How to Rank up in Rocket League

If you're wondering how to rank up in Rocket League fast in 2023, look no further. This guide presents 5 key concepts to get you on the road to Grand Champ in no time. Forget the training mode, these techniques focus on strategy and consistency to fly up the divisions right away.

How to Rank up in Rocket League

The glitzy Gold, Platinum, and Diamond emblems are alluring to be sure, but ranked Rocket League players often discover upon arrival that only an inescapable quagmire of toxicity and stagnation lies beneath the superficial splendour. If the unrelenting grip of the middle ranks is dragging you back down every time you hit a winning streak, you’re in the right place. These five crucial concepts will get you out of the void and back on the road to Grand Champ in no time. And none of them are any variation of “get gud”, either. That would’ve been tip number six.

Plus, you won’t find worn out clichés like “practice makes perfect” here. Instead, expect underappreciated, outside-the-box strategies that you can instantly incorporate into your game to rank up fast. Players at all levels can benefit from familiarizing themselves with these ideas, but those struggling to clear the Gold-to-Diamond stretch will see particularly noticeable results.

If you’re brand new to the world of Rocket League, peep these handy tips for beginners first.

Hit the Backboard

What if I told you you’re aiming at the goal too much? Talk about outside-the-box strategies! The truth is, it’s shocking how many Rocket League players struggle to effectively clear—or even make contact with—a ball aimed at their own backboard. When you take into account the awkward camera movement when the ball is directly overhead as well as the added pressure of manoeuvring close to your own goal line, it’s understandable. And there are many huge benefits to capitalizing on this common weakness. 

Three defenders struggle to clear a ball on their own backboard - How to Rank up in Rocket League

The backboard causing chaos.

It’s easy to tunnel vision when the ball falls to you within striking distance of the opponent’s goal. But is it truly the best option to hit a mediocre shot with two defenders perfectly placed to clear and counter? Probably not. In this scenario, a chip over the goal onto the backboard will likely cause far more problems for your opponent. At the very least, it makes for a more difficult clear, which in turn stymies the counter attack. Better still, defenders will often fly right past the ball leaving you or your teammates with an easy tap-in. 

And remember, while the backboard technique is effective in its most basic form, it’s also a foundation to build upon. As you get more comfortable with the scenario, you can start to aerial boost towards the ball after it hits the wall and tap it into the goal from the air yourself. Beyond that, all kinds of opportunities present themselves. For example, you can aerial hit the ball into the backboard for a second time as a pass for your teammates, throwing off more capable defenders who would otherwise snuff out the initial manoeuvre without issue. 

Get Comfortable on the Wall, Not off of It

Look, I know you want to be one of those guys. You dream of springing off walls, hitting 1080 barrel rolls, and double touching into the top corner. But if you’re looking to rank up fast, hundreds of hours practicing your freestyles in the training mode isn’t the answer. Believe it or not, you can still differentiate yourself by making smart, reliable plays on the wall, rather than diving off into wildly ambitious air dribbles. 

Even in the lofty Diamond ranks, a teammate who can effectively intercept a ball on the wall is invaluable. Don’t get hung up on setting yourself up with an aerial dribble or ceiling shot or whatever the heck. Simply driving straight, without flipping, into a ball that’s rolling along the wall towards you is likely to send it on a direct flight towards the opponent’s goal or, you guessed it, their backboard. 

A player follows the ball along the wall - How to Rank up in Rocket League

Keep it simple and reliable on the wall.

In scenarios where the ball lifts away from the wall before you arrive, remember the setup is key. If you ensure that your car is aiming directly for the ball’s equivalent position were it still on the wall, a single tap of the jump button, without pushing the stick in any direction, should pop you into the air just far enough to reach the ball and hit it with a flip. No fancy aerial pirouetting required. Again, try not to focus on deft passes or delicate setups. Any solid hit will put your team on the front foot immediately. 

When you’re comfortable enough to travel further in the air from the wall, heed the golden rule: when jumping off the left wall, briefly air roll left immediately after take off; air roll right off the right wall. Embed this ancient wisdom into your muscle memory to ensure that you always flatten your car out for easier aerials. 

Gauge Your Opponent’s Skill Level

Mind reading. The ultimate strategic advantage. While this particular superpower might be pie in the sky even for the Supersonic Legends among us, we can discuss its bargain bin equivalent. The Wish version, so to speak, which involves gauging your opponent’s capabilities and adjusting your game plan accordingly. 

If you can predict 'em, you can demolish 'em.

If you can predict ’em, you can demolish ’em.

Even within a single division within a single rank, players’ skill levels are surprisingly diverse. With that in mind, a one-size-fits-all gameplan is unlikely to get the best results. From the very first kick-off of every game, you should be paying close attention to your opponent’s behaviours. Where do they struggle? Where are they comfortable? Do they prefer to attack along the wall, or dribble through the centre? 

Let’s take our favourite example; hitting the backboard. Have you chipped the ball over the opponent’s goal three times and seen chaos and whiffery ensue twice? In that case, you can position yourself a little more aggressively for the rebound next time. There’s a huge chance they’re uncomfortable defending this type of attack and will almost certainly fail to clear properly again. Body language, or rather car language, is a significant factor here. If your opponent consistently approaches wall shots quickly and confidently, for example, be sure to sit a little further back when their next opportunity presents itself. They might well have spent the last 3 days drilling that very shot in the training mode.

Brb just scoring rq

Brb just scoring rq

Ultimately, the more information you can log as the game progresses, the better. Of course nobody can track exact numbers, but spotting trends in your opponent’s behaviours and subsequently predicting their decisions is as close to a superpower as we can get. This is an incredibly important concept in 1-on-1 games especially.

Gamble on the 50/50

You might have noticed a theme here. Stick to the basics, keep things simple. But that really is the key to mid-rank progression, and what better manifestation of that philosophy could there be than the trusty 50/50. If you’re unfamiliar, a 50/50 occurs when two players challenge for the ball at the same time, theoretically each with an equal chance of a favourable outcome. But, famously, these interactions are rarely truly even, and you can swing the odds in your favour. 

There are some subtleties to the art of fifties, too many for this guide, so YouTube videos are your friend (see one good example just below). Still, suffice to say your speed going into the engagement as well as your car’s orientation can greatly affect the outcome. For example, if your opponent is crashing into the ball a little above centre, you can angle yourself such that it ricochets back underneath them. Similarly, if your opponent comes in too low, look to pinch the ball over them. 

How to Win Every 50/50: A Rocket League Tutorial

50/50s are the ideal approach to various situations, especially in the Gold to Diamond range. If you’re dribbling the ball along the ground in front of you, there’s often no time to set up for a flick or quick direction change before a defender pounces. In that scenario, plan for the 50/50. You have possession, so you’re in charge. Stay close to the ball, and position your car so as to wall out the impact from the opponent. With some practice, you can dominate the majority of those interactions, sending the ball flying into the opponent’s half. 

Flip through the ball, not across it.

Flip through the ball, not across it.

There’re even benefits to the 10/90, when your opponent is all but certain to come out on top. Simply by showing up to the exchange, you force the player to take action and lose at least some of their control over the play. Of course, the 10/90 only works if you have a teammate or two behind you to pick up the pieces. So y’know, maybe don’t try that in 1-on-1 matches.

Pass Backwards

Proceed with caution on this one, because it requires basic competence from your teammates. But on those occasions when your ‘mates have shown some ability to distinguish their exhaust pipe from their elbow, the back-pass can be game-changing. Right up to the upper Diamonds, opponents will generally expect attackers to blaze forward with a singular goal-shaped focus. No surprise, then, that an attacking player with possession will cause a stir when they selflessly circle around the ball and pass back to the teammate surging through from defence. 

“Great pass!”

The benefits here are numerous. The element of surprise alone is worth the price of admission, but for the receiving player, a medium-paced back pass is almost impossible to whiff. Just boosting straight into the ball will send it soaring across the pitch towards goal or backboard.

A deadlier context still is from the opponent’s corner. So ubiquitous and beloved is the classic “chip from the corner” move that 90% of defenders will never expect anything else. Particularly in 3-on-3 games, when you find yourself in this position, you should generally be safe to expect at least one teammate to be gunning it up the field to support you. Rather than hit the cliché cross along the opponent’s back wall, quickly circle to the side of the ball and knock a pass backwards, hopefully into the path of your teammate. Even if they whiff horrifically, you’ll probably get a “Great pass!” in the quick chat. Worth it! 

A goal explosion almost as bright as your future in Rocket League.

A goal explosion almost as bright as your future in Rocket League.

So there you have it. 5 techniques to boost you up the ranks or your money back. How did they work out for you? Got some techniques of your own to share? Share them with the world!

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