This morning, for the first time, Major League Gaming ran a Rocket League tournament. The stakes were relatively low. The prize pool was meagre. At stake — not much really. Bragging rights.
No-one could have predicted how insane the final outcome would be.
Rocket League, as an eSport, is in its infancy. This was really the first tournament of any significance. As a massive fan of the game I watched a few matches this morning — to familiarise myself with what a high level Rocket League match looked like, to get an idea of what a high level Rocket League team looked like.
Turns out high level Rocket League team looks a lot like Cosmic Aftershock.
I wasn't aware before watching, but the commentators made it clear from the outset: Cosmic Aftershock were the favourites. Led by the consensus top player Kronovi, Cosmic Aftershock had never lost a series. Ever. In the very first match covered by Major League Gaming's livestream I watched as Kronovi and his team utterly destroyed their opponents. At one point the scoreline was something like 9-1. I can't even remember how it finished. But was almost hard to watch — brutal. Cosmic Aftershock were clearly on another level.
I tuned out. Went back to work.
Later in the early afternoon I jumped on Twitter. Just by chance, a tweet from the official MLG account...
— MLG (@MLG) August 21, 2015
Okay, the actual finals. Maybe I'll check it out.
I jumped back on the stream.
The finals were a best of three series. By the time I jumped in, Cosmic Aftershock had won the first game. As expected. I started watching halfway through the second game — a tie at that point. That was unexpected. Cosmic Aftershock's opponents: a highly regarded trio called 'Urban'.
Urban were making things difficult for Cosmic — pressuring, defending well. Towards the end of the match things started getting interesting: Urban scored, taking the game to 3-2. In a last gasp attempt to tie the second game Cosmic got aggressive and lost another goal. 4-2.
Cosmic got one back, but the match ended with a 4-3 scoreline.
Interesting, but not unprecedented. Cosmic Aftershock had never lost a series but they had lost single games. The expectation: Cosmic would rally and clean up easily in the third game.
That was not how things played out.
The third game. The decider. Urban score early. Almost straight from kick off. 1-0 in Urban's favour.
Another goal. Shit. 2-0.
Then another. Whoa. What the hell is going on here. 3-0.
The comments of the livestream start exploding. Choke. Choke. Choke.
But Cosmic Aftershock did not choke, they got into gear. Over the next two minutes they orchestrated an incredible shift in momentum. They got one back. Bam. Then another. Holy shit, could the comeback be on?
A third goal. Wow. There's 15 seconds left on the clock. We're going into overtime for sure.
Now: a little known fact about Rocket League. The game does not technically end when the timer runs down to zero. The game ends when the timer runs down to zero and the ball touches the floor. This is important. Sometimes, if players are skilled enough to keep the ball in the air, the game can continue for a few extra seconds after the timer has run out. This is rare.
And that's when this happened:
The timer: down to zero. The game: tied. The ball: juggled, floating in the air.
From midfield Kyle Masc of Urban spots an opportunity. He rushes in with a perfectly timed charge. He leaps into the air, he takes the shot.
Back of the net.
Urban wins the series and the very first MLG Rocket League tournament literally at the death.
Honestly, it doesn't get any closer than this, in literally the most important Rocket League match to date, that is how things ended.
Absolutely incredible. Almost unbelievable. Probably one of the greatest eSports moments I've ever witnessed live.
A moment that — 100% — has convinced me that competitive Rocket League has a future.