The East vs The West
Rogue was the most hyped foreign team playing in OGN’s APEX Season 3 and this was a justified hype. This was a team with very impressive online results that finished 2016 with a remarkable 4-1 win vs none other than Lunatic Hai in the finals of the APAC Premier, an offline tournament. This Final was the last time that these two teams faced each other.
With the start of 2017 started the second season of OGN’s APEX, which Lunatic Hai won with an exciting and poetic reverse sweep in the finals vs Runaway. These results contribute to the feeling that this specific match would be the best of the West vs the best of the East.
Apex Season 3
This tournament started in the 28th of April with Lunatic Hai facing Kongdoo Panthera. The reigning Apex champions showed a reasonable number of flaws and nearly got taken down by Panthera’s changed roster who managed to go 2-0 but ended up getting reverse swept (in the classic LH style). In May 5th Rogue beat Mighty AOD in decent fashion, but only a week later got outperformed by KD Panthera and ended up being taken down 3-1.
The match after this one was LH vs Mighty AOD and with the result being 3-1 as well, Rogue saw themselves in quite a complicated situation. They now needed a 3-1 or 3-0 win to make sure that they get onto the next stage of the tournament. If they win 3-2 their fate is in the hands of Mighty AOD winning vs Panthera (which is very unlikely) and if they get taken down 0-3 or 1-3 they are eliminated.
Most Obvious Flaws of the Teams
Both these teams showed very considerable strengths in their matches, LH had the best results but Rogue had a decent showing even in their loss against Panthera. But what I want to address in the article is their differences and their (also) different flaws.
Rogue can be considered the team that influenced the Korean teams to start playing Triple DPS in Apex. This is the composition that they are known for and, before this tournament, they played it instead of 2-2-2 for a considerable amount of time (around 70%). But these numbers changed with their matches in Korea. They started playing 2-2-2 more and the statistics nearly switched places in the case of these 2 compositions.
Rogue’s biggest flaw seen in their previous matches is their stubbornness with their picks. They almost never changed the heroes that they chose. This was an obvious issue in their loss against Kongdoo. While their opponent played 12 different heroes for more than 10% of the match, Rogue stuck to only 8.
Lunatic Hai’s development is almost opposite to Rogue’s. They were known as a team that just played 2-2-2, they kept to their dive style and were so good at it that, even though teams knew they only played this style, they still won.
This season it was very different though. In their game vs Panthera, the first of the season, they played with a triple DPS comp for 37.45% of the time. In their game against AOD they even pulled off the triple support comp as a counter to the triple DPS one in their defense of the first point of Hollywood. Lunatic Hai’s biggest flaw seemed to be their performance in control maps. In their 2 matches they didn’t manage to score a single point in this map type.
The Key Round
Nepal. This was the first map to be played and, according to the last results, this was Rogue’s best chance to start off the series with a 1-0 lead. After a few picks Rogue manages to get control of the point. This game is looking very much in their favor, since they not only have the point, they also have the ult advantage.
But here comes the first big mistake from Rogue. They group up on the high ground leaving the point with no one and initiate a fight with the Sound Barrier even though Lunatic Hai has no offensive ults to use. While this is happening, ESCA grabs the point by himself on Tracer. This causes to fight to move completely onto it and gives a chance to LH to farm their ults up. Both teams get a pick and both Transcendences are used at the same time. AKM pops his Tac Visor when RYUHEJONG’s ult ends but it gets completely denied by the Sound Barrier and D.Va’s Defensive Matrix. WhoRU uses his Dragonblade and, with no more defensive ults available, LH manages to kill both of Rogue’s supports and manage to win a fight in which they had a considerable ult disadvantage.
After regrouping, Rogue pushes onto the point, fights LH and manages to retake it in great fashion, using only Knoxxx’s Primal Rage, while both Miro and ZUNBA used both their ults. This puts the western team in a similar position to the one in which they were when this game started. They have control of the point, and they have the ult advantage.
Lunatic Hai regroups for an eco-push but only manages to force Rogue’s defensive ults and are forced to use their own Transcendence. Here is where the second major mistake from the French roster comes in, even though LH has no major advantage in terms of ultimates, Rogue decides that they should try a cheeky flank from the right side of the main chokepoint of the map. They push in for it and only spot Miro’s Winston and are unable to take him down. This situation forces them to get quickly back onto the point and AKM gets picked off before he manages to use his Tac Visor. Immediately afterwards Soon is killed too and, without both their DPS Rogue ends up losing the point at 99%.
With the point getting to 99% on both sides, Rogue start their last push, this is what the ult economy is looking like:
With their slight ult advantage, they open the fight up with AKM’s Tac Visor as an answer to Miro’s Primal Rage, but there are no defensive ultimates to pair with this one so the 76 is zoned out and this is yet another ult wasted. The fight begins full on inside the point as the overtime starts ticking and the ults start being used in quick succession. Nico’s Self Destruct and WhoRU’s Dragonblade are used almost at the same time. Both teams get two kills, Winston and Genji fall on the side of LH and Solider and Zenyatta on the side of Rogue. This is a 4v4 that can go either way and the western team almost manages to switch the point to their favor. But the fight takes so long that TOBI manages to charge and use his Sound Barrier, giving time for Miro to come back. This gives a number advantage to LH while Rogue has only Lucio and Tracer on the point. In a 2v4 situation Soon and WINZ step out of it for a bit too long and the overtime ends up ticking down completely and they lose the first round.
I decided to focus completely only on the first round of the first game because, in my opinion, it was the start of the Lunatic Hai avalanche that took on for the rest of this 3-0 sweep. Rogue managed to have the advantage at two key moments and they threw it away in both of those. Both of AKM’s Tactical Visors were obsolete yet they did not attempt a switch onto, for example, Genji. This was the only difference in their comps and Rogue was not being able to completely deny WhoRU’s ultimates, so why did they not try that switch? Even when they had the upper hand they seemed to be in Lunatic Hai’s control.
This round impacted the series in a huge way, it was LH’s first control round win in the entire tournament and it was an extremely close affair that Rogue surely knows was theirs to lose.
Rogue’s Impact on Apex
“It will be very interesting, in retrospect, to talk about Rogue’s impact on this tournament, given they might go out in groups but still shape it with their innovation with triple dps.” This is what OGN English Caster PapaSmithy said in Rogue’s last round on Apex Season 3. It is indeed very interesting and odd to me. It seems that Rogue brought this meta onto Korea but gradually stopped using it themselves while in this tournament. Who knows the reason why this happened, but it is no doubt that this meta change heavily impacted by the French roster will make for a very interesting Season of Apex, even with Rogue not making it out of groups.
Now, what we westerners have left (other than amazing -but usual- Korean displays of skill), is what is looking like an impressive EnvyUs team. Maybe we will have another clash of regions with a Lunatic Hai vs EnvyUs deeper into the tournament? I am more than surely looking forward to it!