While there is a multitude of things to talk about for this Summer Split of the NA LCS, it is safe to say that C9 is one of the hottest topics of conversation.
This is all due to roster fluctuations. C9 Reapered had put the face of Cloud9, Jensen-Sneaky-Smoothie, on bench while giving the spotlight to some of the Academy players. Despite being a drastic change, the results were not as hopeful as expected. After Week 4, C9 is currently standing with 2 wins and 6 losses.
There is an upside, however. 10 games are still left, and the return of Sneaky-Jensen has brought some evident solidity to C9’s games. Coach Reapered still has confidence.
With Reapered, we talked about this split’s roster changes, C9’s outlook on the remainder of the split/season, and the practice hours for League pro teams.
¤ You must have a lot of worry and burden.
Since we won in such a long time, I am happy. Due to the lack of games because of Rift Rivals, I was thinking to myself ‘I want to win as many games as possible ASAP’...
¤ How is the team’s overall performance in practice?
To be honest, despite the consecutive losses, our performance is still good. We don’t perform like we are the last place team. I believe we lose a lot of games due to us unable to safely close out games. Recently, in order to make sure we can close out games, I have put all our focus there. It is an area that must be supplemented.
¤ Why do you think the team made so many mistakes in the late game? Looking at the last few games, C9 had the lead in the early to mid-game.
The players who started during the first part of this split had no experience. Hence, the early game would go exactly how we practiced. However, towards the end, they would make a lot of mistakes.
These guys just really didn’t use their abilities. Here are some examples: If you pick Caitlyn, you need to auto attack. If you pick Ezreal, you need to use his Q. If you have Lulu or Fiddlesticks, all you need to do is press R. This is extremely basic, but it just didn’t work.
Giving feedback after a loss should be more in the likes of "Our macro ~~". But during this split, all I could say was "I mean, what are we seriously going to do if you can’t press QWER.". The players were really nervous.
¤ It must have been frustrating because there is nothing a coach can do about circumstances like that.
Although it is unfortunate, I can’t do or think too much about it. It only happened because the players were so nervous. From now on, we need to take the wins one step at a time.
¤ Jensen was the first to come back. This week, Sneaky came back. Is there a reason to have brought back Jensen and Sneaky?
As a lot of fans already know, Jensen was really sincere and worked extremely hard during scrims and solo q. He is much more enthusiastic than before. Because Jensen showed how hard he was working before anyone else, I put Jensen in first before Sneaky.
Sneaky also showed his constant effort. However, the number one reason why I put Sneaky back into the team was due to the lack of a leadership role. To be honest, Sneaky played the biggest role on stage by being a leader for his team. Without Sneaky, I could see that the other players were struggling. I needed a leader in the field. Granted, without Sneaky, it seems like every other player on the team was able to grow individually.
¤ Why was Zeyzal put back on the team and Smoothie still benched?
Like I said in the previous interview, Zeyzal had a very good talent. He excels in communication. The coaches viewed this highly, and he also did well in scrims. This is why I put him as the starter.
¤ What will the roster be from now on? Will the roster change again?
To be honest, there can’t be any big changes from now on. We have to set our win rate to at least 50%. There will be hardly any change to this roster. If we rack up some wins later down the road, only then, I might start experimenting again. Right now, there is no reason to.
¤ C9’s results are definitely not good. Are you optimistic about this split?
We just need to win every game (laughs). After I came to C9, I don’t recall ever having such an unpleasant record in the regular season. I believe the last split was the first time we had lost that much. As long as we win all our games now, the results will be similar to last split (laughs). Right now, I think we have no choice but to work hard.
¤ You have previously coached in China. What are your thoughts on the recent development of the Chinese region?
It was inevitable for China to grow. League is extremely popular there. Because there are so many people watching and playing, it was only a matter of time. With a lot of talented Korean coaches going there as well, it helped China a lot.
Now, I believe the majority of Chinese coaches have improved a lot from before. I always thought that the Chinese league might one day achieve explosive results. It seems like that time is now.
¤ We have heard that the practice hours for the Chinese teams have increased. How was it when you were in China?
I’m not too sure on how much the practice hours have increased for China. I feel like North America has as much practice as any other league. They are not too far behind from Korea.
Korea and China have a scrim system of 3 sets twice in a row, and both have a 3-hour break in between. In regards to our team, we wake up at 10 am. Scrims start at 11 am and do 6 sets till 7 pm. After dinner, we do another 2 sets. This means we end at around 12 am. When we wake up and finish practice, the next thing we know, the whole day is over.
Recently, the most important thing we put in place, after changing the roster, was to increase both the amount of practice and the quality of practice. Therefore, I am trying my best to train just as much as any other league.
¤ Does C9 have more practice compared to the other teams?
Within the NA teams, some teams do as much as us. While some teams don’t.
¤ So does this mean C9 participates in as much practice as the Korean and Chinese teams?
That is correct. However, there is a slight difference. The Korean and Chinese teams who participate in nighttime scrims have an extremely long period of practice. It is enormous due to the combination of break time and solo q time.
For us, we just book scrims from 10 in the morning to 11:30 at night without break. Because there are players that put in solo q hours after all the practice hours, these days, it is safe to assume that every league has a significant amount of practice.
¤ There is a lot of talk around NA solo q. What are your thoughts on this?
All the players on our team tell me that they want to play in Korean solo q. Among the NA players, there are a lot of instances when players go to Korean boot camp at their own expense. That much difference exists. There will definitely be an improvement in performance. Despite this, there is nothing they can do right now (laughs). For the time being, they need to excel in the environment they were given.
¤ C9 fans are disappointed but hopeful for the future. Is there anything you want to say to the fans?
Because we started last place, there is a lot of people who are disappointed and worried. From this point onward, we will try to get the wins we need and aim for the top of NA once more.
¤ Do you have confidence?
I believe there are two types when it comes to last place. First, the team that just doesn’t have the performance. In this case, players lose motivation and the team’s atmosphere is at an all-time low.
For us, because our performance is still there, our overall atmosphere is okay. The team, myself included, have confidence. We will go to playoffs and aim for places much higher.