On the 21st, Cloud9 defeated Team Liquid. Although the match was very close, Cloud9 delivered better performance towards the late game. The players’ teamwork during teamfights was quite impressive.
After the match, we were able to speak with Jung “RapidStar” Min-sung, who joined the team as a coach before summer split. He was a hot mid laner who’s been to Worlds, but now he was a dedicated coach.
RapidStar mentioned several times that the players are doing their best and that it’s unfortunate that their results aren’t following. He thought thoroughly before answering so that no criticism would be aimed at the players because of his answers. We were able to feel how close together Cloud9 is as a team.
After speaking with RapidStar, we thought that we wouldn’t be surprised if Cloud9 starts to make a comeback in the late season.
It’s the first season after joining Cloud9. How is it?
Our team had big and small problems. Starting from the summer split, we’re changing things in several areas. I think it’s good for me; since I’m in the team while the team’s developing, there’s a lot to learn.
What problems were there?
I can’t tell you in detail, but there are problems that can occur to teams that have a long history. The team staff and players, everyone’s doing their best to solve those problems. The players are really doing their best, so the atmosphere within the team is very good. Our team is a team that really works hard; our results during practice is quite good.
Basically, most of the players are positive. Reapered leads the team in a bright mood, so when the players practice or when they lose a match, they’re very open to feedback. Everyone encourages each other all the time.
Does that mean that Reapered has a good hold on the players?
He’s good at melting the team as one, without offending anyone. But this is impossible if the players don’t follow, no matter how hard the head coach tries. As for our team, the veteran players make the atmosphere. They have awesome personalities.
When the veterans were benched, did they accept it without complaining?
All the players have good personalities. They’re reasonable and know how to accept that type of situations. They went with the team’s decision without complaining.
How did you end up joining Cloud9?
After leaving FlyQuest, I was thinking of taking a break, but Reapered suggested coming to the team to experience how the team is. At first, I didn’t sign anything and just went to the team house to see how it is. We were just trying if it’s good for each other. After a few days living with the team, everything was good. I got along well with the players, staff, and Reapered.
You’ve been a coach with kkOma before too. How is Reapered different from kkOma?
They both have a charismatic value, so they lead the players well. There are some differences in style, but it’s hard to say in detail.
We heard that you had language issues while you were in FlyQuest. How are you dealing with language issues in Cloud9?
I think the language was a big problem, so this time, I’m here without a translator. Reapered didn’t have a translator in the first place. He was just with the players, using English. So I’m doing the same, without a translator, and my English is getting better faster than ever.
I was in China for one year, and I had three translators at that time. They had a system so that I can have a translator with me 24/7, and their ability to translate was really good. In the NA, I had the help of great translators as well, so learning English for me wasn’t that urgent. Looking back, that wasn’t good for me. There’s still a long way to go, but I’m improving a lot.
Isn’t it better for the team atmosphere if you speak English directly?
It’s a lot better. If a different language is used within the team, there could be misunderstandings and problems can be led from that.
What did you talk about with Jack when you signed the contract?
There wasn’t much. Jack’s an awesome guy. Even if he’s the owner, he’s very friendly, and he cares a big deal for the players. When the owner comes, the staff could get nervous, but there’s nothing like that with Jack. Since we can speak our minds to him, it’s really good as a coach.
Blaber started in place of Svenskeren. What was the reason?
It’s not because of their prowess. Svenskeren is a good player. We decide our starting members according to the players’ synergy or their condition during that week.
We have many good players. The veterans are good because they have a lot of experience, and their basic knowledge of the game is good. When I joined the team, we did many ‘experiments’, and I felt that the academy players are also very good as well.
Even so, the fans' criticism towards Svenskeren was quite fierce.
Personally, I think Svenskeren is a stable and smart jungler. He has won multiple championships in the NA; you can’t ignore his experience. He’s also a player that’s understanding. He’s an awesome guy.
What are the pros for Blaber?
Blaber’s very decisive and aggressive. He has a lot of confidence in him. Most rookies get nervous when they get on stage, but it felt like there would be no such thing for Blaber. He has an extraordinary personality.
Who can we expect seeing more often in the jungle?
Both players are really good and have their own advantages, so I’m not sure how it will go. Mostly, the veteran players deliver better performance in the competitions, but the rookies are also making their way in.
Licorice’s performance is really good lately. Do you think he’ll be good enough to compete in international stages?
As you can see, he’s not at all lacking against the Korean top laners in NA. But going up against the best in the world is a different story. The world-best top laners that use the world-best junglers is insanely strong.
When the top laner and jungler use the same language, that’s a big advantage as well. Even if the Korean players in the NA know how to speak English, their English level isn’t as high as speaking in their mother tongue; the level of communication between the players is completely different.
We’ll have to see how Licorice can do against the world, but one thing for sure is that Licorice is doing a splendid job. There’s no doubt to his individual prowess. Even before I joined Cloud9, Reapered told me a lot about Licorice. He said that Licorice is a player that can’t be bad. His laning is naturally good, and he learns things that we teach him like a sponge. His calls weren’t that good before, but he has improved a lot now.
Any last comments?
There were a lot of close matches for us. I’ll do my best to have good, stable performance. We’re all doing our best with our ten players. We’ll do our best to accumulate more wins to get to the playoffs.