Last week, big news hit the fans of the NA LCS. Smoothie was traded from Cloud9 to Echo Fox.
It was a big change for Smoothie since he had played for Cloud9 for more than two years. It seemed that he still had emotions for the team, and almost got emotional during the interview. Although he still cared a lot about Cloud9, he expressed appreciation to Echo Fox and was eager to show what he had in his new team.
Smoothie had his debut at Echo Fox right away and led the team to victory. After the match, we sat with him to talk about his perspectives on the trade, and how it happened.
You won your debut match at Echo Fox. How do you feel?
It feels pretty good. I haven't got any wins in the NA LCS for almost half a year now. (Laughs) So it feels really good to be back again and to be playing with a new team.
You've moved to Echo Fox. Do you like it on your new team? You're in the first place team now. (Laughs)
Echo Fox has been really good to me from the day I joined to now. All the staff and players have been really nice to me and gave me whatever I wanted. They've been helping me out so much, and it's been a very good week.
Is there a specific member of Echo Fox that were especially more nice to you?
I wouldn't say that there's one person. One of our co-owners helped me out a lot and done a lot this weekend. I can't say too much about it, but he was a big help this weekend. As for players, everyone has been really good to me. They were excited to work with me and I really appreciate that. I hope I can help this team to be really good for Worlds.
Is there any player in Echo Fox that you were close to before joining the team?
Before I joined Echo Fox, I wasn't close to anybody, but I had played with Dardoch in the past at Team Liquid, so we just got along. Everyone on this team has really good personalities. Huni, especially, he's very fun. He likes to be friendly and joke around; he's a really good teammate.
Then is Huni the same character as what you thought he would be like?
When I first saw Huni, I thought he would be very loud... Just a very loud person. (Laughs) And he's kind of the same. In scrims, he's actually very smart; he's not very crazy. At first, I thought he was a very crazy player, just going for solo kills without any wards or any knowledge.
He's a smart player who opens up possibilities for macro play that I couldn't do in the past. I think I help a lot with the vision so that Dardoch, Huni, and Damonte to play very aggressive on their sides. It was a really good first week of scrims and very fun matching with the team.
Going back to the trade, did you have any other options than Echo Fox?
I actually had about two more options. At the end of the day, I wanted a team that had the potential to get to Worlds, first and foremost. I could have gone for salary or money, but right now, that's not my ambition. I really want to get to Worlds, and I want to prove that I'm really good. I thought that my time on the Cloud9 academy team didn't allow me to do that. I wanted my chance to go to Worlds, so I joined Echo Fox because their team is really good.
You've been in Cloud9 for quite a while. Weren't you sad to leave the team?
On the first day when I was moving to the Echo Fox office, I was really emotional and sad. It was really hard the first day. I had played with Cloud9 for two and a half years, I've seen these people every single day during that time, and it was really hard to say goodbye. Even if it's not really goodbye, I'll be seeing them every weekend, but not seeing them every day, it was so hard. I also like change, so it's also a positive thing too though.
Were there any memorable farewells?
Well, honestly, the move to Echo Fox was really fast. I woke up at 9 AM after Jack signed the deal, and went immediately to Echo Fox to scrim, without moving anything. I just brought my keyboard, mouse, and headset and went over to scrim right away so I didn’t have any time to say goodbye; I said bye to everybody at the team meeting in the morning, and hugged everyone, said goodbye. In the future, I’ll definitely get some dinner or something with the team one more time.
Did you make the request for the trade?
Yes, it was my decision. I felt that I could bring value to Echo Fox; I wanted to work with different teammates sometimes. You can argue that Cloud9 has a 10-man roster, and that’s different teammates, but I see them every day. It never changes, so I wanted to see what I can do on a different team, and so far, we’ve been doing really well. I’m really thankful for this opportunity and I thank Jack a lot for helping out.
Who did you talk to the most when you first thought of the trade?
At first, I mostly talked to my peers, not too much, and I also talked to people outside of the game, not in C9. A lot of people were really helpful in my move. They all told me the good and bad aspects of moving to a different team. In the end, the positives out-weighed the negatives in my head because I still wanted to play in the LCS.
Did you talk to Dardoch about Echo Fox before the trade?
Before joining any team, I want to talk to the players first, obviously, because sometimes there are bad situations in the team so it’s always good to ask the players. But this time, I actually didn’t talk to him, because he was sleeping. (Laughs) I only had two hours to decide, and he was sleeping. So the next day, I just came, and everything was really fast. (So he must have been surprised to see you?) I think people in the organization talked about it, but yeah he was pretty surprised.
What’s the biggest difference between Echo Fox and C9?
When I first came to Echo Fox, the scrims were really crazy. The Korean style gameplay, since I worked with two Korean coaches, Locodoco and Reapered, they always taught really clean macro gameplay with no risk. With Echo Fox, they’re so crazy. There are so many risks in their gameplay but has a very high chance of working because their individual performance is so good. I think a big strength is that not many people will expect what they’re going to do, and they’re very good mechanically.
Then is it more fun for you to play in Echo Fox?
Well, sometimes it’s stressful, my mental sometimes can’t take it. (Laughs) My head is trained to make clean plays. It’s a new experience and hopefully, with time, the team plays will become a lot cleaner with my help.
This could be a similar question, but how is it different from Reapered and Thinkcard?
Actually, Thinkcard was an assistant coach for us before so worked with him in the past. I think Reapered really understands the players perspective and respects the players what the players want a lot. Thinkcard does too, but I think Reapered focuses more on the ‘clean’ macro gameplay.
Before joining Echo Fox, I never thought that the draft would go the way they go. I got most of my ideas of drafting from C9, and I already have an idea of how I want to draft, but here in Echo Fox, we’re blind picking random champions. (Laughs) The players have a lot of confidence in those champions, so there’s a lot of freedom in draft.
The players here have really strong opinions on macro play. We just learn as players and the coaching staff usually calms down the situation. If we’re trolling too much, they just tell us to stop trolling. (Laughs)
Now a question to lighten the mood a bit: are you thinking of dying your hair again?
I’m thinking about it. (Laughs) I want to try a short hairstyle, but short hairstyle plus dying your hair doesn’t make much sense. Maybe in the future, I’ll try one more time.
Rumor says that C9 didn’t like you making shotcalls.
I think from my perspective, my shotcalling was pretty bad at the beginning of the split for sure. That was a flaw of mine. I was very indecisive about what I wanted to do. For example, Licorice was playing really well early in the split. In a game, he solo-killed his lane three-four times, and we still lost the game. That should never have happened. Never.
If the team leader can’t perform, and can’t use their strong player, you’re not a leader. You’re just someone who talks. I think that was my flaw, and I fixed a lot of that now.
The meta changed a lot for the bottom lane especially, and there are less ADCs, so with the new mages and bruisers at bot lane, it was really hard for me to know what to do in the early split. It was really hard to break towers because we don’t have a marksman. So in order to take down the towers easily, we have to fight well, dive well, and use Baron really well.
I was a bad decisive shotcaller, and I think that’s why I didn’t play too much. I fixed it a lot now.
Huni and Dardoch are known to have very strong opinions. How does it work with them?
I’ve been pretty surprised; Dardoch’s very vocal and very willing to listen to my opinion, too. I always thought that if he wanted to do something, he’d just go do it. I think he puts a lot of trust in me now. He’s a really good player and knows what he wants to do well in-game. Him and Huni both know how they want to play and they’re very aggressive together.
How is your synergy with Lost?
It’s still a working progress right now, but I think he’s very talented mechanically. On his champion he knows, he’s very talented; with the mages at bot lane, he may not be as comfortable, but he’s very eager to learn. He always says he’s sorry, and that he messed up here, so I think that’s good, but maybe too much. (Laughs) He has a very good ‘rookie mindset’ so I think he’ll do well.
Any last comments to the C9 fans and the Echo Fox fans?
Thank you for supporting me during this crazy time of my life. It has been a really hard week for me, leaving my old team and joining this new team. It probably was one of the biggest choices of my life, and I hope things go well. I really appreciate the fans for supporting me. Every time I look at Reddit, my fans are really nice and positive about what I want to do in my career. I want to say thank you to those who support me.
There have been some hard times with the Cloud9 staff and decision making; I just hope you trust Jack and Reapered, Cloud9 will do well again soon.