Cloud9 is heading into the 2021 League Championship Series Championship as the fourth seed after finishing the regular season with a 28-17 record. The defending LCS champion stumbled through portions of the Summer Split, but has been looking in better form for the last few weeks and is looking to hit its peak in the playoffs.
During the final week of the LCS Summer Split, Cloud9 mid laner Luka "Perkz" Perković spoke to Inven Global about the post-season picture, overcoming obstacles throughout the summer, and C9's current form.
In terms of the top 6 teams heading to the post-season, it feels like there's a large gap between the top 5 and Dignitas. Do you think that your one-sided victory today against DIG was indicative of its power level, or do you think DIG will do better than it did today?
I don't have too big of hopes for Dignitas. I would say that what you mentioned is true. There is a dropoff between the top 5 teams and the rest of the teams after that.
At the start of week 9, 100 Thieves general manager Chris "PapaSmithy" Smith told the media that he thought Cloud9 was the strongest team heading into the post-season. How do you feel your team is playing right now, and how does that stack up to the rest of the teams heading into the LCS Championship?
We've been working on a lot of things the past couple of weeks, but it didn't always show in the games we played. We are definitely getting more comfortable with the champions everyone is playing and that makes us more aware of what we have to do for each other to carry. As of right now, we are doing pretty well. A lot of times, people say scrims don't matter, but we've actually been doing pretty poorly in scrims this whole split.
The last two weeks have been getting better gradually. I think we are starting to reach our peak for playoffs right now, and that's only going to get better because the more games we play on the new patch, the better we will understand it. That's usually when our team thrives, so I'm pretty excited to see how much we can improve. I don't think we are by far the best team right now or anything, but we are definitely contesting for the best.
For the past couple of weeks now, there hasn't been a LCS stage since we returned to remote play due to COVID-19 precautions. What's it been like to adjust to online play for you once again, especially unexpectedly towards the end of a split?
I don't actually mind where I play. I definitely prefer playing playoffs on stage, and if possible, playing a final in front of fans. I think that's where I can truly unlock myself. *laughs* Right now, I prefer playing the regular season online...bo1's aren't that entertaining. Best-of-fives is where the real fun is.
When Zven re-joined the starting roster, the team didn't return to form right away. What were some of the obstacles you had to overcome in re-integrating Zven mid-split?
Because Zven spent a few weeks playing for Cloud9 Academy, I think it's been different for him. He's been playing with teammates who, generally, are less knowledgeable than C9's main team, so it was a mix of both in terms of re-integrating him, but also, in terms of him re-joining us. The problem was that the rest of us were just slumping.
I think all of us were not performing that great, and we were trying a lot of different team comps instead of just drafting our comfort compositions. It just showed that we were not good enough to play every single style and every single champion on the same level.
Do you think playing at the 2021 Mid-Season Invitational and having less time off than the other LCS teams resulted in burnout, or did other factors cause the team to struggle earlier this summer?
I think there were certain things that we were wrong about in the meta, and in general, we were playing a bit worse due to a bit of burnout. We've played so many games this year. We've played 90 games in 7 months so far due to the LCS Lock In, MSI, and playing three games per week in the regular season. It's really hard for us both individually and as a team to play our best in every best-of-one game, but we try, obviously.
It's safe to say we lost more games than we expected to lose this summer, but in the end, it doesn't really matter as long as we end up winning the championship, which is what we are aiming for.
We've seen many splits when you were on G2 Esports in which people would lose faith in the team over a single stumble, only for you and your teammates to come alive in the post-season and win title after title. How does the team culture of Cloud9 in this situation compare to G2 rosters you've been a part of in seasons past?
Honestly, I think it's fairly similar. Nobody gets really stressed out, we have a good team atmosphere, and we hang out together. In general, I would say it's pretty similar to G2. Obviously, there are small differences, but it's pretty good. We adapt well and we don't give up on each other or ff mentally. Everyone is trying really hard and it's showing in our play, which is getting better and better. I think it's just about keeping up our practice and keeping up our trust in each other.
Thanks for your insights, Perkz. Is there anything you want to say to the Cloud9 fans before the start of the LCS Championship?
There have been some rough games this split, but we are aiming for the wins to keep coming until we're rank 1 in the league. I'm tired of losing, so we're going to win some more games now, and then, we'll go to Worlds and make NA proud.
All images by: Oshin Tudayan/Riot Games via ESPAT