Fredy: “Gwen and Viego threw all the teams”
Head Coach Simon “fredy122” Payne joined us to talk about his team’s performance over the summer season so far and how they have gradually tweaked their gameplay to get back in shape. He also discussed the fall of his mid-laner Larssen at the start of the Split, and how the team helped him get back on track by fostering the right atmosphere.
Hotspawn: Welcome Fredy and congratulations on the victory against Schalke. I have to say it was a pretty one-sided game. Did it meet your expectations?
freddy: Sort of, yeah. We knew we were the favorites for the game. Usually we have a cooler week. So by all standards we should win this game. We played it pretty clean, so I’m very happy with it.
Hotspawn: As we’ve gotten used to by now, I guess Snape does very well in the regular Split. Performance seems stable from the start. Is that also how you lived it?
freddy: I think we slowly regained the form we had in the Playoffs, over the weeks. We started training quite late so we had a lot of silly plays in our official matches. But overall, I think we’ve grown in strength every week. We’ve been pushing our style and our approach to the game. We’re still improving and preparing for the playoffs, so it’s a very good situation for us right now, I think.
Hotspawn: What did you focus on with the team in terms of training?
freddy: Between the Splits, it’s a good time for us to think about what can be done better as a team. We came back and focused on our mid game. I think I’m trying to snowball a lot faster and use our vision a lot better. A lot of times we get big leads, but… the narrative for us is, and there’s an element of truth: we got big leads, but we didn’t really do enough with them. We’re just fixing a few things that will allow us to snowball a little faster. It may not be that visible, but it has been our main focus in this Split.
Hotspawn: I spoke with Odoamne at the start of Split and he said the team still needed to figure out some things to be more on the same page. How has this progress been?
freddy: I think it’s always difficult when you come back from the playoffs. [Laughs] You’re so good then, your team is so good, but then you come back in the first week of training and you’re so bad again, you know? You need time to recover, you need a little patience. I think Gwen and Viego threw all the teams as well, really. It was a lot to understand. The meta went from no flex choices to flex choices everywhere, so there was a lot of confusion everywhere. It certainly took a while to figure it out. So yes, there have been some frustrating times, but it all depends on the stable path we’ve been on. It’s pretty stable overall, I think.
Hotspawn: The team you’re competing for first place with right now is Fnatic, which has improved significantly over Spring Split. How did you perceive their growth as an adversary?
freddy: They are surprisingly good, in fact. [Laughs] I think they’ve finally figured out how they want to play. My impression in the last split was that they had no idea how they wanted to play, really, and now they have a very solid style. They like to play with the bot a lot and they can be quite unpredictable in what they do. This can make them difficult to face. But I also think it might disappoint them. They might give up some games against teams they shouldn’t give up against. Maybe they’re not as consistent due to their unpredictability, but somehow it all worked out for them. I think they’re all on the same page now, and that’s the main thing.
Hotspawn: You’re playing against them this coming weekend, so: how do you prepare for an unpredictable squad?
freddy: They’ll probably always have a choice or two in their back pocket to surprise you, that’s how I see them. The main thing is to get things that we are comfortable with and identify how they want to win the game. We’ve been playing them for so long now that we have a good idea of their real strengths. The first week, when we played against them, we didn’t know much about them. Now we can develop a strategy around them and how we actually want to play against them.
Hotspawn: Looking back on the team’s progress, one team member got off to a particularly tough start: Larssen. He explained that he found it difficult to concentrate in the game. As a coach, what was it like working with him and helping him get back on track?
freddy: I think it’s just part of the scene that players will always have their ups and downs. We all know how talented he is and it came from the Spring Split. We’ve had a long vacation, haven’t we? You can expect a lot of individual mistakes like this. I think Larssen is professional enough to know what to do about it. He knows himself. Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen huge improvements on the mistakes he made. So a lot of patience is needed in these situations, when a player is not playing at his best. You just have to work with them and try to help them and get back in shape.
Hotspawn: So there is nothing in particular you do to help him more?
freddy: I mostly treated him the same. Obviously we highlighted the mistakes he made in the game. We reinforced why it was a mistake. Ismael, our performance trainer, also worked with him. Some of these errors were indeed more related to his concentration than to actual elements of the game, so Isma worked with him a lot. But it’s not too unusual the way we treat someone who is playing badly.
Hotspawn: Besides the improvements to the game, did you notice any changes in team dynamics when Larssen returned to his comfort zone?
freddy: Uh, not so much. I think in Larssen’s case it’s still the same. [Laughs] He’s still pretty positive about everything, really.
Hotspawn: From what I hear from your players whenever I talk to them, I get the feeling that Rogue has a really great team vibe. Was it something that you focused on developing, or did it develop naturally?
freddy: A bit of both. It is certainly a core value of us. We know you really have to love playing together to have fun, right? So we’re going to do things to encourage that. We play sports together, we play board games, stuff like that. It’s something that we try to nurture, that good environment, but at some point it’s also up to the player to push and develop it.
We also run events that will get them to spend time together, which is something the coaching staff do. We also try to add to the ambiance, don’t we? We tell jokes or just try to set the mood. It’s just little things that we sort of do to make sure everything is good for them.
Rogue will play his next LEC match against Fnatic on Friday July 23 at 10 p.m. CEST. You can watch the game live on the official LoL Esports website.