TL Cain: "Not only me but the players also think of C9 as their toughest opponent; they seemed really happy."

One of the most anticipated matchups for this 2019 LCS Spring took place last week. The undisputed NA champion, Team Liquid successfully defended their 1st place spot by defeating Cloud9 during the 2019 LCS Spring Week 7 Day 1. As expected by numerous fans and officials, TL vs C9 was a breathtaking, 40-minute long game full of spectacles to watch. 

At first, Cloud9 did seem like the upper hand even though they were slightly behind in gold. However, Team Liquid was simply the more careful and precise team throughout the match. While, at times, C9 over-committed to plays starting from the early game mid lane gank, Team Liquid players did not lose their composure and countered their plays well. 

After the match, we met up with Team Liquid's head coach, Jang "Cain" Nu-ri for a post-match interview. Although he did seem a bit tired after going through this long, intense match, he managed to share some of his thoughts on today's game and their shot at the 2019 LCS Spring Playoffs. 

The following is the interview with TL head coach, Cain. 

Related: 2019 LCS Spring C9 vs TL Review


Today, TL defeated one of their strongest competitor in the LCS, C9. How does it feel? 

It means a lot. C9 was closing down on us... Today was important since it would possibly determine whether we can get to the playoffs on 1st or 2nd place. It's a relief that we've won. Not only me but the players also think of C9 as their toughest opponent; they seemed really happy. 


Since you had to face such a tough opponent, did you prepare something different going into this match? 

Our focus was on, "What would the opponent prepare?" C9 prefers to make some variables in their jungle picks. Also, rather than macro, they seem to more focus on teamfights.  I think their preparation for today's match was pretty much similar to what I've expected. 


After seeing your draft, what came up to your mind? Did you think your team was on the advantage? 

First off, our draft seemed almost unbeatable in teamfights if our players can withstand the laning phase; our draft had clear strengths after level 6. Also, I do think the opponent did make mistakes. However, we had some difficulties in top lane. We should have gotten the advantage early in the game in top lane but it didn't work out. And, the opponent is a team that plays around top lane as well. It's a relief that our players recovered in the mid game. 

Team Liquid's playstyle actually reminds me of the 2017-2018 LCK where a lot of teams displayed such a precise macro game.  On the other hand, Cloud9 seemed to be a team that focuses on engaging and winning teamfights. 

To be honest, I don't have an exact style that I want to implement to our team.  In the case of 'precise' macro, it's a thing that I emphasize a lot in team games. Well, in some ways, our team's playstyle and draft can be seen as rather 'fixed'. However, it differs case by case, 'pick by pick'. 

For example, Jayce is not as popular in the LCS compared to other regions where he's quite a prominent pick. Well, when you use him, you have to focus more on split pushing. Every champion has his or her strengths and weaknesses; it's important to amplify the champions' strengths. 


So, does this mean that TL won because they successfully 'amplified' their picks' strengths? 

The players simply performed really well today. The game itself does not always go along with the picks and bans. In that case, our players were very good; they seem to make fewer mistakes compared to other teams. TL players are very experienced as well. That's why the game went as planned. 


Now that you've defeated C9, do you feel a bit more relieved for your future games? 

I learned that if you don't make any breathing space, you become more nervous and pressured. This eventually gives a negative effect on the team atmosphere. That's why we tend to have fun and enjoy. Yes, sometimes they do seem a bit too relieved so keeping the balance is also important. 


Do you have any other matchups that you think is important? 

 I do think we'll have to go against TSM soon... I think we have about 5 games left. Today's win definitely makes us more comfortable since it widened our lead. I don't have a matchup that concerns me too much. If we stick to what we've been doing well, it won't be that difficult to make it to the playoffs. 


Well, you might meet C9 in the playoffs again and it could be different since the 2 teams already faced each other in the regular split. 

We've been going against C9 numerous times in the playoffs. It's fun. The fans must have had fun too, but that 'fun' is a bit different in a coach's point of view.  You know, today was such a breathtaking match... I always thought of the C9 matchup as a fun and interesting one. 

Reapered and I would go up on stage and show off our drafts. At times I win, but sometimes I lose. It always makes me expect a lot from the C9 matchup. 


Isn't the reason why you can have fun is because you've defeated C9 quite a lot? (laughs)

(laughs) Well, our players get nervous a lot. If we're waiting for a matchup against a very strong team, the atmosphere becomes actually different since they know it's a very important game. If you're a human being, the feeling of pressure is inevitable. 

Similar to last year, we think of C9 as one of our toughest competitors. That's why it's fun and interesting. (laughs) 


Who would you pick as the MVP for today? 

Everyone performed very well, but if I had to choose one, I'd go with Xmithie. He made use of the opponent's mistakes and outplayed the jungle. He also led our in-game calls. I think he was the most composed player out there. 


Before we wrap up the interview, do you have any other words? 

Honda won. Better sponsor wins the game.



Photo credit: LoL Esports Photos

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