After a brutal 0-3 start to the summer split, Fudge and Cloud9 were able to ralley back to a 2-3 record in week two.
Cloud9 fans can breathe a sigh of relief, the boys in blue secured their first two victories of the season after taking down Dignitas and Spring finalists 100 Thieves. Following their day one victory against Dignitas, C9 Ibrahim "Fudge" Allami spoke toDevin "PiraTechnics" Younge for an exclusive interview where he touches upon their first win of the split, the Cloud9 roster and top lane matchups.
Pira: Congratulations on the win. It was a little bit back and forth. How does it feel to get the first win with your full roster?
C9 Fudge: I'm happy that we won for sure. But honestly, It doesn't even feel like a win to me [laughs]. I mean, I don't really feel I did anything specific in the game that was really impactful. Although I was very far ahead of the [Gangplank], it sort of felt like we just won a lot of the teamfights. In one of the team fights, I think I played on the wrong side of the fight, I was flanking with Wukong. I should have just been on the other side of the fight.
Obviously, I tend to care more about the gameplay aspect rather than winning or losing. And it does feel like we didn't really play the game to the level we should be playing at. So I'm not too happy. Obviously, it's still nice to see a win on the board rather than 0-4. 1-3 is definitely better than 0-4. So I'm happy with that.
Pira: For sure, I think it can be forgivable given that with this roster, you guys have not had that much time to play together. I know you've talked about how everybody's come together at the last minute. Do you feel like there are some fundamental issues you are getting through? Or is it just a matter of team cohesion and individual gameplay that needs to be improved?
C9 Fudge: There are fundamental team ideas that we miss. But mainly I would say we're just trying to get to know how each other plays. Sort of everyone is working on their own individual gameplay. Usually, when you don't make MSI, you take a break in between Spring and Summer Split.
Maybe people aren't as good at the start of summer, not as sharp as they were during the Spring playoffs. Obviously, I also wasn't really playing the same role last split, so I need a bit more time to sharpen up. I definitely feel like I am improving at getting back to a place where I'm pretty comfortable. Definitely feel like I am one of the better top laners right now in the League just based on scrims and playing on stage.
So I would say it's definitely a mixed bag of team cohesion and you are sort of building relationships with everyone. Getting through with our individual problems as well, laning and stuff like that.
Pira: So identifying what you need to work on and working on it one piece at a time. Your roster is very different including your role as well. Unlike Spring, where you had a lot of younger, newer players, things are back to what it was last year, where you had a lot of veteran talent including Zven returning albeit in a different role. What has that transition been like for you?
C9 Fudge: For me, I would say, it feels like I can focus on my individual gameplay a lot. That might be because I'm also playing top lane. Obviously, when you're playing mid-lane you're more involved in all the team ideas. Because usually, you are a part of every play, pretty much.
It's also because I think Zven and Jensen are people who are very very involved now. I think mainly last Split because of communication problems, obviously, we couldn't speak the same language. It was mainly me and Blaber in review that was talking to each other. So now it's definitely a lot more involvement from everybody including Berserker, whose English has improved quite a bit since Spring. Since last season, he's improved quite a bit in English. He's been taking a lot of English lessons.
I don't think there's really anything that any top laner in the LCS plays that is hard for me to play against.
For me, I'm actually pretty happy with how the team's going in terms of communication with each other. It feels a lot more involved for everyone. So it also allows me to maybe put more time into my own individual gameplay which I think is the most important part, especially for a top laner. (laughs) If you win the lane in the top lane you're pretty much doing your job.
Pira: It's encouraging to hear that the communication is so much improved. You did talk last week to Nick Geracie at Inven about how you had not been as comfortable with these new matchups. Things that people were playing were not mirrored in your Korean bootcamp and you were getting up to speed. So you feel like this last week, you've been able to catch yourself back up or are there still matchups you still feel a little iffy on in that top lane?
C9 Fudge: I don't think there's really anything that any top laner in the LCS plays that is hard for me to play against. Funnily enough in Korea, I was just spamming Fiora cause I was on 8 ping and I thought that if you are really good on Fiora you can just blind pick her and play whatever. So that really worked well for me considering now Fiora is pretty much banned all the time against us – Because obviously, I can just pick it whenever I want.
Pira: That's great. It's interesting because you played a lot of more defensive roles, especially in the mid-lane. I know you famously started out with some Enchanters. Is this kind of a flip of style or are you just flexing out?
C9 Fudge: I'm definitely trying to be able to play both styles because I definitely think that as a player last year and even last split, I was very much a slow and consistent player that would just play tanks or Champions like Gangplank. Even Kayle is a Champion that fits that sort of idea of playing safe, farming and then you eventually get to a point where you're really strong.
I think I am already really good at that style. Obviously, I will still play the best Champion on stage rather than whatever I am trying to practice. But in practice, I'm definitely picking Champions to practice the more aggressive styles. Sort of to get better at being more punishing in lane and trying to go for more hard mechanical angles which I think is something that I lacked before and is very important as a top laner.
C9 Fudge on the reunion with old teammates
Pira: So what I'm hearing is that other LCS tops have to be careful they won't be able to take you for granted. It's not 2021 Fudge! I do want to talk about last week. Because even though it was a tense situation, you did get to play with your Mammoth teammates - K1ng and destiny. Quite apart from not finding the win, how was it just being reunited with them?
C9 Fudge: It was really really fun. I really enjoyed just talking to them everyday. It's interesting how much the dynamics change. I would say back in Mammoth, I was 17 - I hit my birthday in week 1 with the team.
I was definitely very reserved as a player and I didn't really say anything. So now, I'm definitely a lot different. I am a lot more experienced and have a lot of confidence to be able to speak up whenever I get a chance to say.
If you win the lane in the top lane you're pretty much doing your job.
And the dynamic was also, obviously, they were coming in as the Academy player. Obviously, when you are an LCS player, you have some sort of power dynamic over Academy players - which is they are the ones that are supposed to listen to you. So it was interesting how it sort of switched up a little bit. Obviously, I'm still very close with them. I tried to make them feel like they could be comfortable playing with me and playing LCS as well.
I do think they would like some support in how they performed. Obviously, they got flamed a little bit by the public which definitely doesn't help with emotions. But I am really happy with how that week went mainly because of the whole environment in the team.
Pira: I know you defended them pretty passionately. And I agree with you, I don't think they played bad competitively. Now, of course, they are back on the academy roster and tearing it up actually. Are you able to catch any of the Academy games and maybe past scrims?
C9 Fudge: I was watching the Academy games and I am happy they're playing well. Cause I think what's required for their careers now is to win Proving Ground and they have to win Academy.
Otherwise, I think that the 0-3 result will stay with them. Next year, if they're trying to get to LCS or try to get promoted to the main Cloud9 LCS too, I think it's very important that they win Academy now to show they're good. And what they showed in Week 1 was not their max potential as players.
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