Vander talks Rogue's 1st place finish in the 2020 LEC Summer Split; Worlds qualification

▲ Photo by Michal Konkol for Riot Games


The 2020 League of Legends European Championship Summer Split has come to a close, and after all was said and done, Rogue finished in 1st place. In addition, because of the changes to the 2020 LEC Summer Playoffs format and the removal of the LEC Regional Final, Rogue is the first team to qualify for the 2020 League of Legends World Championship. Rogue Support Oskar "Vander" Bogdan spoke to Inven Global's Lara Lunardi about 1st place in the LEC and Worlds qualification.



Rogue has had a very strong development over the split. Coming from spring, what are some of the things that have changed in the team?


The main thing is that we tried to put more responsibility on our Mid Laner Emil "Larssen" Larsson  and Top Laner Finn "Finn" Wiestål, especially in the mid game in terms of how to play around their champions and what champions we want them to play. Beforehand, it was mainly me and our AD Carry Steven "Hans Sama" Liv talking about this stuff, but we worked hard with Finn and Larssen.


We kind of made them work hard so they could learn positions they could shotcall from in the mid game, and we can play through them easier this way. I think it showed a lot how much easier it was for Larssen to get opportunities to get more farm and for us to make plays around him and make sure he is always safe. I guess the same things apply to Finn, too.



What is the biggest factor you knew you’d have to overcome to reach the playoffs this Split?


That's a tough question. After last split, I felt that we all didn't play well enough. We are all good players, but I thought that Origen, Fnatic, and G2 Esports were better than us. In the Spring Split, I felt that our level was similar to MAD Lions' at the time, but we were unable to beat the better teams. All I thought about was that we had to play better. *Laughs* All of us had to step up and just work on the small things to become more competitive, in my opinion.


I thought that reaching the Summer Playoffs would be easy, but I understood that we wanted to get somewhere better like Worlds. I didn't worry about the post-season too much; I figured we should be there no matter what. I was kind of worried about beating the teams that were better than us in spring, but we did that, so that's nice.



Talking about development, one of the subjects I’d like to explore in this interview is the making of a menacing opponent. To you, what makes a menacing Support player?


I don't think there are any supports I am particularly scared of, but in Europe, some players have niche picks they are very good with, so you have to make sure not to give away good opportunities for those to be picked in the Draft Phase.


Examples would be Fnatic Support Zdravets "Hylissang" Iliev Galabov's Pyke and good Blitzcranks and Bards around the league. Those champions can carry the game, so if you know that a player has put a lot of time and effort to play that type of champion well, then he can carry with it and you have to not give them a good opportunity.


In general, a menacing Support is not scared to win lane and likes to roam to help his teammates. Some players don't really move from the lane too much even if they are winning it, so as an opponent, you can just play on the back foot in that lane and nothing too bad will happen.


However, when a Support knows how to deny vision when ahead and roams to the mid lane a lot, you can't keep track of them as well and it causes a lot of chaos and uncertainty within your teams' communication because you don't know if your Mid Laner can push the wave or not.


Those are the two scariest things a Support can do: playing aggressively in a good lane matchup, and someone who can utilize the fog of war. That being said, Hans Sama and I don't really that those things happen against us too often. 



And what about Rogue was menacing this Split?


I'm not too sure. I think we are all really good in the early game and have really strong laners and a good Jungler who knows how to play around those laners. As a team, we focus a lot on how lanes should play with our Jungler and certain support champions. Our early game was really good this split, and we had a lot of good leads in terms of tempo, map control, and objectives. Our early game wasn't too explosive in terms of going for early dives or crazy fights too often, but we would always get something. 



You have qualified for Worlds. How do you feel?


*Laughs* I feel really happy about our upcoming trip to Worlds. It's been four years since I last qualified for Worlds, and every time since that I've failed to qualify I have thought a lot about if I could make it again. You can't really know the answer, so I was just telling myself to do my best, focus on the next year, and keep going game by game. I was often heartbroken because I missed qualifying for Worlds 3 times by one game in a best-of-five series, but I made it and I'm really happy.



Hopefully, we can avoid the Play-In, but on the other hand, teams in the Play-In get a buff in terms of it being a warm-up for the main stage. Teams get can quite far in the tournament after starting in the Play-In, so I'm not sure if it's an advantage or a disadvantage. Regardless, we're looking to win the 2020 LEC Summer Playoffs, or at least get as far as we can.


▲ Photo by Michal Konkol for Riot Games


What effect do you think this will have in your upcoming games? 


We started this split very strong and pretty much secured qualifying for the post-season after week 4, to be honest. It would have had to be a complete disaster for us to have not qualified for the LEC Summer Playoffs after our results for the first four weeks — we would have had to go like 0-9 in our last nine games. We knew we just needed two more wins after the first round robin, so it helped us relax a lot more both in practice and in matches.


Even if something wasn't going as we wanted to or if we had some arguments in scrims, there was no extra stress or tension about having to fix everything perfectly in the moment because we were already pretty close to securing a spot in the Playoffs. I think we have fixed those problems now, and throughout all our scrims and matches in the next few weeks we will already be a team that has qualified for Worlds 2020.


Even if we fail in the LEC Summer Playoffs, we are still going to Worlds, so I think it's a good position for our players. Some people think differently and perform better with more pressure, but for us, if everyday life is stressful any arguments we have about our team are a lot less severe.


We know we don't have to fix every single problem right in that moment, and so we take an approach we think is the right way and then see what happens. We can take things more slowly, and going step-by-step also helps the mood of our team in general.



We are seeing a shuffle in the standings for the usual Playoffs spots. What’s your prediction of who will be on top, and who will be on the bottom?


*Laughs* I'd say after G2 Esports, MAD Lions, and ourselves, it is pretty open. I don't think Fnatic is a big favorite to qualify for Worlds 2020, so I would predict us 1st, G2 2nd, and MAD Lions 3rd. If there is a 4th seed, I think FC Schalke 04 can make it, honestly. The problem with teams like Schalke, however, is that they start playing really well when there is nothing to lose. Now, they have everything to lose again, and there is more pressure.


S04 played quite badly in both splits this season when everything was on the line. I would say S04's victory against MAD today is different because it had to beat the 1st place team at the time to keep its post-season hopes alive, so maybe they've improved, but I'm not quite sold on it. However, I think if Schalke 04 can improve and maintain that form, Worlds could be in reach.


SK Gaming is looking quite decent, too, but I don't think that team has the highest highs. However, SK is consistent and usually plays well, whereas Fnatic has some really off games from individual players. If Fnatic's players have any off games like that then there is no doubt in my mind that SK can win. There's a lot of parity below the top 3 teams right now; anyone in the running could make it to Worlds.



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