The Rocket League Championship Series' fourth-season World Championship unfolded last weekend outside Washington D.C., and with 10 of the world's top teams in the mix, the car-soccer action didn't disappoint.
That's especially true since it featured gravity-defying shots like this one:
Cloud9's Mariano "SquishyMuffinz" Arruda is one of the game's brightest young stars: a player with unmatched mechanical skill who routinely knocks out spectacular shots in pro competition. After the kickoff, he jets up the wall to pop the ball into the air and then continues driving onto the ceiling. Rather than jump downward, he falls with the ball and boosts himself into the perfect position, then uses a last-second flip to slam in the shot over the defender.
Pulling off a move like this requires incredible foresight, timing, and execution, and even Squishy's teammates appear dumbfounded by the result (below). Meanwhile, the 16-year-old star looks as cool as a cucumber onstage.
This goal, scored during the lower bracket finals on Sunday, helped North American champions Cloud9 even the score line. However, Europe's Method ultimately won both the game and series, vaulting them into the grand finals against fellow EU threat Gale Force Esports. Method seemed fatigued by that point, however, playing in their third straight best-of-seven series of the day, and Gale Force won handily in a straight 4-0 sweep.
Despite significant competition, Gale Force's swift run through the winners' bracket—with only four games dropped across four series of play—is hardly surprising. Built in the offseason, this super-team was made up of a previous RLCS world champion (Pierre "Turbopolsa" Silfver) and two grand finalists (Jos "ViolentPanda" van Meurs and Alexandre "Kaydop" Courant), who won the European regional and made the finals in four of the five live tournaments they played in.
Rocket League's expanding competitive landscape is fast-moving, however, and none of the previous championship squads have been able to hold onto or repeat their success: last season's winning team, now with EnVyUs, went 2-5 this season and missed the playoffs. The ELEAGUE Cup: Rocket League is just two weeks away and the next RLCS season won't be far behind, so we should find out soon whether Gale Force can remain on top.