Rogue Odoamne laments their loss at Worlds 2022: “Winning 1 title in 8 years isn’t anything impressive”

Lance Skundrich/Riot Games

After Rogue’s loss at the hand of JDG, Odoamne gave his opinion on what makes a real super team, their loss to JDG, why EU is still way better than NA, and his hopes for the future after a bittersweet 2022.

After Rogue had such a triumphant win in the LEC, going out of Worlds 2022 the way they did was tough. Three straight losses at the end of the Group Stage was a departure from their dominance in the first half, and they weren’t able to get back into fighting shape before their set against JDG, a team with a solid chance of winning the entire event.

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Getting 3-0ed was a bitter end to Odoamne’s strongest year domestically. From our time with him, we gathered that Rogue’s roster this year was a special one, a roster he’s glad to have been a part of.

We wanted to know what came together for Rogue to take home their title this year, and why, even in peak form, they couldn’t push themselves further. Even after the loss, Andrei ‘Odoamne’ Pascu gave long, detailed, and insightful answers about Worlds 2022’s Western woes. It was a solemn interview, but one that he handled with grace.

Going down with your head held high

Though Rogue may have lost, Odoamne had nothing but good things to say about JDG after their set against them. It didn’t seem like Odoamne thought he played all that poorly (outside of Game 3), but more that JDG just played really, really well.

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When asked what it was like to lane against Bai ‘369’ Jia-Hao, a player who many are calling the strongest top laner in the world, Odoamne thought that 369 was a cut above the top laners he played against in the Group Stage.

“He was really clean, he wasn’t really making mistakes at all. The top laners I played against in the Group Stage were a lot open with their mistakes, it felt easier to punish. But today, I feel like his gameplay was really clean. He was a really worthy opponent, I think. Games 1 and 2 we were exchanging blows, and it was quite an even matchup.”

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Game 3 I kinda messed up in the last hitting department, and I fell really far behind because I was missing minions a lot. Game 3 should have been a lot closer… Just one of those games I guess where a lot of things don’t go your way. But for sure, at this worlds, he’s top of his class in terms of lane strength and consistency. I feel like he wasn’t really making mistakes at all. It was just clean gameplay from him, and it was nice to play against him.”

What’s more, Odoamne is a core component to Rogue’s identity. Where other top laners have the freedom to pick a wide variety of champions like Fiora and Camille that are meant to gap their opponent and win through sidelaning, Odoamne’s good sense for starting fights and rotating is has been a core part of Rogue’s successes at Worlds 2022. To the point where it’s on Odoamne to shoulder the burden of starting fights.

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“I think we function a lot differently and a lot better when I play champions that start the fight. I’m very vocal on timings, and confident on the timings where we should look to start fights. When we play stuff in top that’s different that doesn’t have tools to start fights, we play different as a team.”

“Some of the burden of execution goes on some of the other guys on the team, and I feel like one of my greatest strengths is coordinating everyone, setting up fight withs Maokai, Ornn, stuff like this. It’s not so much that I enjoy these champs, but more like the biggest impact I can have on the team is finding these timings to force fights. That’s why I was opting for those kinds of champions.”

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This is a bit of a double-edged sword for Rogue. On one hand, Odoamne’s influence on teamfighting champions is felt. On the other, it makes it difficult for Rogue to diversify their win conditions in any given game. Odoamne didn’t feel like JDG figured out his strategy and found effective ways to counter it, but he did feel like JDG had an easier time finding ways to win the game.

“I think they just played well. In game 2, I was having a really good game on Maokai given the fact that I had to blind pick and he had free choice of counterpick. The fact that he didn’t really win or do that well with his counterpick, I feel like I was fine.”

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“I just think overall, as a team, they just played better. They found a lot of windows to punish different lanes. I wouldn’t say they figured out my champion pool, they’re just more diverse than other teams I guess. They had an easier time identifying win conditions and playing around them.”

JDG’s diversity and flexibility when it comes to finding win conditions and playing to them is something that made them a very tough opponent for Rogue. The Worlds meta has created opportunities for teams to win through every lane, where the meta in Playoffs seemed to be very focused around bot lane for most teams.

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Adapting to a team that’s so well-suited to the meta at Worlds 2022 hasn’t been an easy task for anyone, and JDG are one of, if not the toughest opponent Rogue could have been forced to face in the Quarterfinals.

But one matchup doesn’t excuse the poor performance seen across the West through Worlds 2022.

“The West”, and the distinction between EU and NA

“The West” has been the blanket term for Europe and North America, especially this year. It’s a pretty easy umbrella term when talking in terms of finding a team that can take games off of Korean and Chinese team, and it sets up the narrative for just how substantial a skill gap there seems to be between LCK and LPL teams compared to the rest of the world.

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We asked Odoamne how he felt about being lumped in with NA by association with this term, and he wasn’t too keen on it. While talking in terms of the West is helpful, it’s important to remember that EU is still on top.

“I mean, for sure EU is a lot, a lot better than NA. It has been like this since the beginning of time, you know? I don’t think there’s been a year where an NA team made it further at Worlds than an EU team. I mean, yeah, there are times where they take games. Like, for example, when EG beat MAD Lions. And, at the same time when MAD Lions was, you know, kind of a train wreck in play-ins.”

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“There are times where NA wins, but I think, consistently, over the years, EU has just been better. It’s just that, when NA loses, NA fans like to jump ship and find refuge in the West, you know? Other than that, I think EU has just always been better than NA.

We’re in an unfortunate situation where it’s kind of hard to have faith in LCS and LEC teams, but Odoamne was adamant about the fact that the LEC was still a step above the competition.

The Western umbrella can feel like a manufactured one, a way to maintain hope that there’s a team that can challenge the two most dominant regions. It’s certainly possible to see another NA team arise like 2018 Cloud9, but that time isn’t now. And it may not be any time soon, either. There is no refuge this year for North American fans, and things haven’t gone much better for EU.

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And, though Odoamne isn’t a huge fan of solo queue in Europe, he lambasted the solo queue experience in North America. Practice environment is an important aspect of improving as a player.

“I would say NA solo queue has been a joke. For me, it felt like everyone… I mean, I thought EU solo queue was bad because of people have high egos and not caring so much about the game. In NA, it’s a completely different ballpark. Even from low elo, people have super big egos and only care about arguing with each other and being correct instead of just practicing and playing the game and improving.”

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Despite Odoamne’s harsh criticism of North America’s practice environment outside of Champions Queue (which he quite liked), there have been a few so-called “super teams” that have had their years. But 2022 was not the year of the super team, not by a longshot.

Odoamne had a few theories as to why it’s been so difficult to put together a team that can go toe-to-toe with the best teams in the LPL and LCK.

What it takes to build (or become) a super team

The LCS and LEC both had super teams this year. While Team Liquid fared a bit better than Vitality, neither team seemed to be in shape to fight for the top spot in their region, let alone a world title. And Fnatic was a great roster on paper with more experience playing together than hastily formed super teams, but they didn’t fare much better.

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It’s been hard to stave off the narrative that super teams are dead, but Odoamne wasn’t too sure. Rather, he thinks that there’s a fundamental problem with the way super teams are created.

“I’d say the difference is that we don’t have a lot of superteams anymore. Superteams are fading. Last time, we had G2 in 2018/2019, everyone was the best at their role, a clear standout. The individual talent was there, and they also had the team cohesion. Right now, it feels like a lot of rosters in EU have this individual talent, but the cohesion isn’t there. That’s why, in the long run, you’d see teams that don’t have perhaps the best players in their roles coming together and achieving a lot more than teams with a super talent.”

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“For example, on paper, you had Fnatic at the beginning of the year. Everyone was like, you know, ‘Yeah, it’s a superstar roster, they’re for sure gonna win LEC in spring in summer.’ And then they didn’t win in either situation just because teams like us and G2 had better team cohesion, better synergy, better teamwork, all this stuff.”

Odoamne elaborated on why we haven’t seen a team with that level of cohesion, and that some of the onus may on those trying to create the rosters rather than the players themselves. “I just think, when teams are made, there needs to be a lot more research done into how players operate, the environment they operate best in. And… you don’t see a lot of this stuff anymore.”

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“You just see, you know, everyone’s like ‘Who’s a good player? This guy?’ And everyone’s just gonna go for this guy cause he’s the best in his role, you know? And they’re not really looking at how the team functions better as a whole. Where can you make sacrifices in terms of starpower for the teamwork aspect of this team?”

“I feel like in 2018/2019 EU hit the jackpot with the G2 roster. They were both the best in their roles and had incredible team cohesion. That’s kind of what separates EU from being a super good region, and just a good one.”

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Despite Odoamne’s sentiments that EU hasn’t seen a super team in a while, he was proud of what Rogue accomplished this year and felt like their team environment gave them a serious edge.

“The beginning of our journey was not a fun one. All the way back in spring, I feel like we weren’t really the greatest team unit, but over time, we grew to be a really, really good team. A really unified team. We were more supportive of each other than most EU teams this year, and it really showed. Everyone on our team had a lot of trust in each other. It was one of those teams where everyone brought the best out of each other.”

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“Everyone, day in and day out, they were doing great in terms of attitude. Everyone was helping each other out as much as possible.”

While Odoamne hit some big career milestones this year, he wasn’t remotely satisfied with how 2022 went. He didn’t feel like his regional win in 2022 changed much of anything at all, and that he still has a lot of things he’d like to accomplish.

“I wouldn’t say anything will change going into next year. No one’s going to remember. No one’s going to care that I won LEC because it’s all going to be about that year. I didn’t really get to enjoy winning LEC this year because Worlds was coming up, and I just had my mind fully focused on Worlds.”

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“I just want to win again. Winning 1 title in 8 years isn’t anything impressive, you know?”