The Sweden Major marks a return to international competition for some very familiar faces. Rogue, which has its origins under the LeStream and Giants Gaming banners, is one of those we should’ve seen return to the international show in May, but the postponement of the Six Invitational knocked their debut back to November.
Only Maurice “Aceez” Erkelenz and Jan “ripz” Hucke remain from the last time Rogue saw international competition. The roster has retained its German core, but added two key pieces before the start of the 2021 season: Matthew “meepeY” Sharples and Bernadette "Bernie" Ramaker, who have come on as their coaching staff.
Why was a coaching change significant? For one, it reunites the old Team Secret core duo -- meepeY and Leon “LeonGids” Giddens. “MeepeY and I have a lot of history on LANs and stuff, so we know the general idea of what we need to do and how we should run the team,” said LeonGids in an interview with SiegeGG.
“At LAN, it’s just about incorporating the other guys into the kind of same system that we had in Team Secret which worked really well,” he said.
It’s not a slight to Rogue’s capabilities to say that this is the first event in quite some time for them. The COVID-19 pandemic grounded all flights, threw a wrench in the works of the teams looking to gain momentum on consecutive LANs, and stunted the growth of several promising young rosters.
They would’ve been there in May, but again: the SI postponement stole their Major spot. It’s been nearly two years since the original members of Rogue played on LAN, and longer for the others. LeonGids says that they’re not letting that affect them, though, and doesn’t think they’ll be doing much differently.
In Rogue’s case, it’s wise to not change much from their current state. They started the year hot, but fizzled out during EUL Stage 2 -- so much so that they were in relegation danger until the middle of the most recent stage -- but rebounded to take fourth in Stage 3 and a Major spot.
“[For Stage 3] we tried to go back to our roots and how our strengths originally were in Rogue,” said LeonGids. Namely, those strengths were in a “loose, freestyle play with a lot of communication and adaptation”. This requires a lot of team chemistry, something LeonGids says Rogue has a lot of, though they misplaced it during Stage 2.
The addition of Kevin “Prano” Pranowitz before Stage 3 helped, said LeonGids. Prano was able to take care of some of the IGL duties, which freed the rest of Rogue up to make plays. “Having the capabilities to just communicate what we want to do, instead of having to set plans, makes us a lot harder to predict,” said LeonGids.
Prano jumped in with some fresh ideas and a fresh perspective that helped reinvigorate Rogue for their Stage 3 run, says LeonGids. Now, they’re right back where you expect a team with this caliber of firepower, level of experience, and coaching prowess should be: in a Major.
“I think the main thing right now is that as a team we need to get used to this LAN environment again. And, we just need to make sure that we do the fundamentals properly. So even if things aren’t going too well at Sweden, at least we know for the future what we need to do, what's going right, what's going wrong, and ultimately just have some fun with it,” said LeonGids.
Rogue will begin their Major run on Nov. 8 against Chiefs ESC.