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Many things have happened in a short time in the world of League of rockets esports And that's true for one of their best teams, too.

The American G2 Esports team, led by Cameron "Kronovi" Bills, won the first official series of Rocket League championships last August. He and his team entered the second season as clear favorites that will once again lead the region towards victory over Europe, and establish North America as the dominant force in the competitive video game similar to football.

That did not happen. The G2 problems started in the qualifiers, while the squad struggled to find consistency and bounced between careless losses. After retiring from League Play and missing the playoffs altogether, the team fell apart, leaving only their well-known captain to try to reunite another winning squad.

And that is exactly what he has done. G2 Esports & # 39; new League of rockets The lineup has been in a tear so far this season.

The team members who started it all.

Formed as a cosmic Aftershock in June 2015, and later playing as iBUYPOWER Cosmic, the team now known as G2 has been an accessory of the League of rockets The competitive scene even before there was a suitable competitive scene … and even before the final version of the game was released.

Confetti flew when Cosmic was crowned the first RLCS champion.

Confetti flew when Cosmic was crowned the first RLCS champion.

When the first season of RLCS began in April 2016, Kronovi was known as, and specifically, by. The lineup completed with Brandon "Lachinio" Lachin and Cody "Gambit" Dover seemed a sure bet for success. Both teammates were recruited from other NA squads, and were known in the community. The cosmic was ready to be League of rocketsThe first Powerhouse team.

The cosmic was ready to be League of rocketsThe first Powerhouse team.

The end-of-season struggles kept the team out of the finals online. Kronovi admitted that rivals had figured out how to counteract the aggressive style that initially brought them success. Even so, Cosmic had accumulated enough points to reach the finals live in Hollywood in August 2016. But, a month before the LAN, Gambit had to move away. The stress of the competitive game was too much: Gambit's struggle with depression led to a series of anxiety attacks and …

That forced Cosmic to elevate the understudying player Ted "0ver Zer0" Keil to cover the starting position. The revised trio practiced widely in those last weeks. According to Kronovi, 0ver Zer0 assumed the initial role well, but given the problems of the end of the season and the reorganization of the squad, they were still a safe bet.

The rise and fall of the original Rocket Leagues champions.

Fortunately, the three went crazy on the LAN, and finally outperformed the FlipSid3 Tactics 4-2 Euro favorites to secure the championship and take home $ 27,500 between them. Kronovi demonstrated his offensive capabilities with amazing precision, reaching the goal almost 59% of the time, significantly higher than the next player of any team.

The stress of the competitive game was too much.

0ver Zer0 took the honors of MVP for the excellent complete game, whether it be defeating opponents with the ball or notching. The fans called him "Rocket Jesus" for his fluid locks and miraculous abilities.

The comfort zone that killed your success.

Just like that, Cosmic ruled the League of rockets Scene, and they showed that success in a move towards the larger G2 organization. Kronovi later admitted that success made them feel comfortable. The trio stopped working so hard to maintain its level of elite play, and showed in its first season two setbacks.

"After the victory, we got a little complacent and did not practice as much as we could," he said. "There were so many people who approached the first LAN, they bit us on the heels, and we had a goal in the back that we did not notice was there."

The rise and fall of the original Rocket Leagues champions.

The American player Braden "Pluto" Schenetzki was in Genesis, one of the teams that played the G2 at the beginning of the second season. He learned what he called the "notoriously aggressive" game style of G2. "But (exploit that is) it's easier said than done with three of the most mechanically gifted players on the team at that time in NA," he said.

"We were a little relaxed about our win, and we just did not work on our team dynamically enough, 0ver Zer0 was our substitute, and he performed amazingly on LAN, but we did not have that long-term team synergy," Kronovi said. "Once everyone's habits started to settle down, they just got worse."

"Once everyone's habits began to settle, they got worse." – Kronovi

G2 tried to change their strategy during the season to deal better with emerging teams, but they had trouble keeping them together. "We would try to adapt to certain teams, but generally one of us would always rotate in a certain way or make the transition to offense / defense in a certain way, and that would ruin things," Kronovi said. "Often, a person would be on a different page from the rest during a game, and that caused us a lot of problems."

Beat Zer0 and Kronovi on better days, as they finished their first victory of the season.

Beat Zer0 and Kronovi on better days, as they finished their first victory of the season.

Lachinio felt the same way, recognizing that trying to address his problems mid-season puts all three members out of their comfort zones. "When I felt out of sync with my team in the second season, I felt that my position was completely wrong:" And it really was not an essential part of the team, as I really did not know where to be, "he admitted." I think the reasoning behind this is because we take each other's positions in the field and leave ourselves in the weakest areas. At the time it did not work at all, but today, it definitely improved our skills in our weakest areas and positions. At least for me, he did it.

In a matter of weeks, G2 Esports went from being the favorites of the community to completely missing the playoffs.

In a matter of weeks, G2 Esports went from being a favorite in the community to completely missing the playoffs, forcing this team of confident talents to watch from the virtual margin. Lachinio left soon after. Then he went on to try his luck with a new team, Team Iris, and seemed excited about the chance to start over. The farewell was considered mutual. "I feel we were a bit stuck," he said about the G2 list he left.

Meanwhile, 0ver Zer0 seemed to withdraw from the game once the season ended. "He just did not seem to be really motivated to make a big comeback," Kronovi said.League of rockets It was not the game for him. And distanced himself from the League of rockets Competitive scene after we did not succeed. "

Kronovi and 0ver Zer0 also moved into an apartment together at the beginning of the season, but 0ver Zer0 moved in January. "Many of the problems in the online season came to us both," Kronovi said. At the end of January, 0ver Zer0 announced its withdrawal from the competition. League of rockets to play.

"The pressure to act live in front of thousands of people in a competitive environment began to affect me, especially when I started to have a lower performance," he wrote in February. "This (led) to depression, anxiety and general stress related to League of rockets, which further inhibited my performances in the second season of RLCS. "

Thereafter, Zer0 went on to say that "he was not happy with the situation of life with Kronovi", and that he did not see a future race in the competition. League of rockets. He did not respond to requests for comments on this article.

The attempt to rebuild from the remains

His season had ended prematurely, and two-thirds of the initial lineup departed. He made fun of some corners of the community that had crowned champion a few months before, Kronovi took his time to formulate a battle plan and try to build a new G2 template of championship caliber.

The rise and fall of the original Rocket Leagues champions.

Jacob "JKnaps" Knapman was the first addition. He had caught Kronovi's attention despite not having much experience in RLCS. JKnaps played with Selfless Gaming last season, but lost in the qualifiers and never had the opportunity to shine in the weekly broadcasts. Even so, his precision skills in the stroke and in the end made Kronovi a believer, however much they have wanted JKnaps for the RLCS spectators this season. The G2 captain saw him as a potential first starter.

The rise and fall of the original Rocket Leagues champions.

"I had a lot of synergy playing doubles with him for a while, and I felt that with any teammate who participates in a three-way tournament with him, we would win," Kronovi said.

"Since the beginning of League of rockets, Kronovi is the guy you wanted to team up with, "said JKnaps. And the Steam message that you received from him saying: "Hey, are you interested in forming teams?" It's like a light bulb that goes off and says: "Obviously, it's a yes."

"Rizzo appeared at the last second, but it was absolutely our salvation." – Kronovi

Some other players tested for third place, but it was Dillon "Rizzo" Rizzo who secured the seat, which could have come as a surprise to anyone who has followed the RLCS last season. Rizzo was a member of the best-ranked North American team of the second season, Take 3, which initially seemed to be the region's best bet for success at that time. "Rizzo appeared at the last second, but it was absolutely our salvation," Kronovi said. "It was like the glue of the team, it fits perfectly in the puzzle."

Rizzo (center) arrived from Take 3, the best team in North America last season.

Rizzo (center) arrived from Take 3, the best team in North America last season.

Although Take 3 seemed to be ready for continued success, Rizzo opted for the new beginning with G2. "I was struggling for a while to really understand if I enjoyed playing competitively, and I realized that I was on a team basically for all of my League of rockets race, so I decided to make a change to see if I enjoyed it more. It's working, "he said.

As Kronovi sees it, each member has his own unique motivation: some recent act of falling short or not living up to the potential that everyone can atone as a team.

"I think there's an interesting dynamic, there's a lot of motivation in this team," Kronovi said. "Rizzo comes from the best team in NA, but he does not have a first place yet, and Selfless last season: JKnaps was on that team and did not make it to the Game League, and then (G2) totally disappointed everyone in the League. Game, when I was on that list. "

"So JKnaps and I have a lot to prove this season, and we are incredibly motivated to prove that (the loss of last season) was a coincidence, that we have what it takes," Kronovi said. "And Rizzo will try to show that he can stay on top of NA, at least, and maybe this time he's number 1 in the world."

The new g2

Although a promising new team met, G2 had a difficult start this season. Perhaps it was the growing problems of establishing new member dynamics, but the teammates had difficulty communicating in the first series, losing their first two games against the first level Atelier team in the first week. But they recovered. They won the next three games, taking that series, and since then they have defeated both Denial Esports and Selfless Gaming in dominant 3-0 sweeps.

The rise and fall of the original Rocket Leagues champions.

The team has emerged as a complete threat with a strong emphasis on passing. Rizzo is more a defensive specialist who performs impressive saves on the net, while Kronovi does his magic everywhere, especially in the midfield, and JKnaps offers devastating shots as the leading striker. That's all according to the plan, they say: if Rizzo clarifies or saves, and Kronovi takes the ball and hands it over to JKnaps "to do something crazy", as Kronovi said, then that's a G2 textbook. Well, at least for this version of G2.

The team has emerged as a complete threat with a strong emphasis on passing.

"One of our biggest strengths is the pass, but we're definitely trying to work to be the team that has it all: he has solo plays, passes, punts and shooting," Kronovi said. "We want to be everything, but I feel that if the chips are down and we need to make a great play, it will be a passing play, I am very happy because it is something that I personally feel I do not have. I know I can make big mediocre plays in midfield, more of an EU style of play, I have it with this team and I really enjoy it. "

They have shown a more attentive approach to team play in these early season series. In the first game of Selfless's recent scourge, Rizzo had a fantastic rebound pass from midfield to JKnaps, who then threw the ball over defender Dappur to the goal. Rizzo could probably have taken the shot himself, but the redirection took advantage of his advantage, and the pass effortlessly helped them close the deal. You are likely to see several fine pass plays in each game; It really has become the new G2 business card.

The rise and fall of the original Rocket Leagues champions.

"When I was previously in Selfless, our mentality was simply to hit the ball as fast as we could and try to go on and try to score," JKnaps said. "In G2 now, I think of every touch I take, compared to just hitting him as hard as I can on the field, that helps to make plays, just to control the game more, and that's why I think I'm more successful in this. Team that my last team. "

There is still a lot of room to improve.

There is still a lot of room for improvement before G2 can achieve the same kind of notorious success with which they started. Kronovi has some of those improvements in mind. They still need to refine their defensive game, like avoiding the confusion of having two players committed to blocking an incoming ball, but they are on the right track. Since they dropped the first two RLCS games to Atelier, they have won nine straight games in League Play.

As JKnaps foresees things, they, along with Selfless, NRG and a fourth yet to be determined squad, will likely represent North America in LAN's third season in June. Europe dominated the finals live last season, embarrassed the American teams in the process and triggered a major reorganization that has changed the scene. In addition to the struggles of the G2, it is just another layer of motivation for Kronovi to recover the championship trophy of his region.

"World champion, that's my goal," Kronovi said. "I'm not satisfied until I can put it on my face and return the title."

Andrew Hayward is a freelance writer based in Chicago who has covered games, gadgets and more for more than a decade. Follow him on Twitter at or paste .

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