Rogue’s 3-0 victory versus G2 Esports in the LEC Summer finals scarcely felt real — least of all for the players themselves.
As Rogue destroyed the nexus in the final game of their 3-0 LEC finals victory, it felt like time froze.
The entirety of the Malmö arena sat in suspended animation for a single second – that final, fateful moment before history was made on one of the biggest stage of European League of Legends.
Despite Rogue’s commanding victory versus Fnatic the day before, it felt as though the expectation of a victory was very much on G2 Esports. You needed only look to the sea of black and red jerseys in the audience to see that the G2 Army was out in full force, expecting an easy tenth LEC title for their team.
In that moment, a decade of LEC history flashed before the eyes of every single fan in the arena. A decade of G2/Fnatic dominance, a decade of incredible players who never quite managed to snatch that final victory, a decade of jubilation, and heartbreak, and every single point on the spectrum of human emotion.
And then, as if by magic, time unfroze, and Rogue silenced every single doubter in the stadium with a 3-0 finals victory and their first-ever LEC title. The crowd erupted into cheers as the players leapt from their seats, scarcely able to believe the victory themselves.
In the post-game press conference, the team looked stunned. It was as if they were waiting for the hammer to fall – for someone to tell them that yes, after so many near misses, they had actually won their first LEC title.
Head coach Simon ‘fredy122’ Payne put it best.
“I think it will hit in the morning. Right now I’m watching everyone around me, like, cry for me? And I don’t quite have that yet.”
AD Carry Markos ‘Comp’ Stamkopoulos chimed in – “I think it’s the same for me too. I’ll probably cry in my bed later or something.” Support Adrian ‘Trymbi’ Trybus quickly added that “I think it’s the same for all of us, we legit can’t process any of this.”
Top laner Andrei ‘Odoamne’ Pascu said that everything after the nexus exploded was “honestly such a blank.”
“It’s a moment I’ve been chasing for eight years now. Honestly, I need to rewatch it, because I don’t remember anything anymore.”
But even if Rogue couldn’t believe the victory themselves, the crowds of LEC fans in the Malmö arena certainly could. What had begun as a stadium full of “Let’s Go G2!” chants had morphed throughout the series, and by game 3 the screams of “Go Rogue Go!” were so loud it felt like they would lift the ceiling.
Rogue were a roster for whom the fates had never quite aligned.
Odoamne, one of the LEC’s oldest veterans, who’d had so many near misses for an LEC title. Comp, who’d been benched from Team Vitality with no guarantee he’d ever get a starting spot again.
Emil ‘Larssen’ Larssen, who’d long been overshadowed by the generation of ERL mid laners he’d come into the LEC alongside. Kim ‘Malrang’ Geun-song, who’d come to Europe to find the success that had long eluded him in his home region of the LCK.
They’d always been good, but they’d never been great – never had that final spark to push them over the finish line.
And when that final spark did come, it was a moment shared not only by the players, but a network of support staff who’d stuck by them through thick and thin, who watched Rogue’s press conference like a congregation of proud parents.
As head of analytics Nico ‘Blueknight’ Jannet explained, “I’ve been working with some of these people for years now, and what we did today is not something that’s been built overnight. It’s something that a lot of people – all the background staff behind the team and all the players up on stage – have been spending so many hours grinding to achieve.”
“Seeing them finally succeed really means a lot.”
Rogue have had their fair share of doubters during their time in the LEC. Odoamne addressed as much in a previous press conference, when he called out the double standards of fans referring to Rogue as ‘chokers’ where more popular teams were never quite labeled the same way.
But what better way to silence those doubters than with a 3-0 victory. And not only a 3-0 victory, but a 3-0 victory against the most successful European team of all time, who qualified to the LEC playoffs in first place and were, unquestionably, the de facto favorites to take home the Summer Championship trophy.
They beat G2 at their own game, forcing them to play the way Rogue wanted from as early on as the draft.
Comp consistently drew AD Carry ban after AD Carry ban in the draft phase, but even on a less popular pick like Caitlyn he proved that he simply couldn’t be matched when it came to team fighting. His MVP of the Series award was well deserved – consistently outmaneuvering and outperforming G2’s Victor ‘Flakked’ Lirola from minute one.
But so much credit deserves to go to Malrang. He played entirely without fear, without hesitation. Wherever there was a window, however small, he would make a game-winning engage, flawlessly setting up for his team’s damage dealers to come in and finish the fight.
And when asked about the thought processes and strategies behind his masterful engages, his incredible timing, his pixel-perfect Jarvan VI ultimates?
“I don’t know. I just go in.”