From stunning aerial shots to dazzling team passing plays, Rocket League revolves around frenetic offensive action. However, when comparably-skilled pro teams match up, it's usually the one with the sharper defensive rotations and timelier blocks that rules the day. But even a record-setting goaltending performance couldn't save EnVyUs' playoff chances last weekend.
In a critical Rocket League Championship Series (RLCS) match that could have kept the struggling EnVy in the playoff race, the European team battled against Gale Force Esports and took Game Two more than six minutes into overtime. And it was EnVy's David "Deevo" Morrow who held down his team's net with a staggering 12 saves during that single, extended game.
That breaks the previous record by a considerable margin: Cameron "Kronovi" Bills of North America's G2 Esports had nine saves in a game last fall (according to stat-tracking site Parallel), while Deevo himself was tied for the previous European record of eight saves in a game. For reference, the league leader this season is Niels "Nielskoek" Kok of team exceL with an average of 2.3 saves per game, while Deevo landed in second at 2.12 saves per game.
Deevo's defensive imperviousness helped EnVy hold on for more than 11 total minutes, but it wasn't enough to seal the deal: as the clip above shows, Gale Force captain Jos "ViolentPanda" Van Meurs knocked in a gorgeous goal just seconds after Deevo's final save. Gale Force ultimately won the series in a 3-0 sweep, and EnVy's playoff chances were officially dashed soon after.
Futility has been the story of this season for EnVyUs, who won the last RLCS championship in June as Northern Gaming. They came into League Play with high expectations and a larger organization behind them, but were quickly battered by the competition. With a regular season record of just 2-5, they finished 7th in Europe out of eight teams.
Perhaps it was the pressure of the spotlight or adapting to new teammate Marius "gReazymeister" Ranheim, or maybe all of the other teams figured them out during the offseason. Whatever the case, success was consistently out of reach. They'll fight for their RLCS future on October 29 in the promotion/relegation tournament, in which Europe's two weakest RLCS teams face the two best squads from the lower-tier Rival Series. If EnVyUs lose, they'll play for much less money and attention in the Rival Series next season.
EnVy looked a lot better in Sunday's later match, finally roaring to life to take down the previously-undefeated Paris Saint-Germain eSports. It was the perfect ending to their cursed season: having lost a game despite a record-setting defensive stand from Deevo, they then won a meaningless series to end a record-setting winning streak.