Playoff Preview: AL 3s Play Ins


by poisson


  1. ELITE 33-17 // 6-4 // Bye

The Elite began the season relatively under the radar. The initial power rankings (combined) did not have them in the top 10 of the Academy League (AL). They quickly put those doubts to rest with a penchant for winning (or losing) by big margins. Thanks to an early season non-compete penalty (NCP), the Elite finish the season at 33 wins for the first seed, 4 games ahead of the Sharks. While many consider Nate to be the lynchpin of the AL squad, he is not a normal fixture on the standard lineup. The 3s squad, typically led by iMACandCHEEZ, enters the playoff as a overall solid team and serious contender fora deep run.

  1. PIRATES 30-20 // 7-3 // vs SHADOW

For the first half of the season, there was simply no team better than the AL Pirates 3’s squad. Unfortunately for them, Emilia and Emilio decided to do something about that as the Pirates lost 3 players to Champion League. The Pirates were simply suffering from success! Even after the unfortunate end of the season, the Pirates look to ride their momentum from the first half of the season and possibly sneak a few games off the Shadow. Many in AL viewed this team as being in shambles, and they potentially stand to benefit from that attitude and dismissal of their skill level.

  1. SHARKS 29-21 // 8-2 // vs WIZARDS

When I think of the Sharks, I think of the defensive behemoth Miss Ginge. The captain of the AL squad held down many tight series for the Sharks and with 51 saves (1.7/gm) currently holds the 4th overall spot in the AL 3s leaderboards. The Sharks also bring competitive shooter Mercury and have a very deep roster. Sharks and Tyrants finish tied for the best series record in Orange 3s. The only team to win their division in both game modes, I don’t think many would be surprised to see the Sharks in the Orange conference finals.

  1. DEMOLITION 28-22 // 6-4 // vs TYRANTS

A playoff contender in both modes, the Mystic division winners have rebounded in style after losing star player HoboHoppy to Champion League. Boasting the coolest logo in the league (opinion), the Demolition are another win big or lose big team. Statistically, Pooteeweet claims the #1 spot on the saves against/game leaderboard. Rocking a +0 goal differential, the Demo are one of those teams that can give just as good as they get. End of season pickup Zeddwolff quickly shot up to a 12.5 with some crazy numbers. Best described as a low-floor, high-ceiling player with real inconsistency issues (2-8 week 9, 10-0 week 10), Zeddwolff has become the impact player for the Demo. If the Demo can lock down their defense and find Zeddwolf on a good day, I have no doubts they could make a dark horse run on the Orange side of the board.

  1. TYRANTS 31-19 // 8-2 // vs DEMOLITION

Oh Tyrants, how close you got. With the second-best record in the game and tied for the best series record, they find themselves just outside the top four as the first play-in team due to MLE seeding rules (Divisional winners are guaranteed 1-4 seed). The Tyrants have a phenomenal defense and have several players claiming top 10 spots in many standard advanced leaderboards. Nokompass claims the best 4 mans rating, assists against/gm, and second best OMVPR in the league. Teammates mo, brad, and rocason have plenty of accolades of their own. Mid-season pickup rocason finished without a single series loss and has found himself as the glue-guy for this squad which has played as many different lineups as they have series. Captain brad has built himself a well-rounded team that would be disappointed with anything but a deep run this post-season.

  1. WIZARDS 27-23 // 6-4 // vs SHARKS

Another team cursed by success; the Wizards have found themselves a new starting lineup after losing veritable 3rd man Mykopolis to Champion League. After finding themselves ranked 1st in the preseason power rankings with their #1 overall pick in the draft, the Wizards are a team who have stumbled at points over the season but have always found their footing again. They’ve clutched up when needed and found themselves the 6th seed and second play-in team for Orange conference. Consistency is the name of the game in Rocket League, and if the Wizards find themselves playing on a good day, any team should be worried.

  1. SHADOW 26-24 // 4-6 // vs PIRATES

The only team with a losing series record to make the playoffs in either mode, the Shadow have made some serious waves in the last weeks of the season. A Week 10 5-0 series versus division rival Flames netted the Shadow the final playoff spot, and you couldn’t ask for more competitive league play than that. With a +19 goal differential on a 4-6 record, the Shadow have clearly found their stride and clearly have been finding the back of the net as well. BoogerBear and Reach seem to form the offensive core of this squad, both finding spots for themselves in the top 10 leaderboards for Shots and Assists respectively. A sneaky 7th seed, it would be foolish to write them off this post-season.


  1. HIVE 35-15 // 9-1 // bye

The Hive finished the season with the best game record in 3s, and the best series record in the entire league. Their one loss was to the Jets, a similarly scary team. The Hive spent most of the season scraping by 3-2, and in the second half of the season came up big with several 4-1 and 5-0 series wins. They are 12-3 after the break (18-3 with an NCP) and are looking to keep that momentum even with the unusually long break for bye teams this post-season. An extremely solid defensive team, the Hive have several players in the top 10 leaderboard for standard advanced stats. As biased as I may be, I think anything other than a deep run would be a disappointment to this squad.

** Full disclosure, I am the AL Hive Captain and a player on the 3s squad.

  1. WOLVES 31-19 // 7-3 // vs HURRICANES

The Wolves found themselves as a bit of an underdog in the middle of the season, but the wins kept coming and spoke for themselves. Another victim of the rank-out system, late season transfer Kyuubi has held down the fort in the wake of Dr. Steins move to Champion League. The rest of the squad is no slouch either, rounding the Wolves out to be an incredibly solid and reliable 3s squad. Initially the 5th seed after a 3-2 win in Week 10 (29-21 record), it was later discovered that an ineligible player had been field and the Wolves found themselves as the Arctic Division champs with those 2 extra wins leapfrogging the Foxes. The Wolves have been one of the most consistent teams all season, don’t expect that to change this off season.

  1. JETS 31-19 // 6-4 // vs HAWKS

The Jets find themselves with the 3rd seed for the playoffs, with a reliable and explosive squad. Again, I can’t emphasize how deep the Academy League is in 3s this season. Veteran MLE player AptFox serves are the rock for this team and leads the league in assists, typically to the clinical TheeDomDiggity. The explosive Riyo rounds out this dangerous roster. The only team to beat the Hive this season, the Jets are not to be underestimated on the pitch. Watch out for this team, I would not be surprised to see them in the Blue conference finals.

  1. ECLIPSE 29-21 // 7-3 // vs FOXES

Led by star striker Lucy (most shots in the league), the Eclipse snuck in as division winners over division rival Hurricanes by a single game. The Eclipse bring fantastic shooting and solid defense to the table. ViciousOreo, KraftCola and Achilles are all offensive weapons for this team as well. Lineups have varied week to week for this team, some of which put up fantastic numbers and others left more to be desired. First round vs the Foxes should be an absolute shootout, with the two teams bringing the #1 and #2 shot takers in all of AL 3s.

  1. FOXES 30-20 // 7-3 // vs ECLIPSE

The Foxes were just barely pushed out of a division title by an NCP in favor the Wolves in week 10. A team that many thought were just “okay” in the mid-season, star player and first round pick Kaliber has cemented themselves as the single best goal scorer in the league with 53 goals in 35 games. Seriously, no one else comes close to touching Kaliber, who is 11 goals ahead of #2 TheeDomDiggity in the same number of games. Teammate whyuacow comes in with the 6th most assists in the league, presumably to Kaliber. With SupaHotBoii and AmericasFinest as possible options, the Foxes are an offensive powerhouse that would not surprise me should they make a deep run this season.

  1. HAWKS 28-22 // 7-3 // vs JETS

The Hawks duked it out with the Aviators in week 10 to secure their spot in the playoffs (both teams entered the week 25-20). The loss of purpleb0x was a massive blow to the Hawks, but late season pickups of The Haunted and Sauce have served to correct that loss somewhat. Expect to see the ever-formidable duo of Blitz and PlusUltra with one of the former signees in their first-round match. As an offensive team with a relatively low but positive goal differential, the Hawks are in a precarious situation. Should they clamp down on their defense and rotations, they can give the Jets a tough first round matchup.

  1. HURRICANES 28-22 // 5-5 // vs WOLVES

While typically known for their fantastic twos squad of BlackLazer and Only, top five pick The Janitor (aka West) has cemented himself as one of the best standard players in Academy League. With over 100 shots for the season, Janitor finds himself doing it all no matter who he plays with. The Canes find themselves tied with the Hawks in game record, while at a .500 series record (vs .700 for the Hawks). The Canes have fielded many different lineups in Standard this season, with Janitor being one of the few constants. Heavily lineup dependent, should they show up and mesh well at game time, they have a chance to give the Wolves a run for their money. Again, consistency is key here, and the Wolves have been a consistent team all season. Expect a tight series.



If the Shadow continue playing how they have the past few weeks, it likely won’t be close. I still think the Pirates can sneak a game off them.


Probably one of the games I feel least confident about, I think the Sharks are the safe bet here. If the Wizards play lights out, they can and will win this series. Don’t count either team out.


I think this matchup is possibly the most interesting of the whole first round. And I think Rocason vs Zeddwolff are the two impact players in this one. While I really like the Tyrants in this, I can’t shake the feeling that the nerves will get them. If Zeddwolff has a good day, I have doubts the Tyrants will be able to outpace the Demo offense. However, Rocason has been the steadfast third man for a million different Tyrant lineups this season, so maybe he can be the catalyst for this Tyrant squad.


The Wolves are so consistent. I think anything but a top tier Hurricanes lineup will seriously struggle against the well-oiled machine that is the Wolves.


The last meeting of these teams went 3-2 Hawks. Since then, the expected Jets lineup are 9-1 with +24 GD. I think the Jets will be out for revenge and the Hawks will struggle to keep up without a serious performance.

ECL-FOX: 3-2 You Pick

I think this one is going to be a total shootout. I’ll take 3-2 either way. Lucy and Kaliber are the top two shooters in the league, so I reckon one of them will have a good day.

Final Thoughts

The AL 3s board is so deep and closely matched in skill, I chose not to take the predictions too seriously for any of these matches. Any one can show up and have the best (or worst) day of their career on any given day. Consistency is the name of the game in Rocket League, and AL is consistently inconsistent. I have had a fantastic season in AL and in MLE, and I am super stoked to see what the playoffs bring us. I think just about any team on this list could really win it all.

– poisson