C9 Blaber: “I think the Jungle role, when Hecarim is banned, is not at all strong right now”
The confident Cloud9 jungler talks about his love for Hecarim and how the champion is a free win for his team.
Cloud9 followed its flawless super week with victories over Golden Guardians and Evil Geniuses in Week 5. With these victories, the team is sitting comfortably atop the LCS standings. Esports.gg's Piratechnics caught up with the team's jungler, Blaber just after their victory over Golden Guardians.
A standout Week 5 performance on his trademark Hecarim saw Blaber help C9 dominate the LCS.
You guys had a crushing victory today. You were super-dominant against Golden Guardians who have definitely not been looking bad. Did you expect it to be that clean?
C9 Blaber: "Basically, in our draft we only draft for when Hecarim is banned. I think if I get Hecarim first pick then the game is very easy to win regardless. I think I am going to be on a very strong champion and Summit is obviously just going to win his lane, as usual.
So it's very free for us to play. We don't prepare really hard when we think Hecarim is open, because we think it will be a free win."
"Hecarim has been rising in power since I started picking him last week": C9 Blaber
So far, honestly, that's been true. You've been able to first-pick him in four games now in a row since Super Week. It looked really dominant in your hands. I know you've talked about why you think this champion, in particular, is strong at the moment. Why do you think other teams are sleeping on how good it is?
C9 Blaber: "It's hard to tell. I think it also looks better on our team because I think we have better players in general. So any time you have better players, it's hard to tell which champion is strong. Maybe Hecarim actually isn't the most OP but we just feel it is, because we have a lot of success with it.
I'm not sure why others don't play it or have it has a high priority. But if you watch LCS this week, it has a very high value. It's almost perma-ban or first pick. So I definitely think Hecarim has been rising in power since I started picking him last week."
Cloud9 Fudge: “Everyone except me on the team is the best in their role with the champions we are playing; I am obviously still learning the [mid lane] Champions”
After claiming two wins in the LCS Super Week, C9’s Fudge talks about the team’s performance and his transition to the midlane role.
And with good reason. It's definitely showing up in teamfights, You guys were very clinical in game 1 today. Talking about the rest of your team, I spoke to Fudge last week and he said he considers every one of you except himself to be the best in the role. Obviously, he role-swapped so he's taking some time. Do you agree? Do you think you are all the best players in each of your roles in the League?
C9 Blaber: "I think it's hard to say. I think we are all probably top 2 in our roles in the league. I think it's pretty close. But I do think it's hard to tell because at the beginning we have been playing non-conventional for some of our players.
And then also, we haven't really matched up versus Team Liquid (with their full roster) so it's hard to tell how we match up against them.
But I do think that all of our players are top two in their roles including Fudge, even though he doesn't think so himself."
Speaking of Team Liquid, even though the League is pretty competitive in the middle, it seems like Cloud9 and Team Liquid are standing alone at the top. That next match you have against them with the full roster, with CoreJJ, is going to come up next week. Is that a game that is, in particular, on your minds as you go into the rest of the prep for this week and next?
C9 Blaber: "I don't think any of us are thinking specifically of Team Liquid. We are just going week to week playing what we think is best and trying to win all our games. In the end, the regular season doesn't matter as long as you make the playoffs."
Hans Sama: “I feel like [with Corejj in the roster], everyone was playing better, me included”
Leading the LCS Spring Split after dominant victories, Team Liquid now has its full roster as Corejj makes his return to North America.
Yeah as long as you get there. But at the same time you want to tweak your play and improve as strong as can be. Cloud9 is close to flawless now, even with the dip a couple of weeks back for obvious reasons. Do you feel like there's anything in particular you or the team should be working on?
C9 Blaber: "I think playing around objectives, we have not been the cleanest. Like today, we two for three'd that first Dragon. Whether that was good or not, I think that could have been played cleaner. I think we could have given the dragon and we would have been fine."
"Last week some of our Herald fights were not the cleanest. I think we ran it down a couple of times and died for no reason early. My team obviously salvaged it. I think some of our objective-fights can be improved on. But I'm confident in us regardless. I think we've been playing pretty well."
"It feels like if you try to outcarry as a jungler, it feels like you are not going to be strong with the Champs right now.": Blaber
Earlier in the week, you tweeted something along the lines of Junglers are at an all time week spot right now. Is that just out of frustration, or do you think people just don't have as much impact as you in some of these games?
C9 Blaber: "The reason I tweeted it was because I was playing with Closer, playing mid-lane in Champions Queue. He went 20 kills in that game. But I also do agree with it.
I think the Jungle role, when Hecarim is banned, is not at all strong right now. The reason I think Hecarim is so strong is because I feel the mid lane and bot lane are the main carries right now.
If you try to outcarry as a jungler, it feels like you are not going to be strong right now. For eg. Corki and champs that disrupt them seem the strongest. They can also obviously farm a lot, that's what Hecarim's really good at."
Do you feel like you are locked into the disruption and engage role and there's not really much else you can do then?
C9 Blaber: "I definitely think you can play the carry style in the jungle now and I just think it's harder. And maybe that's why people are not doing it. But that doesn't necessarily mean I think it's better to play jungler.
It is probably better to play the carry role and more disruption jungler right now. But you can easily carry as Hecarim or Lee Sin. It's definitely harder to pull off the carry oriented junglers I would say."
Do you think there's anyone else in the League that really can pull that off with little bit ease. Do you consider any other junglers to be on that level right now?
C9 Blaber: "I'm sure people can play it. I'm sure all the junglers in the League can play it. But I don't know if that necessarily means that style is the best and maybe that's why no one wants to play it."
"But every time Jungle is the carry on the team the role is really overpowered and no one else really likes that" : C9 Blaber
If you were in charge of the balance team for a week and you could just switch around some of the items and champions, what would you do. What would be your number 1 thing that you would change about the game that would make the jungle role more fun for you?
C9 Blaber: "I mean the only way you can make the jungle role more stronger is by changing Scuttle crab and changing camp spawn timers. You can increase XP but then you have to figure out how OP the role is going to be. I'll leave that to Riot honestly, I don't care too much.
I'm fine playing any style, carry or facilitator for my teammates. Obviously I like to be the carry on my team. But every time Jungle is the carry on the team the role is really overpowered. No one else really likes that."
Feels like jungle is a really hard lane to balance, cause compared to any other lane or role it is a little bit unorthodox. In your very experienced time in this League and as a professional player have you ever looked at some of the roles or do you just love the jungle?
C9 Blaber: "I've not been playing for too long. I know it's maybe four years now, maybe my fifth but third year in the LCS. I think I need to prove a bit more in my role before I swap to another role. But I have thought about playing another role."
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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.