Johan Last updated / Published Nov 17 · 2021
Rocket League Mastery: How To Defend In Pairs

As you start to get more and more serious about Rocket League, you'll start to notice that individual skill isn't all that matters. What you learn and what you can do isn't the be-all and end-all of winning matches. Rocket League is a team game. As such, you're going to have to learn how to communicate, synergize and adapt with your teammates.

Today's guide focuses on teamwork in defending, specifically in pairs. It is aimed towards Grand Champion players, as that's when teamplay really starts to matter. But, it can be of use at lower ranks as well and can help you prepare in advance. Let's have a look.

Defending in pairs

The concept of defending in pairs is basically where you play off of your teammates' moves and play opposing roles that come together to form a functional unit. The most competitive environment is generally in a 3v3 lobby, but defending in pairs applies even more so in 2v2s. To start off simple, let's see how this would apply in 2v2s.

As mentioned, each member of the team plays a role. It doesn't help when players are doing their own thing alone and not really trying to help the other with the same objective in mind.

For example, one player should try to be the aggressive one, go for challenges and force the opponent to make plays they don't necessarily want to make. They should be as annoying as possible to play against.

The second player should be the more passive one. They can go for easy saves and take more time to give themselves enough room to defend. You don't want to be the one playing 1v2 and getting in the enemy's grill all the time. Rather, you want to use your teammate's moves to your advantage and be the backup in case they can't make a save themselves.

Taking turns

One question that will quickly become apparent is, who takes which role? How do you decide? The answer is not so simple. Usually, it's not advisable for one player to stay fixed in one role and force the other to do the same.

As the game progresses, the dynamic between the two players and the requirements of the team also evolves. This can depend on whether you're winning or losing. It can also depend on which body type each of your cars has.

Switching positions can happen very fast and very often in a match. Take this as an example; you're the passive player who makes a save and is now in control of the ball.

There are two ways in which you can use this opportunity. You can either play more aggressively, dribble it to the enemy's side of the field and attempt a shot. Or, you can try to pass it back to your teammate and let them continue being aggressive.

More often than not, it would be recommended that you go for the first option. The reason is, your teammate could be low on boost after their attempted save.

Remember, they were playing aggressively towards the enemy, trying to contest and making fake challenges all the time. Which is why they'll need a couple of seconds to reset before they can make the next move. So, instead of trying to pass the ball back to them, it's generally better to use this opportunity to make a move yourself.

Trust and communication

Following up on the previous point is the most important factor you need to pull off defending in pairs. At a level as high as the Champion or Grand Champion rank, you need to be constantly communicating with your team during a match. It can make a world of difference when it comes to synergizing moves.

In order to do that, it’s good to join a voice channel on Discord or other similar applications so you can communicate in a game. It really helps if you make a few friends that you can queue with together, either as 2 or 3.

Playing with the same person for an extended amount of time helps you build a level of trust and understanding that is crucial not just in Rocket League, but most online multiplayer games at large.

Make sure your communication in a game is short, concise, and to the point. Talking about broad concepts and strategies should be done outside a match, but during a match, you just need guiding messages to implement them. These kinds of things can take time to develop and mature, but once you get there, you'll see that it was totally worth it.

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