Rocket League Mechanics: Learning The Tornado Drift



Tue 2nd Apr 2019 - 7:22pm

The “Tornado Drift” is a unique display of mechanical skill that looks flashy and is fun to perform as well. Originally popularized by Justin “jstn” Morales, a player for NRG, during a showmatch with unlimited boost, you can see how the car is actually sliding on only two wheels. 

This move, although lacking actual competitive use, is fun to whip out during Free Play while waiting for a game, or in private matches with friends. Before I begin the tutorial portion, it is important to understand that learning the Tornado Drift takes time. It personally took me around 2.5 hours straight until I could do it somewhat consistently in Free Play. Although it looks simple enough, it is very difficult, so be ready to put in some time to learning it. Now, let’s look at how to actually perform a Tornado Drift.


A Tornado Drift essentially involves balancing your car on two wheels of the same side by dodging at the correct angle in order for those wheels to come on contact with the ground. The drift is then maintained by boosting and adjusting the angle of your car with the joystick to control speed and direction.

Setting Up:

There are two ways that you can set a Tornado Drift up:

-Driving straight, beginning to boost, powersliding about 45˚, and dodging diagonally in the opposite direction of where you want to be drifting.

-Driving straight, beginning to boost, powersliding just less than 90˚, and dodging to the side in the opposite direction of where you want to be drifting.

The choice between which set up to use really comes down to personal preference. Some players like the 45˚ powerslide, others (like myself) prefer the 90˚ powerslide. Experiment with both of the methods and figure out which one you are most comfortable using.

Starting to Drift:

The purpose of the set up is to place your car at an angle in which two wheels on the same side of the car will come into contact with the ground smoothly. After you complete your set up, let go of all buttons except for your boost. If the set up was performed correctly, your car should be balanced on two wheels and skidding across the pitch.

In order to maintain the drift, however, you have to push your left joystick up every so often to make small adjustments that correct the car’s direction of travel. There is no real trick to this besides learning how long to make the adjustments for through trial and error.


Start in Free Play, of course. Set your map of choice to the “Octagon” map based off of the old “Starbase Arc” map. This choice will provide you a circular pitch to make learning the set up and adjustments much easier than on a standard map. Once you are comfortable and consistent with the drift, switch back to a normal map and learn the adjustments there.

As mentioned earlier, when I tried to learn the Tornado Drift, I set aside about 2.5 hours in Free Play to learn the basics of it. However, this may not be the way that you learn new mechanics best. For some players, it is best for them to devote about 15-30 minutes per playing session to practicing the drift. For others, they just practice it in Free Play in between every match. Figure out which way is best for you to learn new mechanics.

Final Notes:

The Tornado Drift, although not a terribly useful mechanic, is definitely one of the flashier ones out there. If you have extra time and want to learn a new trick in Rocket League, try practicing this one! It is a good challenge and can be easily practiced in various ways.

Also, make sure to check out Fluump and HelvetiaGaming’s guides on the Tornado Drift for additional information:

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