Despite the expectations of a close series in the last quarterfinals match at the 2021 League of Legends World Championship, Gen.G eliminated Cloud9 from the knockout stage in a 3-0 sweep.
C9 had chances to win in game 1 and 3 of the series, but ultimately, the Korean side took the series. After their eliminating loss to Gen.G, Cloud9 spoke to the media in a post-match press conference about the series, Worlds in general, and the 2021 season as a whole.
mithy, what do you think went wrong in this series?
We tried different things that we thought would work against them, but nothing really worked out. In the last game, we played standard against them, and we also didn't win that game, so I don't necessarily know. Maybe there was something else we could have tried or done differently to win, but I think Gen.G was just the better team today.
Perkz, we saw Cloud9's confident reaction to Gen.G being your opponent after the quarterfinals draw. How was playing against them today?
Well, the truth is that we did think they were the weakest 1st seed team out of any group. I think we can all agree that T1 and DWG KIA look scarier than Gen.G and Royal Never Give Up...[laughs] in hindsight, maybe RNG was the weakest 1st seed. The draw was definitely good for us.
Gen.G played pretty well today — we got 3-0'd, so we were definitively not the better team today. Nevertheless, I was still quite confident going into this series. That's what you have to do if you want to win, though we didn't win today. [laughs]
Perkz, while game 2 was a stomp for Gen.G, games 1 and 3 looked like very winnable games for Cloud9. Is there anything left to be desired from this series in that regard?
Definitely. There is always hindsight and 'what if?' scenarios, but maybe if we won game 1 the series would have gone a different way because Gen.G could be very scared of our Ziggs/Yasuo strategy. I think they had a good answer to it; I guess we expected them to pick different champions, but they had good answers, so it was not as easy.
I think we should have won game 3, but when you are down 0-2, you tend to play worse. You tend to make more mistakes, so I understand how we didn't win that game. We obviously wanted to show more than we did today.
mithy, who was the scariest Gen.G player in this series?
I think it was BDD who played the best today. I think he was the most annoying player, definitely [laughs]. When preparing against Gen.G, we were mostly afraid of Ruler, but I don't really think he was part of the games very much. In game 1, we tried to shut him down, and while he was strong, our composition was really good against his Aphelios. In the other games, it was mostly all BDD.
Fudge, what are your thoughts on your performance at Worlds 2021?
I think I played up to expectations in general. In terms of the general expectations of the public, we were expected to lose in groups. In regards to my individual performance, I think I did fine against most of the top laners I faced.
For my own standards, however, I don't think I played very well, especially in this series. I think I played pretty poorly against Gen.G and I made a lot of errors. I got caught and died a lot in the mid game this series, so I definitely could have played a lot better.
What was your biggest takeaway from Worlds 2021?
Vulcan: That's a good question, I'll take it. I think the biggest takeaway is that this is the one biggest tournament after you've played all year, and I think the most important thing is the condition of your mental and trying to save 'gas' for the important matches. This is something that I could have done a lot better and I'm sure the team in general, or at least some of my teammates, all could have done better in this aspect. That's probably my biggest takeaway from Worlds 2021.
Perkz, what is the main takeaway from your first year with Cloud9?
Thank you for the question. I was considering a lot of factors this year. The fact that I had been on one team my whole life and that I had played AD carry for the majority of the past two years at the time, in addition to the fact that when I played mid on G2 Esports, we knew how he wanted to play the game — it was a lot easier back then.
Right now, I have to adjust again from playing AD carry to mid lane at a world-class level and also changing to adapt to the cultural difference from EU to NA. This all adds to the act fact that I'm living on a different continent than I used to — far away from friends and family who are very important to me.
Considering all of these factors, I think we actually did quite well. We actually won our first LCS split, which is a lot more difficult than people think regarding how easy it is to win the whole thing. There were a lot of good teams in NA this year, and they also tried really hard, so that was good for us.
Obviously, our summer was kind of...a sh*tfest, I guess. [laughs] I'm mostly proud of our comeback towards the end. I think that in the end we were a bit too burnt out from all the scrims and practice, and we ended up not making all the way to the finals.
Going into Worlds 2021, no one really expected us to do anything. We were doing pretty decent in scrims...minus the ones against the Asian teams [laughs] but that's just the story for most teams. I thought that we could maybe do something at Worlds, and we did.
I'm a bit regretful about this series, especially game 2, which was kind of on me. That's usually how it is when you lose a series like that — as the series goes on, you're looking at all of the mistakes and the things you could have done better or differently. In the end, it's just part of the grind of the cycle: either you lose at some point, or you win Worlds! [laughs] I haven't done that yet, but considering the whole season, I'd say it was a pretty decent year.
I'm definitely very tired and gassed out at this point, so I'm looking forward to a whole mental reset and taking all of the things I learned from this year to make next year much, much better. There were a lot of things that I could have done better.
Zven, Perkz, mithy — As professionals who have spent extensive time in both North America and Europe, how close is the West to lifting the Summoner's Cup, and what steps do you think need to be taken for that to be achieved?
Zven: Thank you for the question, I appreciate it. Given that 17 of the 20 starting players left at Worlds are Korean, and the other three are Chinese, I don't think the West is looking too good to win Worlds right now. That's my opinion, and given that both Western teams got 3-0'd in quarterfinals, I think there is a way to go. Thank you very much.
mithy: I actually want to add to that. I think the way the league system is designed is extremely unfair. The Korean teams to scrim against teams from the LPL, the LJL — pretty much everyone, basically, while NA and EU are hardstuck in their own regions.
For a Western team to do well, we would have to bootcamp in Korea for a while, then do a tournament. That's really hard because we have to play a lot of useless games, especially in the Spring Split, for example, where we could instead be bootcamping.
Generally speaking, it will be very hard in the long-term for a Western team to do well unless the tournament system changes and we are able to travel the world so we can have teams learn from each other. Teams from around the world would have more time to practice against one another, and that way, we would have better, more fun tournaments all around in terms of international competition. Thank you.
Perkz, after being eliminated from two straight World Championships by your hand, Clid has finally gotten his revenge against you in this series. Is there anything you'd like to say to him?
Good luck, Clid. I think you can do it, I think you can beat EDG...but you will probably fall short to T1 or DWG KIA in the finals. But good luck anyway! I'm cheering for you, bro.
Zven, results aside today, are you happy with your performance at Worlds 2021 overall?
I'm not really that happy with my performance at this tournament. I think I had some really bad games that stood out, like game 3 against Gen.G today where I got caught out a lot and made a lot of mistakes.
I think I had some bad other games, like our first game against PEACE — not that it mattered — but still, a bad game. I had one bad game in groups — I think it was the tiebreaker against Rogue - that I felt really bad during. There were some standout bad games because I had a lot of moments that really just looked like inting, so I don't like that. Aside from those three games, I think I played okay overall.
Today, we were kind of outclassed as a team, and that makes everyone look worse individually. We were dying in lanes and getting caught left and right. Overall, I think we did fine as a team. 2-4 in groups with a team who went 6-0 is fine, I think. We could have easily won game 1 and game 3 against Gen.G today, so it feels kind of disappointing, I suppose. It is what it is.
I'm not really happy with my own performance, but for the most part, I think I played fine. In addition to those three bad games, I had some good games, too, so overall, my performance was fine. Thanks for the question.
Blaber, why is Cloud9, time and time again, the North American team who makes it the furthest on the international stage?
I'm not sure myself. I was there during Worlds 2018, but I didn't really play in the semifinals. In this tournament, it felt like for me that we were able to change our mental after the first week. A lot of the players and staff were able to come together and play our best because we aren't scared and we're able to change our gameplay and rise to the occasion because of that, I guess.
It feels like a lot of C9 players are able to rise to the occasion and play really well when games matter most, so that's why it feels like Cloud9 is able to do relatively well internationally in general when compared to other LCS teams.
All images by: Riot Games