After a year with plenty of ups and downs, Rogue are looking to enter 2020 as strongly as possible. The LEC side have re-signed star support Oskar "Vander" Bogdan, who had a stellar Summer Split, and have paired him up with Misfits Gaming’s former botlaner, Steven “Hans sama” Liv, who joins the team looking to make his mark. That partnership already sounds frightful, and with the young talents of Finn “Finn” Wiestål, Emil "Larssen" Larsson and Kacper "Inspired" Słoma, Rogue’s line-up sounds like it could be true contender – and that’s exactly what Hans sama is aiming for.
After a tough 2019 season, which saw Misfits finish 8th in Spring and 9th in Summer, Hans sama is looking to bounce back with his new squad, and make a bid for the top spot – and he feels like he has just the opportunity to do so. We got the chance to quiz the Frenchman on what he hopes to achieve in 2020 and who he’s excited to face next year.
You’ve been a Misfits mainstay since 2016 – what spurred you to make the move to Rogue?
Hans sama: There are multiple reasons why I decided to move to Rogue. I felt with the lineup, I can achieve a lot more in the future. They already showed in the 2019 Summer Split that their mechanics are really good, even though they are still young and hungry. Their playstyle is different than what I had in Misfits. In Rogue, I can focus again on being a carry for the team and being more flexible with my playstyle. That's what earned me a spot in the LEC and I'm happy I can go back to that with a new team. Also, the team has interesting investors like Steve Aoki, Imagine Dragons and Rudy Gobert.
Rogue had a tough time last season; they finished 10th in Spring, but turned things around in the Summer – are you hoping to help them retain those high performances?
I'm confident that Rogue with me will reach a new high. I bring a lot of experience to the team while still being the same age as the other Rogue players – sorry Vander! My motivation is higher than ever and it's exciting again to join a new team and have new teammates. This is now or never for me, and I'm ready to prove to Rogue and myself that I can be back at the top.
“Our goal is to become one of the best teams in Europe and make people talk about us. We will challenge every team including G2.”
Did Rogue approach you? What were those conversations like?
It was a complicated process and I want to thank Misfits of making this transfer possible. Even before the strong playoff performance by Rogue I felt that I could be the missing piece for them to become a great team. In the conversations, Rogue and ReKTGlobal gave me the feeling that they share the same vision and were very hands-on with their approach to convince me. So far I'm really happy with the decision that I made.
What are Rogue’s goals for the new season? Do you think they’re realistic?
Our goal is to become one of the best teams in Europe and make people talk about us. We will challenge every team including G2. If our goals are realistic? Of course. Otherwise, I wouldn't have joined Rogue.
You’ll be teaming up with Vander in the bot lane; have you guys played together yet? How do you see the two of you working together?
We have been playing duo queue for three weeks now. We almost got rank 1, but sadly we missed it by 15 points! I like our style together because it is very aggressive. Vander is really good, he’s consistently looking for opportunities even when he is behind. Because of this, we saved a lot of lost games. So far, I feel comfortable playing with him. He has a good champion pool and is always open trying new stuff in the bot lane. We are both on the same page in terms of motivation and work ethic which makes it a lot easier to improve together.
How quickly do you think you’ll adjust to your new team mates?
I think it will be an easy transition because of their age and their humour. They are young and eager to improve just like me. Finn, Vander and I are already in Berlin. It's easy to get along with them. We already scrimmed a team before the Worlds finals, but I couldn't distinguish their voices, haha. This should be easy to fix with time.
What's new for me is that the Rogue staff, in general, is closer to the players than what I'm used to, so it feels like a bigger team than just five players – but they have been friendly so far and helped me with transitioning to the new environment.
“I like our style together because it is very aggressive.”
What are your thoughts on the new map changes heading into the new season?
I like that Riot has a lot of changes every offseason. It's a lot more fun to spam solo queue if you play League of Legends as much as I do. The game will be a lot more aggressive since the Herald spawns earlier now. I assume the first Herald is going to be contested early to snowball the game. Dragons seem to be not as strong anymore individually so my prediction is that early-game will be more about the Herald and the late-game about getting the four dragon buff. But it has been only one day since I have been testing it so it's a bit early to say how much impact the changes will have.
Which teams are you most excited to play next split – and scared of?
I’m most excited to play against G2 Esports and Misfits. G2 because they are the second best team in the world, and Misfits because they benched me. I'm scared of FunPlus Phoenix at MSI, haha.