fredy: “Gwen and Viego threw every team off”
For the third LEC Split in a row, Rogue is topping the regular Split standings with comfort. The Spring Split silver medalists share first place with a revitalized Fnatic—one of only two teams Rogue has dropped a game to thus far. With a 10-3 score, the lineup has locked themselves in for the Summer Split Playoffs.
Head Coach Simon “fredy122” Payne joined to talk about his team’s performance in the Summer Season so far, and how they gradually polished their gameplay to get back in shape. He also discussed the slump his mid-laner Larssen had at the start of the Split, and how the team helped him get back on track by fostering the right atmosphere.
Hotspawn: Welcome fredy, and congrats on the victory against Schalke. I have to say, that was a pretty one-sided game. Did it meet your expectations?
fredy: Kind of, yeah. We knew we were the favorites coming into the game. In general, we have a more chill week. So, by all standards, we should win this game. We played it pretty clean, so I’m very happy with that.
Hotspawn: As we’ve grown accustomed to by now, I suppose, Rogue is doing very well in the regular Split. The performance seems to be stable from the start. Is that how you’ve experienced it as well?
fredy: I think we’ve been slowly getting back to the form we had in the Playoffs, as the weeks have gone on. We started practice quite late, so we had a lot of stupid plays happen in our official games. But overall, I think we’ve been growing in strength each week. We’ve been pushing on our style and how to approach the game. We’re still getting better and we are ramping up for the Playoffs, so it’s a very good situation for us right now, I think.
Hotspawn: What have you been focussing on with the team in terms of practice?
fredy: Between the Splits, that’s when it’s a good time for us to reflect on what can do better as a team. We came back and we had a big focus on our mid-game. I think I’m trying to actually snowball the game a lot faster and use our vision a lot better. Often, we get big leads, but… the narrative for us is, and there is an element of truth: we would get big leads, but then we didn’t really do enough with them. We’re just fixing a few things that will enable us to snowball a little bit faster. It might not be that noticeable, but that has been our main goal overall in this Split.
Hotspawn: I spoke with Odoamne at the start of the Split and he said that the team still needed to figure out some things to be on the same page more. How has that progress been?
fredy: I think it’s always hard when you come back from playing in the Playoffs. [Laughs] You’re so good then, your team is so good, but then you come back in week one of practice and you’re just so bad again, you know? You need some time to kind of recover, you need a bit of patience. I think Gwen and Viego threw every team off as well, really. It was a lot to figure out. The meta went from no flex picks to flex picks everywhere, so there was a lot of confusion everywhere. It definitely took some time to figure out. So yeah, there have been frustrating moments, but it’s all about the steady path we’ve been on. It’s quite the steady path overall, I think.
Hotspawn: The team you’re contesting with for first place at the moment is Fnatic, who have improved drastically compared to the Spring Split. How have you perceived their growth as an opponent?
fredy: They are surprisingly good, actually. [Laughs] I think they finally figured out how they want to play. My impression last Split was that they had no idea how they wanted to play, really, and now they have a very solid style. They like to play through bot a lot and they can be quite unpredictable in what they do. That can make them difficult to play against. But I also think that it might let them down. They might drop some games against teams they shouldn’t drop games against. Maybe they’re not as consistent because of their unpredictability, but somehow it has all worked out for them. I think they’re all on the same page now, and that’s the main thing.
Hotspawn: You’re playing against them in the upcoming weekend, so: how do you prepare for a team that’s unpredictable?
fredy: They’re probably always going to have a pick or two in their back pockets to surprise you with, that’s how I see them. The main thing is that we get stuff that we’re comfortable with and identify how they want to win the game. We’ve been playing them for so long now that we have a good idea of their actual strengths. In the first week, when we played against them, we didn’t really know much about them. Now we can form more of a strategy around them and how we actually want to play against them.
Hotspawn: Looping back to the team’s progress, one member of the team had a particularly rough start: Larssen. He explained he had trouble focussing in-game. As a coach, how was it to work with him and helping him get back on track?
fredy: I think it’s just part of the scene that players will always have their ups and downs. We all know how talented of a player he is and this was coming back off the Spring Split. We had a long vacation, right? You can expect a lot of individual mistakes like this. I think Larssen is professional enough to know what he needs to do to fix it. He knows himself. In the recent weeks, we’ve been seeing huge improvements on the mistakes he has been making. So there’s a lot of patience that you need in these situations, when a player is not playing at his best. You just got to work with them and try to help them along and get back to form.
Hotspawn: So there isn’t anything in particular that you do to help him further?
fredy: I mostly treated him the same way. Obviously, we pointed out the mistakes that he was making in-game. We reinforced why it was a mistake. Ismael, our performance coach, has been working with him as well. Some of these mistakes were indeed more related to his focus than to actual in-game stuff, so Isma has been doing a lot of work with him. But it’s not too out of the ordinary, how we treat someone who’s playing bad.
Hotspawn: Other than in-game improvements, did you notice any team dynamic changes as Larssen got back to his comfort zone?
fredy: Eh, not so much. I think, in Larssen’s case, he’s just always the same. [Laughs] He’s always pretty positive about anything, really.
Hotspawn: From what I hear from your players anytime I talk to them, it feels like Rogue has a very good team atmosphere. Is that something you’ve focused on developing, or did that develop naturally?
fredy: A little bit of both. It’s definitely a core value of us. We know that you actually have to enjoy playing together to have fun, right? So we will do things to encourage that. We exercise together, we play board games, stuff like that. It’s something we try to nurture, this good environment, but at some point, it’s up to the player as well to push it and develop it.
We organize events that will get them to hang out together as well, that’s something the coaching staff does. We try to add to the mood as well, right? We tell some jokes or just try to bring the mood up ourselves as well. It’s just small things that we kind of do to make everything good for them.
Rogue play their next game in the LEC against Fnatic on Friday, July 23rd, at 10 PM CEST. You can watch the game live on the official LoL Esports website.