The story of Rocket League Season 2 was all about one team: Reason Gaming.
In September, they finished dead bottom of the table in Season 1, with just one win to their name after a miserable seven weeks. Most would've torn the roster up and started again, but owner Adam Heath instead identified Rix Ronday as the key player and rebuilt the team in his image, bringing in Borito B and Tigree. Few could've predicted what was to happen next; nine wins from nine matches, only six games dropped all season, and Ronday going from struggling in the bottom team to roaring home as top goalscorer. This was an epic transformation to rival the great zero-to-hero stories in sport, and with every win this talented young team racked up this season, so their stature grew – as did the questions.
When would the cracks start to appear? Who could beat them? Could they go unbeaten in the league? Would they come unstuck in Playoffs? Would their lack of experience in knockout competition come back to haunt them in the final against defending champions Endpoint?
In the end, they had the answer to every single one of those questions. Nobody really came close to defeating them in the league as they sailed home with a magnificent seven wins. A crushing semi-final victory over a slightly under-strength Method followed. And despite Endpoint throwing absolutely everything at them in a tumultuous Grand Final, coming back from the dead time and again and throwing various tactical curveballs at them, Reason just didn't crumble. Pressure makes diamonds – and under the most intense of pressure, Reason have forged their names in Elite Series history.
Endpoint's Stirring Title Defence
This was far from a one-horse race however, as losing finalists Endpoint will attest. The story of their quest for back-to-back championships was fascinating in its own right. Their title defence got off to the worst possible start with consecutive losses to Method and Reason, putting them behind the curve early. From there they dug deep and rallied back, going unbeaten for the rest of the season. Possibly the most important result of all was the 3-0 shutout of Prophecy in Week 5. Defeating a previously unbeaten team so convincingly was a major statement of intent, and helped Endpoint cruise into the playoffs in 2nd place. They'll be disappointed to come up agonisingly short in the final as Reason completed their sweep, but they pushed the new champions all the way in a finale for the ages – and rest assured, they will be back in Season 3 more determined than ever to become the first ever two-time Elite Series champions.
Infused End A Frustrating Season On A High
Season 1 semi-finalists Infused suffered quite the downturn in Season 2 as star player Doomsee could not recreate the same magic. His team's form suffered and the tough decision was made after Week 4 for him to step aside to help both himself and his team get their heads back in the game. The first point of a thus far winless season followed in Week 5 in a 2-3 reverse to Envy, before a frustrating season was finally ended on a high; taking the high-profile scalp of semi-finalists Prophecy in a 3-0 victory. Could it be argued that Prophecy had their foot off the gas in lieu of a playoff place already being secure? Possibly, but with wins being so hard to come by in Season 2, Infused needed no second invitation regardless. It'll be fascinating to see how they proceed in Season 3; do they take the Reason approach and build around one player, and if so is that player Doomsee, or someone like a Radioo or Danzhizzle? Only time will tell.
Epsilon's 3-1 Conundrum
If Infused's dip in form in Season 2 was shocking enough, spare a thought for Season 1 finalists Epsilon; few would've predicted that they would only win one match in the entirety of Season 2. Even more bizarrely, four of their six defeats this season came on the wrong end of 1-3 scorelines – a recurring theme of being unable to hold onto leads in games was ruthlessly exploited time and again by opponents, and Epsilon must've been thoroughly sick of the site of 3-1 scoreboards by Week 6 when they tackled Infused in a basement battle. It finally came together for Data and co as they recorded their first and only win of the season – and guess what the score was? 3-1, of course. They also avoided the scoreline altogether in Week 7 with a close 3-2 defeat to Endpoint, and after such a disappointing sophomore season, Epsilon head into Season 3 with a little bit of momentum and hope that such a poor run of results can be reversed going forward.
Prophecy's Season Of Two Halves
After four weeks, Prophecy looked like potential favourites for the championship. Four strong wins, only two games conceded, the core trio of Mummisnow, Sebadam and EyeIgnite had gelled well and were going through the gears nicely.
Then Week 5 happened. They hit the speedbump of Endpoint, were trounced 3-0, and wouldn't win again for the rest of the season.
What changed that day is hard to fathom; generally four wins is enough to make it to the playoffs, and indeed Prophecy did just that – but only just. After two more 3-0 batterings from Reason and Infused, they snuck into Playoffs in 4th place on tie-breaker difference. Going into a semi-final rematch with Endpoint, Prophecy looked somewhat in trouble after such a great start to the season. Thankfully, the Prophecy we saw in the semi-finals was much closer to the team that started the season; although the win evaded them, they pushed Endpoint all the way, and will feel confident given how close the Grand Final was of being able to kick on and go that extra mile for Season 3. The key will be avoiding that mid-season blip – if they can do that, Reason will have stern opposition for their crown.