Rocket League How to Rank Up Guide
I’ve seen the basic advice of “how to rank up” in multiple ways and posts, and I don’t really agree with the advice given, especially if it’s not that helpful “learn how to control the ball on the ground”, which has zero explanation to it.
**Note: This guide is meant for 2v2 and 3v3 playlists. It is not recommended for 1v1 at all. It won’t apply to Solo Standard since the rank distribution for solo standard is completely different, and pretty chaotic.
Bronze I –> Silver III
- Practice controlling the ball in Free Play. In-game, you’ll want to not just randomly hit the ball, but aim it in a general direction. Get a feel for softer and more powerful hits to be able to do basic dribbling. A lot of goals can be gotten in these skill levels just by putting the ball toward net over and over again.
- Practice basic teamwork, yes even solo queue. If you have a teammate in front of you and he’s going for the ball, do not push up with him. Being too close to him will only hinder your team. If you have a teammate with the ball in the opponent corner, move forward to about midfield to help support him if he centers it. Don’t get on his ass behind him with both of you being in basically the same spot.
- Use your boost. Many lower skilled players rarely use boost. Boosting is a tool, and hoarding it isn’t going to help you. Don’t overuse it, but certainly don’t underuse it. For example, if the ball is headed toward one of your corners and you are at midfield, use boost to reach your net as fast as possible to give you the most time to prepare for what’s coming. It’s better to be in a good position faster than in a poor position with boost.
- Practice the basic concept of rotation. If you just hit the ball and are not in a good position (e.g., in front of it or far off to the side, or directly under it while it’s in the air), then rotate back around to net allowing your teammate to come in. If your teammate just hit the ball and he’s beginning to leave, begin to push up toward the ball. But be careful, if the ball is really far away, you don’t want to bum rush it. Just close the gap until you have a good opening to touch the ball without missing.
- This is paired with “basic teamwork” and a basic understanding of positioning. Don’t be in the same spot as your teammate if you can help it. Being in the same spot is bad. If it would go over your teammate, chances are it will go over you too. Spacing is very relevant. Try to be where your teammate isn’t, but close to the play. If your teammate is in the opponent corner, you would be mid. If your teammate is in net, you would be either on the ball in your corner/closer to midfield, or you would be in the same areas but recovering and rotating back to net.
- As a super simple tip, but effective, try not to be over aggressive. It’s very easy to lose games when pushing up too much and trying to touch the ball too much. Relax, and play with defense in mind at all times. This helps at almost all skill levels. If you’re thinking of going for the super risky challenge, maybe reconsider and wait for an opening later in the challenge. Instead of challenging stupidly early on an opponent shot, wait for his touch and save the ball. Much of the times the opponent will miss and you can just capitalize on their mistake.
- This does NOT mean you should push up really close and wait for their miss. Waiting (there’s a difference between preparing and waiting for a miss) for a miss exclusively can and will lead to goals on you. Just keep their miss in mind and be mentally prepared for it, in case it happens.
Silver III –> Gold III
- Further improve your rotation. Most likely you are waiting for your teammate to be almost on top of you before pushing out of net or from the defensive 2nd/3rd player position. You’ll want to work on pushing out earlier and earlier as you get better and better. This advice will ring true for all skill levels.
- Further practice controlling the ball with dribbling, soft touches and whatever. This is always a useful skill to improve and know when the opportunity arises.
- You’ll want to prioritize practicing shot accuracy here. Being able to place the ball on net more often will result in more pressure against the opponent, and eventually they will make a mistake forced by the constant need to clear the ball.
- Practice the basic concept of boost management. You’ll want to start keeping your boost meter up more often now that players are capable of basic aerials, putting it on net more often, and just getting to the ball generally faster than before. Pair it with your rotation. You just got done hitting the ball, not in a good position, and start to rotate back. You have a teammate in net and another teammate in the corner on the ball. This is an alright time to go for corner boost behind your goalie and rotate in behind him.
- Do NOT neglect pads. While this is part of boost management, it should have its own point. Pads give you 12% boost each pickup. If you slightly deviate your path to pick up 2-4 pads, that’s 24% to 48% extra boost you didn’t have before. Pads are a huge source of boost, even if individually they are small.
- Yes, you’ll want to practice aerials. But don’t focus too much on difficult high and fast aerials. You’ll just want to focus on low and medium height aerials since that is what will be most common at this skill level.
- You’ll want to practice half-flipping. It’s a relatively easy mechanic that will save you when you put yourself in a bad position and need to go backwards. It doesn’t hurt to bind Air Roll Left/Right to make half flipping easier. But this isn’t a tutorial, so go look up a Half-Flipping tutorial.
- Improved centering. As you get to mid Gold, putting the ball around the corner over net is not going to be very useful for centering. It will be saved and cleared. You’ll want to practice hitting the ball toward the opponent’s back wall to bounce it. The bounce will send it out toward midfield. Try to aim the bounce to be close to midfield lateral-wise (sideways) rather than the edges of the map so that your centered teammate can push in and challenge. It’s more difficult to read bounces, and the ball will travel toward your teammate. Don’t be afraid to hit it hard, because usually you might have to in order for it to get to your teammate. But avoid booming it like a madman, because your teammates aren’t GC and can’t read backboard rebounds instantly.
- You’ll want to practice moves that send the ball in the air, especially to help with the better centers mentioned earlier. These techniques are: “Half Volley”, “Pop”, “Lob”, and “Flick”.
- Half Volley: Hitting a ball’s underside after it bounces to sent it in the air. How much underneath depends on how high you want or need the ball.
- Pop: Double jumping beneath the ball to hit it with your car’s roof to give the ball height.
- Lob: Hitting the underside of the ball with your bumper, without jumping. Lobs can only be done if the ball is rolling toward you, rolling perpendicular to you (sideways), or if it’s rolling really slow away from you.
- When the ball is on your car’s roof, or really close to it, and you use a “Dodge” (the “flip double jump” mechanic that gives you speed) to do a flicking motion and quickly swipe the ball with your car’s spinning velocity. (e.g. the tail comes up and rotates to smack the ball if you do a front flip).
Gold III –> Platinum III
- From here on out, you’ll need to further refine your consistency in previously learned things and I will not mention them in individual points unless it’s a new concept. Further refine consistency in basic ground dribble control, aerials, aim, power shots, half flipping, back wall passes, lobs, pops, flicks, spacing away from teammates, rotating faster, boost management (especially grabbing small pads close to your route).
- Practice generally faster aerials (not to be confused with the “Fast Aerial” technique, which is quite technically advanced that Platinum players will struggle with consistently).
- Practice boosting forward before jumping for a ball that’s far away.
- Practice boosting and jumping at around the same time for a ball that’s at about a medium distance.
- Practice boosting only after your car faces pretty upward to fly for a ball that’s close and high above you.
- Practice your wall usage. If you want to clear the ball from your goal, you can safely put it toward the corner wall or side wall and roll it up. From there, you can follow the ball on the wall. If you have control of the ball and don’t want to just give it to the opponents, you might have the option to roll the ball up the wall, then hit it forward with power to make it more difficult on them.
- Basic wall advice: Treat the wall like the ground. If you have a lot of momentum going up it, you will have momentum going up when you jump off. This sounds obvious, but so many people forget to account for it in a real game. If you want to fly, you might need to hit the brakes before jumping off.
- More basic advice: If you want to hit the ball with power and it has come slightly to a decent amount off the wall, you can use a side flip to come off the wall faster.
- Better clear placement: Now’s the time to start focusing on clearing the ball toward a teammate who is already upfield. If they are grabbing mid-boost, bumping an opponent, or just rotating back, you might want to put it in their direction so they can touch the ball to keep your team in possession. Even if it’s seen as a “poor” touch that doesn’t send it to their side, they can hit it toward the midfield, and if you’re ready you can accept that as a pass. Don’t rely on them being able to pass it well, this is Platinum, not pro level. Just be ready in-case it is, but also be ready for an even worse touch if possible.
- Begin incorporating boost stealing. Now that the opponents will be relying on boost a lot more, boost stealing is a valuable play. If you just got done touching the ball and you’re next to their corner boost, take it. That’s less boost for the opponents. Do NOT go out of your way significantly to take their boost when you could be rotating back or preparing yourself to support the next play.
- Practice giving “backboard” passes. Backboard is the wall area above the goal. This area is super difficult to read, even at the Champion skill level, and it’s also dangerous because it gives the advantage to the attacking team. With more refined lobs and half volleys, putting a relatively soft ball on the backboard will make it difficult on the opposition, and give the advantage to the teammate your passing to. Don’t make it super high or super fast, because of how difficult it is to read. The advantage is already given to your teammate, you don’t need to make it harder on your teammates.
- Likewise, practice reading the ball off the backboard because the ball bouncing off the backboard will be more and more common the higher in rank you go.
- Begin your practice of incorporating air rolls into your aerials. Even the basic rolling of 180° can be a help if you want to avoid hitting the ball with your wheels and instead hit it with your roof for more power (wheels cause weak hits).
Platinum III –> Diamond III
- Further refine consistency in basic ground dribble control, aerials, aim, power shots, half flipping, back wall passes, lobs, pops, flicks, spacing away from teammates, rotating faster, boost management (especially grabbing small pads close to your route), generally faster aerials, wall play, air roll aerials, boost stealing, backboard passes.
- Especially from here on out, less and less skills are going to be new and practical to keep practicing, so the majority of your improvement should be on refinement.
- Passing is becoming increasingly more important from here on out. Players now are pretty aware of their teammate’s intentions in-general and can predict what will happen next based on your position. If you are in the opponent corner, the ball is slightly closer to midfield, and your teammate is waiting at center, you should start to try and “back-passing” it to that teammate. As a basic tip for passing, try to pass in front of their momentum. Passing it directly at them won’t do any good because they’ll have to hit the brakes and get a poor touch.
- Practice your air rolls more. You’ll want to focus on combining an air roll and pitch (leaning back/forward) so you get this weird twisting motion. Doing it exclusively for a period of time is called a “Kuxir Twist”, which is a basic freestyle technique. The combination of pitch and air roll simultaneously will allow you to lean back to boost away from the ball sideways, then lean forward back into it (or dodge) while boosting to “loop around” the ball and get more difficult angles to aim the ball, while also not sacrificing as much power (since before, you would boost away from the ball and hope to sideswipe it).
- Practice the proper “Fast Aerial” technique, text tutorial here. No other tutorials teach the timing of the double jump as focused and detailed, so I recommend the one I created and linked.
- Incorporate backboard defense into your play. You’ll want to be sitting on your back wall and facing upwards. Don’t position yourself too high, otherwise it will easily go below you. Another position you can sit is right above the goal but off to the side and facing your car sideways. Only put yourself in this position if you have a teammate in net already and you’re rotating back on either side of them (left or right of the goal).
- Practice better wall aerials. When you dribble the ball up the wall, you have an option to hit the ball and lob it off the wall without jumping. From here, you can hit the brakes, then fly after it for another touch, preferably with a dodge to hit with power, but sometimes that isn’t an option. As well, if the ball comes off the wall while it rolls up and you’re nearby, you have the option to jump off the wall and fly for it. You can even incorporate a fast aerial, but off the wall (and likely hitting the brakes usually) to get a ball that’s further off the wall.
- Practice dribbling the ball on your roof. I mentioned it this late because it is not necessary at lower ranks, and generally causes more harm that good due to the lack of understanding the game. It’s stupidly easy to lose control of the ball.
- A priority when practicing dribbling is to practice what I call “quick flicks”. You usually don’t need to dribble on top of your car for extended periods of time, because an opponent is likely to already be challenging your dribble. A quick flick is to flick the ball very soon after you catch it on your roof. Sometimes instantly, sometimes within 0.5 to 2 seconds, depending on the situation. Quick flicks are instrumental because an opponent will usually challenge, and getting a good flick early will put it past them. If you want a good tip on getting decent flicks, watch this tutorial by “amustycow”. It’s such a simple but effective tip.
Diamond III –> Champion III
- Further refine consistency in basic ground dribble control, aerials, aim, power shots, half flipping, back wall passes, lobs, pops, flicks, spacing away from teammates, rotating faster, boost management (especially grabbing small pads close to your route), generally faster aerials, wall play, air roll aerials, boost stealing, backboard passes, backpassing on offense, backboard defense, off the wall aerials, Pitch+Roll aerial movement, fast aerials.
- Of all the rank gaps, from here on out consistency in everything you’ve learned so far will be as important as ever. You aren’t going to rank up if you only hit 80% of your fast aerials (top of my head example, made up number), but if you improve that to say 90%, it will help you.
- Prediction has been important before, and I haven’t mentioned it since it’s a general skill you pick up. But you seriously want to practice prediction here. Reading everything as soon as possible is a must. The sooner you predict, the “faster” you will be as a player. And speed has never been as important as it was before. In these ranks, speed and consistency trump everything. It doesn’t matter if you know a new somewhat practical flick if you are hardly successful with it.
- Incorporate “shorter” rotation. You want to be close to the play more often. If you are at 20% boost in the opponent corner, you shouldn’t be going on the other side of the map for a corner boost or a midboost far away from the play. You should be prioritizing grabbing as many nearby pads as you can so that you can stay close to the play with a moderate amount of boost instead of full boost and being useless.
- Practice backboard rebound clears. The opponents will be using the backboard more, and the best way to clear it is waiting for the bounce off the wall, then hit it, usually with a sideflip off the wall as you are about to hit it. The faster the ball, the more difficult it will be to time hitting it off the bounce.
- Practice some “cherrypicking” positioning, closer to about the Champion II and above range, imo. Cherrypicking is positioning yourself upfield waiting for a pass for a teammate, or at least for the ball to be cleared in your general region to take control. The key thing here is to deliberately stay in this position for about 1-3 seconds before rotating back, but ONLY if your teammate has clear possession of the ball and is not being challenged. If there is a risk of being challenged, just rotate back, your rank will thank you.
- I would recommend practicing air dribbling here. Don’t incorporate it too much, because it can be easy to read and counter unless you’re stupidly insane at air dribbling. And by the time your GC, the majority of your air dribbles will be easily challenged.
- Practice the “Scrub Killa Kickoff”. The basic principle of the kickoff is to use about 10-15 boost, jump and dodge to land in front of the ball to be “goal side”, and dodge “through” the ball (e.g. if you are slightly to the left of the ball, even by 2°, you should dodge forward and to the right). Dodging “through” the ball will give you more leverage since your car will be moving to cover where the ball will soon end up.
- Practice “wavedashing”. A technique used to dodge at the last second before you hit the ground so you can get the speed of a dodge without doing the flip animation. It is done by tilting your car in the opposite direction you want to go (want to go forward, tilt your car back), and dodge when your back wheels have touched the floor. Don’t tilt too much. Tilt at about a 20°-40° angle.
- Incorporate this into your play when recovering from walls. For example, if you did an aerial to backboard the ball on the opponent’s back wall and you land on said back wall, you can jump down, lean back, and wavedash “forward” (rotating back is in front of your car) to gain maintain much of your speed when coming off the wall.
- It’s not practical anywhere else. You don’t need it to gain speed if you have boost, and you don’t need it to gain speed if you don’t have boost. Normal dodging is fine here.
Champion III –> Grand Champion
- We’re here, after all this journey. Do you want to know the tip that will make you reach GC? Are you ready for it?
- Literally refinement. I’m sorry, there is no special tips. There isn’t much new to learn. You simply have to be more consistent and fast in everything you already know to be GC. Learning ceiling shot or flip resets isn’t going to get you to GC. The refinement matters 100x more than any new skill you can learn.
- Practice “45° flicks” (another name is “reverse 45° flicks). Essentially, it’s a type of flick where you jump, angle your car about 45°-90° to the side (e.g. left), and do a 45° dodge backwards to the other side (e.g. back-right). It’s a stupidly useful flick because it’s hard to predict, can get a lot of power/height, and is more versatile than any other flick in the game.
- Practice lateral direct passing. If you are on the wall, a teammate is likely to be moving up with you on a parallel line closer to midfield. This is an opportunity to directly pass it to him. Likewise, you can push up laterally with your teammate in a parallel line so he can pass to you. The wall is just an example, if you’re just on the left mid boost and roof dribbling, there could also be a teammate waiting for a pass laterally. Or if you are between the middle of the field and midboost, but closer to the middle of the field than the ball, a teammate could be waiting for a pass to him if you bounce it laterally off the side wall, it’s not a direct pass, but it is passing laterally.
- Practice backpassing. There are many times where you’ll be in front of the ball and the opponent’s are about to get possession, so it’s usually better to hit the ball backwards soft or moderately toward a teammate to assist their challenge or just give him easy possession. There are also some times where your teammate is far back, so you can hit it hard back. Just be sure he’s ready, as if you hit it hard and toward the direction of the goal, even if he’s there, you can owngoal because he wasn’t ready and might have been wanting to go for boost or something.
- Practice backboard rebound reads from the back wall. These can be risky to go for, but are a useful tool for pressure. If you go up the wall, hit the ball hard to the backboard, and continue flying for it, you can maintain offensive pressure solo here, and it is a useful tool. Avoid overusing it in 2v2 since it can put you out of the play a bit longer than wanted.
Seriously, avoid ceiling shots and flip resets. These aren’t necessary. If you are Platinum and can do a basic ceiling shot but are “stuck” in Platinum, that’s a sign that you’ve focused on something practically useless for you.
Avoid fancy maneuvers to learn, especially something considered too fancy for your rank. This includes: ceiling shots, flip resets, musty flick, 180° flick, 360°, Breezi flick, wavedash dribbling, “infinite” air dribbling (can’t be used in-game either, lol), ceiling shuffle, wolfdash (aka “double wavedashing”), Sonic Flip, HelJump, Stalling (an “empty” dodge), Tornado Flick.
When I say avoid these, I mean that these “skills” will not help your rank almost ever compared to the actual fundamentals. They are only useful when mastered completely (e.g. flip resets in RLCS), or never useful (wolfdash / double wavedash, HelJump) due to the impracticality.
Universal Recovery Techniques
- Learn the art of powersliding. This is by far the most versatile recovery technique. Powersliding is a TRULY underrated ability. While everyone obsesses about half-flips and wavedashing, powersliding is the driver of the recovery train that doesn’t get any credit for his job, but he is far more important than the celebrity passengers “Half Flipping” and “Wavedashing”. Powersliding is your friend every step of the way, from Bronze to GC. Powersliding is so important that pros use them on average about 70 times a game. With a 300 second (5 minute) match, they use a powerslide every 4 seconds. Crazy, right? Some pros use them about 140 times a game (a powerslide every 2 seconds, roughly).
- So where can you learn this mystical ability of importance? Sadly, there isn’t many good tutorials on powersliding in existence right now, and I plan to make a thorough one myself. I do have a couple posts explaining powerslide techniques and a few gifs. First post. And second post.
- Speed dodging. A speed gaining technique to reach you supersonic in the shortest amount of time possible. The basic version is done by boosting until a certain speed and dodging into supersonic. The moderate version is done by boosting during your jump (while still deciding to jump/dodge at a specific speed to get into supersonic) to a dodge and thus using slightly less boost since you are combining two actions into one. And the more difficult version is to boost through your front flip until your nose faces down, then you stop boosting completely. Diagonal speed dodging can also consistently give you slightly more speed.
- It’s a myth that boosting through a diagonal dodge is the fastest way to reach supersonic. It’s generally a waste of boost unless it is used for course correction. A proper speed dodge will reach supersonic instantly or almost instantly after dodging.
- Always land on your wheels if you can. Landing on your wheels is 10 million times better than not landing on them. But as a slightly better tip, try to land on your back wheels first slightly, since your front wheels can spin you out if you land on them first.
- Always land in the direction you want to go. If you want to go forward, land facing forward. If you want to rotate back, land facing back toward your goal. And if you are landing on the wall after an aerial, land facing your car’s wheels down the wall so that you drive down the wall faster.
Basic Rotational Concept
I would have mentioned this in a point somewhere, but I figure it’s more important and shouldn’t be sidelined to a specific rank. I recommend learning “far post rotation”. Gregan has a great video on it. You might have heard this advice, and it sounds overrated, but it’s truly not. Literally nobody rotates to the backpost enough except pros. I can view a replay of any rank below GC and point out situations where players haven’t rotated backpost and it put them at a disadvantage.
- Another good resource is amustycow’s tip video on far post rotations. It’s not just about being behind someone in goal, but distancing yourself from the play to signal for your teammate to come up, while also leaving you in a useful position to come in behind other teammates, and also leaves you close~ish to the play to be able to turn and support the play if needed (especially for 2v2).
- As an added tip, one should rotate through mid, even on the offensive side. Doesn’t have to be on the backpost forward “line” always, but going from the corner of the opponent field through mid around the play leaves you in a much better position than rotating back on the same side of the field as the ball.
Bumps & Demos
Demos are quite a controversial subject. Many view it as taking less skill, many others view it as rude or “bad manners”. Likewise, there is an opposite side to the coin that embrace demos. There is one simple truth, even if it’s controversial. Demos and bumps are a tool to be used, they are purposely implemented in the game. Not using it due to some arbitrary “honor code” or respect of “proper” skill is not a smart way to approach it. Limiting yourself because you think you are above it is the scrub mentality. Do people hate being demoed? Absolutely. Does it matter? No. It’s a game, and if they want to complain about the rules of the game, tough. That person needs to learn that the rules don’t cater to their opinions.
- Demos are a useful skill to learn (yes, they are a skill). I recommend to use them mostly when you just get done hitting the ball and are out of the play on the offensive half. Instead of rotating back immediately, you can take an extra 2-3 seconds to attempt a demo or bump before rotating back. This will disrupt the opponent’s defense and possibly leave an opening for your team to score.
- Another situation I would recommend using demos in is when on defense and you are rotating back, you spot an opponent player preparing to receive a pass or a center. Demoing them will disrupt possibilities of a passing play in that area (if the opponents have proper spacing). This can be often be achieved while just rotating back to the backpost as normal since you have to cut through midfield to do so much of the time.
- Do bear in mind, don’t overuse demos. While they are a useful tool, they are not without their disadvantages. It requires boost to initiate a demo usually. It puts you out of position for an even longer period of time. The opponent has options to see you at all times and prepare to evade you and make it as difficult on you as possible. And it can instigate the opponent to try to use more demos and bumps on you.
- The meta game of the demos evolve throughout the skill levels. Bronze-Gold mostly just don’t see you and you can often demo without players attempting to avoid you. Platinum-Diamond will be generally aware enough to do simple evasion of demos, usually by jumping. This is when you can incorporate jumps to predict an opponent evasion via jump. But usually often, you can still get demos without them being aware if you approach them correctly. Champion-Grand Champion, players are even more aware of you and will evade in many ways, such as turning, side dodging, etc etc, but jumping is the most common. They also know the meta game of jumping to evade, so many will not jump to mind-game you and fake you into jumping.
I spent quite a bit of time thinking, writing, and formatting this post to be as helpful as possible. I hope this helps people improve, as I got sick of the general stupidly vague tips that don’t really do much to help getting better at the game.
This post is made up of my opinion of each and every rank from my experience as a coach. If you don’t agree with my advice, that’s fine. If I didn’t include something, it’s because I don’t think it’s as important as what was mentioned. If I put something later than you’d like, it’s because I don’t think it’s that important for that skill level. You can feel free to disagree and discuss in the comment section below.