Rogue are finally the undisputed champions of the League of Legends European Championship (LEC) after taking down G2 Esports in the finals 3-0 amid the roaring arena in Malmö, Sweden. They’ve always been so close but now they can reap the rewards of their hard work as they enter Worlds 2022 as Europe’s first seed.
Mid laner Emil "Larssen" Larsson has been with Rogue for a little over three years and finally got his first LEC title with them. Before they make their journey to America, he took time off to speak to us about his experience winning his first LEC title, their journey overall in Malmö and a bit on Worlds 2022.
Megalodontus, BLIX.GG: First and foremost, thank you so much for joining me for this interview. Firstly, talk to us about you finally winning the LEC. How are you feeling now?
Emil "Larssen" Larsson: It has sunk in more than when we won but it still hasn't sunk in completely. I think it has sunk in about 60% but it still feels unreal that I was in that big stadium and I won it all. It still doesn’t feel completely real and a bit like a dream, but it sunk in a few days after and I feel pretty happy about it. Now we’re back in Berlin and we need to focus on Worlds.
BLIX: Winning is a deeply personal experience. For you, how did you feel when you lifted the LEC trophy and them announcing that you are the LEC champion?
Larssen: I definitely felt happy but it was not like I was, like, insanely happy or anything. It was very nice but it's not like I was crazy happy or crying, but it was definitely a nice moment. When I was looking around me, it felt like every human around me were [sic] like NPCs, it just didn't feel real. Everyone were like bots and I was like in a simulation, which is maybe why I was not as happy as I maybe could have been because it didn't feel that real.
BLIX: How did you feel then for you to be able to win the LEC title in Sweden of all places, your home country? You even delivered a message in Swedish at the end which was a nice touch.
Larssen: It was, like, extra special, of course, especially with my family and friends being there. That definitely made it very special. The crowd was mostly Swedish but there was actually a lot of people who flew in from different countries.
I noticed when I was talking to fans that it felt like a 50-50, 50% were Swedish and the other 50% were from different countries like Italy, Scotland or even Morocco. There were just so many different people, so that was really cool, that so many League fans all over the world attended because I thought there would be almost only Swedish people, but there were actually an insane amount of different nationalities.
BLIX: So, how did you celebrate you or your team celebrate your big victory? Did you just sleep in with the trophy or?
Larssen: I don’t know where the trophy went, it didn’t go to my bed, sadly. It would’ve been nice to sleep with it! We celebrated by going to the LEC after party and yeah, we just went there. Sadly it closed already at 3am, which was very disappointing but that's how Sweden is, sadly. It was nothing too special and I celebrated by going home for a week. Being home was really nice.
BLIX: On your family, how long have they been following your journey from when you've joined Rogue and have they been a big emotional support in your journey to finally being an LEC champion?
Larssen: I wouldn't say they've been like emotional support, but it has been nice that they've been supporting me. It's not like I needed big emotional support.
My father has always been watching ever since the start of my career in 2016 when I started playing in the UK League, he was already watching a lot. Even though the league was extremely small, he said he was watching from the beginning, which was pretty surprising that he was watching every game. My brother, he was Challenger before so obviously he has very good knowledge and also watches, because he has been a League fan for a long time.
My mother and sister don't understand anything about League so they're not watching but at least they were supporting a lot in the Malmö arena and screaming a lot. Even though they don't understand anything, they were just screaming!
BLIX: That's so nice. Will they be screaming in support for you in America then?
Larssen: [laughs] No, I don't think so. My parents were talking about coming but I don't think they would come. It’s too big of a hassle with work schedules and stuff.
BLIX: On Rogue’s season then, I’d like to ask a little bit about it. I believe that the one thing that was said a few times was that Odoamne gave you guys speeches in Malmö, and because of that, it kind of galvanised the team and then you guys just swept G2. How big of a factor in contributing to your win?
Larssen: Maybe like…5% [laughs]? Maybe it's too much, I don't know. I mean, it's just a speech. It was definitely a very nice speech. But I mean, it’s not like it matters that much. It was very good and I don’t know if he thought about it a lot but it was very well put. But yeah, it was just a fun thing.
BLIX: What was the other 95% that allowed Rogue to make a successful run to the title?
Larssen: I’m not completely sure, we had some magic happening in Malmö. Everyone was completely in the zone, everyone played insanely well and played the games of their life. So I'm not exactly sure what's happened, but we got an arena buff or something. We just played to the level that we can play if we played at 110%, and that was the level we played on, we played to our peak, which we haven't done during the whole season, so I wasn't sure.
I knew that coming into the weekend that we could 3-0 anyone or we could get 0-3’ed, depending on if we showed our high or low and we managed to take out our high during the weekend, which we didn't do the whole season, so that was crazy.
BLIX: That’s interesting when you mentioned the whole split, because if I remember correctly, at the start of summer, you did an interview and you said Rogue had a slightly more difficult start to summer due to egos clashing. What has changed since then and how has Rogue clicked from that point on?
Larssen: We’ve definitely improved a bit in the department but we still didn’t play that well during summer and we still had some issues. I mean, it showed in the first series against G2, we went 0-3 and that we still haven't fixed our issues.
I don’t know, we just came together as a team when we went to Malmö. The change of environment and playing in an arena was huge for us. I think it was just that, a change in environment and playing in an arena were probably the biggest factors.
BLIX: Moving on to Worlds. As far as I understand, Rogue will not be going to Korea or China to scrim and you'll be heading straight into America. Do you think that this will hamper the LEC teams chances or do you think it will not matter much in the grand scheme of things?
Larssen: It will definitely matter, I think. I'm used to the past two Worlds that we had a lot of days to scrim the Asian teams. In China and Iceland, we had a lot of scrim practice before the tournament started but this time it will be very different. We don’t have too many days so it's definitely not optimal but due to circumstances with we can't we can't do anything differently, sadly.
It’s definitely not optimal, but I think it’ll be completely fine. In the grand scheme of things, I don't think it'll matter that much, but it definitely matters a little bit.
BLIX: Do you think then this will greatly benefit the Asian teams who I hear are staying back home a little bit longer the scrim before going to Worlds?
Larssen: Yeah, it should be beneficial to them to have a scrim bubble. It should benefit them I think but it's not like this will decide the tournament or anything. I mean, it will be decided on how well we play but yeah, I wish it was a little bit different.
BLIX: As the LEC champions, does going into this Worlds in particular put extra pressure on you and the team to perform?
Larssen: Yeah, I would say so. Definitely, since we’re the first seed from Europe, so fans expect us to perform a lot more than, like, a fourth seed like MAD Lions. But I think the pressure is very nice and as a person I don't think too much about the pressure. I go into every game with the same mindset. It's very nice to be a first seed and we got a very good group.
BLIX: Talk to me about your Worlds group then, any hope you can sell to EU fans?
Larssen: If we play it to our highest level we definitely make it out, maybe even as first seed. I think we have a good chance of beating Top Esports. I think if we play to our highest high level we can beat TES. It depends somewhat on our play and if we play badly, we will not make it out and vice versa.
GAM Esport are big x factors because I have no clue about them. They might be super good or they might be bad, but my prediction is they will probably be a good team but one we shouldn't lose to. Overall, I think we have a very, very good chance.
BLIX: What will be your personal goals for this Worlds?
Larssen: The first step is make it out of groups, right? We haven't made it out of groups in the past few years. Even though we had extremely tough groups in the past few years, we were very close last year where we knocked out FunPlus Phoenix and then lost to an NA team, which was pretty cringe.
That's the first step and then I want to win the whole thing. I think if we played to our highest level, we can definitely win the whole thing, even though it's not going to be easy, but I definitely believe we can do it.
BLIX: We've come to the end of the interview. Is there Anything else you'd like to add or any shoutouts you'd like to give?
Larssen: We will do EU proud.
Thank you, Larssen and best of luck at Worlds 2022. The World Championship begins today with the Play-ins stage and you can catch it on Riot's official Twitch channel.
Feature Image: Kirill Bashkirov/Riot Games