Licorice is currently the best performing rookie in the NA LCS. Picking Kled against Clutch Gaming, Licorice carried his team and showed in no way he lacks individual potential. However, it is not everytime that the C9 top laner shines. Against Echo Fox, Licorice picked Lucian into Gangplank. A very favorable matchup. Unfortunately, Licorice overextended too often and got ganked multiple times. In essence, it was one of the main causes that led C9 to defeat. Overall, Licorice is a hot topic in the NA League.
Cloud9’s head coach, Reapered, tells us that Licorice still has a lot to learn since he is still much a rookie.
“It is crucial to have a lot of experience. Since there is not much time left until the playoffs, Cloud9 can go to MSI if we win playoffs and even go to Worlds. However if you think about it, there is not that much you can really learn in only a years time. If we can’t make it to playoffs, we only get the 18 games of practice provided to us in the regular season.
Within this short amount of time, I need to give as much experience as I can possibly offer to Licorice. In regards to the Lucian pick into Gangplank, it is important to know how certain picks and matchups work. He needs to get used to picking those kinds of champions in live games and also learning how the pick revolves around the team.
Although it is seems easy on what a team should do while watching the games on stage, it is extremely difficult to come to an accurate decision/call with only the vision from your team. Because of this whether it be tank, damage, counterpick, or counterpicked champions, I am trying my utmost to prepare picks/bans to provide the most experience for my players.”
In the game for 1st place against Echo Fox, Reapered gave the order to Licorice to shut down Huni. What could have been Reapered’s reasoning to give such task to a recently debuted rookie? This decision, as a result placing 2nd place instead of possibly 1st, could ultimately be a thorn in Cloud9’s back for the post season heading into the playoffs.
“I didn’t think a half thought out pick would have been enough to beat Huni. With Licorice being a rookie and Huni being a World finalist, I knew Licorice was going to get a beating. If you look at the game closely, Svenskeren warded top side to make sure Licorice could do his thing on Lucian. In regards to the first gank, Licorice knew exactly where the jungler was.
This and other things are parts that Licorice needs to learn. Licorice needs to learn how to play counter matchups and also learn how to pressure the enemy laner without dying.
When you have good matchups, it makes no sense to die from ganks. He needs to understand how to control and abuse his lane properly. If both teams are using the same jungler, the player with more laning prowess will obviously win. I need to teach him how to control his jungler, snowball when ahead, and minimize losses when behind.”
Reapered is looking for the long haul with Licorice. Reapered is not only thinking about the post season but also international events for Licorice. When looking at facing off against one of the top teams in the world, C9 can not afford to bring a rookie that cannot mix with the extreme high skill cap of such events. This could inevitably be an exploitable weakness for Cloud9.
Keeping every game in mind, Reapered is trying to orchestrate a flow of development for each passing game. Due to the BO3 or BO5 format in playoffs and other international events, Reapered explained that Licorice needs to overcome these new format obstacles.
“Bringing rookies into playoffs games gives a lot of pressure to many coaches. More so now because the current games in the LCS are BO1. If the regular season was BO3, the players would have had a lot more experience. When going into playoffs games with a BO5 format, a whole day worth of games can go out the window if a player’s condition for that day is not optimal. You don’t know what kind of mistakes might come out nor which picks you have prepared might fail.
Also in BO5s, a meta forms between the two teams. The meta forms must pick and ban champions alongside different shifts in champion priority within those games. These kinds of situations are a huge disadvantage for new/rookie players.
There are situations when you have a complete counter pick but you lose, or you don’t have a pick that can stop the opponent’s pick. In order to minimize or stop these scenarios from happening, I need to constantly look out for and teach Licorice. Of course, the amount he improves all relies on how much effort Licorice puts in.
Despite all this, I believe in Licorice. As long as he is trying as much as he is now, I think Licorice will be able to see the light. His results and determination are good. If Licorice keeps improving at the rate he is now with his team, I believe it is possible to meet our goal which is the World Championship quarterfinals.”