Rogue has passed its first test at the 2022 League of Legends World Championship with flying colors. Against LCK fourth seed DRX, Rogue stayed in control for almost the entire game and did so while playing many players’ iconic champions. However, head coach Simon “fredy122” Payne realizes his team is far from being done. If Rogue wants to topple the strongest teams at Worlds 2022, they need to improve on even the tiniest mistakes.
After Rogue’s victory, fredy122 spoke to Em Dash about his team’s learning process in New York City. He discussed the meta picks and why it’s important to stay in touch with your identity as a team, even when you’re being beaten down in scrims by stronger opponents. fredy122 also spoke about Rogue’s atmosphere in the high-pressure environment, and what he offers the team during the biggest tournament of the year.
Congratulations on the victory, fredy! That game looked quite clean, aside from maybe that one overstep by Comp. [Laughs] How are you walking away from this game?
[Laughs] Yeah, I think we played well. There were definitely some details that I think could have gone better. For example, I think [DRX] cleared two wards at level 1. The bot lane matchup should have been easier for us, but that made it harder. There were also a few fights we could have done better. What we’ve learned so far from scrimming Asian teams is that the small details are really what “make” the game. But overall, I’m very happy with our performance today.
“We know what’s good for us. Once you figure out the main meta picks, you still should know what’s good for your team.”
We’ll talk about the scrims in a bit. But first, let’s talk about Rogue’s Worlds preparation. Every team tries to figure out the meta as soon as possible. It turns out that the meta actually seems to be quite good for Rogue with Caitlyn, Azir, Viktor etc. in the game. Did you figure that out quickly?
It’s actually very nice for us. We had a very good meta for us in the Summer playoffs. Then we saw three patches and a lot of nerfs coming through, but as it turns out those nerfs actually didn’t mean so much. There is also an element for us where we know what’s good for us. Once you figure out the main meta picks, you still should know what’s good for your team. Lucian/Nami is not a main meta pick by any means right now, but it’s one of our most-played picks in the whole year. It didn’t get nerfed enough to not pick it if we think it’s good in a scenario.
I think we have a good idea of the meta read. Obviously, we love that Caitlyn and other things got randomly buffed before Worlds. [Laughs] It’s also one of our most-played champions. But we need to adapt it all to what our team does well. I think that’s what we did today and hopefully, we can do it on the other days too.
One of the biggest changes is the jungle meta. We now see stuff like Maokai being very dominant, whereas picks like Jarvan IV—which Malrang played endlessly in the LEC—have dropped out. The jungle role shapes how the team plays, so, how has that adaptation been?
I think the jungle changes are actually quite easy for us. There seem to be two schools of thought at Worlds right now. You see Graves, Hecarim, and things like Bel’Veth a bit, but you also see tank junglers or even Lee Sin and stuff. The jungle is very wide open right now. Our way still works. We picked Trundle today and it’s still a good pick. There are also a few flex picks that give you flexibility in the jungle. If you don’t like the matchup, you can just put it somewhere else. Maokai and Sejuani can do that, for example. My vibe right now is that you can play the style that suits you best.
“It’s all about the game and the results. If we’re losing, we need to know why very fast. That’s what I’m trying to offer to the guys.”
You mentioned scrims before. Odoamne mentioned on the broadcast that Rogue had been kicked around a bit in scrims by LCK and LPL teams. Can you talk a bit about this? It can be demoralizing for teams, after all. In fact, I remember Odoamne and Larssen saying on the EUphoria podcast that the team didn’t scrim for a while in the Summer Split playoffs because it was only hurting the team environment.
Right now, after the win, I think we’re in very good shape and we are in an atmosphere where we will actually learn from those games. When we came here, we were obviously a bit behind in the meta. We only had us and G2 in Europe. We just needed to identify why we were losing. In some of the scrim games we just had a bad draft because of our meta read. In some of the games, as I said before, the finer details really mattered. Like, we know Caitlyn/Lux is good, but we’d lose a few games with it. Then we need to figure out why we lost instead of losing faith in those picks. I think that’s what we’ve done well.
We’ve for sure had a few days that were very, very rough. A lot of the Asian teams have very prepped strategies against certain picks. You just get punished in the early game so hard. It’s been learn, learn, learn. Our latest results in scrims were a lot better than our first results, that’s certain. So, we’re making progress, I think.
The team environment of Rogue is pretty important for the team’s results. The players said that being in Malmö for the Summer finals just reset the environment, gave it a new start. So, how have you and your coaching staff been managing that at Worlds?
We try to keep the mood chill, but the most important role that I have is that I quickly need to identify what’s actually going wrong in these games. We need to be able to focus on the problems. If we can’t actually find the problem quickly, then the environment can become very negative. You can start doubting the picks and the atmosphere can change. Personally, I think it’s all about the game at this point. Say what you want about the atmosphere, but it’s all about the game and the results. If we’re losing, we need to know why very fast. That’s what I’m trying to offer to the guys. So far, as I said, the mood has been good. We’re going out together and stuff like that, obviously. But it’s all about the game at this point, I think.
“I think it will be fun playing against [Top Esports]. Probably a bit stressful too, but we just need to go out there and be ourselves.”
Rogue had a lot of eyes on it, being the LEC first seed, but I think you already proved a point to many Worlds-doubters. Still, there is a chance that DRX is just the weakest team in your group. So how do you look at Top Esports and GAM Esports?
We don’t have too much information about them. We will see GAM play later. I don’t know how strong they will be or what their read on the meta will be. We will have a lot of work to do tonight after seeing their game, seeing how they play. I think Top is definitely the main contender. [Laughs] I mean, they’re very good. It’s gonna be a banger game. I think it will be fun playing against them. Probably a bit stressful too, but we just need to go out there and be ourselves. From my side, we need to draft what works for us. From the players’ side, we need to make sure we’re doing our own thing in the game. It’s definitely winnable, but Top Esports is the main contender.