After going 3-0 to start off the season, Robert "Blaber" Huang spoke with Inven Global about the team's strength and his experience transitioning from a secondary jungler to playing full time. He gives due respect to former teammate, Dennis "Svenskeren" Johnsen, but is rightly thankful for his own starting spot in the League of Legends Championship Series.
Watch the Blaber interview on our YouTube channel, along with other LCS, LEC, and LCK interivews, or read the trtanscript below.
I'm joined by Blaber, the jungler for Cloud9. You're currently undefeated, did you expect that 3-0 at the start?
Yeah, we definitely expected the 3-0, and we're hoping for an 18-0, but maybe that's a little bit too far. But we haven't been contested by anyone yet in scrims, so we're pretty confident going up against any team in the league right now.
That's great to hear, for scrims specifically, do you feel like those things are translating well and that's why you're confident? Or are you confident just because of how well the scrims are going?
I think we've been trying to practice in scrims how we are going to play on stage, so a lot more reserved. For me personally it doesn't happen that much. I mean on stage I don't really die often as you can see, but in scrims there's at least one game per day where I have 10 deaths. I'm trying to my best to keep the inting down, but we've been practicing trying to make it more stage-like and playing the games with less risk.
Let's talk about the changes Cloud9 made this off-season, focusing on you. You were with the team for a while but always kind of second to Svenskeren, splitting time with him, but now you're the sole starter, so what does that do for you confidence wise, etc?
It hasn't really changed the way I see the game confidence wise. I always thought I was one of the best in NA even when I was playing in Academy and it was just super unfortunate because I always thought Dennis was super good. So having him above me was just unfortunate because there's no way - I thought there was no way - I'd play over him. He was playing so well, he got MVP. But I still think I'm really good.
I thought I was really good even when I was on the bench, I just also thought Dennis was really good. I guess practice wise, it feels really good getting to play all of the games with the team. Before it was just half or less than half, like 40%. So it's definitely better that I'm able to practice with the team for sure.
And where would you put yourself in terms of the LCS junglers?
It's hard for me to say personally because I think my teammates are really good and our drafts are really good. As a jungler it's way easier to play when your teammates are winning, because with priority you can do a lot more. But I do believe I'm a top three jungler in NA right now, so I'm hoping to keep playing like that.
Svenskeren has talked about how the system - though Cloud9 got a lot of wins with it - didn't really work for him because he was splitting time. So he seemed glad to be leaving to get full time, but you were the one spending most of your time in Academy, so I want your opinion on it as well. How was it working like that last year?
I don't really know if I'd say the system was really working. I feel like a working system would not have two of their star players not want to be a part of it. Nicolaj "Jensen" Jensen didn't want to be a part of it and Svenskeren didn't want to be a part of it. And for me, I mean I also didn't want to be a part of it, I also didn't want to share my spot with Sven again another season.
I think we have a lot of respect for each other so we didn't want to share time. It definitely got us a lot of wins I'd say for sure that we might not have if we weren't swapping players, but I felt like I didn't want to share time at the end of last year either.
Do you feel like it would work better in another role? It seems like jungler doesn't make sense because of the necessary synergy jungle requires, but maybe it would work better for a top laner or something?
I don't think it's good for any role personally. I don't think it's good to swap out a player unless they're underperforming, I feel like that's the only reason you'd take practice away from a player because being able to play together is more important. Even if one player is a little better than the other or a little worse, if it's not big enough, giving one player the full practice time is more beneficial to the team. Also, I feel like for solo laners, it's pretty easy to tell if one is just better than the other at laning, so... There's really no reason to swap them.
That's fair. Moving on, everyone always says jungle is OP, but right now junglers are randomly just level 12 after 40 minutes, it feels more like a second support. So how have you dealt with that? Have you dialed things down or do you feel like you'll just be even stronger when they patch it and buff the role a bit?
I feel like I've been playing the same way, at least in solo queue, even though jungle experience is nerfed, because in solo queue, you end up just taking your laners experience anyway, so you're not really that far behind, it's just not as good in competitive. But I feel like the jungler's role in itself is to pressure early game and support your team late game, because you're not really a carry obviously.
I do think jungler's should be the same level as their solos - I don't think we should be five levels down. So I'm glad they're buffing jungle experience. I know in Season 6 I believe, jungle was up like two levels on their solo laners. So I know they don't want that to come back, but I definitely think jungle experience needs a buff.
Excited to see what those changes do for you junglers. So you guys are 3-0, you have two other undefeated teams, do you feel like either FlyQuest or Dignitas (or anyone else) could match you right now?
I think at this time right now, I think any team we play we'd destroy. I don't care who it is. I think any of the teams, if we played them right now, we'd probably win. But maybe in the future if teams get a lot better and we don't get better then it might be hard for us. Like TL for example don't even have their starting jungler, but they looked pretty good versus Dignitas today. Well, okay I guess.
Best of luck then, I hope nobody shuts you up! Anything else before we go?
Thanks for supporting us guys, and I hope you all keep supporting me and hopefully we keep winning for you guys. Thank you.
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