Taking his experience in the LCS as a learning opportunity, K1ng hopes to show that he is still an LCS level player.

Cloud9 has had a rough start to the LCS Summer Split, losing all three of their opening matches. A tough road ahead, Cloud9 hope to make a strong comeback in the next few weeks of play. After their loss to Golden Guardians, Esports.gg’s Devin “PiraTechnics” Younge spoke with C9 K1ng on the team’s preparation, his personal performance as well as the difference in the multiple leagues.

Devin “PiraTechnics” Younge: Welcome back to the LCS. I know its a bit of a rough start being 0-2, but you have put in, in my opinion, some pretty good performances. What do you think about the current crop of LCS bot laners and teams, the skill level compared to the academy teams?

C9 K1ng: After playing two weeks of scrims, around 11-12 days, I think the LCS bot lanes are a lot better than the Academy bot lanes. Overall, the gap in the level of play is really big between LCS and Academy. It’s quite a good practice, I am learning quite a lot, especially from Blaber and Jensen about how to play the game overall.

Cloud9 K1ng staring at the computer and smiling
Image Credit: Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games via ESPAT

Pira: It’s always good to get that experience on the big stage. Speaking of, welcome back to that big stage. This is the first time you started in the LCS since last year. How’s it been to be able to play in the LCS once again?

K1ng: It’s really cool. Compared to just sitting and having to play academy, this feels way better to be here. I just wish I was winning instead. 

Pira: Yeah, it can be a bit rough if you start out on a couple of losses. It does feel like you personally have been playing well. Your positioning on Jinx in this game was solid, but you didn’t get to that late game item spike. Is there something that you want to do with the time you are going to have on this Cloud9 main roster – Anything you want to prove, especially since you had a shot last year but it didn’t end particularly well?

K1ng: I’m just taking my experience here in the LCS an opportunity to learn. Obviously, I want to show that I still am an LCS level player. Going in, I was a bit anxious and scared because it’s such a big role to take over the ADC for C9. But now, I’m pretty comfortable, I’m just focusing on my improvement overall. I think I have improved a lot since.

I think as people start scrimming more, we start playing different teams, C9 will just eventually learn what’s up your own sleeves.

C9 K1ng on cloud9’s confidence despite rough start

Pira: It does feel like you’ve improved a lot. Seeing you in the academy and even in these losses it’s been good to see. What has it been like playing with some of the old mammoth core? You got Fudge back in the top lane and you got Destiny. Has that been a nice reunion and a more comfortable situation for you?

K1ng: Fudge is always easy to work with. I think working with Destiny, it’s like even though we haven’t played with each other in over three years, it just clicks again. It wasn’t really like, there’s not much to get used to with him. It’s been good getting back with them.

Pira: You mentioned you’ve been getting a lot of stuff from Blaber, learning a lot as a player. How are you approaching this Split to show off your skill set and hope to prove you should be an LCS starter?

K1ng: I think playing in the LCS is a much different way than playing in the Academy. I feel like in Academy, it’s much slower. There’s just teamplay overall (in the LCS). I’m just getting adjusted to it, because it’s such a different and sudden change in playstyle.

I think the big difference between this year and last year is that last year I sort of disagreed with a lot of what the coaching staff and players were saying to me when I was in the LCS last year. But now I am starting to agree a lot with how they view the game. I’m just hoping that I can bring this stuff back to Academy.

Cloud9 K1ng on the differences in the leagues

Pira: That makes a lot of sense. I know keeping an eye on two different leagues at the same time can be difficult. How were you able to keep up with what’s happening in Academy which has just begun as well as playing and keeping up in the LCS for the time being?

K1ng: I generally only watch the C9 Academy games. Even then, I just skim through them. I just focus on what’s in front of me. So I haven’t been watching much academy. I’m trying to watch other Major regions, and LCS obviously. 

Cloud9 K1ng at the LCS studios
Image Credit: Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games via ESPAT

Pira: Fair enough. Do you have a particular major region you like watching? I know there’s a lot of strong opinions on this current meta and how a lot of the regions are playing very slowly with one major exception [the LPL]

K1ng: I don’t think I have a particular favorite. Right now, watching LEC has been exciting because they just started. I just generally try to look at the differences between the regions and see their difference in priorities. That’s the most interesting thing to me rather than just seeing what one region lacks. I like to see what differentiates all of them. 

Pira: What is the big difference in priority in the LEC that has you so interested if you don’t mind me asking? 

C9 K1ng: I think, from what I’ve seen and what I’ve been told, they’ve a very big emphasis on more scaling bot lanes compared to the LPL and LCK. I think that region has picked Twitch so far. I saw a first-pick yuumi from Excel. That’s very interesting considering that Champ is generally considered counterable in the first pick. It was definitely a cool thing to see

Pira: Of course Cloud9 have been playing a couple of interesting things as well. You had a blind pick Yone today – It seems like a lot of teams even in the LCS have been shifting around in their pick and counter-pick strategy. Is there a lot of confidence in the Cloud9 camp despite the 0-2 start that you’ll be able to get atop the meta soon?

C9 K1ng: The big thing that caught us off-guard, especially in the EG game is we’re playing very similar comps to our scrims and not once did we get countered by the long-range Corki, Trundle, Ezreal comp. So that was a surprise to us.

I think as people start scrimming more, we start playing different teams, C9 will just eventually learn what’s up your own sleeves. [Eventually] every team is that they just understand what everyone is capable of and how they are going to try to advance the meta.

Cloud9 K1ng on stage smiling
Image Credit: Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games via ESPAT

Difference in OCE and LCS

Pira: It’s a building process, split over split. Now for  yourself, you’ve been in North America for a little while. You’ve made your name in the Academy. But you’ve had a long, long and I really mean long list of accolades in the Oceanic region. 

You’ve got two Worlds appearances with Dire Wolves and MAMMOTH. You’ve got five domestic titles in the OPL and just a wealth of experience. Now that you’ve been stateside for a couple of years, what is the biggest difference in terms of atmosphere, in terms of league competitiveness and how you changed as a player? 

K1ng: I think in North America, it’s just much more professional and developed. In OCE, they’re still in the phase where everyone’s just in the gaming house with them and their coach and we’re just playing games. But I feel like in NA it’s much more serious and obviously the level of play’s much higher.

There’s a lot better plays here. I think it should be every OCE player’s goal to be able to come to NA and become the best player they can be. I think I’ve improved a lot since I last played in OCE and I’ve had a really good time. 

I’m just taking my experience here in the LCS an opportunity to learn.

C9 K1ng

With Zven and Berserker’s return, K1ng has returned to the Academy.

Pira: I hope to see even more of that. Do you want to say anything to the fans, to people who supported you from Academy, now watching you on the main LCS roster for the time being?

C9 K1ng: It sucks to see us go 0-2. I was really confident heading into this weekend cause our scrims were actually going really well by the end of it. I just hope you guys can support us and Zven and Berserker will be back very soon.

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piratechnics - LoL Commentator

piratechnics

LoL Commentator | Twitter: @PiraTechnics

Devin "PiraTechnics" Younge is a League of Legends PBP caster who rose to prominence during his time on the EU LCS from 2015 to 2017. Since then he has also branched out into other esports titles. He is currently a caster for Riot Games' PCS 2022 Spring Split.