In the LEC 2022 summer semifinals clash between G2 Esports and Rogue, G2 came out the undisputed victors with a dominant 3-0 victory over Rogue, locking in their spot in the finals and also a spot in the Main Even of Worlds 2022. Rogue moves to the Lower Bracket in the LEC playoffs and will play the winner of Fnatic and MAD Lions.
Head coach Simon "fredy122" Payne spoke to BLIX.GG after their semifinals match against G2. He talks about his thoughts on the current bottom lane focused meta, G2’s creativity and some thoughts on Worlds 2022.
Megalodontus, BLIX.GG: Let’s take it from top, what’s your perspective on this series? Did you expect an 0-3…?
Simon "fredy122" Payne: No, I expected us to play way better. I thought that we would kind of do battle a lot more, maybe four or five games and that we could even win the series because I think the meta read of G2 right now is not good at all. I think if they win playoffs and they're banning key meta champions every game, it would be like a…bit of a tragedy for Europe, in my opinion.
But yes, I was expecting us [to] play a lot better and fight better, and I think there are some things that just went wrong for us today. There’s definitely a lot that we need to improve. Today’s a rough one, I think. A rough one.
BLIX: I want to touch on one of the points you mentioned, the one where you do not think G2’s meta read is very good at the moment. Could you elaborate a little bit more on that considering they looked quite dominant today.
Fredy122: I mean, they’re creative with their picks, right? But when they’re not playing picks like Lucian, Nami, Yuumi and Kalista, especially on the bottom of the map, I feel like that should be something other teams can punish more. Obviously their meta read on top side is very good and they play a lot of annoying stuff there.
They are creative and they know themselves, and I think they like found a way around it with the Senna/Seraphine bot lane, for example. I just think they're missing some key meta picks but yeah, they're doing very well in managing around that.
BLIX: This is an interesting conversation so just one more question on this. On G2’s creativity, do you think, as a coach, the current meta allows teams to be more creative in draft? Or do the strong picks you mentioned like Yummi and the like make drafting more rigid?
Fredy122: Hmmm… yeah, I think for the meta right now, there's not too much room for creativity but I mean, you can play a lot of stuff with Yuumi for example, so there’s that. But in general, some of these bot lane picks like Kalista and Lucian, they're so dominant in lanes and at a certain point in the game that I find you can't play that much into them.
For example, if you have a Kalista in the game, it dictates how the game goes. If you have a Lucian/Nami bot lane in the game, these champs are super insane in the mid-game and also quite strong early on, right? It's not like Xayah or something that don't really dictate the game at all, all the current bot lane champions dictate what happens in the game.
Though in fairness, I know we played Caitlyn/Lux and other stuff, right? So there are answers to these, but the current meta bot lane champions are just very strong. Then there are picks like Azir in the mid lane that’s also very strong, and G2 picked Varus against it so they're prepped very well for today.
BLIX: Now that Rogue moves into the Lower Bracket, between Fnatic and MAD Lions, who do you prefer to face and who do you expect to face?
Fredy122: I'm actually not too sure. I think…from both teams, I'd probably prefer to face Fnatic. MAD played quite well in our series, so it was quite a battle but both teams are actually quite strong. I think all the bot lane duos right now are playing very well, so it's gonna be like a fist fight over with some champions versus both those teams.
I think that MAD will take the series but maybe I'm wrong, we'll see. But I'd rather play Fnatic.
BLIX: Moving on from LEC to Worlds 2022 because you're going there once again. For yourself, who has been to Worlds several times, are there any teams you'd like to meet this time around?
Fredy122: I can tell you a lot of teams that I would not like to meet in groups, but yeah [laughs]. I think in terms of playing, it's always nice to play the top teams like as T1 and like, and maybe we'll get a DWG KIA reunion as well! It's just nice to play different top teams that aren't from Europe.
I would say I’m not really looking forward to facing any teams in particular, I'm just looking forward playing all those different teams. For someone like Markos "Comp" Stamkopoulos, for example, he hasn't been to Worlds yet. It's a chance to really up your game when you play against the best in scrims and on the world stage.
BLIX: Do you prefer to play in the Play-ins stage or do you prefer to just go straight into the Main Event? Some say that's an advantage to play from Play-ins and some say they don't think so. What's your take on it?
Fredy122: After seeing how stacked the Play-ins might be, it might be nicer just to take the free pass, you know? But I mean, there's definitely an argument for both such as stage practice and all, but obviously, even if you're not in Play-ins you're still scrimming other top teams, so I think it's always better just to go to the Main Event.
But someone could make the argument to me that it's great to warm up in Play-ins then qualify for the Main Event, and then you’re fresh on stage and filled with confidence. I think that's legit to say as well.
BLIX: Since Worlds will be held in Mexico and North America this year, what are Rogue’s plans pre-Worlds? Do you plan to go to North America for practice or do you guys plan to make a trip to China/South Korea before going to America?
Fredy122: I think the plan right now, the ideal plan if it can happen, is to probably go to the US as early as possible so we can scrim the NA teams, the Play-in teams and whoever is already over there.
We had thought about going to Asia to practice before making our way to NA, but there's not much time between the end of LEC. We all want to go home for a few days to see family and have a little bit of a break. If we fly to Asia and then to America, I think it will be jetlag city for the whole team, so I think the best solution for us now is to go directly to America. Maybe that'll change, but that's our current plan for now.
BLIX: Before we end, since you are confirmed to be going to Malmö, Sweden, will you and the team be excited to be able to play in front of a potentially gigantic crowd in the Malmö Arena?
Fredy122: Oh yeah [laughs]. It’s a tragedy for some of my players who have done so well over the years but they've never even played in front of an audience like that at a live event. Even someone like Emil "Larssen" Larsson who’s been to two finals and he's never been in front of a big crowd, just because of the timing of COVID and everything. So I think it's awesome.
You'll always remember playing in front of an audience like that, even when you're 50 years old you'll still remember so it's also the memories that you're creating as well. It's super hype and Rogue’s gonna show up over there and we're gonna show up big. We're going to try to fix what went wrong today and the good thing about losing is maybe we get to play twice in front of 12k people or something, so yeah!
BLIX: So Rogue is basically sandbagging it for more time on stage, is that right?
Fredy122: That's exactly it. It’s the Play-ins approach to get more practice on stage!
BLIX: Love it! We've come to the end of the interview, is there anything else you'd like to say or any shoutouts you'd like to give?
Fredy122: Thanks to fans, as always. It's not easy to be a Rogue fan and I think that's understandable, but we will do our best.
Thank you Fredy and best of luck for the rest of playoffs. The LEC playoffs continues today and you can catch it on the LEC’s Twitch channel.
Feature Image: LoL esports