Fake Challenging in Rocket League - A Guide with Yukeo
Sat 29th Jun 2019 - 12:05pm
Faking in Rocket League is a bit of an umbrella term, meaning it is a category of skills which include sub-categories surrounding mind games and trickery in order to fool your opponents into making a move that would advantage you.
I got the help of pro player Maurice "Yukeo" Weihs to answer a few questions regarding a particular subject of faking: fake challenges. Fake challenging, in the words of Yukeo, can be defined as "when you pretend to challenge by driving forward and instantly turn around after and drive back". Basically, then, it is when you make it seem like you are going to hit the ball when you actually aren't. The aim of this is to confuse the opponent(s) so that they ultimately make a mistake which you can capitalise on. For a more visual understanding, the clip below should help.
When to Perform a Fake Challenge
Fake challenges are really quite effective in online games, but not in every scenario. There are times and places for everything, and fake challenging is no exception. When asked what the best time to perform a fake challenge is, Yukeo replied, "It is very useful when you are low on boost and don't want to get taken out of the play. You can make your opponent flick the ball and let your teammate behind you take over."
So, when you are low on boost is a good time to pull off this move. Some other good times to do so might also be:
- When you are in a one versus one,
- When the ball is not in possession of either team, and you can pretend to try and take it.
As effective as fake challenges can potentially be, there are also times where a fake challenge is not a great idea. As before, when asked for the worst time to attempt a fake challenge, Yukeo responded, "When you overdo it, your opponent might start reading it. They will get too much space if you never challenge and can outplay you easier."
The point of fakes in general is to be unpredictable, as with a lot of mechanics in Rocket League. The thing that will ruin your unpredictability the most is over-doing a mechanic, and fakes tend to be one of the main culprits for over-doing things. But, as Yukeo reminds us, "Everything can be overdone and will make you readable." We all love seeing your opponents make a fool of themselves as you go for a fake, but try not to force it.
Some potentially other dangerous times to pull off a fake challenge are:
- When you are on your own against multiple players,
- When the opponent has the ball on top of their car. They could easily flick the ball up and over you if you are too risky.
Just How Effective Are Fake Challenges?
As mentioned briefly, fake challenges are indeed effective. But to what extent? Are they just as effective in ranks such as Platinum or Diamond as they are in Champion to Grand Champion? When asked how useful fake challenges are in the higher ranks, Yukeo said, "It can be very useful because the opponents will give you free ball possession if you do it correctly".
In the higher ranks like Champion and Grand Champion, gameplay is much smarter than previous ranks. So matching that playstyle will mean that you are more likely to be able to pull off a successful fake challenge. However, it will be important to keep a sharp eye for fake challenges from opponents.
In the lower ranks, then, are fake challenges just as successful or effective? When asking Yukeo, he replied, "It is yeah. But fake challenges will only work when people hear someone boost towards them or see you attempting to challenge." This is a good point from Yukeo, as opponents would much more likely fall for a fake challenge if they hear you boost.
In-game sound is actually quite under-used, with a lot of players turning it off completely. However, it is very effective as you can hear opponents boosting towards you from behind or from out of your direct vision. As Yukeo mentioned, though, you'd need to keep a look out for fake challenging from your enemies.
Generally, then, fake challenges are actually just as effective in each rank. Factors that might lead to players avoiding or not falling for a fake challenge might be:
- If their in-game sound is disabled,
- If they do not see you approaching the ball,
- If you try it far too often
Defending Against Fake Challenges
Probably the hardest part about this whole mechanic is defending against it. It is really quite difficult to not only tell when a player is going to try it, but also to force yourself not to fall for the mistake.
For a little help on understanding when a player might try a fake challenge, Yukeo stated, "Probably whenever someone is trying to get time for his teammates to rotate back. But you can never know unless you've seen them do it in the game itself."
The hardest part about defending fake challenges is exactly what makes them so useful; they are unpredictable. You will have to constantly keep a lookout for not only the player approaching you and the ball, but also their teammates. Have they pushed forward already? Is this player wanting to stall time for them to get back? If the answer to both of those is yes, brace yourself for the possibility of a fake challenge.
As unfortunate as it is, Rocket League actually requires much more intellect and smartness than is shown on its surface. It is much, much more than just car soccer, since you have so much to think about at once, considering fake challenges are focused heavily on mind-games.
Practicing Fake Challenges
To conclude, you might be asking what the best way to practice this move is. There are multiple forms of training which you can use to do this, such as online games or practicing in private matches with a few friends. However, Yukeo believes, "It is definitely a useful skill to have. The fastest way to learn it would probably be in 1v1."
This could be an online casual or ranked 1v1 match, or it could be one with a friend in a private match. Online matches are probably the best form of practicing this move, though, considering the opposing player will not know what you are going to attempt, as opposed to a friend on the opposing side. Ultimately, you need to remember that fake challenges only work against another human player like yourself, who are just as smart as you are, but equally as liable to fall for a mind-game, and that is precisely what makes them so great.
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