C9 Head Coach Reapered: "Communication is the driving force behind the undefeated streak"

On February 5th (PST), which marked the third week of NA LCS, the undefeated Cloud9 clashed against Team Envy. The result of 2:0 in favor of C9, making it the fifth consecutive win in the season.

C9 members were in a festive atmosphere after the victory, and Inven met with Head Coach Hangyu “Reapered” Bok for an interview.


▲ Cloud9 Head Coach Hangyu “Reapered” Bok


How do you feel about today’s victory and your undefeated status?

I didn’t think we’ll do this well early in the season, but I guess it paid off to prepare earlier than any other teams. Despite the end of a year holidays being quite huge in the US, we got together before that to practice. I’m glad that our efforts are translated well in the results.

What’s the driving force behind the undefeated streak?

There’s a very high degree of freedom given to players and myself. If someone wants to go to a night club, it’s not an issue. I leave everything to players’ discretion within allotted time. To balance it off, practice time means practice time. I try to distinguish between play and work. There’s a time to live as a pro gamer and a time to be everything else in the off-hours. That said, times to be a pro gamer is considerably longer, but it’s the way of life. So, I encourage players to give their 100%.

Team atmosphere is similar. We leave no stone unturned during scrims and tournaments, but we get along as friends in other times just fine. I guess you could say that being close to one another, which allows for easy feedback exchange, is the driving force to becoming a solid team.

It’s your second year in the US. How’s life in America? Has something major changed?

America is a wonderful place to live especially if you’re financially comfortable. [laughs] I have no issue whatsoever, and language barrier only comes up when I take care of important stuff like banking. I’m really enjoying my time with the players.

I was lucky enough to have a sneak peak at the team atmosphere and how players are like prior to joining. I decided to be the head coach because I felt C9 had the most promise in terms of communication and potential. Players still get along quite nicely now.

C9’s form is quite formidable. Notably, the new jungler, Juan “Contractz” Garcia stands out. How did you decide to put him in the roster?

Contractz used to play for our Challenger team and won the secondary league championship. I’ve thought that he was a mechanically skilled player despite his young age. Then the old jungler, Meteos wanted to take a break for a season, and I decided it was wise to promote Contractz instead of finding a new player, you know, since he’s in the team and is a family. He was already familiar with the team so had no trouble with pulling his weight in no time.

From a perspective of the head coach who directly influences drafting, what are your thoughts on the 10-ban system?

It’s true that there’s a certain degree of improvising judgment calls required under the 10-ban system. Still, the current meta has stabilized quite a bit, so there aren’t huge variables. [laughs]

Definitely. CLG got the short end of the stick when they let Camille slip by today.

There’s always a plan when people take risks in draft. For example, CLG may have wanted to keep up with Camille on Poppy while taking stronger picks for the botlane. But once you suffer a blow like that, plans don’t mean as much. [laughs]

We’ve seen Ivern jungle firsthand. How would you rate Ivern?

I think Ivern is quite a competitive pick. He can be used regardless of league and country. He’s especially viable when favored jungle picks such as Rengar and Kha’Zix are banned by the Blue Team. I think that’s why we see the resurgence of Ivern as of late.

How do you respond to the criticism that most NA teams’ weakness lies in the coaching staff who oversee strategy and draft?

I believe that depends heavily on the team. By nature, NA players greatly dislike what they deem as unreasonable or illogical. Even if the coaching staff recommend certain champions, players won’t go along unless they see it as rational. Given the persuasion from other teammates and enough reasoning, then it can be possible for players to change their minds.

In any case, coaches have a difficult time persuading players. Simply giving commands won’t bode well for either side. That’s why I try to take my time in communicating with the players. We talk amongst ourselves and continue to put in efforts in understanding each other even though sometimes honest feedback may sound confrontational. The importance of communication can’t be emphasized enough. If it doesn’t go well, then things may become difficult.

What are some other fresh picks like Gangplank and Ivern that we could see in the current meta?

First, there’s Zed. In FlyQuest’s match, they gave up LeBlanc to draft Zed. Many players practice Zed because Zed’s burst potential is quite powerful and his damage output is significant due to armor penetration buff. Miss Fortune is a viable ADC, and some people are trying to make top Talon work. Maybe next week or the week after that, players may decide to showcase picks what they’ve been working on. I think we’ll see more draft variety after the next patch when LeBlanc, Camille, and Rengar receive adjustments. Then, the 10-ban system may bear some fruit. With more variables comes more in-depth strategy.

Would you like to say any last words to the fans?

From Korea and China to America, I’ve came across many fans in the respective regions. I believe I can be where I am because of the fans like them. I hope you continue to cheer us on, and I’ll do my best to not let you down.

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