The first team from the European region to qualify for the 2020 League of Legends World Championship had a lot to overcome in order to prove they truly are deserving of their spot. After the third day of the Group Stage, where Rogue faced the Chinese giants JD Gaming, Support player Oskar "Vander" Bogdan joined Inven Global to talk about the team's progression since the LEC Summer Playoffs, the new meta, and his personal development.
Let’s talk about today’s match against JD Gaming. It seemed like Rogue was off to a solid start, but it ended up taking a turn for the worst. What was the tipping point in this match?
The big problem was they got Heralds, and they kind of got two towers for free, and we couldn’t really answer it in a way because Renekton would have TPd. If we went Bot, we would just get hit on Top, and get a tower on Volibear. This is what we expected to happen, but they just TPd Bot and got the tower there.
That was a big one, with over 1K Gold swing since they got two towers, then the team fight where I and Hans Sama died, I felt like we should have gone for the fight there, being more aggressive.
You mentioned Renekton, LS was casting this match for the LEC and NA audience, so I know he absolutely hates that pick, but what are your thoughts on that champion?
He is very good with the two best junglers right now, Nida and Lillia, the AP champions. You don’t really want to pair him up with AD champions because then any Top Laner would be armored and he would be kind of useless. But if you have the Lillia-Nidalee, they kind of have so much damage that if the Top Laner doesn’t -- they kind of just one-shot them.
He brings a setup for them. Usually, Nidalee struggles to hit with her spear, but Renekton just presses W, stuns, and then it’s a guaranteed spear. Same with Volibear, kind of. And he wins lane, which also helps!
Okay, let’s talk about the European region at Worlds. How do you think we stand righ now against the other [regions]?
I am not really sure. I think G2 Esports is doing really well so far, and I think Fnatic and us are doing ok. I feel like we were a bit worse than the teams we faced, JDG and DAMWON Gaming, but I hope we can turn it around in Week 2, but G2 and Fnatic have played pretty well so far, I would say.
"We had to adapt a lot to how we communicate, how we play, and what we play as well. So you have probably seen a shift in our champion pools."
How did you guys approach this more dominant LPL style of play? I feel like a lot of teams at Worlds are really going in for the fights. Is this something you were used to, or did you have to learn it as you got to China?
Yeah, the first days of scrims were pretty rough, because they were very aggressive on the map, they use their tempo, and they know their champions really well. So let’s say, one Support or Mid Laner they can keep pushing, they will roam into something always. Whereas in Europe, the players are very slow to take action, people are happy just farming and doing nothing.
But here that’s not the case anymore. We had to adapt a lot to how we communicate, how we play, and what we play as well. So you have probably seen a shift in our champion pools. In general, we are not sure if every team can play as well on stage as they do in scrims. You could see us play a scaling comp yesterday and we got punished for it, so we realized that in another group game, so we tried to play a more aggressive style. I think it worked better, at least the game was winnable. I think this is the way to go and I hope we can play better next time.
Despite the result against DAMWON, I think it was pretty clear that you guys we pretty competitive against them, I wouldn’t say it was a one-sided match. What will you be changing when you face them again next week, well, not just them, but JDG as well?
I think we just have to come to the game just like we did today. Yesterday, it’s true that it felt like we had a chance and had control over the whole game because it was more on them to make a big mistake in a team fight, let’s say, Hecarim or I with Kalista would not kill someone. They were very aware of what we wanted to do and played with a gold lead of around 5K for most of the game, so they could control the map and choose their parts.
DAMWON did not really make mistakes so our Hecarim was kind of useless, he was also falling behind a lot. They are good at playing jungle comps. This is like the big difference of playing here at Worlds compared to Europe because in our region no one wants to contest the camps that much, at least not to the extent people do here. Basically, if you don’t have pressure in lanes, your Jungler will be two or three levels behind and you can’t do anything about it.
European Junglers try to help the team too much, not abusing their matchup, which can be a mistake because if Hecarim can farm and do well in team fights he will carry, and DAMWON knew about it, so they just shut down Hecarim and they did pick pretty well against us, with Lulu and Silas, it countered our composition, I think.
I prefer much more what we did today rather than yesterday, so we just have to play better and maybe not give that much gold away again.
I feel like everyone said Group C was the group of death, but when I look at Group B… it definitely seems like one of the most dangerous ones. What are your thoughts on where you got placed?
I think for us it is for sure group of death [laughs]... The Chinese and Korean teams are very strong, DAMWON, and JDG. I feel like Group C is more like the most competitive group in the way that all four teams are on the same level. I think if you put any of those four teams into our place, I don’t think they would do much better. They would also struggle against the top 2 teams in our group.
After you guys won the Summer Split, you had a little bit of a slump in the playoffs. I remember that a lot of LEC fans were worried about how you guys would perform at Worlds, and they were quite critical about it, too. Do you think this type of criticism of “Oh, does Rogue deserve to be at Worlds” kind of light a fire under you guys’ chairs and makes you strive for the best?
There was some truth in what people were saying.
We had this playstyle farming in solo lanes, pressure the Bot Lane, then junglers like Volibear and Sett, this was the meta in the EU back then. The patched changed a bit since Evelynn and Hecarim got buffed a bit, and Fnatic came in playing the scaling Jungler style, and we just instantly after playing against them said “this is the best way to play the game right now”. We tried it a bit, but we didn’t really think it would work, but they showed us that it did.
After our loss against Fnatic, which was kind of bad, I understood why people felt that way, but it was just one best of five that we could clearly see that we were not playing the same champions as Fnatic, so they were one step ahead. We adapted really well, we play this style decently now, and we are for sure at least the third-best team in Europe.
What about your personal development at Worlds? What have you learned so far?
Well, I feel like the game is kind of played like it’s been for years, it’s very important to play for tempo, the balance between early game and scaling is also important. In Europe, we play too much for scaling and forget about the early game. I just got reminded by the Asian players that it is still really important, so that was the biggest part. Nothing life-changing, I was playing the kind of this way in the past already, with emphasis on the early game and landing phase, so it’s not a new concept for me.
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