C9 Zven on supporting Berserker: “I’m trying to be the guy who teaches him macro similar to how I was taught. Maybe I am the Mithy to him like Mithy was to me”

Devin Younge

Devin Younge

Cloud9’s Zven sat down with Esports.gg for an exclusive interview. Here is what he had to say.

Although they are sitting middle of the pack, Cloud9's intended starting roster is 6-2 following their turbulent 0-3 start in week one. One of those absentees during that brutal week one was the legendary Zven. Following C9's victory over Dignitas on day one of week five, Esports.gg's Piratechnics sat down with Zven for an exclusive interview.

Pira: Congratulations on the win! You’re now at 5-5 moving into the second round-robin after roster instability in the early weeks, how is the team feeling right now?

C9 Zven: I mean, our record isn't bad considering that we're 5-2 with this roster. But some of our wins. This game, for example, our win against Dignitas last time as well. And our game against CLG was all a bit close. They were not like super good games. And today, we were far behind, they had soul point, they actually had soul point the whole game. So a bit scuffed games, but it's okay a win is a win right?

<em>Image courtesy of C9LoL via Twitter</em>
Image courtesy of C9LoL via Twitter

Pira: I remember back in the day famously you said ‘lose is improve’, I think winning close is also improve [laughs]. You can take away a lot, for sure. And it does seem like you know, there have been some struggles. But now you have a chance to kind of bounce back into a 2-0 on the week. Are you feeling confident based on what you saw today tomorrow against Golden Guardians?

C9 Zven: Yeah, I mean, I think that we should have had a 2-0 last week against TSM and IMT. And this week we are also playing some of the weaker teams in the league like Golden Guardians and Dignitas, DIG is the worst team in the league I believe.

It should have been a 2-0 last week. And it should be this week as well. I don't think our game today was very promising, Golden Guardians are about to play right now as we speak. So we'll see how they do but I think that it should be a 2-0 week for us, and if not, then it's a bit worrying. I think we had some good scrims and I feel good playing. But today's stage showing wasn't very good. I think everyone just felt a bit off today for some reason. It happens.

Pira: Yeah, with best-of-ones sometimes things can happen. Now on the other side of the coin too, it does seem like the teams at the bottom of the table have been improving a lot. You know, Dignitas of course bringing spawn in today. IMT has looked better in recent weeks. Do you feel like maybe the league is just a little more competitive this split?

C9 Zven: I'm not sure if it's competitive. I feel like the top teams are still a fair share ahead of everyone else like EG is obviously like, solidly first place without any contention, TL, 100 Thieves and C9, are the top three after EG, is like a top four I suppose at that point. But there's a big difference in EG and the 2nd through 4th. I think Immortals are showing signs of life. But they still won't be a contender, in my opinion, and won't be a team to look out for.

Even Golden Guardians, they're doing well, they might even win against us tomorrow who knows. But I still don't think they will be a contender. I just can't see them making worlds and doing well in playoffs when it is best-of-fives and the stakes are higher. So I think the bottom two teams are doing more in the best of ones this year. They're not just falling over, they're making the main top teams sweat, but they're not going to be a playoff contender.

Pira: I do want to ask you about you know your role in this team. Since you're about half a split into being a support player, very different role for you. How was that adjustment for you and playing with a young player like Berserker in your lane?

C9 Zven: I mean, I'm happy the guy I'm playing with in my opinion is a good ADC player, I wouldn't play with someone that I didn't consider to be talented and has a lot of hope in the future. Right? Berserker has that, he has good mechanics and good laning. And I can see a lot of good things in him. I'm happy to teach him. I think what he lacks is a brain [laughs], Not to be that guy but he's good in the mechanical department, he is good in the laning phase good and he is good in team fighting, but he lacks map awareness.

Sometimes he autopilots and builds the same items every game, these kinds of things. And I help him with that. And he lacks, you know, some macro decision-making here and there. I think he's getting better at that every day. Obviously, there's a bit of a language barrier between us, which is the biggest difficulty for us. For me and him specifically.

So once we overcome that, and he has better English and I get better at you know, slowing down my speed of talking, which is I speak very fast. Yeah, it's getting there for sure. I'm very hopeful, we have only had like a month of practice right now, maybe a bit less actually. So with more practice, I think come playoffs will be in our final form. And that's when I'm excited to see how well we do.

Pira: Yeah, it's easy to forget that you haven't had that much time on stage together. It does feel at times though, there's a lot of natural synergy and, you know, talking a little bit about Berserker as somebody who was once very much a young hotshot rookie, I remember OG Niels [laughs], do you see a little bit of that in Berserker?

C9 Zven: I think Berserker is a bit different than I was when I was coming out the gate, but I think I can see some of it. See the mechanics are there and the confidence in team fights is there. And I'm, I'm trying to be the guy who teaches him the macro similar to how I was taught macro and decision making in games. Maybe I am the Mithy to him like Mithy was to me.

Pira:  I love it. And you know, for yourself, you know, you are also double duty adjusting to this new role. Yeah, your team recently signed an old player Zeyzal as an assistant coach. And he, of course, used to be a professional support player. Is he been helping you to adjust to that role?

C9 Zven: Yeah, Zeyzal has been watching our scrims mostly and he gives me some feedback. He helps me learn good habits. For example, one thing he's very keen about is tracking the supports wards. So like you press tab, you'll see Rakan has three wards, then he comes back from a bush, he has two wards. So now you know there's a word somewhere in this area, right? So you can use this river effectively.

That's one of the things that he's very keen on and really values highly. Those kinds of things, you know, where we want to be, what to do in different matchups, champions build and everything, he just writes down notes in between games and I look at them when I have time. And we discuss a little bit back and forth. And it helps a lot to have someone that has experience playing the role and has a lot of good feedback and advice. So it definitely helps to improve and to have him on the team.

Pira: That's great. So he helps out you a lot in particular, Are there other things that he brings to the coaching staff for the rest of the squad?

C9 Zven: I mean, I think Zeyzal is mostly hired to be a support coach, he's not really like a team coach, he does bring up things that are team relevant as well. But most of it is like, it's team stuff from my point of view, right? It would help the support player a lot here if we did this team or whatever, similar to how Veigar helps our solo laners, mostly Jensen. And how Max was originally hired as a top analyst and coach. So he's a bit more a support specialist than anything.

Pira: Well, it sounds like you kind of have all your bases covered. You mentioned a little earlier that you were just kind of hoping for a little bit more time and you feel like come playoffs you'll be in your final form. Is there anything fundamentally that you think needs to be worked on for Cloud9 or is it just time to work out the kinks and practice together?

C9 Zven: I think we're just lacking a bit of team stuff right now and practice. And that's fine. I think that for me specifically, it's sometimes hard for me to keep track of the game when I'm playing a champion, and I'm not super comfortable on the game side. So I have to spend more time thinking about my champion mechanics and how I lane etc.

Whereas before, once you play so many games on certain champions, like ADC's play the champs over and over again and they have all the mechanics down, you can spend more time, more brainpower on, you know, the mini-map and what's on the game, think about macro, think about team stuff. So probably is most important that I practice the champions so I can get adept at the champions and not fall behind. You know, some people can play Singed support or Neeko support or Amumu and I want to be that guy too. But I have to be good at the Nautilus and Leona first [laughs].

This interview was conducted before Cloud9 took on Golden Guardians in their final week five match.

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