spoke with Cloud IGL vanity after the team’s loss to G2 Esports during the opening week of VCT Americas Stage 2.

VCT Americas 2024 is back with Stage 2. This is where all the hard work of the year pays off, with a potential trip to Champions Seoul. Thankfully for Anthony "vanity" Malaspina and Cloud9, a lot of hard work was put in during Stage 1.

They start Stage 2 with a good record, but a loss to G2 Esports. Following the loss, we spoke with C9 IGL. He dove into the defense-sidedness of some of the match, and how the team needs to get back their strong attacking strategies.

Cloud9's vanity discusses the team needs to return to form on their attacking sides

"I hate to use your own words against you, but before the match you said the plan was to ‘just shoot them.’ Obviously, there was more to trying to counter G2. What were your real expectations going into this one?"

vanity: "<laughs> I mean, we expected to win, obviously. I think we kind of just threw really hard on both the attack sides on a Ascent and Lotus. Which is kind of funny, because those are probably our two best attack sides in practice.

"But we didn't translate as well as normal or as well as I hoped we would've. Thankfully we're 5-2 now. Still in a good spot to make playoffs and just need to clean things up for playoffs and going forward. We'll be in a pretty good spot.

"We improved a lot on our defense halves, which are the halves that we tended to struggle on in the past. So, I'm very happy in that regard, that we improved our defenses a lot. It's time to just get back our attack side, to how strong they have been in the past."

"Well, let’s break down the series. The score was close on the first map, but it was clearly dominated by defense, as you mentioned. What would it have taken, for either team really, to get anything worthwhile going on attack?"

vanity: "I think Ascent is really defense-sided, especially in Americas. It is the main region that tends to use the Odin, and I think when teams get an Odin and an Operator online, it's very hard to play attack on that map. That's the biggest reason Ascent is so defense-sided.

"When you watch Europe for example, they tend not to Odin nearly as much. So, the map is more evenly-sided. Teams are pretty commonly having good Ops, and I think in Americas games at least, where teams are strong using the Odin and the Op, it's very oppressive to play against. It kind of feels like you're playing against six people. to be honest."

(Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)
(Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

"So, after Ascent, coach Immi was interviewed on stage, and wasn’t too happy with how the attacking side went. Between maps, is it spent just taking a quick break, or is it used as a bit of preparation time for the next one?"

vanity: "Both, I guess? I would say we kind of just chill, talk about whatever we want to talk about. Try to reset, talk about what went wrong, what went right, what we want to keep doing, what we need to make sure we don't keep doing.

"So, for the most part, it's just like a reset I guess. And we talk about what we need to do to win the upcoming map. Which I think we did really good on Icebox and defense on Lotus. Then we just collapsed on the attack of Lotus.

"It was pretty sad, to be honest. I think we got like 15 kills in the nine rounds, and I think I had like eight of them. It's pretty unacceptable for the players we have on our team. So, we're try to work on our attack. I mean, our attack sides were a strong suit before, so it shouldn't take a lot of work to try to get them back to how they were."

"When the preparation conversations happen, how involved are you in that as the IGL? Are you working with your coach to get things ready or are you more of a listener at that point?"

vanity: "Both, but I think it kind of depends. For a match like today, I would say it's more on just us focusing on what we've been practicing. Given that we didn't really know exactly what G2 was gonna pull out. They didn't change a ton of comps, but we were just playing our game.

"I think that we played really well in most of the halves today. Four out of six halves, I think we played really, really well and, it kind of sucks to play that poorly on the other two halves. But it happens, it's kind of a long season, and we have three more games ahead of u. So, our focus is just cleaning up the mistakes we made today."

(Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)
(Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

"So, onto Icebox. You guys just kept hitting B over and over again to start. What about the team comps made it so easy to exploit that site for you guys?"

vanity: "Our comp is kind of designed to just take B over and over. It's pretty hard for defenders to play anywhere on the site. I think that the only time we really struggle is against Opers. We knew that G2 didn't play an Op Agent on this map.

"They played no Duelist, so they don't really have a ton of verticality. It's pretty easy for our comp to abuse that fact. Even when they did get an Op, I think we shut them down pretty early both times."

"Then we saw that wild ending to Icebox. Lockdown, Thrash, pistol kills, knives, you name it. From what you remember, just give me the rundown of how it went."

vanity: "We were talking about just trying to get the Ults out, and then somehow we won the round. Xeppaa got into some insanely weird spot. Somehow he got in their nest. And then I really don't know what happened.

"I think runi killed two or three, and I killed one, and then we detained the Viper, and the round was over. And honestly, we were all kind of just laughing, because we didn't really know what happened."

"Then map three was a bit reminiscent of map one, and of the playoff match between C9 and G2. Being in the same league, of course you’ll face each other multiple times in a year. Players have their tendencies you can pick upon, but there are map pool changes, Agent buffs and nerfs. How hard is it to rematch a team when VALORANT goes through these big changes?"

vanity: "Rematching tends to favor the team that lost, because you'll learn more. I would assume it's like a 60 to 70% win rate for the team that lost the prior match, to win the following match. But sadly we're in the 30% today. They didn't change a bunch, they just played really well. They did what they know how to do, and fair play to them, honestly."

"Well, it isn’t necessarily an easy road the rest of the way through Stage 2. Your record is still good thanks to Stage 1, though. So, just simply put, what’s the play going forward?"

vanity: "I'd say the main thing we're probably going to try to focus on is making sure we're playing similar to practice on our attack sides. I think our defense sides today were all really strong.

"I think we did everything we've been talking about for the last two months or so. We improved a ton in that regard and it's about translating the next step now. Which is returning our attack sides to being a strong side for us."

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