After a period of months in which Rogue retooled and optimized their roster, the French super-team finally took the plunge and doubled down on their ultimate goal: a shot at glory in the Overwatch League. A story of high highs and low lows, Rogue's legendary 2016 will likely be known to most Overwatch fans; their rise to greatness began at ESL's Atlantic Showdown, while their fall came at the hands of the very team that propelled them to greatness. Though Team EnVyUs had their hand in the creation of Rogue's legacy, the new roster looks to put the past behind them and establish themselves on new soil.
Previously a team built around superstar Kevyn "TviQ" Lindström, Rogue's transaction in the famous mega-deal of 2016 left them with Terrence "SoOn" Tarlier and Nicholas "skipjack" Rosada instead. In what is now a bit of a joke to the Overwatch community, the organization later dropped skipjack due to his inability to communicate with the team in French and clear distaste for baguettes (unconfirmed). Rogue had a specific identity in mind, and they knew they couldn't half-ass it.
Fast forward several months to Rogue's announcement of new player NiCO and we've now seen Rogue firmly showcase their identity to the world. They play with fire and reckless abandon that would cause many other teams to wonder whether they'd gone too far. Instead of shirking away from the task, Rogue embraces this aggression.
No match demonstrated this trait more clearly than their online map against top American squad Immortals on Watchpoint: Gibraltar, where Rogue set up their defense incredibly aggressively to start the map. Not only do most teams traditionally play defense on Watchpoint: Gibraltar passively, but they back up to regain their footing whenever they lose a key member. Instead, Rogue continued to throw player after player at the attacking Immortals squad after KnOxXx's early death, causing an immense distraction and keeping the payload at spawn for over two minutes despite taking unfavorable trades.
The secret to Rogue's success comes in the form of a multi-pronged setup. They attack on two fronts traditionally: in your face and quite far back. It is quite hard to focus on the backline with constant bodies in front of your face, and Rogue makes full use of distraction in their strategies surrounding dive. With NiCO's pure skill on Genji and KnOxXx's surprisingly great Winston play, the team can set up the traditional dive combo and slice through the backline in the blink of an eye. Coupled with what many would call the best western Tracer in SoOn and you already have a world-beating foreground in most fights.
aKm and uNKOE have some of the most precise aim in Overwatch, but they stand out especially because their team can cause major distractions in the foreground. Previously this job belonged to TviQ and Reinforce, but with SoOn, KnOxXx, and NiCO pushing this strategy even farther, aKm and uNKOE are able to output consistent damage while opponents are too distracted to even attempt to disrupt them. When opponents did focus on chasing aKm's Soldier: 76, we saw him able to consistently 1v1 his enemies and shatter their confidence. Whenever uNKOE's Ana was jumped upon, he would immediately switch to Zenyatta and help Rogue melt through the opposing team like butter, often taking out opposing Tracers himself rather than asking for help.
Despite winning the Overwatch Monthly Melee in dominant fashion—they dropped only a single map throughout the entire tournament—Rogue does remain an untested commodity. Future metagame swaps will force them onto other compositions given that there is no guarantee that dive will continue into the future. Even stranger is their rumored setup for 2/2/2 compositions—many believe that NiCO will fill out the Lucio role while winz returns to Zarya for more traditional selections when a Genji is unnecessary. KnOxXx himself has not even played Reinhardt, the traditional "main tank."
Still, it's hard to argue that Rogue is one of the few teams that has found its identity in this indecisive period of Overwatch. The team has demonstrated immaculate target selection and simple all-out aggression. When their aggression is punished, they attack even harder. Rogue is not a team that will stand down; they might fall, but they refuse to remain on the ground.
When the top North American squads return from OGN's second season of APEX, they won't find the region they've dominated effortlessly for so long. Instead, they'll find six Frenchmen waiting for a shot at glory—a shot at rebuilding a kingdom that very well might have been Overwatch's first dynasty.