Image credit: LoL Esports Flickr, Michal Konkol/Riot Games
Rogue’s Swedish League of Legends mid-laner Emil ‘Larssen’ Larsson has had another solid year so far, helping his side reach the Spring 2021 LEC final versus Mad Lions, finish first in the Summer 2021 regular season and qualify for Worlds as EU’s third seed, not to mention having his contract extended with Rogue.
But just a few years ago, before Larssen made it to the big stage, he started his career in the UK scene with teams like ManaLight and MNM Gaming. Megalodontus speaks to Larssen about his journey so far as he enters Worlds 2021 to represent Rogue and the LEC. They are already 1-0 up having beat Cloud9 and now face LCK champions Damwon Gaming today from 1pm BST. Can Europe bring it home?
Thank you for speaking to us, Larssen. First I’d like to take things back to when you were playing in the UK scene with the likes of Manalight and MNM. What did you learn from playing in the the UK leagues? Do you have any fond memories of your time there?
I definitely have very good memories. It was my first time playing competitive League of Legends. It was a very good time, I was very young and it was very fun. There’s a lot of nostalgia in those teams. I mean, it’s where I developed as a player and got out to the bigger leagues and so on. I just have a lot of good memories.
It’s nothing too special, but I definitely have a lot of good memories of like winning the UK scene back to back, meeting all my teammates and stuff.
Back then, you were vocal about finishing your studies before accepting any offers from the top teams. What was this like for you at the time and would you advise the same for up and coming players, to find a balance between playing League of Legends and focusing on other more important things in their lives?
That’s what I think, yeah. I don’t think you should quit school and just dedicate all your time to LoL, I think having a balanced life is very important. But then obviously, if you become really good and you get LEC offers, quitting school for LEC offers, there’s nothing wrong with that. But I think quitting school when you’re just like a mediocre player to play in the national leagues is not optimal, in my opinion.
But if you get good enough, it’s fine to focus on LoL and maybe leave school. My philosophy was just that. I had like my final year at school when I got an LEC offer, so I just wanted to finish school to be done with it and not have it in the back of my mind. That was my thought process. Let’s say I had like two years left for school, I would quit it for LEC for sure. You should have a balanced life I think and not just become a nerd!
Strong words! Do you have any plans to go back to university in the future?
It’s not something I think about now. I mean after my career, I would think about it then. After my career, I would like to look to do something, maybe something fun. Get some fun degree, or like something that I’m interested in, but it’s nothing I think about now.
Now that you’ve had some time off to think and reflect on the most recent LEC season, how would you look back on it compared to the Spring season?
Obviously, it’s very disappointing. I mean, I really wanted to win the LEC trophy, since we lost it in spring. It’s very disappointing that we weren’t even close to winning. My start to the season wasn’t that good but I came back very strongly, I think and I’m happy with the way I came back. But overall, it was disappointing for me and the whole team because we failed again in playoffs.
However, I’m very happy with the second half of the season. It’s the best LoL I have played, honestly. But before that it wasn’t as good. I didn’t put down enough time.
As you mentioned, it was disappointing given the expectations that people had of Rogue. But I think the one that was most surprising of your playoff series’ was the Fnatic one. Rogue were famous for being early game kings but against Fnatic, you guys seemed to struggle there too. I interviewed Pad from MAD Lions and he mentioned that you guys may have misread Fnatic, what are your thoughts on that?
I mean, in the series against Fnatic we were just weaker overall. I don’t want to go too deep into it, but we stopped doing some things that made us win the early game, I think. We just lost it as a team. I don’t think it was us misreading Fnatic or something like that.
Thank you for being open with me about that. As far as I remember, I know that Rogue has always been very strong in the early game this year. But this season ‘Rogue Time’ has been an unfortunate meme. Why did this happen so often in the summer? How did you guys work on fixing it for Worlds?
In the Spring Season, it definitely didn’t happen. We actually snowballed almost all our games very well. We didn’t throw the games until the Spring 2021 LEC finals against Mad Lions, I guess. And from there, we started throwing a lot of games. I think and we think it comes from the way we scrim. I think during the mid-game in scrims, we don’t really have enough focus to get into habits and have macro plays and structure. We’re trying to freestyle too much, I think.
We’re trying to get way more structure in the mid-game, and just more structure overall in the game, so that we have habits to be consistent, because I think we’re lacking a lot of habits. So that’s something we’re working a lot on to get, like more structure and habits in our macro game, and just being on the same page as a team.
If we have better practice and more structure in the game, then it would be easier to not choke, because we will all know what to do at different times of the game.
Speaking of Worlds then, who are some of the teams or players you want to face? What are your expectations going into Worlds 2021?
I mean, I don’t really care who I will face. I actually don’t care at all, I just want us to try to overcome all our issues and do everything we can to do well at Worlds. So yeah, I just want us to have as good a Worlds as we can, to try to reach our potential by working harder and making sure that our problems won’t show… that we will fix our problems. I want to be the best that we can be and then I’d be happy.
On that note, Rogue also moved straight up to the group stage, because the VCS (Vietnam Championship Series) were not attending. Do you think that being in the play-ins stage would’ve given Rogue more official games to practice, or does moving to groups provide a bigger advantage for the team? What do you think?
I mean, the nice thing about being moved to groups is that we were in Pool 3 and not Pool 4, because if you come from play-ins you’re in Pool 4 for seeding, so that’s a nice thing.
But I mean, overall it is kind of nice to go from play-ins to just feel the meta on stage and get more official games under your belt, to get rid of nerves and just get comfortable on stage at Worlds. But at the same time, it’s not bad for us. We were in Pool 3 and we had more time to practice. So it was fine. I mean, I wouldn’t have minded either. Both ways are fun.
How do you think EU will do this Worlds? Is it coming home to Europe?
I’m not sure. I mean, I think Mad Lions are pretty strong and we can do well too. But it’s hard to say, we’ll see how it goes. If we fix our issues, we can be very strong as well so we can have a chance to go far.
We will make sure to make EU proud at Worlds and we’re working very hard to get better.
You mentioned previously that you felt that you play your best split in the second half of the LEC season and it’s been a long time since you were regarded as a rookie. Occasionally, you are mentioned as one of the best mid-laners in Europe. How would you say Larssen was then, compared to Larssen now as a player?
It’s a deep question. I definitely changed my playstyle a lot from scaling and just playing through lane playstyle. I’m trying to help my team more, so it’s something I’ve developed to play more for the early game. But definitely, I want to become a lot better. And I’m very dedicated to come a lot better.
Before Worlds, the only thing I did was League, playing so much solo queue and just watching lots of VODs of myself and Chinese/Korean mid-laners. So I definitely want to become a lot better and have more impact on the games. I did everything I could to be in super good shape for Worlds.
Rogue play versus Damwon Gaming today at 1pm BST on the LoL Esports website and Riot Games Twitch channel.
Megalodontus is a miraculous survivor from the mass extinction and somehow learnt how to use his stubby fins to operate complicated mechanical equipment and drink tea. Worryingly for cryptozoologists, he’s been writing League of Legends articles too.
A self-taught writer who’s had the privilege to work with good editors who aren’t terrified of his pearly whites, Megalodontus is often seen writing either independently or for various websites such as this one. When not writing, he usually runs it down mid in real life and is fascinated with watching paint dry.