had the opportunity to chat with vanity, the Cloud9 VALORANT IGL, after his team defeated EG during Week 2 of Stage 1.

Cloud9 made the turn around they've been looking for since an end-of-season flop in 2023. The team is currently undefeated after two weeks of VCT Americas 2024 Stage 1, and we spoke with IGL Anthony "vanity" Malaspina after C9 bested Evil Geniuses.

We discussed the potential of Clove as they enter the Agent pool, how his new teammates have progressed, and the key to the team's success. Having fun is absolutely the name of the game for vanity and his squad.

Cloud9 IGL vanity discusses teammates' improvements and how the team just has fun

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

"So, my first question. They just shared that Clove will be eligible for all VCT leagues starting Week 3. As the team’s IGL, can I get a hint at if the team might prep some Clove strats? Or even some things to counter Clove if you face off against them?"

Vanity: "<laughs> I don't think that Agent's going to get played, to be honest. I think it's too selfish of an Agent to be played in a pro setting consistently. I mean, teams could definitely try it out, but I think they don't offer a ton of utility to their teammates.

"That is kind of like the Controller role in general. You have support utility for everybody. And I think Clove is very selfish in that regard. It's similar to Reyna, where you can make it work, but it's a very high ceiling, very low floor."

"Next on the docket then. You guys beat LEV, who has now beaten SEN. Is C9 better than SEN based on that result?"

Vanity: "Of course it does. I don't know how else you could explain it."

"But really, a lot of people are looking at the likes of LEV after beating SEN, and then NRG, saying they are finally showing their true form. You guys are undefeated after two weeks, though. What does that sort of lack of attention do for you?"

Vanity: "No. You get used to it <laughs>."

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

"Okay, and after going 2-0 in Stage 1 so far, do you feel the momentum? Is it still building up or is it already in motion?"

Vanity: "We try to take it week by week. I think we've had very good scrim results so far. and we're hoping to continue that going forward. We're translating our practice to stage very well and we have a ton of fun on stage.

"I think that's a big part of our team. It's just enjoying the game. Other than that, I'm just happy to play. I really like my team and we're doing great so far. Hopefully we can keep it up."

"Alright, now I’d like to ask about some of your teammates. Xeppaa has been the cornerstone of Cloud9 for a long time, so we’ll skip him, but how about runi and moose? How have you seen them proving themselves after joining the roster?"

Vanity: "I think they're very underrated players in general. I think runi not having to IGL lets him play a very solid game. He's a great individual player and I think him not having to call really unleashes him, I guess, because he has been playing incredible.

"That's one of the first things we noticed. I mean, to be honest, last year I wanted to get runi as our fifth man when we replaced yay. And then he replaced me. So, it is what it is, but he's a great player.

"Moose, I think he offers a stable set of hands. We can always rely on him in moments where things get a little weird. And he's been doing a great job so far. So, hopefully we can continue on the same path."

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

"And onto OXY. The kid is wildly talented. We even heard him during a broadcast replay saying he’s the best VALORANT player. Tell me about how he’s impressed you, as his IGL."

Vanity: "He's good at everything. He obviously is a great player, but I think there's something you can't know unless you work with him. He is very good at absorbing information. In the five or six months we've played together so far, he has improved tenfold.

"I don't think there's a player that I've played with in my career, that's had such a fast improvement at understanding the team aspect of the game. When we first started playing with him, he was under the mindset that he has to win games by himself.

"And obviously he's still capable of that, as he showed today. But I think he's very great at understanding, like, 'Okay, I need to do my job and my teammates will do the rest.' And that's something that we've been working on a lot with him, and he's improved that a ton."

"Let’s talk about the match against Evil Geniuses now. You pulled out the Operator as Omen a few times. Were you brushing up on your Op skills heading into this one?"

Vanity: "I always Op. I just whiffed. I mean, unlucky <laughs>. I've always been pretty comfortable with it, but I feel like I only had two rounds with it, and I just missed one round. And the other round, Jawgemo was just past the angle I was on and killed me."

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

"Well, close maps in terms of the score, except that final one. From your point-of-view, what made Split so one-sided compared to how Lotus and Sunset went?"

Vanity: "I wouldn't say Sunset was close. What was it, like 13:7? That's not that close <laughs>. But I mean we were up 12:4, and we threw a few rounds. I think we just did a really good job at executing the game plan that we prepared for the week.

"We prepared for those maps pretty heavily, and we went out there and executed it. There's not much else to say. I think we just played really, really well. We trusted each other and did everything as a unit, and came out on top."

"And with the map loss on Lotus to start things, were you satisfied with your calling and how the team played, despite the loss?"

Vanity: "Overall, yes. On Lotus? I don't know. We're just not that good at Lotus right now. Definitely want to put in a little more work, but on the other maps, I'm very comfortable."

"The last question then. If there is one key to the team’s success up to this point in the season, what would you say that is, and how do you intend to keep it up?"

Vanity: "I think the biggest thing with this team is we just have fun playing. I feel like if you watch us, you can tell we're just, even when things get close, even when we're at that 18:16 against LEV, we're still up there laughing, smiling, having fun.

"And I think that's a big aspect to our team. It helps people not feel the moment as much, and it's something we've stressed pretty hard, and we're working hard on it every day."

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