Welcome back to the GINX Esports TV Rocket League masterclass! Last week we discussed how good rotations can increase team synergy. This time we’ll graduate to something far more contentious: the half rotation.
Half rotating too often can lead to overcommits and bickering between teammates, but knowing when to pull one out can be the difference between making Grand Champ and peaking at Champ 3.
So what exactly is a half rotation?
We’ve previously taught that the First Player should rotate back to defence once they’re no longer involved in the play. Well the half rotation is simple: instead of rotating the whole way back, the First Player cuts in front of the Third Player, remaining on attack in the Second position.
You can be even more aggressive and cut in front of both the Third and Second Player.
How can this be beneficial?
If the Third Player’s rotated back for boost, it can take them a while to push forward. Especially if the ball’s up near your opponent’s goal. By picking up boost pads and half rotating, you can keep your opponents under pressure by attacking the ball ASAP.
Another reason to half rotate is if you feel the Second Player’s shot will be blocked. You can half rotate to hit the ball from a different angle.
Why’s that so controversial?
Put yourself in the Second or Third Player’s shoes.
If you’re the Third Player, you might disagree you were too far back and feel you would’ve easily got to the ball. And sure, the Second Player’s shot was gonna be charged down, but maybe they had a cunning plan like a pass out wide or a fake.
Too many half rotations can make it seem like you feel your teammates are slower, more poorly positioned or just generally more rubbish than you are.
And as predicting a teammate’s half rotation is tricky, it can lead to a dreaded double commit. Basically, cutting in front of your team when they’re not expecting it is not the best way to win friends.
Then when should I half rotate???
There’s no hard-and-fast rule when to half rotate, but here are some good reasons to consider it:
- Your teammates are rotating back for boost.
- Your teammates are back in goal / defending way too deep.
- Your teammates call you onto the ball.
- Your teammate is clearly getting to the ball first and you can move into a passing position.
- You’re boost starving your opponents.
- A goal-scoring opportunity presents itself.
- You’re rotating back and the ball is hit towards you.
Even in these situations, you should usually only half rotate if your teammates have time to readjust their cars. Otherwise, as mentioned, double commits are likely.
Your best bet is to download some pro replays, watch the match from different players’ perspectives, and observe when and why each player makes the decision to half rotate. Keep an eye on their teammates’ positioning in particular.
Do the pros ever get this wrong?
In a word: yes.
The RLCS grand finals came down to overtime in the final game. The deciding goal happened because Fireburner half rotated when GarrettG had already committed to hitting the ball.
Heartbreakingly, the players crashed into each other, and Turbopolsa aerialed into the empty net. Keep a close eye on Fireburner and GarrettG in the clip below.
Game, set, match, Dignitas. And a great example of why half rotations can be so dangerous.
Here are some key tips for safe and effective half rotations:
- If your teammates half rotate too often, play a bit more passively.
- If you’re rotating ball side, your teammates don’t know if you plan to half rotate. Don’t blame them if they don’t attack the ball!
- Half rotations are way safer if you’re in voice comms with your team.
- The more you play with the same players, the more likely you can predict each other’s half rotations.
Anything beyond that is a question of gaining as much experience as possible.
Well-timed half rotations keep the pressure on your opponents. But they can be overdone, which will annoy your teammates like nothing else.
Learning when to half rotate is one of the trickiest parts of rising up the Rocket League ranks. We hope the information in this article, combined with studying the pros and finding a good team, will lead to far more victories in your Rocket League future.