Welcome to Part 2 of the Daily Esports Rocket League Ranked Guide. In this edition of the series, we will be listing the mechanical and strategic skills that players should be investing time into in order to reach Diamond rank after reaching Platinum. If you’re still striving for Platinum rank, then check out our Ultimate Guide to Platinum.
The fast-aerial utilizes both jumps available to the player to reach the ball as quickly as possible. Anyone who can’t fast-aerial past Platinum is at a serious disadvantage. Single-jump aerials will still have their place for when you want to flip into the ball, but fast-aerials are a fundamental requirement for high-level saves and shots.
How to do it:
- Single jump and lean the car backward manually.
- Stop adjusting with the directional stick.
- Use your second jump and hold boost at the same time.
- Adjust your car mid-air to hit the ball.
As you become more comfortable with fast-aerials, you should try to do it while boosting through all of the steps. You can also increase the dead-zone of your analog stick in the early stages of learning if you’re having trouble with backflipping.
The half-flip is used to turn 180 degrees on the spot when you’re out of position or have no momentum, e.g., collecting the full boost pad on the diagonal kick-off. This skill will also stay with you up into the higher ranks, so starting to learn it now is a great step forward. Learning the half-flip also introduces you to flip cancellations, which will be useful once you’re at Champion.
How to do it:
- Reverse and do a backflip.
- After the car leaves the floor, immediately hold up (using a controller) or W to cancel the flip.
- Start boosting mid-backflip once your car is facing in the opposite direction.
You can then reorient your car back upright by either pressing jump once your roof hits the ground or manually air-rolling your car sideways. You can map an air-roll direction to an unassigned button to aid with the air-roll.
This technique of goaltending will be the first step to learn how to shadow defend. Saving shots while parallel to your goal is more effective than facing the incoming shot directly. This is because your tackle will tuck the ball away in the corner, which is safer than into the mid-field where your opponents can follow up with another shot.
How to do it:
- Position yourself before your goalpost and facing the farther post, parallel with the goal line.
- Approach the opponent to cut them off as they near your goal.
- Tackle your opponent from the near 90-degree angle to push it into the corner.
Don’t double jump to tackle a dribbling player in this situation. Single jump to match the height of the ball and then flip to tackle the ball from them.
As you build up your ability attacking the ball from a 90-degree angle, you will become more comfortable with saving aerial shots from similar angles too. This is also another more effective way of saving shots as it again pushes the ball into a safe area.
The next level of ball control is dribbling the ball on the top of your car. Dribbling opportunities show up more than you may realize, and it’s the inability to set them up that leads players to avoid them or not see the chance. To reach Diamond rank, it’s key to start learning how to set them up for yourself when the situation presents itself.
How to do it:
- Pop up a ball that’s rolling towards you.
- Drive under the ball and position yourself in middle of the ball’s ground indicator.
- Allow the ball to bounce on your car and adjust your speed to keep the ball on your hood.
- Keep traveling towards the opponent’s net and flick the ball for a shot.
The key is to keep your car in the middle of the ground indicator and to keep adjusting the car for every bounce until the ball settles on your roof. Slow down for the first impact to absorb the bounce and stop the ball from bouncing away from you. The speed you travel at will also increase the ball’s speed, so don’t try to travel too quickly. Otherwise, the ball will be hard to control when you attempt to flick it.
Once the ball has settled on your roof you can shoot by flicking the ball. There are three types of flips you should look into learning:
- Front flip flicks will throw the ball faster towards the net, so they’re ideal for shooting. Position your car slightly towards the back of the ground indicator to get the maximum throwing power.
- Backflip flicks tend to throw the ball higher, which is great for backboard setups. Position your car slightly towards the front of the ground indicator, so that your car’s nose acts as a ramp for the ball when you flip.
- Side flip flicks are good for both shooting and passing and have the quickest recovery time too. The ball should just be settled on the top of the car to get a decent flick.
Turning with your handbrake is a more efficient way of directing yourself on the pitch instead of being limited to the default turning radius of the Battle-Cars. You should use handbrake turns to keep up your momentum while making large changes in direction. It’s mostly used to quickly turn back on the ball or your opponent to make a challenge and catch them off guard.
How to do it:
- Boost yourself up to a decent speed. It’s harder to push yourself 180 degrees at a low speed.
- Hold the handbrake and turn.
- Apply your boost to throw the rear of the car around.
- Let go of handbrake and boost when you’re nearing the exit of your turn.
By hand-braking around the ball like this you can turn your retreat into a dribbling play, a big clearance out of defense, or a 50-50 if your opponents are still chasing the ball. Building up your use of the handbrake will also help with your recoveries and fake challenging.
Full-team rotations won’t be expected in Platinum, but players will need to start putting the pieces together in order to stay in the game and have decent positioning in Diamond ranks.
When you’re attacking, you shouldn’t overstay your welcome in the opponent’s half. Adopt the idea of rotating out of the play once you’ve taken a shot and allow your team to follow up on the next touch.
You should also consider falling back after you’ve made a centering play instead of trying to follow up on it yourself. Don’t cut back in front of your teammates to take another touch as you’re likely to double-commit. Ideally, you should look to reposition yourself at the back of the team’s rotation.
On defense, 30 boost is enough to make a decent save. If you have more than 30 boost, then you don’t require a full boost pad; leave it for your team. Avoid the temptation of breaking rotation to collect one unless you’re completely out. This is referred to as “ball over boost.” Only collect a full boost pad if you can see an opponent is about to take it for themselves.
Don’t rotate on the near corner or underneath the ball after you’ve tried to make a tackle in defense. Proper defensive rotation pathing should be a circle around the front of your goal towards your back post. After rotating, position yourself to face the play. This is so each player on your team can queue to take their chance to tackle or block the next shot.
The skills above were chosen to increase your speed around the pitch and develop your car control. Like before, we advise that you practice these skills in casual or custom training packs before taking them straight into ranked.
Our Diamond Offense pack focuses on learning to dribble and being able to set them up for yourself while the ball is rolling or bouncing. Our Diamond Defensive pack focuses on making parallel saves and having to half-flip into position.
Diamond Offense: 2EAA-80F3-5E7C-0AA6
Diamond Defense: CEBB-085B-D05D-920B
When you’re Diamond you will start to feel the importance of maintaining rotations, being fast and efficient, and creating passing plays with your teammates. All of this will be covered in our Rocket League Diamond to Champion Guide. Stay tuned for that!