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Inspired: “I feel like we are not as terrible as we showed”

Tom Matthiesen

Though Rogue has qualified for the 2021 League of Legends World Championship, the team won’t look back at its LEC Summer Split ending with pride. After defeating Misfits in the first round of the Playoffs, Rogue lost convincingly to MAD Lions and Fnatic, going down 0-3 against both opponents. As the third seed of Europe heading to Worlds, Rogue now has a steeper mountain to climb.


Though Rogue's end to the LEC year was rough, Inspired remains optimistic heading into Worlds. (Image courtesy of Michal Konkol for Riot Games)

Jungler Kacper “Inspired” Słoma joined for an interview a few days after the LEC’s Summer Split concluded. He discussed the series his team played against MAD Lions and Fnatic, sharing why he’s not too worried about his team’s play. Inspired also talked about his team’s mentality and why they repeatedly struggle to keep it together in high-stakes matches.

Hotspawn: Welcome, Inspired. While Rogue has made it to Worlds, you’ve had a rough end to the Split, ending in third place overall. Now that you’ve had a few days to reflect on the result, how do you look back at the Playoffs?

Inspired: I don’t know. I just feel like it’s very weird that we lost so hard in both series. I think that the teams that we lost to are not so much better than us. I still think so, even though it looked like they are way better. So, I don’t know, it’s just really weird.

We played pretty bad mechanically in those games. Even though people think that Rogue is playing slow or something, I don’t think that was the issue. I just think we didn’t play fights well. If we just played many of those fights better, we would be able to win at least a couple of games. The third game against MAD Lions was easily winnable. The second game against Fnatic was also easily winnable. I don’t know. It just feels very weird that we got stomped 0-6 and we looked like a very bad team. But I still think we’re not as bad as we showed.

Hotspawn: What is Rogue lacking in those games to clutch out the victories? Is it communication? Are you not prepared well?

Inspired: I still think that the game against MAD Lions, the third game, it’s like… When I rewatch the game, it just feels like the team fights that they are taking and they are winning, we can win them if we just don’t make so many mistakes. There is no way that we could lose the fights then. But they just played them very well and we just made mistakes. Not on a team level, but on a personal level. People don’t pilot their champions properly. I feel like we just lose one fight and then MAD Lions comes back, just like that.

I think you just need to always play very well against teams like MAD Lions. They are gonna take a lot of fights and you need to make sure that you play all of those fights well. Otherwise, they’ll just outplay you and then it’s hard to play the game.

Rogue Inspired team

Hotspawn: Even against Misfits, though, which should have been a fairly easy series, in theory, you guys struggled a lot.

Inspired: Let me think… What happened in the Misfits series? We stomped the first game, then in the second game we lost, but I don’t exactly remember what happened there. The other loss we had, we played Lulu mid. So I think we were kind of testing the drafts with the Lulu, so that loss was on the draft. I rewatched the games against Misfits and I was only sad about the fifth game. I think we played a pretty bad game there, we made a lot of mistakes that we shouldn’t have made. But we still won it somehow.

I was not too worried about the Misfits series. I feel like we didn’t play too bad in that series. Even though we lost two games, there was only one game I was worried about, and we ended up winning that game. I had a lot to review on that game, but other than that, I wasn’t sad about it.

Hotspawn: When people see these results and combine them with the lost Spring Split finals, they’ll quickly say that Rogue is a choker. Is that fair to say?

Inspired: Yeah, definitely. [Laughs] I mean, if you watch scrims of MAD Lions, they’re not doing as well there as they are doing in official games. They are the opposite of us. We win most of our scrims and they lose most of their scrims. But when it comes to stage games they play very well and we just play worse. So there is definitely something about it.

Hotspawn: You’ve got to do something about it if you eventually want to win a championship. How do you go about that?

Inspired: Exactly, but if it would be that easy, then I think we’d already win the championship. [Laughs]

Hotspawn: Sure, but you’re with the team when everything is going well. During the regular Split, for example. What’s different within the team when you’re playing the Playoffs matches?

Inspired: Maybe people just get too stressed in the very important moments. When we play in the regular Split, honestly the games don’t really matter. You just play the game and the only thing that matters is that, in the end, you make it to the Playoffs. We usually lock Playoffs pretty quickly and the rest of the games we basically play for fun.

People still try to judge teams based on how they do in the regular Split. But it’s just best-of-ones that don’t really matter, honestly. I think there is just no pressure during the regular season. When we play the Playoffs, it’s just different. The pressure comes to the players and everyone wants to win, but people can’t think clearly.

Inspired stands outside Rogue

Hotspawn: Do you feel that pressure?

Inspired: Hm, I don’t really feel like I have that pressure. I feel like I played a lot of best-of-fives in my life already, and I’ve played a lot of game fives as well. Even before I joined the LEC. So I don’t really feel the pressure anymore. I think I’m fine. I think I can think well in the critical moments.

Hotspawn: You’re going to Worlds and there will be pressure on the team there too. How are you going to prepare for that?

Inspired: Yeah, there definitely will be pressure, especially because we are from EU and we are in the Play-Ins. We don’t want to do what MAD Lions did. [Laughs] I mean, I think the meta will change a lot. There are a lot of patches between Playoffs and Worlds. I suppose that there will be many new champions, especially in the jungle. Riot is buffing and nerfing many champions that are played in the jungle. I think the game will look different. Obviously, when there are new champions, the game just looks different. I think we will try to change our drafts a bit. I didn’t like how we drafted against Fnatic. We were playing champs that were strong in the jungle, like Trundle, but I don’t really like how it fits our team. So I would like to change some parts of our drafts, probably. I think that’s the biggest point that we should work on, right now.

Hotspawn: But you’ll also have to work on that mentality.

Inspired: I mean, the thing about mentality is: how do you work on mentality? You just need to be confident in the game. Isma [Rogue’s performance coach] will probably try to fix it, but I don’t know how to do it. If it would be easy, it would already be fixed, probably.

Hotspawn: Well, I can imagine that, after going 3-8 in the Playoffs and ending disappointingly, there may be some trust issues in the team that need to be fixed. Maybe you need to do some team building?

Inspired: Maybe, maybe. That could be the case. Right now, we’re all on a break, so I don’t really know yet. But yeah, I mean, we for sure have to do something. I think team confidence went low after we lost a lot of games in the Playoffs. That’s something we can work on. At least for me, as a player, I don’t really feel sad about the Playoffs. I don’t think people should go as hard on us as they did. I feel like we are not as terrible as we showed.

Hotspawn: You still have confidence in your team.

Inspired: Exactly.

Hotspawn: And your teammates still have confidence in the team.

Inspired: I hope so, yeah.

Hotspawn: Talking a bit about your play specifically: you won the MVP of the Split Award. You said you don’t value the regular Split that much, which is what this award is about, but do you still value the recognition?

Inspired: It’s obviously nice, right? It’s better to get it than not to get it and then lose in the Playoffs. So right now I have at least something to be happy about. [Laughs] But yeah, I mean, in the end, I would obviously rather win the title and not win the MVP award than to win the MVP and not win a title. But it is what it is. I didn’t win the title, so at least I’m happy with the MVP award. I can see that people see I play well, so if I will keep playing like that, then I can stack more of them.

Hotspawn: Do you think you deserved the award?

Inspired: Hm, yes I think so. I think in the regular Split I played very well. So I think I deserved it.

Hotspawn: Worlds is up next: Are there any teams you want to face?

Inspired: I think every team from China and Korea is very good. It’s not like the fourth seed from Korea, for example, is bad. I think all of them, the top four from both regions, are very strong. I want to play against any of those teams. Last year it was very fun to play against Asian teams, so I assume that this year will be the same.