Cloud9 has defied all odds and, once again, qualified for the World Championships. Setting a precedence on the genuine significant of a head coach, Reapered has helped shape a new and reformed Cloud9 to enter Worlds.
Starting off the year with noticeable roster changes, Cloud9 was put into the spotlight of speculation. As with any instrumental change to a team’s roster, there comes equally high risks and rewards. For Cloud9, it was the first. Experiencing painful defeat after defeat, Cloud9 was stuck at last place in the earlier parts of the 2018 NA LCS Spring Split.
Despite this, Cloud9 did not give up. Reapered guided, coached, and incentivised his team. Not reverting changes but merely adjusting to the outcome, Cloud9 was able to climb up the ranks and head to the Summer finals. Although they lost to Team Liquid in the finals, Cloud9 well and truly earned much deserved respect and a ticket to the World Championship.
Like any other year, NA as a region is seen as the underdogs in this major tournament. However, with a unique roster, Cloud9 may possibly pull off the offset and create history for the Cloud9 organization.
On the 27th (KST), we had the opportunity to meet and talk with Cloud9’s League of Legends team. Due to the stress and work hours the team is going through, we decided to keep this interview on the lighter side.
Below are the interview responses from Cloud9.
¤ To start things off, some of you guys have been to Worlds and Korea before while others have not. We want to hear everyone’s thoughts on coming to Korea for Worlds.
Jensen: It is always great to come back to Korea. The food is great. The solo q is greater. Just overall, it is a good environment to be in.
Sneaky: Yeah, it is always really fun being here. We come here regardless of where Worlds is. If World was in Europe, we always go to Korea. Worlds is in China? Go to Korea (laughs). Everything is centralized in Korea. All the teams are scrimming with each other. It is really good for leveling up our play.
Licorice: It is my first time at Worlds, so I am pretty nervous about that. But, it is actually my third time in Korea. I really like it here. The food and solo q is really good. The first time I came to Korea was with a challenger team I was on called eUnited. It was a pretty good experience. However, we didn’t have any Koreans with us. We were just forced to eat Korean fried chicken everyday (laughs).
The second time was when I stayed with GBM. It was just me, Deftly, and GBM. I was just there to play some solo q. That was a lot of fun.
How was experiencing Korea without any Koreans?
Licorice: You just do a lot less. When you go out, you can’t really eat at every restaurant. You need to have pictures to point to or you can’t eat there really. You also don’t know where to go to get food. Because of that, you kind of just stick to what you figure out right away. For us, it was Kkanbu Chicken. It had a lot of pictures, so we just went there every time.
Zeyal: Worlds is exciting for me being it is my first time. I think I have been to Korea twice before. The solo q is a bit better. I don’t believe it is as good as the first time I came. It is still better practice than playing in our home region. I believe teams get better at a faster rate here. Therefore, scrims are always more competitive as well.
Svenskeren: Yeah, I’m just excited to be back for Worlds again. Playing in Korean solo q is just super fun to me. All the players across the world come here to play. You get to play with the best players from all regions in solo q. In NA, you don’t really get to face that high of a skill level. So, you don’t get to improve that much. Korea helps me improve a lot faster. I like that.
Blaber: This is my first time in Korea and also my first time at Worlds. I’m definitely super excited for that. I like it here in Korea. I prefer solo q here compared to NA solo q. It is a lot better. Also, it is really nice that we get to scrim against teams that are not NA teams. Because...they are a lot better than American teams (laughs).
I get to learn a lot, especially when we scrim against Chinese teams. When we get clapped, I get to know how certain matchups actually work.
Reapered: Do we have to answer in English or….
RapidStar: No, Korean.
RapidStar: For me personally, it was very difficult for me in the earlier parts of the year. I am very satisfied and thankful to the players because they worked hard and strived through difficult times.
Reapered: For me… (speaks in Korean)
Zeyzal: Wait… speak in English (laughs).
Reapered: Why do I have to...Anyways, for me, I am still getting a lot of stress (looks at team). Because we are viewed as the underdogs and have a long journey ahead of us, I’m not completely comfortable right now. It made me realize that every second matters. I am trying my best to make use of every moment we have. Since we have 3 rookies on our team and we need to perform, I do feel a bit of pressure. I am spending my days with a lot on my mind.
¤ From your responses, we heard a lot about Korean solo q. During your stay here, were there any interesting or funny moments in Korean solo q?
Reapered: I duo’ed with Coach Kkoma a lot. Kkoma, for me, left a memorable impression. He would go top Olaf with smite and ask for all the buffs. I usually play around top side so when I started blue buff Kkoma said to me “Hey, leash me blue and I’ll take blue.” I responded “Oh...really? But why…” Kkoma then said “It is my last promo game so just do it.” So that is how Kkoma plays his games. We won a lot and had a lot of fun as well.
Before I hand it off the RapidStar, I just want to clarify that Korean solo q is not absolutely god-tier. Korean solo q, right now, is only extremely good because of all the players and teams flying in to practice/scrim. I just wanted to say this before people get the wrong idea about Korean solo q.
RapidStar: Since I haven’t played in Korean solo q for a long time now, I was not able to finish my promos and my rank decayed. I am currently trying to climb back.
¤ What rank are you right now?
RapidStar: Right now, I am plat. One time in solo q, one of my teammates searched my previous rank during draft. He typed to me saying “Oh, you’re not supposed to be down here.” I was filled to support that game, but my team felt like they had the obligation to give me a carry lane like top or mid. That game didn’t work out too well (laughs).
*Entire team laughs*
RapidStar: It doesn’t mean I’m bad or anything!
Blaber: Funny moments? I don’t think I have any funny moments.
Reapered: I don’t think Blaber can enjoy solo q. He inted a lot.
Blaber: Y-yeah...I inted. From the top of my head…Oh, I remember I jungled vs Jensen once.
Jensen: What happened during that game, man?
Blaber: He clapped me (laughs).
Svenskeren: Uh, I’m not too sure about funny moments. Me and Sneaky duo’ed the other day and we beat Apdo. He was playing on his super high win rate account. I think it is like 90% win rate or something. Apdo was duo q with the jungler, and we still managed to win. That felt pretty good.
Sneaky: I believe we have him his 9th loss on that account with 70 wins. Apdo didn’t die at all during the early game. But once he died once, the game exploded.
Zeyzal: There was a game when I played with Sneaky. I believe there was 7 kills at level 1. We started the fight in mid lane. I was playing Glacial Augment Tahm Kench. So if I hit anyone, they’re dead. We ran into their raptors. We triple flashed, but then Kled tp’ed back after he died to continue fighting us. The fight somehow lead to our blue buff, and we ended up losing the fight. After that, they stole our blue buff and we lost the game. It was a spicy game though. I had 20 seconds of Glacial Augment in the first 5 minutes of the game.
Licorice: I don’t know if I have any funny moments.
Zeyzal: You duo’ed with me and got solo killed 10 times in 2 games…
Licorice: I had this one guy in one of my games who raged quit and left the game. But, he would come back every 3 minutes to vote for the surrender vote and then leave again (laughs). I liked that one.
How do you know they are raging if they are typing in Korean?
Licorice: Mostly because of the pings. If they are pinging a player that they are alive and also a lot of typing around that, I just assume they are raging at that person.
*Goldenglue enters late to the interview*
Goldenglue: A lot of moms dying (laughs). I had a couple of moms dying earlier today.
Sneaky: In champ select, someone said to pick a champion and I responded “Pick my nose.” I was just trying to be funny. I think they got really confused from what I said. First game got dodged, so I was like “Whatever.” I typed it again in the next lobby, and there was another dodge. In the third lobby, I typed it again. This time, my team started to type back. Zeyzal asked someone to translate what they were saying and apparently they were extremely confused. My team was asking each other “Does he want the nose champion? Does he want a champion called nose?” I just kept saying “Pick my nose”, and I got 5 dodges out of it. It is my superpower now (laughs).
Jensen: There was this one time when I jungled against Blaber. Nothing too interesting...I just casually clapped Blaber.
Blaber: WHAT? My mid laner was 0 and 12…
Jensen: He was saying that it was mid difference, but mid difference is always jungle difference so...I would say the better jungler won. Oh, I also had a game with Faker. I asked if he would let me mid, but he didn’t respond to me (laughs). I asked before the game who would feed more. Faker responded that he would.
The game didn’t start too well for me (laughs). But then, Faker kind of caught up in deaths to mine. In the end, I think we had the same deaths. 8 deaths each. We ended up winning the game.
Blaber: I 1v9’ed that game. I stole Baron.
Jensen: Yeah, Blaber stole Baron. That is the highlight of his career.
¤ Goldenglue, since you were a bit late to the interview, we are going to ask you some of the questions you missed out on. What are your thoughts and feelings on coming to Worlds as a coach instead of a player?
Goldenglue: It is definitely really cool that I am going to Worlds for the first time even not as a player. I am happy to help out in whatever way I can. Obviously, I’d rather play. But, it is better to be coaching and be at Worlds than not being at Worlds all together. I’m still enjoying it.
I have been to Korea twice before, so I am pretty accustomed to the solo q. It has been fun watching scrims and helping Jensen. I also get to play solo q as well. It is a pretty good time.
Reapered: He is also preparing to tryout for SKT T1.
*Entire team laughs*
Blaber: Wait, I thought you were going to the LPL?
Goldenglue: Oh, that’s top secret (laughs).
What are some of the highlights while playing in Korean solo q?
Sneaky: Goldenglue coached me once.
Goldenglue: Oh yeah. One of my favorite moments was when Sneaky picked Zoe for the first time in his life. I was literally right behind him and micro-managing him (laughs). I was telling him exactly what to do, and he was actually popping off. Sneaky won that game.
Were you coaching Sneaky for the early parts of the game or the entire game?
Goldenglue: The whole game. I was telling him what to do, what walls to sneak through, and what to buy and when to base. It was basically 5v6 (laughs).
¤ Cloud9 has 3 veteran players and 3 rookie players participating in this year’s Worlds. What we are going to do is 3 veteran players will each choose a rookie to give advice to. Vice versa, the rookies will then pick a veteran player to receive advice from.
Reapered: I wonder what advice you guys will give (laughs).
Jensen: Do I have to choose a specific person?
Reapered: Are you not close enough to your teammates (laughs)?
Jensen: Nonononononono. If I were to give Blaber some advice, I know you tend to int down my lane a couple of time (laughs). Now that we are at Worlds, I would appreciate it if you didn’t run it down (laughs).
Blaber: Thanks for the great advice, Jensen (laughs).
Sneaky: I got some...uh...advice for Blaber (laughs). Maybe try using your senses. Your ears. Your eyes. I’ll explain why I am saying this. One time, there was a Rift Herald that the enemy summoned. We were killing it together as a team. The enemy backed off, and we ended up killing it. 10 seconds later, Blaber was like “I think their Herald ran out.” I responded by saying “Blaber… we just killed it. What are you saying?” So, it is a combo of both. Use your eyes and ears Blaber.
Svenskeren: I pick Eric (Licorice). Make sure you play with a lot of confidence on stage.
Licorice: Oh wow. Actual real advice.
Blaber: I got some real good advice. I don’t know what you are talking about.
Svenskeren: If you respect the opponent too much on stage, they will just run over you too much.
Licorice: So do we ask the veterans for advice now?
Licorice: Dennis (Svenskeren), I’d like some tips and tricks on how to get out of groups (laughs).
*Entire team laughs*
Svenskeren: I...uh...can’t give it (laughs). Don’t get RNG or Gen.G in your groups.
Blaber: Wait, we got both.
Svenskeren: Yeah, those two (laughs).
Zeyzal: I’ll ask Jensen. Is it possible to survive a gank? I’m not saying it is you that cannot survive a gank. Just in general. Can you survive a gank or an form of pressure?
Jensen: I’d say that is a tough one to answer. All I can say is that if you get ganked and you don’t get a countergank? You’re pretty f***** (laughs).
Blaber: Oh, you’re blaming the jungler? You have two wards placed and you always say “Uh, jungler? Could you ward for me please? I can’t stand this lane pressure I have here.”
Jensen: When you get ganked, you need backup. You can’t just back off and concede your pressure (laughs).
Blaber: I’ll ask Sneaky. How do we win in Play-Ins? How was Play-Ins last year?
Sneaky: You have to respect your opponents. You need to know that they can be strong but also be confident in yourself. I don’t believe I have ever lost to a wildcard team before. A lot of NA teams have lost to wildcard teams before. They are all here for a reason. They came here to win.
¤ Goldenglue, you are know an active coach for Cloud9. Is there anything you want to say to your team? Any tips and tricks?
Reapered: Have you even gone to Worlds before?
Goldenglue: I have been here for a week (laughs). I’ll let Reapered answer this question first.
Reapered: As Sneaky said before, you have to respect your opponents. But at the same time, you have to have confidence. If you look at stats alone, the wildcard teams are monsters. They have like a 90% win rate in their own regions. The teams have over 10 KDA. When you just look at the stats, they are way better than us.
I was scared last year. But, it is doable. It is enjoyable. It is a good warm up game. For groups, we are sort of a dead team. One team is the defending champions while the other is insane as well. Despite this, it is fine. As long as we play to our own playstyles, we can win and get out of groups. Just as usual. We are aiming to get to semi finals this year. The goals have not changed. Keep it up.
Try to play other games less and focus on improving yourselves. The one real advice that I can give you guys is getting stronger individually. Getting stronger individually is the key focus for this year’s Worlds. Keep it up.
¤ Anything you want to add on Goldenglue?
Jensen: That’s a tough one (laughs).
Goldenglue: I think you guys should try to win Worlds. It will be really cool if we are in the music video next year so…
*Entire team laughs*
Sneaky: We had a flag in the music video.
Reapered: Us? Really? No way.
Goldenglue: Alright, let’s try to upgrade from a flag.
Sneaky: We were in the video for like 3 seconds. We had a flag amongst other dead teams (laughs).
¤ RapidStar, is there anything else you want to say for advice?
RapidStar: Like Svenskeren said before, we need to have confidence. Although there are problems that arise when we scrim, I can see that the players are all working very hard. The players are actively trying to solve their issues. I believe they are improving a lot.
¤ There has been a lot of talk and focus on confidence. To test your confidence today, we are going to play a quick game. What we are going to do is we will say “I am confident we can make it out of Play-Ins”. If you agree, please stand up and hi-5 the others who also agree. If you don’t agree, you can stay seated. We will do this for Play-Ins, groups, quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals.
I am confident we can make it out of Play-Ins. 1...2...3
Sneaky: I guess coaches don’t participate…
Goldenglue: I participated!
Blaber: Oh yeah! Our new coach.
Goldenglue: It is head coach.
We cannot move on without hearing some of the reasons why some people stood up while others stayed seated. Reapered, why did you stay seated?
Reapered: I have confidence in myself, but for the rest of the team? Yeah.
*Entire team laughs*
RapidStar: I didn’t even know coaches were involved, so I stayed seated.
Zeyzal: I have confidence in our team, but our staff have been slacking recently…
Goldenglue: Fake new! Fake news!
Zeyzal: You have actually stepped it up since you became coach.
I am confident we can make it out of groups. 1...2...3
This time, we want to hear from Jack why he believes C9 can get out of groups.
Yes! We saw you stand up.
Jack: You guys are here for a reason. You guys are working extremely hard all year long. I don’t see any reason why we can’t overcome 2 strong teams in our groups. We have been overcoming challenges like these for several years now. I have total confidence that you guys can do it.
Reapered, why did you stay seated for Play-Ins but stand up for groups?
Reapered: If we make it out of Play-Ins, I strongly believe we can easily make it out of groups. Play-Ins are a lot harder than groups.
For everyone else who stood up, could you guys give a brief explanation on why you think C9 can get out of groups?
Sneaky: Yeah. RNG and Gen.G were both in the music video, so they are going to get too cocky.
Reapered: But we were inside that music video for 3 seconds…
*Entire team laughs*
Zeyzal: We are the underdogs. While they have to prove themselves, we are just a bunch of goons going in. You have to believe in the possibility of an upset. If you don’t believe you can, you probably won’t.
Reapered: Mhm. True.
Svenskeren: Uh...it is my 4th time at Worlds (laughs). I’ve never left groups before...4th time's the charm.
Zeyzal: I think it is “3rd time’s the charm” (laughs).
Svenskeren: Nononononononono. 3rd time in NA, so it still counts.
Blaber: There is a small chance that all 4 big regions make it out. So maybe we won’t get group B (laughs). Then we can make it out. There is a 3% chance we don’t get group B.
Zeyzal: That doesn’t sound confident…
Blaber: That’s my confidence.
I am confident we can make it out of quarterfinals. 1...2...3
I am confident we can make it out of semifinals. 1...2...3
I am confident we can win Worlds. 1...2...3
Blaber: I’ve never actually lost at Worlds before so… I’m pretty confident (laughs).
Goldenglue: Yeah, same here.
¤ We are going to move onto the next section of the interview. We have some straws. Each straw has a number on it and that number represents a certain question. Please pick a random straw and call out your straw number!
We are going to ask some questions with “This person”. You just need to fill in that blank with a staff member or player.
This person is actually a lady killer.
Zeyzal: You’re lucky you got that question.
*Entire team laughs*
Goldenglue: I would have to go with Sneaky for sure. All the girls that cosplay...holy...I want to be like them.
Zeyzal: Wait, what?
Goldenglue: WAIT. NONONONONONO. I meant to say that all the girls that do cosplay go up to Sneaky and say “I want to look as good as you.”
If you were Reapered for a day, what is the first thing you would do?
Zeyzal: Blaber is gone.
*Entire team laughs*
Zeyzal: Then we put him as AD.
Blaber: YES! That means Sneaky is gone!
Zeyzal: For the rest of the roster, everyone just fills. Sneaky what are you going to be doing?
Reapered: He is the lady killer.
Jensen: If Blaber is AD, I’d rather just bench myself (laughs).
This person is the most handsome person on the team.
Licorice: I mean...it is an easy question.
Reapered: I think I’ll go for Dennis.
Entire team: Ayeeeeeeeeeee
Goldenglue: I would have sworn Reapered was going to pick himself.
Reapered: I chose Dennis because Dennis is handsome and also has a very wholesome mindset as well. He is a pretty good teammate.
Zeyzal: You haven’t seen him type in solo q.
Blaber: He is so toxic (laughs).
Reapered: I only care about real life and not online. Oh, Dennis is kind of big too. It was an easy question.
This person needs to shower more often.
Licorice: That’s a hard question (laughs).
Goldenglue: It is one of two.
Blaber: I am always ridiculed. The other guys never shower…
RapidStar: This is a really hard question to answer. But if I had to choose one, I’d choose the person right next to me (hugs Blaber).
Blaber: WHAT?!?!?! We are finished RapidStar.
This person is the funniest person on the team.
Zeyzal: I already know who this is.
Reapered: Just say it.
Blaber: I would have to choose Sneaky. It is because he sometimes can’t commit to plays properly.
Zeyzal: *Imitating Sneaky* I don’t see a kill angle here.
This person is the loudest person on the team. I wish he would shut up.
Entire team: OHHHHHH
Blaber: It can’t be me… I don’t talk that much.
Svenskeren: I mean...it's Blaber (laughs).
Goldenglue: He doesn’t shower… he doesn’t shut up… (laughs).
What is something that you want to say to Reapered that you can’t normally say?
Licorice: Do I have protection here (laughs)? Uhm… I just want to say that sometimes Reapered gets outdrafted and won’t admit it (laughs).
Entire team: OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
Reapered: Get outdrafted???
Goldenglue: Someone is going to play a lot of tanks (laughs).
Reapered: If only I had players who can play more than one champion in League. Then I can easily outdraft an enemy coach. My players can only play one or two champions (laughs).
This person is secretly a dirty inter.
Goldenglue: Secretly? What about openly?
Sneaky: Yeah, not much of a secret. I pick Jensen.
Is there a story behind it?
Sneaky: Oh yeah. Every single game.
Jensen, anything you want to say in defense?
Jensen: I don’t think I can say much in this situation (laughs).
This person is the laziest player on the team.
Jensen: It varies from day to day, but I would have to go with Sneaky on that one.
Jensen: Most of the times, Sneaky would rather skip out on things rather than not go to stuff.
Svenskeren: That is actually so accurate. I completely agree.
¤ Before wrapping up this interview, can you guys give a motivational speech to the team and to the fans reading this interview?
Jensen: Last year, we got out of groups for Worlds. This year is no different. Let’s make it happen.
Sneaky: C9 fighting!
Reapered: This year might be more difficult than the last due to the increase in prowess from the Chinese and Korean teams. Regardless, we are all trying our best. We will do whatever it takes to climb as far as possible. I want to thank all the fans who constantly support Cloud9. Thank you.
*Before the interview ended, we asked Cloud9 to give their heartwarming remarks to Jack by all writing on a piece of paper. This is what they wrote!*
A managing editor who can do more things than you think.