Gabriël “Bwipo” Rau has been a part of likely the most exciting roster move in North American League of Legends this year, joining Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg and Steven “Hans Sama” Liv in filling out Team Liquid’s super team. Bwipo made his debut in pro play as a top laner, but swapped roles in 2021 to jungle and rapidly became one of the LEC’s top talents in his role. Why has Bwipo chosen to leave his native league and swap roles once more for his debut in the LCS for 2022?
Bwipo’s debut in the LEC wasn’t exactly the well-planned entrance that a rookie might want. Subbed in late in the spring split after Paul “Soaz” Boyer couldn’t play due to injuries, Bwipo immediately stepped up to the challenge. Fnatic went on to win the split and attend the Mid-Season Invitational where they made it to the semifinals. Bwipo’s arrival onto the scene was explosive, a rookie who achieved an international performance that some veterans never manage after playing just a partial split.
Bwipo continued to play with Fnatic as the roster changed around him. Through 2020, Bwipo continued to be one of the league’s best individual top laners, but Fnatic’s placements suffered against G2 Esports’ dynasty and new champions Mad Lions. Fnatic’s 2021 was particularly high-stakes after Martin “Rekkles” Larsson’s departure to rivals G2. Bwipo had always made himself known as a capable individual player in the laning phase with the ability to flexibly fill roles for his team’s compositions. Bwipo’s role swap to the jungle in 2021 took many by surprise, but by the end of the year, he could stand toe-to-toe with most of the LEC’s best junglers.
Bwipo’s return to the top lane rings similar to Luka “Perkz” Perkovic’s move to Cloud9 and return to the mid lane. Bwipo may have been able to flex into the jungle over the past year, but he had been playing top lane for years before that. Bwipo’s love for the island up top on Summoner’s Rift can be seen as far back as 2016, with a video of Nick “LS” coaching him on his Garen.
The truth is that Bwipo is a top laner through and through, though he’s skilled enough to change role and still be one of the best in his region. He’s said he’s wanted to return to the top lane since the summer split of 2021. The chance to play alongside such talents as Hans Sama and Bjergsen while in his preferred role was a prospect he just wasn’t able to turn down.
After a drama-filled end to his time on Fnatic after Worlds 2021, Team Liquid offers Bwipo a fresh start in 2022. Bwipo can be expected to rank amongst North America’s best even with a year away in the wilds of Summoner’s Rift.