When Rogue came dead last in the LEC Spring Split, with just two wins from 18 games, everyone wrote them off. They said there was no chance they’d qualify for Worlds after that, and we could expect them to be down the bottom again in the Summer Split. Yet, Summer came around, and the unexpected happened. They started to win games, beating Splyce, Origen, and even Fnatic on their way to a fifth place finish.
They made it to the Summer Playoffs, but in the end, a trip to the World Championships was indeed just beyond their reach. However, they swept aside Europe’s third seed Splyce in three straight games, proving that their improvement wasn’t just for the Split. Who knows what would’ve happened if they had had enough points to make it to the Regional Playoffs? Rogue are here to stay, and they think they’re going to get even better.
So how did the huge turnaround come about? For Summer, Rogue made the bold decision to bring up the entire academy roster to the main squad. It was risky, but it paid off.
“Last Split when I got moved up to the team, I was joining a team that didn’t really have an identity,” says top laner Finn “Finn” Wiestål. Rogue had tried bringing him up to the roster in the Spring Split already, but it was the second time of asking that he really stepped up.
“They didn’t really know how they wanted to play in Spring, so it was a bit hard to fit in. It was a little bit too late, all the players were split on how they wanted to play, so it was hard to find proper stability and proper structure. That’s why that roster was seen as a failure. All the players were good individually, but they didn’t mesh together at all.
“Coming into the Summer Split, we as an academy team got moved up together, which helped us immediately because we already had the way we wanted to play set up. We knew our roles in the team, how the dynamic worked. It was a lot smoother.”
Unfortunately for Finn, it was Kim “Profit” Jun-hyung who got the nod first in the top lane, leaving the Swede to sit on the bench for the first part of the split. However, he didn’t waste his time, instead waiting patiently and learning as each week went on, before finally, Finn made it back onto the big stage.
“I didn’t get to play in the beginning because Profit was a bit better. But during my time on the bench and in the academy I did my best to work on areas where I was weaker, and try to learn from not only my mistakes but also the mistakes Profit and the team were making, so I had a rapid improvement.
“So, when you saw me move up towards the end of Summer, I was a very different player. It’s mostly because of the hard work that we as a team put in together this Split. We knew how we wanted to play, and we played on stage as we did in scrims.”
And that hard work paid off: In the first round of the Summer Playoffs, Rogue shocked Europe by 3-0ing Splyce.
“It showed how dominant we could be,” Finn says. “The series against Splyce, all the games we were in complete control because we just clicked. We knew what they wanted to do, we knew what their weaknesses were. We had a really clear plan for draft, and on the day we were a lot better prepared than they were. We had answers to everything they put out. We played better than them individually in almost every role.”
But it was in the next round, against Schalke 04, that Rogue’s Worlds dream crumbled. Rogue won the first game, giving their fans hope, but after that, it all fell apart.
“Against Schalke they didn’t give us comfortable drafts. It was trickier finding the same success that we had against Splyce. But we showed that even if we’re behind or something goes wrong we’re good at finding ways back into the game even though it looks hopeless. We put up a really good fight. It was close, we could’ve won it, but on the day they were stronger.
“Watching the final between G2 and Fnatic hurts because I feel like we could’ve been there. If we played slightly better or did some things differently we could’ve won for sure. But I’m also happy we lose because it shows we’re not perfect yet, we still have areas to improve on. So we’re going to improve them for next Split.”
For now though, Rogue will have to sit back and watch G2, Fnatic, and Splyce represent Europe at Worlds. It’s a long off-season, but they promise they’ll be back in January for the 2020 Spring Split refreshed and ready to go.
“Everyone is just gonna go home and do whatever works for them best,” Finn says. “I’ll spend time with family and friends, work on myself, play a lot of solo queue, maybe even take a trip to Korea to practice.
“Everyone will try to do what they feel is best for them to recharge for next Split. We’re gonna come back with a lot of new found energy, and make it to finals next time.”