Cloud9’s Fudge speaks about the teams improvements, LCS playoffs and more when he sat down with Piratechnics for an interview.
Following their close bout with first seed Evil Geniuses, C9 Fudge spoke to Esports.gg's Piratechnics for an exclusive interview. Fudge describes what moulds his playstyle, takes a dive into the LCS playoffs and more.
In what has been a rollercoaster of a year for the Cloud9 organization, NA's best international team is looking to defend that honor on home soil at the 2022 League of Legends World Championship. Cloud9 finished the regular season with a 10-8 record, finishing in fifth place after taking down FlyQuest in a fifth place tiebreaker.
Pira: Let’s start with the game vs EG it was a loss today but it seemed to go well during the laning phase but struggled in the team fights, what is your takeaway?
C9 Fudge: Yeah there were a couple of times where we got caught randomly I got caught two or three times in the game and I think we made a couple of mistakes in the team fights. Obviously, their comp is very dive heavy when they have Vi, Ornn and Ahri who can really get on top of our back line with Sivir ultimate especially.
I think we weren’t really prepared for all of their engage initially at the first fight at Dragon where Twitch died instantly and we weren’t really ready for it and after that we sort of kept fighting against them. We started to play a bit better actually against their comp later on, I also think our champions just get better against their composition later on. We definitely could have played the fights a little better.
"I don't think they are that much better at anything else really. It's mainly the team fighting I would say that they're better at"
Pira: So for your opponents, Evil Geniuses are our number one seed. It's undisputed now, it seems like they're just so darn good at team fighting. What is it about this one that makes them so strong?
C9 Fudge: Yeah, I would definitely say as you said, skirmishes and team fighting, I think that is their main strength. I think they tend to just play fights better like mechanically because they understand when to go in and where to position a little bit better than most teams.
I think that's usually what nets them leads. In our game against them for example. A lot of the wins that they got were just in team fights. And I think that's something that all the other teams need to work on to actually get to their level.
Because I don't think they are that much better at anything else really. It's mainly the team fighting I would say that they're better at I wouldn't say they are winning lane really hard in any games. Sometimes they are right?
I would say a lot of it it's Inspired skirmishing in the jungle or a team fight where Vulcans fighting and engaging, Jojo is fighting and engaging, you know, I'd say Impacts generally really stable for the most part, especially on tanks, I think he's really stable in lane. So they're a really solid team. But I don't think that they are unbeatable for sure. I think they still make a lot of mistakes. And even in the game today, I think it was close. And I think we could have definitely played a little bit better in the game.
Pira: Going all the way back to the start of the split, you have a big roster change, especially with you moving up to the top side. After eight weeks of regular play. How do you feel about this iteration of C9?
C9 Fudge: Um, I think we still have a lot that we need to work on as a team, we definitely seem to be okay, individually, I wouldn't say we're getting out laned too much in general. But I definitely would say that we have a little bit of mid to late game mistakes where we either miss-position before team fights, we don't set up an objective properly, or we get caught randomly. And those three things I think are the main things that lose us games. I think sometimes could argue draft.. but that's a debate. [laughs]
Pira: Is that a Max Waldo thrown under the bus [laughs]
C9 Fudge: No no [laughs] Max is , he's like guiding the draft but it's mainly the player's side or the drafting stuff. Max obviously has a lot of input. And so is Reven, our assistant coach, but it's mainly the players that decide what champions they pick.
A lot of the time I think we have a bad idea of what is good [laughs]. And realise after we played the draft that it wasn't that good. But that's fine. I mean, we will slowly improve ideas about the draft. And I think we have I think our drafts, for example, in the past three games that we played, have been all fine.
And I think they've all been at even or at least better than the enemy comps so I'm not too worried about draft. But I do think that our team is slowly starting to, I guess come together and sort of play better as a team.
I think mainly at the start of the split was sort of focusing more on our individual play because obviously like for me role swapping back to top lane, Zven going to support, Jensen's first split back, right? We all have to improve our individual play first before we're able to really improve as a team. And I think that we've gotten to a point where we're pretty stable individually, but we need to improve our team play.
Pira: You have talked a lot about how you are a more strategic player a little bit more. Not gonna take the coin flip 50-50 in an individual sense, and you used to be a lot more reserved. How does that contrast to some of the more aggressive voices in the team, in comms, in-game and in the draft?
C9 Fudge: Yeah, so I think last year and an even split one of this year when I was playing mid lane I was definitely really reserved with my gameplay and I didn't really want to make any mistakes. I sort of played on the safe side almost always. I always made safe decisions. And as you can see, even in the games I play I die way more now. I randomly make mistakes way more now and I think that's because I'm more willing to go for the risky play now.
I try to like play on the thin line which between life or death, specifically when it comes to jungle ganks or our team fights. And I think it might look like I'm worse but I do feel I'm getting better a lot faster because I'm going through these risky decisions and I need to play better otherwise I will just die.
And I would say, my teammates are all pretty similar in that way that they are trying to play on the edge like Blaber, Jensen, Berserker Zven all play on the edge of what we can do, instead of playing for the really safe play, that sometimes might win your game, especially if you're playing like a scaling comp, where if you make safe plays and you're playing a scaling comp, and the enemy team doesn't really do anything, you'll just win.
"My teammates are all pretty similar in that way that they are trying to play on the edge like Blaber, Jensen, Berserker Zven all play on the edge of what we can do, instead of playing for the really safe play."
But I think we're also improving a lot faster, because we're not going for this safe decision making which you can say, by playoffs, we should probably figure out what's the best chance to win and obviously during the regular season, we can try to improve as much as we can. But when it comes to playoffs, all that matters is winning the games, right? And it's not really about improving at that point.
Maybe we'll have to change the way we play to be safer and more reserved and more scaling. I don't know. But we'll have to see, obviously, I don't really know what the best decision is. But I think as it stands right now, we're all improving a lot faster. And I think I've also switched my identity a bit as a player throughout this split.
Pira: Do you think that switch happened because you are a team full of very aggressive players? And it just sort of rubbed off on you?
C9 Fudge: I think it was that. But also I sort of started to realise that I was playing out of fear, I guess, where I was trying not to look bad, especially last year, I was trying not to look bad because I was the rookie.
I came in into Lock-In. And I got flamed because I was inting. And then I started to just play really safe because I was flamed and I wanted to not int. I didn't want to be the one that was flamed all the time. And after that, I got better during the summer split.
But I still sort of kept that fear with me that like 'oh, if I start playing bad people are going to start like shitting on me again.' And coming into the summer split, I started to I guess work through the fear a bit more and sort of just go for the play that might make me look bad. I am more willing to go for that play.
I think that it's good that I'm willing to do that, I think it sometimes can make me look bad. And that's fine. So I'm, I'm happy with where I'm at right now. And I'm happy that I'm that I've changed as a player, especially with like my thought process going into decisions.
Pira: Yeah, it seems like you're a very confident player at that.
C9 Fudge: I would say so. I hope so. I think being confident with your decisions is the most important thing. That's also something Blaber I think is really good at, he's extremely confident in every decision he makes. He fully commits to it, he doesn't hesitate. And I think that actually all the plays seem to go a lot better when you're way more willing to fully commit to them rather than be hesitant.
Pira: So now for the playoffs. We don't know if you're going to be fifth or sixth seed pending tiebreakers. But at the moment, you're guaranteed to be in the top six. Based on how things have gone in previous splits where you have placed a lot higher. How do you feel? How important is that seeding to you?
C9 Fudge: Obviously, it feels better to be the first team. But for me, it's I've already after a couple of splits of going through playoffs I sort of realised that, you know, it doesn't really matter. The first seed doesn't seem to always win. And all that really matters is how we play during the playoffs. And it doesn't really matter if we have to play an extra game or extra best of five to get to the finals. It's sort of just about being the best team in the playoffs.
And if you are the best team in the playoffs, you will win in the best-of-fives. So I've gone through the experience of playoffs many times sort of just become okay with being whatever seed as long as I'm in the playoffs. That's all that really matters. And as long as I'm improving during the regular season, I feel like I have been improving during the season. I feel like I would be in a really good spot for playoffs.
Pira: So going into playoffs it's now shifting up from best-of-ones to best-of-fives. But how does that change your preparation mentally as a change to the team's preparation? What do you do differently?
C9 Fudge: I think something you can do is it can definitely change what matchups I'm playing, I think for me specifically as a top laner. And as a mid-laner as well. I was very focused on what matchups are likely to happen against this specific player, especially in best-of-fives. I think it's something that you can prepare against where like if I'm playing against Revenge, I know he can play for Fiora, for example, or if I'm playing against, Dhokla he can play Yone, for example.
And knowing these sorts of things can help me direct my practice into certain matchups that I want to play, and I want to learn and understand more. And that can help me prepare way better against a specific team. I think other than that, I'm not going to focus too much on the enemy team and playing against I think the main thing can do is just help me practice against certain champions, but for the most part, it's going to be about my own decision making.
This interview was conducted before Cloud9 took on FlyQuest in their tiebreaker match.
Fly Josedeodo on current jungle meta: “I mean the biggest problem with playing carries is like even if I have three items I am playing into Zeri and Sivir who one shot me [laughs]”