The attacker makes a quick movement towards the ball, making the defender think he is going to hit it:
Instead, the player backs away from the ball, and the defender flips past, taking them out of the play:
Faking someone when they are approaching at a head-on angle is much more difficult and usually results in them just hitting the ball past you because of their ability to cover more immediate space.
The easiest situation to fake in is when the the ball is in front of the defender’s net and the attacker is closer to the ball, driving towards it. The defender is driving back towards the net from the corner, and it is unclear if the attacker will be able to get the ball past the defender by just hitting it. Instead of hitting the ball and hoping to get it past, the attacker realizes the position the defender is in, and stops just before the ball, sending the defender dodging across the net to no avail. This then creates an easy open net for the attacker to hit the ball into.
Faking is all about watching your opponent, predicting what they will do, and exploiting their decision making.
Different Ways to Fake
There are different ways to fake for different situations. The most common way of faking is when the player is dribbling the ball, and they drop it off of the hood of their car. They then make a motion towards the ball, trying to convince the defender that they are about to hit it in order to make the defender challenge. However, the player instead brakes and doesn’t hit the ball. The defender dodges thinking that the player is hitting the ball and whiffs, taking themselves out of the play.
In this clip, Alexandre "Kaydop" Courant is able to fake out the first opponent by just making a motion towards the ball. He then proceeds to score an incredible goal.
Another way of faking is if the ball is in front of the net and the player doesn’t have control. As mentioned earlier, they drive at the ball like they are about to hit it and stop right before it. At least, this action usually makes the defender jump, giving the player time to take the ball around them.
There are also aerial fakes. The best way to do an aerial fake is when the ball is floating upwards at a dodgeable level. Jump once and boost a little to make the defender think you will hit it over them. Instead just let the ball fall and catch it while the defender flies over you.
This fake by Mariano "SquishyMuffinz" Arruda highlights both the ball bouncing in front of the net as well as the low aerial fake.
Faking an air dribble is also a viable choice. At higher ranks, a telegraphed air dribble with a clearly set path will often be saved. In order to keep air dribbles relevant, players have taken to using boost only lightly in the early stages of the air dribble, and gradually use more and more boost to increase the upwards lift of the ball. This results in an extremely difficult save for the defender.
This air dribble fake by Justin "jstn" Morales shows how he uses boost at the beginning, but just falls off at the end, faking out the defender. With added free styling, of course.
All in all, faking is a great weapon to add to your arsenal. It can make your play more unpredictable and spontaneous, forcing the defenders to make decisions that they are unaccustomed to. However, keep in mind that knowing when to fake also comes with experience. Even if it doesn’t work the first couple times, or even the first 20 times, eventually you will start to understand which positions fakes work the best in. Just keep trying and you’ll get it in the end.
-Sell the fake by really trying to look like you’re about to hit the ball.
-Watch your opponent and know what position they’re in (unfavorable angle of approach).
-Mix up your playstyle with fakes and normal challenges (don’t become too predictable).
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