Head coach of Cloud9, mCe, spoke with esports.gg and did not hold back regarding the loss his team suffered at the hands of KRÜ Esports.

The road through the VCT Americas Last Chance Qualifier was assumed to be a short and sweet journey for Cloud9 before they took the stage. The team made it past Sentinels to start, but found an undeniable roadblock in the form of KRÜ Esports. This sent Matthew "mCe" Elmore's Cloud9 roster on a bit of detour to the Lower Bracket.

After the shocking, but also somewhat not surprising defeat based on recent results, we sat down with coach mCe. He touched on KRÜ's current hot streak, a few positive moments from the series, and how Cloud9 was mostly unrecognizable compared to the team he has been coaching all year long.

Cloud9 coach mCe provides a scathing reflection of his team's LCQ match against KRÜ Esports

(Photo by Chris Betancourt/Riot Games)
(Photo by Chris Betancourt/Riot Games)

"KRÜ moves on to the Grand Final and you were a huge proponent of them during the season. You expressed how their final record in the league was not indicative of their talent level. Here they are, on a roll in this tournament. Before the match, knowing that and having that in the back of your mind, were they at all intimidating?"

mCe: "Yeah, I mean we, we scrim these guys all the time. We know how good they are. We had played them ever since they made the roster changes. They've looked good. Atom's a great coach. They've done a really, really good job with their roster and we knew that going in."

"Well, it's easy to say the big change was that KRÜ managed to close things out much better than they did in the regular season. But being on the other side of them during this LCQ run, is it that simple of an observation as to why they're performing the way they are?"

mCe: "LCQ is always what team gets hot at the right time. They did okay during the regular season. They got through a couple matches. They just have confidence. It's literally EG 2.0 at this point, where everything they're doing is working. They're very confident, they're peeking together. They have good defaults, they have good set plays and things like that. And they're just playing at a really high level, all five players. It makes the game very easy to win when we when you are able to do that."

(Photo by Chris Betancourt/Riot Games)
(Photo by Chris Betancourt/Riot Games)

"Well going into the match itself, Ascent went the way you would've liked it to. Just to kind of set the scene for a situation that unfolded. KRÜ planted the spike on B site. Zellsis uses Lockdown, Klaus then ripped the Hunter's Fury to try and remove it. We saw Xeppaa push out to eliminate him before the Lockdown could be destroyed. So, that felt like a very easy play early on, but it was kind of really heads up to see in the moment to help secure the round. Talk to me about the intelligence your players have shown this year in VALORANT and how it allows them to make decisions like that on the fly."

mCe: "We have three guys that are absolutely incredible and have proved that they can think at a very high level, in Leaf, Zellsis, and Xeppaa. And we have two promising, young kids that have also demonstrated playmaking abilities. I think the biggest thing for us is that our mental fell apart. A couple rounds go wrong, one person makes a mistake, next person makes a mistake and we're literally just choking at times.

"We're not following through with what we've talked about. We're not going step 1-2-3. We're just trying to change things when we have a very set way to do things in the first couple rounds and unfortunately we're just completely choking these situations. We don't remember one key thing. We don't notice one key difference. We don't think about what's happening. So, if we don't get off on a roll, we're just cratering, at times where it's just unbelievable to me to watch at this point."

"That brings me right onto Pearl then. It was the opposite of Ascent and didn't go the way you would've liked. I have a couple open-ended questions for you. From your timeouts and from any post-match discussion, along with what you just simply saw from the coach's chair, what happened on Pearl?"

mCe: "I mean, it went better than what I liked. I didn't want to get 13-0'd, so I'm thankful for that. But Pearl, it's a map you can run away with a half. We talked about very specific things we wanted to do to try to counter different things and we didn't do a f*cking single thing of it. We talked about how to counter certain things or try certain things and then we didn't f*cking do it. So, I don't know what to say."

"Well, with that loss Pearl on, it continued a trend here at LCQ where a lot of teams are just absolutely losing on their own map picks. Why do you think that is?"

mCe: "I think a lot of it is that most teams in LCQ are very good teams. You have one or two maps you're bad at. Most teams are good at five, six, or seven maps in this game. And the way everything goes, I mean, what did we win? One pistol out of today, two pistols out of today?

"Anytime you get double pistol, double bonus, double first gun, by the time you have your second gun round, they have Ults back up that they're cycling that make it easier to win. So, it's very easy to run away with games if people get hot starts and the Ults are on the right people. You lose one or two clutches and then you can be down 0-5 or 0-7 to start a half. It's very brutal to try to come back from."

(Photo by Chris Betancourt/Riot Games)
(Photo by Chris Betancourt/Riot Games)

"It was obvious that a reset needed to happen before Haven. Did the composition that KRÜ chose for map three throw a wrench into what you had planned?"

mCe: "Yes and no. They played it in a unique way we didn't expect. They just literally would walk onto the site, plant the bomb, and then just use all their post-plant. We, again, just didn't do what we were supposed to do, though. We did not play our comp well. They came out with a comp that was very good for them.

"And I assumed they would do something similar, but I didn't think the double Sentinel. I thought Daveeys would be on Chamber and keznit on Jett. I did not expect the Raze/Astra or whatever. But anytime we play that badly and make that many individual mistakes as high level players, we're not going to win that map."

"Okay, and you mentioned their post-plants. I'd like to get your thoughts on your post-plant. Your composition looks very post-plant friendly, because of the ability to stall them from coming back on the site and doing those retakes. What did you see from them on their defense that prevented you guys from holding the spike when it was planted?"

mCe: "I wouldn't know, because we didn't do what we were supposed to do. The biggest thing is they had Astra Ult. We were calling to push through, because we know we can't play off B, and if we play off B we just insta-lose. Second post-plant we lose, we don't pop a molly in time. They get to stick the bomb. We lose that one. We just made incredibly easy mistakes not to do in those high pressure moments and again, we just are f*cking choking."

"Well, Zellsis mentioned it after the Sentinels game and you're kind of showing some of it here. He said in practice, you're a little softer on them, and when it comes to the actual matches, you're very intense with how you speak to them, with the coaching that you put through. What can you say about their reactions to that? How well do they handle that sort of intensity, when it comes to listening to what you have to say, rather than feel like you're yelling at them like their dad or something?

mCe: "I mean, I'm also very brutal in practice. That interview was a bad representation. It's very similar in both. It's just, in practice we don't make necessarily the same mistakes. You talk to different people in a different way, where sometimes in matches when we're playing like sh*t and not awake, I have to be that person where I'm like, 'What the f*ck is going on?' We need to wake up and try to light a fire under people, and unfortunately, they're just not capable of doing that themselves sometimes."

"You brought it up earlier, three very experienced players and then a couple of the newer guys that had all season to mesh. Obviously, you don't want to make any excuses for anyone, but do you feel like the experience that jakee and runi have gotten during the regular season was enough to prepare them for these more intense tournaments like playoffs and LCQ?"

mCe: "It helps, but it's a lot to ask for people to step up in those situations. Everybody deals with it differently. There's a reason that ranked demons are in ranked and they could have the same individual ability as a player. The difference is trying to make intelligent decisions when the pressure's on and that's where people fall short a lot.

"And unfortunately, today we fell short in a lot of different situations that could have gone a different way if we would've just thought something through, waited the extra second, done it a certain way. So, the experience will definitely help them as players. We need to get over this hump and our leadership figures need to be better in those moments to help.

"I felt like our rookies played pretty well on maps one and three. Two, everybody kind of played bad, but even then, jakee stayed confident. He bought a Sheriff on second half pistol. I've never seen him do that in my life. I see that and I'm like, 'Wow.'

"This is good to see, that he is this confident. That he is like, 'I'm buying this because I'm going to get a kill. I'm going try to carry us over the line.' And so, you see a bit of a resurgence, but I need everybody, myself included, to handle the situations better and just be better. Today was unacceptable."

(Photo by Chris Betancourt/Riot Games)
(Photo by Chris Betancourt/Riot Games)

"Okay, well piggybacking of off of that. It is the Last Chance Qualifier, but you do have that second chance, because of the double elimination bracket. Being the first seed and starting where you did. What are your thoughts on your players, especially the new guys, on how they can handle their backs being against the wall and the pressure knowing that there is only just that one game left before they're eliminated?"

mCe: "I mean, we've had pressure our last five matches straight. I don't think this is any different. Yeah, you're potentially playing for your last match in what, three months, four months basically? There is that, but I mean, you just have to play the game.

"If you can't deal with it, you can't deal with it. Our backs have been against the wall for the last five straight matches. Like EG, we lost that. Then we're in an elimination game to go to Tokyo when we're one of the favorites. We beat Leviatán. We go into the NRG game and we made some really bad decisions in that game, and unfortunately choked.

"Then we come into this, even against Sentinels, I felt like we made some poor decisions. Map two obviously speaks for itself. We're showing signs of brilliance when we can get out to a little bit of a hot start, but vice versa, it's also compounding and everybody has to make a mistake themselves before everyone wakes up. And by that point, it's been too late in games for us to get back into it."

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