Everything is coming up Rogue at the 2022 League of Legends World Championship. On Day 4 of the Group Stage, the LEC champions defeated Top Esports, the second seed of the LPL and one of the favorites to win Worlds this year. Rogue now sits high and mighty in Group C with a clean 3-0 record and is in a fantastic position to advance to the Knockout Stage. But Rogue top laner Andrei “Odoamne” Pascu isn’t thinking about the quarterfinals yet at all. There is plenty of work left to be done.

After Rogue’s victory over Top Esports, Odoamne spoke to Em Dash. He went through the game step-by-step, explaining why Rogue didn’t prepare anything specific for their opponents. Odoamne also discussed his Maokai pick and why he thought the game was always under control. Lastly, the top laner evaluated his team’s performance and what Rogue needs to address to guarantee a quarterfinals ticket.

Welcome, Odoamne, and congratulations on what many see as an unexpected victory. But, that makes it all the more impressive. Let’s start at the beginning: Top Esports is one of the favorites to win it all. Did you prepare anything specific for them?

I don’t think we did anything different than what we did so far. We just scouted their tendencies in the mid game, stuff like that. Draft prep is the same for every team in a way. For most of this Worlds, we’ve been focussing a lot on draft and the things that we do that make us good, rather than looking at what enemy teams are doing. I feel like we found our flow. We’re still riding the same level of performance that we had in the LEC final and it’s going great so far. Everyone has a lot of confidence in themselves individually and also a lot of trust in teammates. It’s kind of the same level of trust we had in the LEC final and it’s carrying over here.

“I feel we’re on a really good level right now. All the lanes are playing well and we’re finding a lot of good plays with Malrang. It’s just about the small details.”

After your game against DRX, I remember thinking, “Well, it was fun seeing the first and only Maokai game Odoamne is gonna get at Worlds.” [Laughs] You were so oppressive with it. But, you got it again, and you guys changed things up a bit in the draft with Lee Sin.

[Laughs] I mean, I wasn’t planning on playing Maokai today either, to be honest. It was the same on the first day. But it was one of those things where, if the opportunity is there, you should take it. I was planning on playing something else today, but then I saw that they had Trundle, Azir, and Gnar. Yes, Trundle sucks for Maokai overall, but Gnar is actually a good matchup for Maokai. I think it counters him. So, I felt like I got a free counterpick. I got Moakai against a carry and I’m winning the lane, so, why not take it?

On top of that, I was aware of what we wanted to do with the Viktor/Kalista stuff in our draft. I thought, “We could play something like Fiora or Camille,” but that makes the top lane a bit more volatile. I think it was really important that our bot lane gets a lot of resources. If I take the Maokai into the Gnar, I don’t need any resources to win or stay relevant in the game. There was a random gank at top that forced [Wayward] to die to me, but that was a free play, it wasn’t really planned.

For me, I just didn’t want to change the team’s style too much. It feels a bit awkward to have Fiora top, Maokai jungle, and then Kalista bot. Then you’d have two sides of the map that would like jungle attention. So, why not take the tank if you’re still winning? It’s not a traditional carry, but you still get the same result if you’re winning the lane.

Rogue sits in an uncontested first-place position in Group C after beating Top Esports. (Source: Colin Young-Wolff for Riot Games)

For a while during the game, it appeared that Top Esports would win. They had the lead and were giving you little opportunity to make plays. Then Trymbi appears to be caught out in a top lane bush, but you turn the fight around in your favor. To the outside, that felt like a turning point in the game. Was it the same for you?

For us, it was more a matter of picking your best moment to make a play. I felt like we had a lot of tools to do so. Even though we were a bit behind, I felt like it wasn’t that bad. Larssen was a bit behind on his item spike, which kind of forced us to stall a bit more. It was uncomfortable to give up the first two drakes, but we were aware that we could pull the trigger at some point when we get our item spikes. We felt like that top lane play was going to be the best way to play. They were gonna use the Herald there, we knew that. We came up with the idea of Trymbi just looking for a ward there, and then we’d just blow all the TP’s when they walked past.

At the same time, they played really well. They kind of expected it to happen: Leona came from behind Trymbi. But I think they were too split up. Varus was really far from the fight, if I’m not mistaken, and it was easy for us to lock them down. We had this play prepared for a while.

“It’s just pointless to look past the game that is in front of you. That’s the fastest way to start losing games.”

This result is amazing of course, but it’s not done yet. You have three more games to play. What does Rogue need to do in order to ensure a spot in the quarterfinals, and maybe even go there as first seed?

Just keep doing the things we’re doing, I think. Today, I think we had a small mistake around bot, where Trymbi and Comp died while we sacrificed the tower. Yesterday, against GAM, I think we messed up a map trade. When they went for a drake, we should have taken five plates top or take the full tower, or we should have stalled the drake until we got there.

I think, overall, we play very, very clean games, bar one or two very obvious mistakes that should be easily fixable. At the same time, we need to find new ways to keep improving. I feel like we haven’t been pushed in draft so far. We haven’t had to show a lot of things. This isn’t the only thing we can play, but we always end up in a scenario where we have these sorts of compositions.

We do need to keep finding new things to do. As you said, it’s not done. It can easily change next week. There’s a chance that we start dropping games and then you go 3-0 one week, but 0-3 in the next week and then you don’t make it out of the Group Stage. That would be kind of a tragedy. So, we need to clean up the small mistakes and keep finding new things to do. I feel we’re on a really good level right now. All the lanes are playing well and we’re finding a lot of good plays with Malrang. It’s just about the small details.

Worlds 2022 is going great for Rogue, but the job is not done yet. (Source: Colin Young-Wolff for Riot Games)

Keeping the team environment stable is important for Rogue. When I spoke with fredy, he said that the mood was good, but he was also focused on fixing the small details. Looking forward, all things considered, do you allow yourself to look past the Group Stage already?

Definitely not. I’m not thinking about quarters until we actually lock it in. It’s the same approach we had in Malmö. It’s just pointless to look past the game that is in front of you. That’s the fastest way to start losing games. [Laughs]

But the mood is great right now. The mood between the games is really good. When we arrived here we did have some arguments about what’s good, and what we feel our problems are. But that’s normal. Scrims haven’t been too good, you know? Up until we started playing on stage. Now, I feel like these three games might give us a boost in confidence for scrims as well. But the environment is great. I feel like everyone is showing up exceptionally on game day. Everyone is a completely different person when we go play out there on stage.

Rogue’s next games are played on Saturday, Oct. 15, starting at 9 PM CEST. The Group Stage continues on Thursday, Oct. 13. You can find the full schedule here. All games can be watched live on the official LoL Esports site.