Cloud9 and Philippe "Vulcan" Laflamme made League of Legends Championship Series history last Spring with a 17-1 regular season record, followed by a 9-1 playoff run. Leading up to this Summer, seven teams made some sort of roster changes in hopes of leveling up to challenge Cloud9 and claim a spot for Worlds. Cloud9, of course, kept their roster and spent the off-season focused on further improving on their already dominant system.
After another strong opening to their Split, Vulcan spoke with Inven Global about some of the off-season moves and his perception of various teams' strength heading into this Summer.
I think a lot of people were hoping to see a Cloud9 loss to start off the split with some spice. Did you feel any pressure about the matchup and how it might set up the Summer and your narrative?
Honestly, I think we all thought it was possible to lose to FlyQuest, just because our scrim results. They've been really good, but our games have been a bit rusty right now, we still have to get the rust off. I don't want to say we need a more serious playstyle, but a more careful and calculated way. And recently, we've had some coinflippy plays, and we were kinda known for that a little bit last split, but I think it showed a little bit more in our scrims, so I thought it was possible we would lose to FlyQuest.
Obviously I didn't really expect it, and if we had lost, I don't think we would take it too hard either. I don't think it'd affect us too much. We don't really care about an 18-0 split. Like maybe we'll get a chance at it again, but I think we're just focused on keeping the improvement going so we're in the best shape possible.
Are there any teams that look impressive to you this Summer after all the roster changes that might be able to match you better than anyone could last Split and give you some competition?
I think it would be Team Liquid. The scrims that we played against them looked stronger than they did last year. I think Mads "Broxah" Brock-Pedersen is performing better than he did last split. I don't think he had been playing very well. Every time we played against TL in scrims last Split, Robert "Blaber" Huang was kind of s****** on Broxah and he played really well in the more recent scrims we've played against them, so they're looking a lot stronger.
Obviously they also have a lot of really good pieces, so it's not surprising that they're able to perform better. I think last year was mostly a fluke and I expect them to be able to bounce back from it. So to me, Team Liquid is the most likely team to be able to challenge us, but still we aren't to worried about them.
Do you have any thoughts about the Immortals roster changes, like have y'all scrimmed or anything? That was a big question mark for me.
Yeah I don't know exactly what they're doing over there. Like we did scrim against them and every game was a speed run like 20 or 252 minutes. So they're not looking too hot. But honestly, Jake "Xmithie" Puchero was the kind of player in the past who doesn't work really hard in solo queue, and maybe doesn't take his job as seriously as maybe Nicholas "Potluck" Pollock does, so I think it's fair to give a player who might work harder a chance. So I can see why they're doing it, but yeah they're not looking too hot right now I'd say.
Do you think EG will actually be going forward with that seven man roster they're talking about? Is there really a world where Heo "Huni" Seung-hoon + Matthew "Deftly" Chen could replace Colin "Kumo" Zhao + Bae "Bang" Jun-sik with Bang looking this good?
Yeah, Bang is much better but I think they'll at least try it. I know they were scrimming something like three games Bang + Kumo, two with Deftly + Huni or something like that - and it may be different depending on the day - but I think they're going to be playing Huni for some of their LCS games and they're just camping Huni for when he's a resident next year so they'll be able to run the Huni + Bang + import mid. So we'll definitely see Huni in some LCS games, but Bang is much better than Deftly is for sure.
Watching you and Jesper "Zven" Svenningsen play again reminds me how strong you are as a duo, where you didn't necessarily seem as dominant in your former teams. Any thoughts on why you work out so well compared to your prior teams?
I think there are many factors. I think the main one is we spent a lot of time duoing in Korea, obviously, so we got on the same page there before scrims even started. I think we're similar players in terms of playstyle and our desired way to play the game in general. We're very aggressive players, we want to get the biggest advantage possible, we're not happy just farming it out and seeing where the game goes. We want to make plays. So we're on the same page and we practice a lot. And I'm sure the environment is better than it was on TSM, I don't have any information on that, but on Cloud9 it's really good.
Out of all the players you played with last year, who would you expect to join you at Worlds this year? You have players all over the place right now. Sun "Cody" "Cody Sun" Li-Yu on 100 Thieves, Tanner "Damonte" Damonte on Golden Guardians, Huni on EG, and I guess Nam "LirA" Tae-yoo was doing something in the Challenger Scene in Korea?
Well he was but actually now he's doing a thing for the Korean broadcast, so I was actually going to say LirA is the most likely to join me at Worlds just by being on the Korean broadcast. Hahaha. But otherwise, I'd say probably Huni with EG.
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