Coming into the LEC Spring Split of 2020, expectations were understandably high for Rogue considering where they ended last season. On top of this, they added a strong piece in the addition of Hans Sama to the ever reliable Vander in the bottom lane. With the youth movement and the talent that Rogue has in the top side of the map, this addition places Rogue into the conversation for a top 4 team in Europe. So far, those expectations as Rogue opens with wins against Misfits and Excel.
Draft vs Misfits
This game is an interesting one when looking at it on paper. Both teams have a plethora of young talent, but have some question marks about how the team will mesh and perform together. Looking at the drafts between the two teams, Rogue takes away Rumble, Olaf and Lucian. The Rumble ban is interesting due to the power it has on the patch as a flex pick. Olaf is the strongest jungler on the current patch bar none. Lucian takes an interesting spot as him being banned occurs with high frequency due to his ability to dominate in the solo lanes.
Akali, Pantheon and Hans Sama’s signature Draven are banned by Misfits. Rogue drafts Qiyana, Aphelios, Braum, rounding their draft out in Phase 2 with Gragas and Irelia. Misfits picks up Nautlius, Jarvan IV, Senna, Gangplank and Leblanc. Both teams have strong scaling, good mid game skirmishing, and engage. The draft advantage on paper, is slightly in favor of Rogue, though it is quite close between the two.
Early to Mid Game
To the game itself, it starts slow with neither team making any truly aggressive moves in the first five or so minutes. Inspired opens up the action just before the 7 minute mark to get first blood for Rogue. Given this advantage, Rogue proceeds to do what will become incredibly common this split. That is the 8 minute lane swap to play for first Herald, however. In an ideal situation, this would require Drake being taken before the swap. That minimizes trades available to the other team.
Rogue makes a few small steps and a misstep from Finn in terms of positioning. They take Herald top to give themselves about a 1k gold advantage. Misfits respond back by taking their second Drake and Herald, but Rogue secures top and bot tier 1 towers in response. Ocean soul is revealed to be the third Drake. A trend to watch for is when do teams look to fight for Drakes, is it on the third Drake or is it on soul/fourth Drake? Everything across the board is relatively equal at this point, Rogue have about a 2.5k gold advantage due to Hans Sama farming anything and everything on his screen.
Transitioning into late game, Rogue is doing a fabulous job of maintaining top side vision control. They continue to make plays from that information. Larrsen gets the first of many solo kills he gets in this game which leads to Rogue attempting baron. They are pushed off baron due to poke, however the set up they did with pushing all the waves in allows Rogue to maintain map control. Misfits are then able to secure a strong engage catching out Hans Sama and Vander to secure baron for Misfits. This gives them some much needed breathing room, however, the price for taking the baron is high.
Larssen and Finn manage to kill off 3 members meaning Misfits only walk away with baron on Bvoy and Denyk, Senna and Nautlius, respectively. This play allows Rogue to maintain position control for Ocean soul which they secure at 35 minutes. Larrsen gets his third solo kill, which leads into Rogue securing baron, after which, it only takes Rogue another two minutes to close out this game.
Draft vs Excel
In their second game of the opening week, Rogue takes on Excel who had a surprising win according to most over Schalke04 on the previous day. The draft for this game is incredibly interesting. The first phase of bans saw a heavy priority on thinning the support pool. However, Nautlius, Leona and the ever present Tahm Kench were still on the table. Rogue selects Senna, Tahm Kench, Mordekaiser, Olaf and Vladimir. While Excel responds with Aphelios, Ornn, Nautlius, Taliyah and Pantheon. Taking a look at both drafts, Rogue has a superior scaling damage profile then what Excel has. Excel is entirely reliant on Patrik, their ADC, playing safe on Aphelios and dealing out all the damage. Taliyah and Pantheon do not scale well as champions. Due to this, draft advantage goes over to Rogue once again.
Rogue tries to open the game with a invade over Excel’s red buff however, no one dies or loses any summoners. Similar to the last game, nothing too much happens for the first five minutes of the game. Inspired rotates top lane and sets up a gank on Ornn which secures Rogue first blood. However, Excel has a strong response with Aphelios’ teleport to top lane, paired with Taliyah roaming up to secure a 2 for 1 trade at the end of the play. Rogue secures first Drake around 7 minutes, Excel trades for taking Rift Herald. This develops a trend we would see throughout the game. The successful plays that Excel are able to do, are as responses to plays that Rogue initiate. The plays that Excel start in this game, were mostly suspect or turned against them.
Mid to Late Game
Both teams spend the rest of the early game trading turret plates on various champions. The biggest winner for this is Finn on Mordekaiser for Rogue, who gains a level and a large cs advantage for himself because of this. Drakes get traded as both teams end up at two Drakes apiece at 23 minutes. The game at this point is virtually even. Excel secured another Rift Herald which swings the game a bit into their favor. They are able to take top lane inhibitor at 19 minutes. Excel is unable to capitalize off of this pressure point they generated.
Excel continues to control the map using Taliyah wall to zone Rogue off defending their tier two turrets. Rogue then pulls the trigger on a teleport flank that they had to make or they would be suffocated out of the game. Finn takes out the Nautlius out of the fight. Rogue then bluffs a baron start to reengage the fight to secure two more kills. After which, they take baron. After Rogue takes baron, Excel looks to initiate a 5v4 team fight but they are unable to kill off Vander and Larssen takes Patrik out of the fight immediately. With Patrik dead, there is no hope for Excel to win this game as Rogue ends the game at about 30 minutes.
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