Cloud9 IGL Vanity spoke on the growing thought that his squad might be the best team in North America – he’s not so sure, yet.
Cloud9 put on an impressive display in the North American opener against 100 Thieves. They took down the hopefuls 2-0, shutting down a veteran roster and doing so in style with a scoreline of 13-10 on Split and 13-6 on Breeze.
Cloud9, North America's hope? Maybe not yet.
While Vanity may be Cloud9's newest addition, he says that the team's chemistry has been on point throughout their runs at Champions up to now. So much so, that this new fan pressure to perform seemingly has not affected the team at all.
POTSDAM, GERMANY - DECEMBER 7: Antony “vanity” Malaspina of Team Cloud9 competes at the VALORANT Champions Groups Stage on December 7, 2021 in Potsdam, Germany. (Photo by Michal Konkol/Riot Games)
"I don't think there's necessarily added pressure," Vanity said in a post-match interview. "I think the biggest thing with us is we just like playing together. There's just not big egos in our team scenario. We all have egos, because you have to as a pro gamer, but as far as a teamwork aspect we don't let it get to us. It's a pretty strong trait to have."
However, despite public opinion growing that Cloud9 might be North America's hope on the international stage, Vanity didn't seem so sure.
"It's hard to call us the best team in North America. We went out 8th in Champs, not great. We made it out of groups, but the last two events NA made Grand Finals. It's hard to call us favorites, people are going to do it, you can't control the internet. We want to prove to ourselves that we're the best team."
Vanity speaks on the idea that C9 has already become NA's best team
As to which team Cloud9 has on their radar, they were quick to point out Envy, recently rebranded as Optic Gaming.
Optic has long been considered one of the top teams in North America, and now that Sentinels have somewhat fallen off that title, Envy has risen in public opinion. Vanity also mentioned XSET, noting that their pickup of PURER has made them a much stronger team. XSET is, of course, in Cloud9's group
so that matchup will certainly be one to watch. It's also their next match on February 19.
Is Fracture C9's new secret weapon?
A weapon that was pointed out for Cloud9 could be Fracture, which C9 has played recently. Fracture is the newest map to join the Valorant map pool, and could be used to put other teams off balance. While that may be the case, given the newness of the map, Vanity elaborated that no team should chalk it up as a specialty just yet.
Fracture, Valorant's newest map, could be a pocket pick for some teams moving forward.
"We play Fracture, I'm not going to say we play it well," Vanity said, "With any new map, there's going to be difficulty understanding at first because there are variables within teams' playstyles. What works against one team doesn't work against another. I think on the newer maps that there are so many little nuances teams can add that it's hard for teams to say it's a comfort map at this point. We're okay on the map, we play it, we have mixed results. We're not scared to play it."
Vanity "worried" for tier two Valorant teams
Something that was called out last weekend at the end of the North American Open Qualifier by Rise IGL Poised was that top teams should be feeling nervous.
This is in large part due to how many "top" teams in the North American scene were eliminated. However, Vanity didn't seem too concerned. While not directly addressing Poised's quote, he did mention C9's offseason run at the Knights Valorampage event.
That event had the distinction of being the first western Valorant event to run Agent ban
s. This was something they took full advantage of and threw teams completely off balance. Vanity even called the teams "confused" without their main agent picks, but had a larger concern for tier two Valorant teams.
"Playing matches was an advantage for us, but with that ban format, we were just having fun with it," Vanity said of the matches C9 played in the offseason at Knights Rampage. "We were changing roles. We were not playing these teams at our full strength. It's kind of bad that we can still beat them while changing roles. It makes me worried about the lower-tier scene. We were banning agents that they were used to playing, and we have a lot of versatility in our agent pools. And there's a gap between tier 1 and tier 2, but it's worrying that it went the way it did - there weren't any close maps."
Regardless, we'll see just how tier two teams will stack up against top teams like Cloud9 as the VCT Challengers event rolls on. Cloud9's next opponent will be XSET on February 19 - that matchup should be one to watch as it's the only team in their group that C9 called out specifically. With a 1-0 start, they could have momentum, but XSET has upset potential, here.
For all the latest on the VCT Challengers stage one, keep it locked here to Esports.gg