spoke with Xeppaa following Cloud9’s victory over LOUD during Week 3 of VCT America 2024 Stage 1.

Erick "Xeppaa" Bach and Cloud9 are on a role through VCT Americas 2024 Stage 1. With what many called their first true test of the Stage, against LOUD, going their way, it seems like the sky is the limit for this team.

Following that victory against LOUD, we had a chance to speak with Xeppaa. Our conversation took place just one day after his three-year anniversary with Cloud9, and he obviously rang it in with a win. We discussed his longevity, his Agent picks in the series, and more about the team's season thus far.

Xeppaa details the series against LOUD and what the team needs to do to keep winning

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

"I’d like to touch on your Agent picks first. We’ve still seen teams bring out Skye, as you did on Bind, after the nerfs. How do you approach playing her nowadays?"

Xeppaa: "I'd say, to be honest, around almost the same. You've got to be a little more conservative now, just because of the flash's regen, but yeah, more or less the same."

"Then there was Sage on Icebox. We don’t see much of Sage at all, but Icebox has always been a map she’s known for. What kind of value do you get out of her there?"

Xeppaa: "I feel she's just like Harbor. It kind of makes planting on the bomb site a little easier. B on Icebox is probably one of the hardest sites to plant on, and if you don't have a Harbor or Sage, or anything to block off where you're planting.

"You'll probably most likely die. They barely changed the map. So ,I mean, Sage has been ran on almost every iteration of Icebox. She does the same thing since like two or three years ago"

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

"Then lastly, on Lotus as Gekko. He had that slight buff to his timers and a lot of teams put him to use. Is there anything you think you do as Gekko to stand out compared to other Gekko players?"

Xeppaa: "I feel like most people don't run a solo Gekco Initiator. Just because it's hard to. Most people run Gecko with a second flash or something with Gecko, because it's hard to utilize its kit.

"I think we utilize Gecko's kit as a solo Initiator, especially on Lotus, very well. You can kind of see it, you know, and of course at times, it does get hard as a solo Initiator. Hopefully, we can keep improving on it."

"Alright, there was plenty of back and forth in this one. Aside from the beatdown on Icebox, obviously. Just give me your analysis of the series. What could have been cleaned up and what successes were there?"

Xeppaa: "Bind is a first map. We have a first map curse, as you can see, but it's better through each week. I think the first time was like five or six, then seven rounds, and then this last map on Bind was 11 rounds. We have to be able to close out first maps.

"We're improving, as it shows, with post-plants, retakes, just playing together. Second map, you saw it. I think we just had to get off the jitters first. Those first map jitters.

"And Lotus, it should have been not even that close. I feel like we lost a lot of crucial rounds by making small, individual mistakes. As time goes, hopefully my team improves, including me."

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

"So, you’ve been officially a part of this roster for three years as of yesterday (April 19). Being a staple of Cloud9 VALORANT, talk yourself up a bit, what makes you the type of player to keep around for so long?"

Xeppaa: "I'll be honest, three years?! I feel like I just joined this team yesterday. There's no way I've played this game for three years. But yeah, I wouldn't say it is me. Me being on this team, on this org. My teammates, they make me look good.

"I just do my part, and I appreciate everybody. The owners, Jack my teammates, and everybody believing in me, especially the org.

"Because three years is a long time to stay with an org. I only qualified to one event. So, hopefully we can change that, and qualify to many more events with this org and with this team."

"Okay, and a teammate you’ve had a couple times is vanity. He mentioned to me that one of the big factors for this win streak is just the team having fun on stage. How much fun are you having out there?"

Xeppaa: "I'll say that it ain't fun playing scrims. Nobody plays the same. So, when we're playing matches, things are going to be different. Things have to be intense. The adrenaline's there, everything is there, and playing on stage is probably the most fun that anybody in the scene feels.

"Whether it's just one regular match, whether it's playoffs, whether it's playing at an actual event on stage, it's a different presence.

"And I think everybody's playing to their best abilities, a hundred percent, when they're on stage. So, it's always fun playing with people around you, who believe in you and are giving it their all."

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

"And of course, I have to ask about OXY. Is it safe to say you’ve never had a teammate quite like him before in VALORANT?"

Xeppaa: "Every player that I've played with has their benefits. And I'm not going to say there are no downfalls, but everybody's unique, for sure. And Francis (OXY) is very, very unique. Not everybody plays like him.

"Even in scrims, he's dropping 30 as often as he does. So. I mean, if everybody in this team plays how they play in the scrims, we might as well be the best players in the world. But that's the hard part. To play how we do in the scrims."

"Well, this is a different team, but we’re seeing a lot of similarities from last year. The one thing you don’t want to be the same is the great regular season, but a disappointing post-season appearance. What’s got to happen to keep this Cloud9 train from derailing?"

Xeppaa: "I just hope we keep going at the same pace. As we do offstage and out of matches, to keep the team morale up. Everybody in this team actually spends a lot of time together. Not saying we didn't before, but I think we put a little more effort out of the servers.

"I guess that we put a lot of effort into the server, too. We just have to be together more. As Jordan, you know, Zellsis did, you've got to keep the vibes up on the team, the morale. So, being together, building the chemistry. is the biggest thing for sure."

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