Rogue went to Korea on an impressive winning streak where they dominated the west, not only winning but crushing anyone who got in their way to victory at every tournament they participated in.
Then South Korea happened.
Rogue lost 2/3 of their Korean matches and was knocked out of the group stages of the OGN Apex season 3 tournament. An underwhelming result. Granted, they were in the toughest group that the tournament has ever seen. However, going into the tournament they were considered one of the best in the world and this was going to be their test to see if they were the best. They failed. Nevertheless, they should be considered one of the world’s top teams.
What happened in Korea? Why did Rogue fail? In this article I want to go over why Rogue was such a success and why their previous success may have led to their downfall in Korea.
Why Rogue is such a success in the west
Dive compositions are the meta right now and no one has the coordination that Rogue has to run that composition. The whole idea of dive composition is attacking from different angles at the same to overwhelm your opponents. After all, you can only aim in one direction at a time. Rogue is more coordinated than any other western team; they have found a chemistry that works for them and perfected it.
Being the best team in the western scene has a been a different race than in Korea. Teams in the west look to get decent players and then build that chemistry – and they are still in that phase. Teams are constantly switching up their rosters. Though, things have slowed down now that teams are competing in Overwatch Contenders. The race to the top has been all about chemistry. It is the hardest thing to measure in Overwatch, and arguably the most important. If a team doesn’t have chemistry then they will never be able to compete at a high level.
Sometimes chemistry is natural and other times it needs to be built. Cloud9 is an example of a team that is building it. They have two players from Korea who don’t speak great English, Xepher and Kaiser. Having this language barrier can make the chemistry harder to build and more important. They need to be able to know what the team mates are going to do before they do them.
In Rogue’s case the chemistry is natural. They all clicked instantly. Why isn’t the point of this article? The point is that the chemistry was natural and they instantly started beating teams. They are the best players in their position in the west (for the most part) but that chemistry is what propelled them to domination. They were able to execute one of the most difficult strategies in the game to near perfection.
What Korea has that the west doesn’t
There is only one role that the west is on par with Korea in: DPS. In that, the west has more star DPS’ that are capable of solo carrying their team to victory. Unfortunately for them, Overwatch takes more than just DPS to win. And that is where Korea is in a different league than the rest of the world. Korean tanks and supports are, without a doubt, the best in the world. Only Chipsjahen should be mentioned in the same conversation as Korean supports. There isn’t a single tank that is comparable to Korean tanks, except maybe Knoxxx. But as displayed in Korea, he can’t consistently out tank them.
This is where Rogue failed. Without teams with world class tanks to practice against, Rogue didn’t know how to counter a team with such an impactful tank line; or supports keeping those tanks and DPS alive. If you can’t kill the supports, or out damage the heals then you are going to lose (obviously). Rogue struggled to kill the Korean supports before they could kill their supports.
Korean teams, looking at Lunatic Hai as an example, have gotten better at engaging and disengaging than their western counterparts. If you look at Overwatch like a game of chess (which high level teams should do) the western teams seem to be focussing on the mid game and not so much at the entry game and end game. It is unfair to them to say that they aren’t focussing on it at all. But, the Korean teams have managed to get ahead of the other regions.
Before a team engages they need to get a lot of information and relay it to their teammates. The Koreans have learnt how to do this the best, and Rogue suffered from it. When playing a dive composition you need to have perfect co-ordination and a single grain of sand can cause the whole mechanism to grind to a halt. The Koreans made often enough made that grain of sand their supports. They wouldn’t die immediately because they had their tanks protecting them and doing a great job of it to.
How this applies to Rogue
Most importantly, the Korean tanks were able to shut down AKM relieving everyone from his pressure and letting them focus on Soon. AKM is one of the best Soldier: 76’s in the game, but what he really shines at is giving Soon space. The key to killing a Tracer is stifling her and taking away her space to move. This is what the Korean tanks do. Not by focussing on Soon, but by focussing on AKM. Shutting down his Soldier is the key to shutting down Soon. Granted, Soon will tear apart most teams without AKM’s help. The problem is when Rogue runs into the best teams in the world. Then Tracer needs a partner to open up space. The Korean’s shut down AKM which let them focus on shutting down Soon.
One tank was enough to shut down AKM. A good enough D.Va that saved Defense Matrix and had good positioning, someone like Void from KongDoo Panthera, is able to shut down AKM. This is no easy feat and can only be done by the best tanks in the world; AKM is one of the best Soldier’s in the world and shutting him down is commendable. But it is the key to beating Rogue.
The Koreans are also better at out thinking teams. They play the head games on an another level which is a great way to disrupt the well oiled machine of Rogue. Knocking a single piece of the machine out of place is enough for other top teams to capitalise on and isolate individual members of the team, one by one.
Rogue isn’t invincible. Lunatic Hai and KongDoo Panthera showed us that they can be beat them, albeit not easily. Rogue is one of the top five best teams in the world without a doubt, and an argument could be made of top three. However, they can be beat by separating their team from each other. The beauty of dive is the way every player works in tandem with another; which is also its weakness. If you are able to shut down a single player on Rogue then you can bring the whole system to a halt. Although, you are going to have to shut down one of the integral parts of the cog. In the KongDoo Panthera game they managed to shut down AKM in order to shut down Soon. Killing Unkoe would also work to get rid of heals and win the war of attrition.