Rogue support Oskar “Vander” Bogdan on Europe’s chances at Worlds 2020: “Coming into China, we didn’t know what to expect or how good the Asian teams really were…But after three weeks here, a lot has changed. I think we caught up to Korea for sure and I believe China’s not that far away as well.”
For the first day of Worlds 2020, LEC third seed Rogue showed up big time. Despite the organisation’s first time here, the players came out of the gates swinging and dismantled PSG Talon in a near perfect game victory.
Central to this astonishing win is veteran support Vander, with his immaculate Rakan plays and roams. After the match, Vander joined us to talk about their win over PSG Talon, Rogue’s preparations during their time in China, as well as their next opponent: DAMWON Gaming.
He also gives a short insight on AGO ROGUE’s victory in the recent European Masters (EUM) tournament!
Thank you for accepting this interview. Before we begin, I’d like to say welcome back to Worlds and congrats on the win! So Rogue certainly started off with a bang, did you guys expect to win in such dominant fashion?
Vander: Thanks. From drafts, we kind of knew how the game would go. We had champions that often snowball very hard in the early game in our scrims, and that’s what we did this game. So this game just went like in was in practice before.
Since you guys put Finn “Finn” Wiestål on Malphite, I’m guessing he wasn’t too happy about that…Was he?
Vander: He likes to play Malphite, I think. It’s actually quite a fun champion, you know. You’re quite tanky so you don’t ‘int’ too much (laugh), and then you can just use your ultimate and knock up your enemies!
Actually, it was his idea to pick Malphite, our coaching staff did not force him to pick it. It’s kind of how it works on our team, for the most part. We all give each other ideas, but if he doesn’t want to play a certain champion I don’t think we’ll pick it for him.
We didn’t play with Malphite much, but because PSG Talon drafted a low DPS marksmen in Senna, as well as Graves and Renekton, so Finn thought that a Malphite pick here would be very valuable.
That’s fair. On that note, we saw you play Rakan today. If I’m not mistaken, that’s a champion you haven’t played for some time. What makes Rakan so strong on this patch?
Vander: I think I played it once in Spring Season this year. Actually, I didn’t remember playing it, but I saw my Leaguepedia stats today just for fun and it was there.
With the carry junglers meta, Rakan has become a bit better than before because you have a lot of targets to go for in teamfights. Before, when you played against the likes of Sett, or Volibear or Trundle, you could still engage onto them but they’re quite hard to kill quickly. Also, they didn’t have that much damage to help follow up with Rakan’s engages. He’s better with and against carry junglers, so he for sure has a place in this meta right now.
Last question regarding PSG Talon. As we know they are a team that had to play with three subs for Play-Ins, and for the Main Event they got their starters back. For Rogue, was it difficult to prepare for PSG Talon in this regard?
Vander: Well, I don’t want to sound too cocky but I forgot the in-game name of their support before the match. I just knew it starts with ‘K’…So, yeah.
Our coaching staff and scouts did excellent prep work, so I knew what champions he plays and what was his playstyle, but we didn’t know them too well in general.
(Author’s note: Poor Kaiwing.)
Oh dear. And speaking of PSG Talon, we also saw MAD Lions (the LEC fourth seed) unfortunately did not make it past Play-ins. Was this something you expected personally or was it a bit of a shock?
Vander: For MAD Lions, they were falling off already towards the end of the regular season, and in the LEC playoffs they played quite poorly for the most part. But I still had hopes for them and hoped they would improve during the bootcamp, or the quarantine rather, and they would at least advance to the Main Event.
They have good players though so I’m pretty sure they will bounce back for next season.
I’m sure they will too. In regards to Worlds and I’m sure this has been talked about many times: The last time you were at Worlds you were with H2k-Gaming, where you guys finished top 4. Your botlane partner Steven “Hans sama” Liv has been here too.
With most of the players being first timers here at Worlds 2020, how has preparations in general been like for Rogue?
Vander: First off, I’m very happy to be back at Worlds. Coming into China, we didn’t know what to expect or how good the Asian teams really were. After playing scrims, we noticed that they were better than the European teams. But after three weeks here, a lot has changed. I think we caught up to Korea for sure and I believe China’s not that far away as well, since now know they play and how to respond to their aggressive playstyle. We had to take a lot of stuff from their gameplay and integrate it into our own, and so far we’ve improved a lot.
I’m quite excited to meet DAMWON and JD Gaming in the next two days. I think they’re definitely favourites, but we also have a very good chance of beating them.
I’m going to put you on the spot then: Do you think the current Rogue has the potential to go further than H2k did in 2016?
Vander: If we get out of groups…then yes!
Our group is very strong, based on scrims and also in their respective leagues (LCK and LPL) you could see both DAMWON and JDG had very strong performances. If we manage to beat one of those teams and exit the Group Stage, then I have high hopes to beat anyone we meet in the quarter-finals.
But going to the finals…that’s a very big challenge. However, if we can beat the teams in our group, I don’t see why we can’t beat the other teams in the tournament.
And speaking of DAMWON, they are Rogue’s next opponent. Your midlaner Emil “Larssen” Larsson is very confident going into this match! Tell us briefly what you think of them and how you think the match will go.
Vander: DAMNWON are a very strong team, and they are very proactive in the early game. They love to play early game focused champions such as Twisted Fate, Nidalee and Renekton, and they also like to draft Pantheon along with carry junglers (such as Graves/Nidalee).
Their botlaner Jang “Ghost” Yong-jun often plays on the backfoot and is not the main carry of the team, but if they get good trades in they can also play through the bot lane as they’ve shown in LCK. I believe there will be a lot of fighting around mid lane and both teams will be proactive in the early game. We have a decent idea of how they want to play so I hope the game tomorrow will be more back and forth!
Before we end, my specialty is writing about the European Regional Leagues (ERLs) so I have to ask: Did you guys watch AGO Rogue win EUM? Any thoughts on your old lane partner Paweł “Woolite” Pruski finally managing to to secure an EUM title?
Vander: I watched a few of their games for sure though I didn’t see all of it. I think Woolite and Adrian “Trymbi” Trybus played very well overall in EUM. They are a strong botlane, probably the best one in the whole tournament.
I’m glad Woolite succeeded, since he’s my friend. We’re not playing together right now but we did last year and I enjoyed it. I always wish him the best and I’m happy not only our academy team won EUM, but I also know the AGO ROGUE players personally, and as their friend I’m really happy for all of them.
Alright so that’s definitely time to wrap up the interview. Can I get a ‘POLSKA GUROM!’ from you?
Vander: POLSKA GUROM and go Rogue!