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Rocket League 1v1 strategy guide

The face-off

Like every other mode in Rocket League, 1v1 battles start with the face-off. You're going to score a lot of goals because of favorable face-offs, and let in plenty of goals because of unfavorable ones. That's just business as usual in 1v1. The face-off is often a crapshoot.

There are two strategies to use when beginning a game.

Aggressive

Speed off the line, and meet your opponent head-on. Be sure to hit the boost pads on the way (if there are any, which depends on the starting formation).

Keep an eye on how your opponent is approaching the ball, as well. If they're is hanging back, drive directly into the ball without jumping. This will cause a chip shot and send the ball skyward. Flipping into the ball will send an easily returnable shot on the ground.

If your opponent is charging the ball like you are, flip forward into the ball at the last moment. You want to make your car as large as possible, and flipping forward off the ground will do that.

If you're charging from the diagonal starting formation, adjust your car slightly inward so the ball is basically between your car and your opponent's goal when you strike. If you hit the ball outward or head-on, the ball will most likely end up on your side of the field, and you'll be scrambling to recover.

Defensive

The defensive approach for face-offs isn't our favorite, but some people prefer it. When using this strategy, you'll hang back and let your opponent make the first move. This is usually only a good idea if you're in the starting formation that puts your right near your goal.

You should really only try the defensive face-off if you're capable of basic aerials. Good players will see that you're hanging back and chip the ball directly into one of the corners of your goal. It will take some aerial prowess to prevent that from happening. Even if you do manage to stop the initial shot from going in, your opponent is likely in position to follow up your save and turn it into a goal. That's the risk you take.

This style of play does have its advantages. An opponent could flip into the ball, giving you an easy return shot with nobody there to stop it.

High level face-off play adds a front flip while initially racing to the ball. That front flip will get you to the ball faster than just speeding there with boost. It's not as easy as incorporating a front flip during a typical trip to a live ball. It has to be timed as soon as you hit top speed, plus you have to let off the boost while you do it. It's tricky and takes practice.

Boost is everything in 1v1

Since you're out on the pitch by yourself, there's nobody to back you up on defense or catch your assists on offense. That's why you want to beat your opponent to the ball whenever you can. Boost is essential to this process.

Be sure to hit any of the full boost pads (the four corners and midfield) whenever you're near one. Even if you don't need one, it's important to pick them up so your opponent can't. This is known as boost starving. It works.

Boost makes you much faster than a car without it. It also allows for scenarios where you can demolish your opponent's car. Demolitions can lead to big openings. Every second that your opponent is waiting to respawn is a second with an open goal. Make it count.

Handling the corners in 1v1

The most popular play in Rocket League is slamming the ball into the corner and having it roll or bounce off the wall in front of the goal. This really isn't possible in 1v1 because there's no teammate in the center waiting for a pass. There's usually no play when you send the ball around the corner. Your opponent is usually waiting in the goal to clear it. Gauge the situation. If you know you're opponent isn't in goal when the ball hits the corner, take the shot.

Try backing off around midfield after sending the ball around the corner. See what your opponent does with it. They may botch and send it dribbling in the center, or just miss it completely. When that happens, you're in position to bury it in the goal.

Know when to chase the ball — and when not to

About 70 percent of Rocket League is about being able to gauge whether or not you can beat another car too the ball. If you charge when you're too far away, your opponent can easily direct the ball away from you, and you'll be out of position to conduct any kind of defensive play.

Wait to see where the ball goes after your opponent touches it. Then make your decision about how to react.

It's not a bad idea to goaltend if your opponent has the ball at midfield. If they try to knock it in with brute force, you can easily save it and take it the full length of the field while they're is stuck in your goal trying to recover. It's true what they say: Defense really is the best offense in some cases.