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. Having joined Cloud9 in June of 2018, RapidStar is the assistant coach working under Reapered, assisting Reapered during player feedback and player management.
The following is an interview with Cloud9 RapidStar.
How do you feel?
To begin, I'm really, really happy. I want us to keep this momentum and head straight to the Finals. I've reached the Worlds Finals as both a player and coach but failed to win. I won't get too ahead of myself here; I want to at least reach the Finals with Cloud9.
Can you tell us about your 'picks and bans' strategy?
We prepared drafts that excel in skirmishes -- drafts that can take leads in the early-to-mid game.
What was most important for Cloud9 to secure their victory today?
The individual performance from each of our players. Of course, picks and bans play a large factor; but our players played really well today. I really want to compliment them in that regard.
Out of the C9 players that played today, who do you think stood out the most?
It's hard to pick a single player, but if I'm to pick a player that played much better than expected, it's Sneaky. Looking at him today, his mechanics were on-point, and he created a lot of great opportunities for his team. In addition, even during moments where the team struggled, he was able to reliably DPS for his team.
During an interview we conducted before Worlds began, the Cloud9 players weren't very confident. Seeing how things are now... what happened?
At that time, the players weren't very confident because we were losing a lot of our scrims. In addition, there was a large skill gap between the C9 players' individual performance and the individual performance of the players from the other top contenders here at Worlds.
We lost a lot of games, but the players were able to quickly learn and understand during feedback. They were also able to quickly improve in terms of individual performance.
In order for players to learn and improve at a quick pace, I imagine the team's atmosphere plays an important part. How is Cloud9's team atmosphere?
Our team atmosphere was always great. During the Summer Split of the NA LCS, we started off as the last placed team. However, despite our position at the time, our team atmosphere still remained bright.
To begin, Reapered, Sneaky, and Jensen, these three have this strange aura about them; something unique to C9 you could say. They know how to enjoy their time, while at the same time, remaining professional. Cloud9's biggest strength is its bright team atmosphere.
As a coach, why do you think LCK fell so early this tournament?
To begin, the LCK teams are good, but there was a skill gap in players' individual performances. Looking at the mid lane alone: Caps, Perkz, Scout, and Rookie; there are a ton of players with great mechanics that outshined the LCK players. They still performed well.
Who do you think will win? FNC or EDG?
In my opinion, I think FNC will win. In our circumstance, however, we'd want to avoid EDG. EDG's coach is a top coach, and we won't know what he'll prepare against us. Both Reapered and I used to coach EDG, but they still seem unpredictable.
How would you describe this year's Worlds in one sentence?
A repetition of surprises. An unpredictable, unexpected World Championship.