Odoamne: "Now, we have the tools to not go 0-3 in playoffs like the meme is."


Following this offseason, many fans were unsure if Rogue could once again be a top team. Even some of the players — like veteran top laner Andrei "Odoamne" Pascu — were worried how the team would perform. So far, though, they look as strong as ever. They’re currently 7-0, with Odoamne once again one of the most reliable weakside top laners in the world. Inven Global sat down with Odoamne, to discuss his offseason, his opinions on the Rogue roster, and his goals for the year. 


Following Worlds and some of the news that came out during the off-season, some people questioned if you could remain a top player, but so far you’ve had a very good start to the split. What did the off-season look like for you? How’d you spend your time?


Well, off-season was kind of stressful, because of the moves that were happening within Rogue. Obviously, we were aware much earlier than everyone else that there was a chance that Inspired and Hans will leave, and also the reasons why they're leaving. So it was quite stressful because I was feeling a lot of pressure in the sense that there was obviously going to be a lot of community backlash, because of the roster moves. It was perceived that Rogue was just letting go of maybe their two best performing players. 


And I felt like a lot of people were questioning or criticizing me and Larssen as well. It was stressful because I felt like the community perception of me after Worlds was quite a negative one. Because it was some recency bias, where my last three or four games of the year were bad. So that means I must have been bad the whole year. And I feel like that's kind of something that I've struggled with for the last four or five years where I feel like, in a way, people are kind of bored of me. Just being around and always being solid. And everyone's just kind of waiting for one opportunity to put me down and just be like, "Oh, this guy's bad. We need someone new. We need a rookie. This guy should retire" and blah, blah, blah. 


I felt extra pressure because of this because community perception was being twisted in a really weird way, just because of Hans and Inspire leaving. And yeah, I mean, I was criticized a lot from the fact that I played bad at Worlds. And maybe some people are not aware that I had health issues during Worlds because it was not really public information. I did not want it to be public information. Because in a way I felt like it would be a bit of a cheap move for me to just be like, "Oh, I have health problems during Worlds. Sucks! You can expect bad performances from me." I just wanted to kind of shut up and try to make it work, you know? 



Did you expect to have this strong of a start? Did you expect to come in this polished?


Definitely not. I feel like when we first started scrimming we had issues, just kind of growing pain from being a new roster — getting to understand each other and how everyone wants to play the game. So our December scrims were really bad. But I think we actually grew a lot from the scrims. We kind of started understanding each other and everyone made a lot of effort. And I think we just clicked in a way. Malrang's engage got better to the point where we could understand each other fairly well. Because in the beginning, it was hard. Some people might have felt disappointed or let down from the offseason that Rogue had within the team. 


So come January, when at least he [Malrang] was starting to get so close that it was kind of like "go time" for us to actually start putting in the work, and I think that's when we started clicking. But yeah, I did not really expect this strong of a showing. You lose your two best players, and you don't expect yourself to be the best team. And I still don't see us as the best team, because I feel like there's still so long to the end of the split, that anything can happen. 


It's a small possibility. But it's still possible that you lose 11 games in a row now, and you don't make playoffs. It happened to me with Schalke when we were 7-2, and we lost eight or nine games in a row and we didn't make playoffs. But I don't want the fact that we're good now to change the way the team functions or how much we work. 


Complacency is the worst thing that can happen to us. So I feel like the guys, in a way, don't really care so much that we're 7-0. Everyone's obviously happy, but I still feel like everyone is putting the work in. And we're not lazy and complacent. At least for me, that's important because I've been through this before, and it ended bad. 



With Rogue’s strong regular seasons in the past, what defines a success for you now? What do you want to work on throughout these weeks to best put Rogue in a position to win a title?


I think just keep being consistent. Our success last year came from winning lanes and snowballing games. Where I feel like now, our mid and late game is just so much cleaner than it was with Rogue in 2021. And I feel like that's something that we need to keep going. Because I think our foundation is a lot more solid than it was in 2021. So for me, it's just to kind of keep building on that. 


From a playstyle perspective, Rogue last year were considered great in best-of-1s, but not as good in best-of-5s. What is different with this team that makes you potentially stronger in a playoffs format?


I mean, the meme is there. And yup, sure, 18-0 in 0-3 in playoffs. But I think the way we win games now is a lot more consistent than it was last year. And I feel like now we have the tools to not go 0-3 in playoffs like the meme is. It's a different roster, different team chemistry, different team dynamic. And just because it's Rogue, just because the name is there, it doesn't mean that there is a curse or whatever. I felt like yeah, the individuals were kind of making the atmosphere for best-of-fives that was like bad. And now, the cohesion is a lot better than it was in the past.


How do you view your role on Rogue now? When we talked last year, you said the individual strength of your teammates allowed you to play your own lane and your own game. You didn’t have to compensate for others. What about now? What’s the difference between 2021 Odo and 2022?


I wouldn't say there is that much of a difference. I feel like my role within the team so far, at least now for the beginning, is the same as 2021. Because at least mine and the coaching staff's approach is to abuse the fact that I was doing weakside so well in 2021 that I have to do it for a bit more. So we expanded on our play style for mid and bot. And once that happens, we can look to become more flexible on top lane as well. Because, I mean, at least that's how we believe that this is one of our strengths as a team — the top lane is always stable and always in a good position. So in a way, even though I'm playing weak side, we're kind of playing towards it. 


I feel like that's one of our strengths that we're using very well right now. And yeah, the only difference is I feel like when time comes or like when I see opportunities in game to punish top, we exploit it a lot. Because I feel like my jungle proximity or something like that stat that everyone likes is really low this season so far. But every single time the jungler comes to my lane there's something happening. 


So I feel like, in a way, Malrang's showing that we can do this together, and we're finding good windows together. We just believe it's better to just play for other stuff on the map. So I feel like so far, my position is relatively the same. But I do feel like I have more room to grow. And I feel like my job is also a bit easier now — to play weakside and all of this stuff — given how the team dynamic changed. I feel like I don't have to compensate for others. And I'm just doing my job and kind of the puzzle piece fits.



So looking back, you did feel last season that you had to compensate for others?


At times I would say that maybe I did, but not really like... I felt like I was really restricted last year. I mean, I don't know if compensating for others is a good word, because I feel like it has some negative connotation towards my teammates. But I do feel like I was playing towards something that is not necessarily the best for me. And we made it work. So I feel like that's maybe the better word that I would use. We're not doing it now. Now, I feel like my role is a bit more balanced, or my contribution is more balanced than last year.


After G2’s fall last year, a lot of people were skeptical of Wunder as well. Playing him on Fnatic, what are your impressions of this version of him? Does he seem different?


It kind of felt the same as in G2, but you are kind of right. I feel like now that Wunder went away from that G2 shield where the organization was kind of used to him doing whatever he wants, you know, like the World of Warcraft meme blah, blah, blah... Obviously, this is speculation, we don't really know everyone's stance or like how much he was doing it — it's just outside perspective. 


I do feel like now, the community will have a different expectation of him because it's a new org. In a way, he needs to prove himself that he deserves that spot in that organization. The ball is in his court to adapt to his team's needs. I do feel like this is kind of a struggle for everyone who is joining a new team — where they kind of have to find their identity and make sacrifices for their team. 


But [Friday]'s game against them felt kind of like the same old thing. Just another day of playing versus Wunder. But I did feel like it was easier just because before when we played G2, I felt like Jankos was a big engine for him to perform well. And now is the same story as I said. He needs to maybe play different, or his jungler needs to play different, or his jungler needs to emulate the style that Jankos had. There's always this thing that happens whenever someone joins a new team and there is a new dynamic. So it did feel like it was a bit easier, because that pressure of Jankos being always there was not there. So it made my job easier. 


All photos by: Riot Games

The interview was edited for brevity.

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