Rogue head coach Simon “fredy122” Payne is hopeful that Rogue can still make it out of the “Group of Death”

When Rogue – the LEC third seed – was drawn into Group A alongside both Damwon and FunPlus Phoenix, many thought it would be a quick flight home for the Europeans. And while their storyline still stands that way with a 1-2 record, it is not in the fashion we expected. Instead, Rogue is putting up a fight against the top teams. Against Damwon, they clawed their way back into the game after a terrible early game to nearly win. Now – as Rogue heads into their final day of the LoL Group Stages, Rogue will look to shore up their weak early game to make a run to the quarterfinals.

In this interview, we speak to RGE fredy122 to talk about his thoughts on FPX at Worlds, his style of coaching, and how he plans to tackle their final day of groups.

REYKJAVIK, ICELAND – OCTOBER 13: FunPlus Phoenix stands on stage after a victory match at the League of Legends World Championship Groups Stage on October 13, 2021 in Reykjavik, Iceland. (Photo by Joosep Martinson/Riot Games)

Sage Datuin, FPX has not been meeting people’s expectations at this tournament, but it seemed like FPX were a lot stronger today and mitigating their mistakes. What are your thoughts on that game and playing FPX?

RGE fredy122: Yeah, I think it was a bit disappointing today. Really, the main issue that we had against them was what happened in the early game and the laning phase. We never got to a point where we’re equal in the game. It is hard to play a game not from an equal position. So things get frustrating. Still, they do not look as strong as we thought. They are very beatable and are not meeting my initial expectations.

Sage: Amumu was meant to be a strong pick at the World Championships for the support role, but it is not working. It seems like a popular pick for Miss Fortune though. What are your thoughts on Amumu as a support at Worlds and why did you not use it today?

RGE fredy122: To be honest, I actually felt it was quite strong for a long time. I think we were picking him almost every game like three weeks ago. But the rise of Yuumi, Lucian and Nami pushed him down the list. I think people don’t like to play him when you have a lot of magic damage or you have a champion like TF because enemies will buy Mercury Treads or bring cleanse to stop Amumu’s effects. It is still strong, but you need a very good situation to pick him. He needs to be in a perfect situation and in that game against FPX, it did not feel right to pick him.

Sage: With Rogue, the draw was not the kindest, but it seems like you guys are staying fairly competitive. What was your mindset going into this group and how is it different now after this first week?

RGE fredy122: You know, when we got drawn into this group, you either go big or go home fast. That’s kind of the mindset for us right now. We put a lot of work into fixing our issues from Summer Split. It is nice because there is no pressure to get out of this group. Currently, we just try to look at the positives. After we have played each team, I think that really we just need to shore up our early game. Whether that be picking different champs, cleaning up our read on certain matchups or just honestly playing a little bit better early. That’s what we need to do to beat these teams and be competitive in the last few games.

Sage: Do you feel like that comes by taking more risks in the early game so that they don’t like snowball lead? Or is it just making sure you make less mistakes?

RGE fredy122: In our case, it is on us to make less mistakes instead of being so aggressive. Playing against FPX they will make mistakes. But if we make so many mistakes early, they will snowball a lead like today. We need to be a bit more solid and we just need to look at matchups that we want to play.

Sage: As a coach, when you are up against teams touted as Worlds contenders, how much does your risk vs reward outcome percentage change? Do you tell your team to take more risks in the game or do you treat every game similar to how you play in LEC?

RGE fredy122: I mean, I don’t know how other coaches are but I treat it similar to LEC. We draft against champions we feel are strong and are built around our win conditions. The main thing I focus on is just having this team be decisive in their plays. Whether that be l a 50/50 play sometimes you have to take them or if it’s like a higher percentage play just take it. Main thing is not to shy away from these plays. 

REYKJAVIK, ICELAND – OCTOBER 13: Rogue’s Steven “Hans sama” Liv gestures a thumbs up at the League of Legends World Championship Groups Stage on October 13, 2021 in Reykjavik, Iceland. (Photo by Michal Konkol/Riot Games)

Sage: Let’s talk about your journey into coaching. You have worked alongside Roccat/Rogue for 5 years now, starting as a player turned into a coach. What do you feel like has been your strongest quality as a coach and what are you currently working on fixing?

RGE fredy122: I think, obviously, I had the player background. So I’ve always enjoyed thinking about the game. I had a head start on macro from my time playing. The part I enjoy most about coaching is the drafting phase. I feel I am consistent in the draft so it is important to put priority on making sure we know how to play these compositions well. That’s something I think this team excels in.  We’re still quite young as a team, but I think my journey has been filled with things I’ve learnt. More so this year, it is important to know how to maintain our position at the top, and consistency has been something I’ve learned.  This is something I’ll definitely take away from this year moving into 2022.

Sage: Would you say you are a coach that takes more of a direct approach with player feedback or do you try and tailor your approach for each individual player?

RGE fredy122: Each player is different for sure. We treat them differently. Some people might need more direct feedback while others need to be guided and take a breather before talking. Since there’s only five players on the team, it’s very easy to give each player their own time to talk. Overtime, you learn what works. How do you get feedback? How do you like to teach these players? Something you for sure have to take into consideration. Now, we also have a performance coach who does a lot for the team. He focuses on making sure the players are mentally good and I make sure their gameplay and champion understanding is great.

Sage: Going back to your own career, you are interesting because you have been in the scene for a long time, but it feels like there is not as much attention on you. 

RGE fredy122: I like a little bit of attention and I think everyone does. Though, I never have been the type to put myself out there and put controversial opinions out there.  When esports was younger, that’s what you had to do a lot to really grow your brand. Maybe that was something I missed as a player. But I am very happy in the role I have with Rogue right now.

Sage: Moving forward, there are just three games left in this group, but historically, Europe is known for strong Week 2 performances. Talk to me about your feelings going into that final group day?

RGE fredy122: At the end of the day, they’re all just individual games. So I think we still need to make a few more conclusions. When we go back as a team and talk about the game, it’s really about how we can get out of the early game even. What do we need to fix against them? I think we’ve shored up our mid game and late game enough that we can match them in teamfights. And we can match them in macro. I think this is the main thing for us. It is going to be very hard being down 1-2, but I believe it is possible. 

Stay tuned to for the latest League of Legends news and updates, as well as coverage from Worlds 2021.

Sage Datuin - Writer of the Month: June

Sage Datuin

Writer of the Month: June | Twitter: @sagedatuin

Sage been following esports since high school and has remained a massive fan ever since. When he's not working he likes to work out, knit and overthink things..