Rogue bounced back strongly in week 6 of the 2022 LEC Spring Split. After suffering their first losses of the year in week 5, the best-of-1 kings took down reigning champions MAD Lions and the superteam of Vitality with comfort and became the first team in the LEC to guarantee themselves a spot in the spring split playoffs.
For bot laner Markos "Comp" Stamkopoulos, who joined Rogue last offseason, it marks the first appearance in the LEC's best-of-5 stage. He spoke to Inven Global about his team's performance and why he wasn't fazed when they lost for the first time. Comp also discussed his rocky 2021, and how his year off actually made him more confident about competing in the LEC.
Welcome, Comp, and congrats on another 2-0 week with Rogue! Was it a relief, after the 0-2 in week 5?
I don't really feel like it was a relief. I think everyone knew we kind of had a bad week in week 5. We weren't really [as] prepared as we should have [been]. But, we didn't really take it as the end of the world or something. We knew it was just a bad week, let's move on, let's practice even harder next week. And that's what we did, right? Even though it was a disaster, we went into this weekend pretty confidently. It wasn't an issue in the end.
"I told them 'I respect all of your ambitions, but I will take it a bit slower.'"
Sometimes you hear teams say that it's good to lose some games, so you're more aware of what really needs fixing in the team. Was this the case for you? Or is that just a coping mechanism?
It's a bit of Copium, not gonna lie. Basically, we were a bit behind on the meta read. I feel like the release of Zeri was actually kind of big and we actually didn't know it at all this time. I was trying to play it but it was perma-banned in solo queue and in scrims. We actually didn't know that other teams were practicing it, so it was really weird. We thought we could leave it open because we won in the previous week against G2, so we thought we could do the same with picking things and just scale for free. But yeah, turns out that was a mistake. [Laughs]
To summarize: When we went 0-2, we kind of felt like that if we kept winning and winning, maybe what happened in week 5 would happen in the playoffs. For sure we would not want that. So, us losing now and getting this reality check of "We are good, but we are not the best by far" helps us to practice even harder.
You've guaranteed a spot in the playoffs with your 2-0 weekend — your first time in the LEC playoffs. What is it like for you to be on a team such as Rogue, a team that has these high ambitions and has found success?
It feels very special. Honestly, at least for now, it feels kind of easy. Even though we're going to the playoffs, we didn't really... struggle or something. It was actually quite easy. It's nice for sure. That means we're quite good, I guess.
For now, everyone has high ambitions. I'm kind of with them. When the season started, everyone was like "What's our goal?" and I told them "I respect all of your ambitions, but I will take it a bit slower because I've never gone to playoffs. So, a first step for me is playoffs, but then I will follow you guys." [Laughs]
I'm going with their flow now, but hearing them talk about their ambitions in the beginning was really great. It's good to be in a team like that and be around players with high ambitions. On the other hand, I don't want to get too ahead of myself. I want to stay a bit humble. For now, it's going great.
When did you realize you could set higher expectations?
I guess after the first round robin. Even after playing the top teams that everyone was placing in the top 2, top 3, I was like, "They don't feel like that." Even though I was a year off, competitively, it doesn't feel as bad as I thought it would.
"I got to spend the whole summer in Greece with friends. I got to do a lot of things that I legit have never done in my life."
Let's talk more about that year off. Last year, you were benched by Vitality after just a few weeks as the org said a change was needed, and you just happened to bite the dust because Crownshot was available. You're a confident person, but did that situation affect you at all?
The first weeks were kind of hard, I can't lie. I didn't know what path I should take, what I should do. After I got benched I also couldn't really go home, even though I wanted to. They were like "You should stay, just in case we want you to play again this split," but it turned out that there was no point for me to stay. I was just streaming all day. In a way, those weeks until I went home were kind of rough. I didn't have a lot to do during the day. I was legit just playing solo queue and chilling.
But after I went home, I actually enjoyed my offseason a lot. Even though I didn't play at all in the Summer Split, I was really happy. There were tryouts before the summer split [in Vitality]. Some people were tried in every role except support, which would 100% be Labrov. After those tryouts, I think my performance was actually way better than everyone else in my role. I didn't end up getting the role. I don't know why. But at least I was happy with my performance, so I could take something from it. I didn't get the role not because I sucked, but because of the staff. But let's not talk about that.
Anyway, I really enjoyed my time off. Even though I didn't play in summer, I got to spend the whole summer in Greece with friends. I got to do a lot of things that I legit have never done in my life. If you are an average League player and you start your competitive career around 17 years old, you are actually not supposed to live your life like an average 17-year old. You're supposed to go to gaming houses, in other countries even, and play eight to ten hours a day, trying to improve. It actually takes up a lot of your time. That's what I felt like I had this offseason. I had a lot of time off. I'm kind of grateful for that.
You could go out with friends, do fun things.
Yeah, do things like that. I've had so many experiences. I was just so happy about this whole offseason. It kind of led me to be more confident [about] going back to the competition this year, even though I didn't play the whole year. For many people, when they don't play a full year of competitive, they might think they're forgotten or they're not as good anymore. But I don't think that really is true. As long as you're confident with yourself, you can do pretty much anything. That was the case for me.
But how did not playing make you more confident?
I was still playing solo queue, right? Just not in a competitive environment. Other than that, working out helped a lot. I was working out way more than I did in the past. Socializing every day, meeting new people, it was just so nice. Especially in the summer, there are so many tourists. Every day you will just meet new people by going to places. It was just really nice to spend my time like that.
I can imagine so. Back to the LEC: You seem to fit perfectly into the Rogue lineup. In what way do you notice your influence on the team? Do you also speak up and say how you view the competition and what the approach should be?
Yes. Considering our practice has been going so well, I feel like we're really confident to play whichever playstyle we think is the best. Every player has its strengths, right, but we can also enable one of our teammates. We've seen that in multiple games at the start of the Split, I was mostly playing Jinx and stuff. In the last weeks, we mostly go for the winning and outscaling mid, and we just play around that. So, I think it has been really nice. We for sure have stuff to improve on this topic for every one of us. But it just feels really nice that everyone can show their strengths whenever they're needed to.
"Try to accept that what you do is a marathon, not a one-day thing."
We've touched on ambitions a bit, but let's round up the interview with them. You're filling big shoes — Hans sama was the best bot laner in EU by the end of 2021. You don't strike me as a guy who feels pressure from that per se, but do you have any personal growth goals aside from the obvious "winning the split" et cetera?
I can say it every year, but especially this year I want to make it a year to remember. I feel like we're able to do that as a team, as a whole. I'm feeling really nice about heading into the spring playoffs. I feel like we're gonna do a lot of damage in the spring playoffs.
For me, it's always too early to talk about summer split or worlds already. In the end, you end up overthinking these things. What really matters is just to take it chill every day and realize that every day is a good day. Try to accept that what you do is a marathon, not a one-day thing. That's how I do it. I wake up every day and think "Ok, another day at the job. I just gotta do what I gotta do."
Storyteller by heart. If something is competitive, I am interested in it.