Through two games of the 2021 League of Legends Championship Series Lock In, Cloud9 is 1-1. After losing its opening match against Evil Geniuses, the new C9 roster that features new mid laner Luka "Perkz" Perković and top laner Ibrahim "Fudge" Allami executed combo after combo around Camille and Galio to make quick work of FlyQuest, shattering the opposing nexus after losing only a single turret.
Fudge spoke to Inven Global's Nick Geracie to discuss his LCS debut, what Cloud9 changed between losing to Evil Geniuses and dominating FlyQuest, and how his high standards aren't set by playing on C9, or with Perkz, but by himself.
Fudge, C9 made quick work of FlyQuest today after a bloody loss against Evil Geniuses yesterday. What did the team adjust between these two matches?
I feel like yesterday's result was mainly due to a misunderstanding of our team composition and the basics of what we needed to do in terms of the mid-game and late-game. Also, in the early game, we had a bad read of what would happen in terms of the first couple of minion waves, and I fell pretty far behind.
Coming into today, we looked at those mistakes, learned from them, and came to different conclusions to try and utilize to play better today. We also played a very different composition today when compared to yesterday where we had Camille, Galio, and Alistar diving in. We lost our first game, but now we're playing League of Legends again. *laughs*
It was entertaining to watch Perkz play followup to your Camille on his Galio. What's it been like playing with such a hyped and accomplished player in your rookie split?
Perkz understands other roles very well, especially when playing supportive mid lane champions. Obviously, he played ADC professionally, but it's not just that. He understands jungle well and he understands top lane quite well. When I need help in my lane, I don't need to tell Perkz, he already knows. For example, in this game, he ran top lane at level 6 and forced the Flash from Eric "Licorice" Ritchie's Fiora when I needed to crash my wave.
Stuff like that shows that Perkz is very good at playing the game in general, not just mid lane. Even when he's on a carry, I've found by playing with him that he understands other roles very well. Because Perkz understands other roles so well he can have a big impact on the game when playing champions like Galio.
In general, Perkz is a really funny guy. *laughs* He makes a lot of jokes and lightens the mood a lot, even when we lose, which I think is really good as a teammate. It's been very fun playing with Perkz, and to get to do so in my rookie year is an insane feat.
While Perkz was C9's big signing of the off-season, you replacing Licorice was also a big deal. What was it like playing against him today?
I don't think our 1v1 made a big difference in terms of the whole game. If Licorice had been really far ahead, he could maybe have had an impact on the game, but it's very hard for Fiora to execute in the matchup against Camille. Obviously, Fiora does beat Camille in the lane 1v1, but once you get to the mid game, it's really hard for Fiora to actually make a difference unless her teammates are also ahead.
I feel like top lane wasn't a very important factor in this game despite drafting Camille and Galio because we won specifically through the bottom side of the map. Our bot lane Jesper "Zven" Svenningsen and Philippe "Vulcan" Laflamme pretty much gapped their opponents, and our jungler Robert "Blaber" Huang played really well. Perkz played really well too in terms of knowing what timings he had and what timings the enemy had.
Obviously, playing against Licorice was fun, but I didn't really feel like top lane was that big of a factor in that game. I guess that's kind of disappointing, but I'm also fine with winning anyway. *Laughs*
It's tough to come into a roster where you're the only other new guy besides Perkz, and you're also playing the best homegrown NA top laner ever in Licorice. Did you feel extra pressure leading up to your LCS debut because of these factors?
I sort of intentionally set expectations highly for myself by s**t-talking every other player in LCS. *laughs* I knew it would force me to play better, and if I didn't, I would get flamed and want to play better. I look like an idiot if I play badly, but I also improve more because I feel bad from losing and getting flamed.
Obviously, I got flamed really hard yesterday after our loss to Evil Geniuses, which is fine by me. I don't mind if I'm getting flamed. I'd have high expectations anyway, but I have especially high expectations because I was s**t-talking everyone. That was intentional, but whenever I play now there are high expectations. If I play badly, I'll get flamed, and if I play well, I don't expect a lot of high praise because fans generally dislike when a player flames. *laughs*
I'm fine with the high expectations, and I think pressure is good, especially for improving. If you don't want to get flamed, then just improve so you will never get flamed. *laughs* That was the mindset I had coming into this season.
Do you think your success in the 2020 LCS Academy League and your subsequent promotion to Cloud9's LCS roster was integral in more OCE talents being signed to North American organizations this past off-season?
Whenever Cloud9 or Team Liquid does something, the other LCS teams will most often follow suit. For example, C9 recently invested a lot in C9 Academy and OCE imports last season like me and Calvin "K1ng" Truong. Other teams like FlyQuest and Golden Guardians were also doing that.
The top teams generally set the standard, and then other teams think that maybe those teams know something and are willing to take chances. I think C9 took a pretty big chance by promoting me over Licorice. Licorice is really stable. He will never lose you a game, but he will also never hard-carry a game and win it by himself. Some fans felt that he was that type of player, but I don't think that was true.
There are high expectations on me and a lot of OCE players that teams are taking big chances on this season, which is really good. I think it's better to take chances on new players instead of just recycling the same stable, not-so-good players.
We've talked about your debut in context of Licorice, C9, the Oceanic Pro League, and Perkz, so for my last question is for you as an individual. What's the legacy you want to start creating as a player now that you've made your LCS debut?
Eventually, I want to be part of the first team that makes NA go far at Worlds. That's the most important thing. No one really remembers who wins the domestic splits unless you're winning multiple splits in a row, but even then, people don't really care that Team Liquid won four splits in a row anymore. People care about the World Championship, and that's what they will remember. Everyone remembers Cloud9 in the Worlds 2018 semifinals.
Ideally, I want to get to a point where I'm good enough to take NA as a region, or any NA team that I'm on, further at Worlds than any other NA team has shown lately. Everyone feels bad about not getting out of group stages, obviously, so my goal is to eventually be able to take a team to the semifinals, the finals, or even win the whole thing. I don't know how long it will take, but I have a pretty long career ahead of me, so that's my goal.
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