Cloud9's been struggling in the Rumble Stage at the 2021 Mid-Season Invitational. They finally collected their first win, but they're still down 1-5. Unless they could drastically turn the situation around, Cloud9's chances of reaching the knockout stage look very slim.
It isn't all bad for the team, though, as their performance wasn't that bad. They nearly took down Royal Never Give Up and DWG KIA in the Rumble Stage — just a few wrong decisions made the game slip away from their hands.
After their third day's matches were over, Philippe "Vulcan" Laflamme joined Inven Global's special interviewer, Kim "Olleh" Joo-sung and had a conversation about Cloud9's Rumble Stage.
Starting with the last game. The game was pretty close and you played Alistar pretty well. What do you think about the last game?
I think our early lane bot went pretty wrong, I don’t know when. I think we messed up our one when Zven got hooked, I should’ve probably tanked. We were behind, and we were able to crawl our way back in. I feel like we kind of do most games against the top teams where we’re able to farm our way back in late game, but this time it just came down to an Elder fight, and Elder fights are generally pretty volatile.
We were able to secure the “burger flip” on Elder somehow, but Zven got one-shot by Gangplank. If we were to play the fight again, maybe we’d win, right? And it sucks because you feel like there were a lot of those situations so far in the Rumble Stage where one little thing goes wrong and we end up losing the game that was easily winnable.
Yeah, when I watched your games, you guys played pretty well against the top teams. But somehow, you fail to get a win in the end. What is the main reason?
I’d say it probably comes down to decision-making in the moment, the split-second decisions you have to make. That’s what these top teams are really good at, forcing you to make a decision. And if you pick the wrong one, they’re just gonna win. I think it kind of comes down to experience a little bit and kind of composure, I guess. Decision-making was the main issue in a lot of these games. I would say [in] the last one — not so much. Zven got one-shot by Gangplank — that’s not really a decision that he made. It was just an individual play. Maybe the barrel shouldn’t hit or Gangplank should have been CC’ed or something, right?
When I talked with other players, everyone said that C9 is pretty strong. They said you guys can beat whatever team, but you could also lose to whatever team. I think that’s kind of unstable. But today, you finally collected the first win of the Rumble Stage. What do you think about that?
Well, no s**t to Pentanet, but they’re kind of an assumed win for everyone in the group right now. I love that they made it here, I think all the players are very nice, but I just think they’re not the same level as the other teams here. I guess you could argue that we’re not as well, but hopefully, the way we play these games can prove that’s wrong. But winning that game didn’t feel like... it felt good but not that good because it’s a must-win against Pentanet and we need more wins versus other teams.
Today, the bad news is that PSG beat RNG. I think that would be bitter news for you guys. What do you think about PSG?
I think they’re good, man. I feel like the community’s kind of flaming us for losing to them and that they’re not a major region or something, but I feel like Taiwan has always been a premier region, and I think their team is pretty strong. They just showed that by beating RNG. I don’t personally feel ashamed for losing to them or to losing any team in the Rumble Stage that we lost so far.
You guys still beat DWG KIA before the Rumble Stage. I think that game showed you guys could have really good potential. In the [LCS] finals, you were coming back from 0-2. Some people say it’s Perkz magic or whatever, but you guys always have a hard time in the early time, and later you guys get strong. I truly believe you guys can come back really strong. What was the reason for having a hard time early and then getting strong. Is there any reason?
Honestly, I’m not sure, because also at the start of the year in scrims, we would always lose the first game. Like no matter what, versus any team, we would always lose the first game of scrims. And in the Lock-In tournament, we would go down 0-1 against TSM in a best-of-3 and then reverse-sweep that one and went 0-2 against 100 Thieves, reverse swept. And we went 0-2 against TL and ALMOST reverse-swept.
I don’t know. I think we play slow, we start slow, I guess. Which is definitely not a good thing, right? Hopefully, we can fix that going into… Well, we’re pretty late in the tournament. It’s too late for that, but going into Summer Split and Worlds, we can fix that. But I’m not too sure why it happens. I guess we try more when we lose to these teams and then we feel worse going more maybe I’m not sure.
I mean, like, I’m a positive guy, but it’s like you guys already lost the first game against each team in the Rumble Stage. I hope you guys beat them in other games.
Another question is, considering only bot lanes, which bot lane is the most difficult to play against?
I think RNG’s bot lane is the most difficult one to lane against. I think their whole team plays very well around bot lane and they also, both of them play very very good. And GALA kind of fills Uzi’s shoes well; that was a discussion coming into RNG. And I think they’re very good.
But when you played against the PSG bot duo, did you feel that they’re strong? Because today, the PSG bot duo were literally killing RNG’s. What do you think about them?
I’m not sure about their ADC. Maybe I didn’t watch them enough, but every time I see Kaiwing, I think he's been at a lot of international tournaments for a while now, I think he’s very good. I just think Kaiwing, he plays well. He kind of smurfed on me in the game that we played against them. I think I’m as good. I’m not sure if they’re better than RNG after one game, but they’re pretty good.
What chance do you think you have to get out of the Rumble stage?
50 percent. Either we do, or we don’t.
Reignover wasn’t able to go [to MSI]. Was it different for you guys?
Yeah, I mean, it’s annoying to have our head coach be online, there’s delay, sometimes he can’t hear what we’re saying, or he’s trying to speak and it’s coming from a speaker so he doesn’t have the same respect as being in the room and screaming at us, so it definitely hurts not having our coach here. I’m not going to say that we lost games because of that, or that we’re playing worse because of that, but it’s just a bad situation to be in. I think Mithy has stepped up well into the head coach position, so I wouldn’t say that’s part of the problem, but it definitely sucks that he couldn’t come.
How is working with the old G2 players: Perkz, Zven, Mithy. Do they have something special?
I think EU pro players in general are very different from NA players and they’re all pretty funny from my experience. They all have old stories they’re sharing about each other or their teammates. They’re reminiscing about the old times and it’s kind of fun to learn about G2’s past and things like that. They’re all fun guys to work with and play with so it’s enjoyable to play with them.
Especially with Zven, you’ve been playing with him a long time. What’s the best thing about him as his bot duo?
I think the best thing about Zven is his laning phase compared to other ADCs I played with. I think he’s better than Piglet was, and I thought Piglet was the best in the world when I played with him back in academy and LCS. I think Zven has very good laning. Also a very good thing of him is that he’s always hard-working, he’s always spamming solo queue games. That’s nice to see: if your teammate is always grinding, you see how important it is to them. It also motivates you so that’s a great thing in him.
I remember when I solo queued and met you guys and I was like, “Holy s**t”, because C9 bot duo just slaughtered my AD carry every time. It was kind of like a nightmare for me.
Sorry about that.
Lastly, any words to NA fans? Because they’re kind of like “Oh, why C9…” If you guys were losing all the games [one-sidedly], people wouldn’t expect much. But people are kind of like “Why?” because you guys were showing really good games but somehow losing in the end. Are there any words to the fans?
I’m sorry for the way we weren’t able to cover wins in games that were pretty close. And also, thank you to the fans who have been next to us in the hard times. I got a lot of DMs from fans that I have not replied to, but I see them, and they’re all being [supportive of us]. So I appreciate that a lot.
My last words for you, is that I was also 0-4. It was kind of like same as you, but my team almost came back. I think you guys are better than, at least you are better than me, I believe you guys can make it out of Rumble Stage* for sure. I truly believe that.
For sure this time, right? [laughs] This time, it’s gonna happen.