Inspired: “Our Plays are More Calculated” Than Other Teams
Three weeks into the LEC Spring Split, Rogue sits comfortably at the top of the standings with a 6-1 score. After winning the regular Summer Split last year, this year the team continues to challenge the traditional top two of G2 and Fnatic the European league has always had. Among the consistently well-performing players is Kacper “Inspired” Słoma, Rogue’s jungler.
Inspired joined us for an interview to talk about his team’s play so far in the LEC, and where they can still improve. He explained in what ways Rogue’s seemingly very clean play could still be optimized, and shared his thoughts on the drafts of his team. Inspired also looked ahead at the upcoming weekend, in which Rogue faces both MAD Lions and G2 Esports.
Hotspawn: Welcome Inspired! Rogue is still sitting at the top of the LEC at the moment and was one of the favorites heading into the Split. Still, did you expect to be the number one team a few weeks into the Split?
Inspired: I didn’t really think about it. It doesn’t really matter which position we’re in right now. The only thing that matters is how we will play in the Playoffs. The biggest goal is to get there first, and then perform very well there to win the LEC. So right now we’re just focussing on playing well and playing well as a team too. We’re trying to keep improving even though we are winning games, there is still a lot of stuff we can improve on to be better in the Playoffs.
Hotspawn: If you have to give a verdict and grade your team’s performance at the moment, what would that be?
Inspired: Hm, I still think we play a bit better in our scrims than in our official games. I feel like in official games we maybe play a bit worse than in scrims. We play very aggressive in scrims and we tend to end games fast because there are just more kills and it’s easier to play. But I think we still play well as a team in official games. We didn’t really take too many risks like other teams are doing. I think our plays are more calculated than the plays of other teams, so we just go for small victories and we just snowball it to get more of an advantage.
Hotspawn: So you’d mostly like to see your team be more aggressive in official matches, then?
Inspired: Yeah, I think being more aggressive in official matches is one thing. But we also need to work on seeing opportunities. Sometimes, when the game is pretty even, you need to find very small windows that the enemy team gives you and that you can get an advantage from. We have to work on seeing this window and not throwing away free advantages that the enemy team is giving to you.
Hotspawn: What sort of advantages are you thinking of?
Inspired: For example, if the enemy support is behind on tempo, we can go get vision somewhere on the map and maybe set a trap for him when he’s coming back from his base. That’s just one example. In our matches, I think sometimes when we have tempo on one of the laners who can move around the map and do something, we just don’t use it instantly and then the enemy team can come back on the map, and then our advantage is gone.
Hotspawn: Many people have praised your performance in the Split. How do you feel about your own play so far?
Inspired: I’m quite happy with how I’m playing. I don’t really care about other people rating me because I think that I still play very well individually. I think our early games are pretty good, but maybe around the mid-game I can make better decisions sometimes, like playing around my team. I think we play a bit worse in the mid-game than in the early game. I think in the early game I’m playing very well and I can get an advantage for my team, but in the mid-game I think we could play even better.
Hotspawn: In what way could you improve your mid-game, then?
Inspired: I think many junglers are trying to do this, but it’s obviously quite hard: you have to let your laners play aggressively without being scared by the enemy jungler, but you also have to farm your jungle so you don’t fall behind, or even to just get ahead of the enemy jungler. You need to find those windows where you can actually farm your jungle, without your team being unable to pressure the map or that they’re not able to play. Sometimes, when your jungler is ganking the bot side but your bot lane has swapped lanes with top, your bot laner can’t really play aggressively because the jungler is just farming golems or something like that.
Hotspawn: So it’s about communicating with your team so they can anticipate better how to navigate their lane?
Inspired: Yeah. I think it’s also dependent on your team. You have to tell your team exactly what you want to do because it’s not only your job but also their job to work well with you.
Hotspawn: Compared to last year, do you notice how you’ve improved in this aspect and the difference it makes in your games?
Inspired: I think I’m getting better at it, yeah. I mean, when we’re playing and we make a mistake, I just feel that something is not going correctly. I don’t know how. I either feel very well and I know that everything that is happening is very good for our team. But sometimes, even though we don’t get killed, I feel like we’re in a bad spot and that we should have done something better before, so we could prevent that from happening. I think we have been improving on that, but still I sometimes feel like we can play better.
Hotspawn: Junglers work together with support players a lot too, roaming and ganking lanes. How has it been for you to work with a rookie like Trymbi, who joined your team this year?
Inspired: I think Trymbi is very good mechanically. He plays almost every champion in the game. In the beginning already, he understood how to play with your jungler. I kind of teach him how he can help me around the map now, and how I can get an advantage of him moving sooner than the enemy support. I think he’s pretty good at it now and I think he can only improve on that stuff. He’s obviously a rookie, he didn’t play many games yet. He just started scrimming against LEC teams. I know from my experience that playing against LEC teams, and also when I played at Worlds, you can improve so much if you jump to that other level.
Hotspawn: An aspect people have criticized Rogue for is the drafts. Especially in the game against Schalke 04 people didn’t like what you were going for. How do you feel about the drafts your team is putting together?
Inspired: Hm, I think that draft especially was quite hard to execute because we didn’t have any reliable way to engage, while the enemy did have it. So we had to play around the Shen ultimate in a very smart way and the man advantage we would have on the fights. Shen can always join the fights, so basically if you engage 3v3, you’re gonna be 4v3 because Shen is always joining first. Also, with this draft, I think for the jungle matchup it would be way better to just farm. Taliyah farms way faster than Jarvan, so there aren’t many fights happening. Taliyah would be way ahead in farm of Jarvan. For example, you can even be at level sixteen as Taliyah compared to level thirteen of Jarvan, and then you do way more in fights than the other jungler.
So I think with this draft you just have to play way more structured to get the win. We just made the mistake of getting caught on the mid tower when Lucian was catching the top wave, and we lost Nashor from it. It kind of broke our game. I think, up until that point, we played pretty decently around the drakes and our early game jungle. I mean, Taliyah was just really OP.
Hotspawn: So in that game you made it too difficult for yourselves with the draft. But in general, what are the points of improvement you see for the draft?
Inspired: I think we can approach it in a better way, probably. I feel that, if we don’t play against G2, who are very aggressive, or Fnatic, if you just pick scaling champions. Things like Azir, Orianna, all those kinds of champions because Larssen really likes to play them. I think then we’ll be able to outscale the worst things. The other teams aren’t as punishing as Fnatic or G2, so we could probably just draft scaling and just farm and see. We’ll probably win the games then.
Hotspawn: Summer Split Rogue is back again.
Inspired: Yeah, but I think we’d rather play the stuff that we are also trying out in scrims. Playing more aggressively and seeing how it goes. Obviously, it’s much harder to execute than just scaling compositions, but I think we can also do it.
Hotspawn: Something your draft is very reliant on is the patch you’re playing on. The LEC will be playing on a new patch in Week 4. Junglers are going to be toned down a bit—how are you feeling about that?
Inspired: I don’t think a lot will change. I think Udyr is still a very strong champion, even though Riot nerfed him a bit. I think the only thing that will change is Pantheon. I think he will not be playable in the jungle anymore because his clear is too slow in the early game. But stuff like Olaf, Udyr, Lillia… those still will be the best junglers probably. I don’t think that this patch will change that much in pro play.
Hotspawn: To wrap up the interview: you’re facing a pretty tough weekend with G2 and MAD Lions as scheduled opponents. How are you feeling about the upcoming weekend?
Inspired: Hm, I think the games will be pretty exciting because both teams have been playing very well. I’m actually looking forward to play against the G2 lineup and see how we will do on the bot side. It will be Hans sama against Rekkles, and Hans always likes to play against Rekkles, he said. So we’ll see who will win the bot side. I will try to help him. [Laughs]
Hotspawn: You’re gonna make sure Hans sama comes out ahead so he feels good about the match.
Inspired: Yes, exactly.
Hotspawn: What about the junglers you’re facing? You’re playing versus Elyoya, a jungler who has looked pretty good, and Jankos, one of the all-time greats.
Inspired: I didn’t play against Elyoya in an official game yet, so it will be the first time playing against him. He played pretty decently in all the games so far, so I think it will be a fun game. And about Jankos: I played against him already, kind of a lot so far. So it will be just another game against G2. I think I’m not really scared about how Jankos plays. He is more supportive for his laners instead of very aggressive junglers like Selfmade. I don’t think it’s that hard to play against Jankos.
Rogue play their next match in the LEC against MAD Lions on Friday, February 12, at 9 PM CET.