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Each week, Upcomer highlights one player in the League of Legends European Championship for their outstanding performance in the weekend prior and crowns them player of the week. Using Corki to bring down hell’s hottest fires on his enemies, the LEC player of the spring split’s Week 4 is Rogue mid laner Emil “Larssen” Larsson.
Versus Excel Esports
Rogue were thrown a curveball by Excel in their match Friday. Mid laner Erlend “nukeduck” Holm locked in Sona — it was the first time since 2016 (which was the only other time) that the champion was picked in the mid lane on Europe’s highest stage.
Larssen saw the curveball approach and knocked it out of the park with Corki. He tore poor nukeduck to shreds. Recognizing the massive advantage he would have in the lane, Larssen bought a Cull as his starter item. Combined with the commonly run rune on Corki, First Strike, the gold started flowing for the Swede. Nine-and-a-half minutes into the game he had accumulated a staggering 4,100 gold; 900 more than the next player. At 10 minutes, Larssen took down Excel’s mid outer turret.
With two completed items at 14 minutes, Larssen started to roam and deal simply stupid amounts of damage. Though the game seemed even from the map state, Corki was a ticking time bomb that finally exploded 19 minutes into the game.
This single team fight proved to be all Rogue needed. They immediately ran to Baron Nashor, claimed his head at 20 minutes and turned toward Excel’s base. Larssen pushed in the top lane while his teammates marched through mid.
Usually, a team with early Baron only secures an inhibitor, maybe two, and then retreats to reset. But with the help of his compatriots, Larssen snagged two extra kills, and Rogue ended the game by 22:40, the fastest game time in the LEC since Fnatic vs. Misfits in the 2020 spring split.
Rogue top laner Andrei “Odoamne” Pascu was asked about his team’s dominance on the broadcast after the game and said, “I think there is a bit of a draft-diffy going on in our games. I just feel like half of our games are won from drafts. All we have to do is just not int.”
On Twitter, Larssen didn’t need many words to describe the victory. All he needed to say was, “cool game XD,” to capture his experience.
cool game XD
— lars (@Larssen00) February 4, 2022
Rogue break tradition against G2 Esports
Rogue were bound to have a more difficult time against G2. Up until last Saturday, Rogue had not won a single regular split game against them in LEC history. While one could argue “but there are different lineups now,” the same rang true in previous years. Moreover, G2 had been making steady progress in the spring split.
When G2’s Rasmus “caPs” Winther first-picked Twisted Fate, Larssen immediately responded with the Corki again. G2 rounded out their composition with an Akali, Lee Sin, Zeri and Nautilus. Rogue opted for Akshan, Xin Zhao, Jinx and Rakan. Excel support player Mihael “Mikyx” Mehle predicted a G2 win on the broadcast.
“You have to respect the [Twisted Fate],” he said. “You can’t just give this guy away.”
But Larssen had other plans. He was in the face of caPs at all times and did not allow the Twisted Fate any roaming trickery. After a tight early game, Larssen pulled the trigger and claimed first blood with what was virtually a solo kill.
Just one minute later, he beat caPs’ Twisted Fate within an inch of his life once again, and although Larssen didn’t manage to deliver the final blow, he set up his bot laner Markos “Comp” Stamkopoulos for a perfect snipe with the Jinx ult to secure the kill.
Rogue had found their comfort zone once again, with Larssen at the helm of the team’s aggression. G2 did try to fight back and keep the gold level by securing a Rift Herald. However, Rogue collapsed on them. Even though it was Comp who, once again, stole the show with a long-distance kill, it was Larssen who blew up G2 and sent three players back to the fountain.
Once again, at 20 minutes, the game seemed done for. Rogue had amassed a massive gold lead, had control over the entire map and coordinated their fights precisely.
The final blow to G2 came just a minute later. With their lead, Rogue felt confident to fight Baron Nashor. G2 tried to contest and caught Adrian “Trymbi” Trybus recalling on a ward, but the joke was on them. Larssen flew in, laid down a carpet of death and landed Rogue a 9-0 first half of the LEC spring split.
“It was a very good game from us. Probably our best game of the split because we played against G2 who, in my opinion, is the strongest team,” Larssen later said in a broadcast interview. “So, I’m super happy with the game. It was just really well played by us.”
The best mid laner in the LEC
It is safe to say that Larssen is the best mid laner in the LEC at the moment. He knows exactly how to play his lane and what is expected of him within his team’s plan. With the aid of his jungler Kim “Malrang” Geun-seong, Larssen acquires resources at a steadfast pace and converts them into devastating dominance once the map opens up.
Interestingly, at least up until now, Larssen was not respected a lot by the League of Legends community. His playstyle is often mischaracterized as “passive,” which would imply that he shies away from combat and gives up his lane to save his KDA.
But that’s not what Larssen does. Rather, it’s as if he dares his opponents to try and make a play. When they step forward, Larssen defends his territory and punishes them hard for it. He’s a dungeon raid boss sitting on his throne, hurling rocks at the approaching adventurers and when he hits his power spike, he goes on a rampage. So far in the spring split, Larssen remains untouched.
Yes, we know, this is the second week in a row that a Rogue player picks up the player of the week. And Odoamne would have won the first one, had we begun this series earlier. But Rogue are just so damn good at the moment, obliterating every team they face. How could their players not stand out too?
Two other mid laners warrant a shout-out. The first one is Team Vitality’s Luka “Perkz” Perković.
Coming off the back of a 2-0 Week 3, Perkz showed no sign of stopping. In his first game, against Misfits Gaming, he and jungler Oskar “Selfmade” Boderek opted for the Yasuo/Diana combination. Vitality struggled early on and seemed to head toward a loss, but Perkz was having none of that and sliced up Misfits to lead his team to a victory. Vitality struggled considerably against Astralis on Saturday and danced on the edge of death even more, but by the grace of Astralis’ mistakes and a decent Orianna game from Perkz, the team won that game too.
One of Perkz’s opponents stood out as well: Misfits mid laner Vincent “Vetheo” Berrié.
As said earlier, Vitality bent fate to their will against Misfits. But it was Vetheo’s valiant play on Sylas that kept the team in the game for as long as possible. Although Misfits did end up losing the game, it was a great display of resilience on Vetheo’s end.
The young Frenchman was clearly unsatisfied with the loss, and channeled that energy into an onslaught against SK Gaming. He adopted the Yasuo/Diana strategy he had lost to against Vitality together with his jungler Lucjan “Shlatan” Ahmad. Vetheo racked up a KDA of 12/2/6 and sent SK Gaming packing. He made the game the Vetheo show and ensured his team ended the weekend on a win.
Tom fell in love with esports in 2015 and has been reporting on multiple scenes since. In his spare time, he dwells on the Howling Abyss in League of Legends, or on the vast oceans in Sea of Thieves.