It's been an unusual time for Rogue in the 2022 LEC Summer Split. The team has experienced more ups and downs than most. In the beginning weeks, they were thought to have fallen off a cliff, only to slowly climb up to become the highest-ranked team in the LEC. All of their players showed a strong understanding of the meta — once again continuing their tradition of strong regular season play.
In the past few weeks, however, Rogue fell into a slump. The team's cohesion didn't seem as strong, and their adaptation to new metas failed to reach that of other teams. However, there's a chance they'll climb up once again. Though the lost a game to SK Gaming, their most recent LEC weekend featured a win against the top-ranked MAD Lions. Inven Global spoke with Simon "fredy122" Payne to discuss his thoughts on Rogue's slump, how the team is structured, and what style is preferable for Worlds.
It's been a somewhat tumultuous period for Rogue, but you guys had a big win of MAD and are in a good position for playoffs. Give me your perspective of the past few weeks and how you see the team right now.
Honestly, the last week has been a bit of a slump for us. Everything went down: results went down, I think atmosphere went down a little bit, and we had to adapt to the patch. So we've been struggling a bit the last week. But we've been rebuilding things and getting the team back together now. And moving into this week, we felt quite confident coming in. Yeah, so we're in a good state right now. After this win, we're all very happy.
Could you elaborate on the process of "rebuilding thing"? How did the coaching staff approach getting the team out of its slump?
Yeah, we actually put our foot on the gas this week. We basically looked at all of our in-game systems — things that people should be doing talking about every game. And we noticed that we weren't really doing them in games right now. So we refreshed on that the entire week, and we put the big focus on that in scrims. We also even pulled up some VODs of us in the past — what we did very well in the past so that people could check it out and get the vibe of what's actually missing in the team and our games right now.
And we've worked very closely with all the players one-on-one to get their opinions and make sure everyone's heard overall, and the ideas are heard. I think that was possibly lacking a bit as well in the last week. So yeah, there's been a very, very busy four or five days for us. But I would say those were the three things that we did the most to come out of the other side of this.
In broader terms, what would you pinpoint as the biggest reason for Rogue's slump recently?
Honestly, we did not have the best read of the last patch, and issues had built up into our gameplay that we didn't actually notice fast enough. So I felt that things were missing from our game. But because we were winning those games in the LEC, we maybe looked over some of them. We had some very sketchy wins, and we knew what the issues were. And we addressed them, but I don't know if we took them seriously enough. So after last week, it was really like, "Oh, we got to actually look into everything and take all these issues and fix them right now." So yeah, it's a lot of issues, I would say. But I think those were the main things.
Are you confident in your current read of the meta? Some other teams have told me they've been impressed with your team's understanding. What's been your opinion of how Rogue has worked with it?
We have a pretty strong read on the meta right now. It's interesting you say that, because it's been a bit of chaos this week with the new patch. There was a lot of confusion, I think. And obviously, after a bad week, you need to choose a direction moving forward. For the most part, we hit the nail on the head on the meta read. So that's one thing that I'm super happy about, and proud about for the guys as well.
What are your thoughts of the way Rogue is currently constructed? It seems that for the most part, it’s been Comp that has been the main focus of the team. Is that just a coincidence, or have you guys been steering it in that direction?
We've definitely the whole split — it's no secret — we've been pushing more towards bot-centric style. That's something that we had even before last year, even with Hans sama. Comp is also a very similar player: he's very aggressive, and he wants to play aggressive. So it gives us the ability to do that, and always have this point that people have to be wary about bot side.
So definitely, we look at those things. And it also depends on the patch. Sometimes, like in this game, we played topside. So it really depends. But yeah, overall, we're super happy with what Comp is doing for the team and what he allows us to do from draft and everything.
What's been your reasoning for steering in that direction?
It's just really we're trying to use our player's strength. Trymbi has a very deep champion pool, and like I said, Comp likes to play aggressive. But I also think the meta has been more orientated in bot the whole year. Ever since all the TP changes and durability and everything. The champions that are strong, like Kalista and Lucian a few patches ago. So I think we've been pushed there by the meta. And we're kind of just using the strength of Trymbi's deep champion pool, I would say.
Is it weird, then, why such a bot-centric team like Fnatic is failing despite the current meta?
Yeah, it is a bit curious. I think there's more going on in Fnatic than just them not having a playstyle or not playing so well around that strength. Maybe there's a lot more ranged champs in the meta right now which they aren't playing so well. Or maybe there's more internal issues for them. We just don't know about that. Fnatic's been a bit off. That's for sure. But I'm not completely sure why.
What are your current impressions of your early game? It was something I was discussing with Mac and MAD's coaching staff — he pointed to Rogue and MAD as being the two teams that actually understand it well. Do you see that as an issue?
Oh, I think this has been a problem for four years, honestly. A lot of EU teams just picking scaling and hoping — it doesn't help improve the region. And often when you lose to scaling, maybe you (like other teams) start thinking scaling is the way to play. For the region to fully improve, a lot of teams need to start picking more early-game comps, but that's what I thought for a long time. So I'm very happy for this patch. Because I will say, in fairness, the durability patches made the game way more scaling-orientated. So that's also why right now teams are doing this in the meta.
So I would agree with their statements that I think this split, they've been playing early game, so that's good. And as in general, we've always tried to push towards more early game. It's how you compete internationally — is being able to play early game. And if you can't play early game, then you can't play international. That's always been our philosophy.
Keeping in mind the current meta and how teams have been playing — does that then give you confidence for EU teams going into Worlds?
I would say so. Yeah. I just remember in previous tournaments, the big problem was getting completely obliterated in early game. At least that was the first Worlds experience we had when we were in Rogue. And since then, we decided we don't want to lose in eight minutes. So we need to snowball games from early game. So, yeah, it's gonna be a big help moving into World and stuff (assuming we make it) that we have this philosophy
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