As the first of two new organizations in the League of Legends European Championship, Rogue comes with relatively few expectations. It’s going to be a long way for them to get away from the bottom of the table.
Unlike Origen and SK gaming, Rogue is part of the two organizations joining the LEC that do not have any previous top-level League of Legends experience. The North American org was founded in May 2016 and began with an Overwatch team, quickly expanding in Rainbow Six, CS:GO and other games. The choice of Rogue as franchise partner raised some eyebrows, as they did not have a League of Legends team and were not associated with the European region in general. However, it had managed to acquire significant investment, first by DJ and entrepreneur Steve Aoki, and was then acquired by esports infrastructure company ReKTGlobal in May of this year.
This is the team’s roster for the 2019 Spring Split:
Top laner: Kim “Profit” Jun-hyung
Jungler: Mateusz “Kikis” Szkudlarek
Mid laner: Chres “Sencux” Laursen
Bot laner: Martin “HeaQ” Kordmaa
Support: Kim “Wadid” Bae-in
Coach: Simon “Fredy122” Payne
Assistant Coach: Edward “Edward” Abgaryan
While Rogue is a new organization to League, there are quite a few familiar faces among the players, coaches and managers of the team. The organization’s DNA shows a fair bit of the old Team ROCCAT gene, starting pretty close to the top – Tomislav “flyy” Mihailov is Rogue’s General Manager for Europe. He is joined by several other former ROCCAT members: head coach Fredy122, top laner Profit and AD Carry HeaQ. HeaQ will be partnering with former G2 support Wadid, whom we last saw at Worlds 2018. Sencux and Kikis come from Misfits and Vitality respectively. They are likely to be the top players on the team, and both had very solid performances during the year, but both had stronger teams around them in 2018.
It remains to be seen if the mix Rogue made will help bring out the best of their players and maintain the placements the “Roccat core” had last year, and if anything, 2019 looks to be even more competitive. Having several players who used to play together helps with stability, but ROCCAT were a decidedly mid-tier team in 2018, ending in sixth place in the spring and seventh in summer. Also, while both Profit and HeaQ had some good games, superstar players they were not. While Kikis was the Ingredient X that revitalized Vitality in the summer, his previous work on Illuminar Gaming, Szata Maga and Mysterious Monkeys wasn’t quite on the same level. Likewise, Sencux was one of the core members of the Splyce roster that was one of the dark horses of the 2017 EU LCS, but he struggled to fill the shoes of Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage at Misfits last year. Both can do a lot of work if they gel with the team, but it’s by no means proven. Wadid’s play on the highest levels of League of Legends gives him valuable experience, but he will need to improve his game to become a solid bot laner with HeaQ. While he reached the Worlds semi-finals last year, that was on G2, where he could count on two impressive carries that to some degree masked his possible weaknesses. The coaching team of Fredy122 and Edward (who makes his debut as a coach) will have their work cut out for them, and the team is likely to remain at the lower end of the table. Then again, ROCCAT did have a reputation as masterful talent scouts and king slayers. It is not so hard to see Rogue do the same – but it would take consistent wins, not just the occasional miraculous upset (impressive as it may be) to get them to playoffs.
Thumbnail Image credit: Rogue