On the 21st, at the Busan Bexco Auditorium, the 2018 League of Legends World Championship Quarterfinals match between LCK's Afreeca Freecs and NA LCS's Cloud9 took place. Surprising everyone watching, C9 handily defeated AFs with ease; becoming the first NA team to knock out a Korean team in a Bo5 to advance to the World Championship Semifinals. Known for his creative drafts and memes, coach Reapered shared his thoughts regarding C9's match against AFs.
The following is an interview with Cloud9 Reapered.
You just defeated the last remaining Korean team with a score of 3-0. Being the 1st NA team to reach the Worlds Semifinals excluding Season 1, how does it feel?
We won 3-0. The games today went easier than expected. I was expecting a very difficult game. A lot of things went accordingly today.
In games 1 and 2, Afreeca Freecs played tank Viktor in the top lane. Did that pick surprise you? Or did you have a plan?
First of all, I saw Kiin practicing Viktor in solo queue. I was also aware that Viktor is a great champion to pick against Urgot and Aatrox. However, I didn't worry too much about it, because I knew that AFs was going to crumble if Kiin was put on a scaling late-game champ.
So I thought, "Ok, you play Viktor, and we'll play Aatrox," and planned ahead to play strong mid game teamfights.
During the Play-In Stage, despite winning games, you often wore an angry look on your face. Cloud9 had a shaky macro gameplay in the Play-In Stage. However, the team's macro seems much cleaner this time around. What kind of process did the team go through to refine its macro?
Our macro didn't exactly improve through the coaching staff.
As the World Championship is ongoing, we learned from the practice matches we had with strong teams and naturally improved. In truth, every team competing here at Worlds are very strong; what's important is how you transition that scrim gameplay and results onto the stage. In scrims, every team is great.
Jack must be ecstatic, reaching the Worlds Semifinals for the first time in the org's history. Is there anything you want to say to Jack and your players?
To Jack: we are the first NA team to reach the Semifinals [excluding Season 1]. All of our staff members did a great job. And Jack, prepare a lot of cash. It's time for a pay raise. (Laughs)
As for the players, I'm a bittersweet coach that often scolds the players. Thank you for enduring all the hardships that came your way.
The current Worlds meta seems to revolve around the mid lane and jungle. Is this meta advantageous for the western teams? Specifically, Cloud9?
Instead of playing a slow macro game, the western teams quickly look for fights and secure leads that way -- and they're good at it. Before this year, the meta was different, so we struggled. Currently, both China and Europe have players that focus on the laning phase, and this was the year where they shine.
As for NA -- or Cloud? (Laughs) -- we didn't have any particular trait that outstood as a team. But continuing with Worlds this year, we started finding things that we're good at, and things that we should focus on.
From 10th place in the NA LCS to the Worlds Semifinals -- not to mention, your team is comprised of a lot of rookies. What is Cloud9's secret to success?
I think I'm just too good. (Laughs)
If you are to compliment yourself?
You did a good job. It's time for a pay raise.
Do you consider yourself the best?
Of course. (Laughs) If it wasn't for me, a team built up of a lot of rookies like this wouldn't have come this far.
Is there any specific team or player that you want to avoid or play against moving forward?
I want Worlds to end right here and now. (Laughs) There is no team that I want to play against. I want to avoid them all. (Laughs) I want to leave Korea smiling.
Who is C9's MVP today?
Svenskeren. He played so well in games 1 and 2.
In game 3, Licorice shined. In games 1 and 2, he played in a disadvantageous matchup and was punished as a result. Despite those results, however, he was able to maintain a strong mental strength and was able to steal the Baron and even land a 5-man ultimate in the final game.
Aside from game 1, the series wasn't easy. It was actually quite back and forth.
Out of ten, if you are to rate your 'picks and bans', what would you give yourself?
We played Ahri today, and to be honest, it was a spontaneous decision. Although we picked her because she was a good fit for the team composition, Jensen didn't practice her much, so there were a couple of mistakes that were made on his side. I wondered, "ah, was Ahri the wrong choice?"
In the Galio and Lissandra matchup in mid lane, I expected a win, but Galio was tougher than I had expected. (Laughs) There were a few unexpected turns of events -- actually, the AFs players just played their champions better than expected.
What are Cloud9's chances of reaching the Finals and winning the whole thing?
Hmm... about 0.5%. (Laughs) At our current state that is.
As we improve and prepare well moving forward, that percentage is bound to change.
From 10th place in the NA LCS to the Semifinals of the World Championship. Although the results ended up being nice, in the beginning, the fans lived through a hard time. Do you have anything to say to those fans?
We made it to the Semifinals. I think this Worlds will be a festival where all of our fans can enjoy. We'll prepare well and do our best to show good form.
Lastly, any news regarding Sneaky cosplays?
Since we reached Semifinals, I'm pretty sure he's up to something.