RUSH: "We looked at a lot of players after refrezh told us he wanted to go with a different team"
Cloud9 started their run in Los Angeles with a big 16-7 victory over fnatic on Overpass, but they were then pushed down to the Group A decider match by Astralis, where they would once again face fnatic. The second time around, on Mirage, it would be the Swedes who would come out on top, clinching a spot in the playoffs and sending the American-European team packing.
After the decider match, RUSH sat down with HLTV.org to chat about several topics, including signing Jordan "Zellsis" Montemurro, using Ronald "Rambo" Kim as a coach, the team's state in the new year, and the team's lead-up to the Major in Katowice.
How has practice been going after the break, and what were you hoping to get out of this tournament?
Our expectations here were more practice-oriented and experience-oriented for Jordan [Zellsis] and his integration into the team. We didn't have a lot of scrims coming into this, maybe 10 or 15. Overall, these events are a good way to integrate him into the team, as I said, and we expected to at least make semis, although we obviously didn't. We had a lot of good chances to win the Mirage game, we came back on CT and had a good T side, but we ended up not winning. It sucks, but it's good experience for Jordan overall.
Before we jump into the game, tell me a bit about bringing Zellsis into the team. How did that come about, and how is his adaptation going?
We looked at a lot of players in Europe and North America after refrezh told us he wanted to go with a different team and chose not to join us. At that point, we were kind of scrambling because it was the break and we weren't sure who to get. We looked at Jordan and some other players in NA, but we decided on him because we didn't want to go with an old guard player, since we already have two of those in kio and flusha, so we went with a young up-and-comer.
We watched Zellsis play a little bit, and Tim, kio, and flusha played with him in FPL so they know what kind of player he is and what he could bring to the table. In practice, he has been fitting in pretty well. Obviously, it's not going to be an instant fit from the start, but I think it's going well and I think he had some good opportunities to show himself at this LAN and I don't think he disappointed.
Another novelty is seeing Rambo with the team, tell me a bit about what he's been brought on to do or what the idea behind bringing him on is.
We are still searching regarding our coaching options. Soham [valens] is still on his way out, but he's not going to leave until we find the fit we want. It could take a long time, or it could happen right now with Rambo, we're not sure yet. SEMPHIS didn't work out in the end, he just wasn't the right fit, without going into too many details, and with Rambo we're not sure yet. It has been less than a week with him, honestly. As I said, we've only played 10 to 15 scrims, and he was in for those and here at the event, but that's all we've had because the Europeans got back to North America around the tenth, so it has only been like a week and a half since then.
Talking about the whole coaching situation, do you know what's going to happen at the Major? Have you talked to ESL at all? do you know what's going to happen there?
We're not 100% sure yet of the situation, but I'm pretty sure we have the green light right now with Zellsis being the coach, Golden being the player and being on sick leave because he actually can't travel. He literally has an issue that makes it dangerous for him to travel, so it makes sense in that way that he is unable to come. So yeah, right now Jordan is the coach, and then Soham can't be the coach, so Jordan is going to fill in, and yeah...
You guys beat fnatic yesterday by a pretty ample margin, yet today you weren't able to repeat it. The tournament's issues aside, which have put a damper on the games, run me a bit through how it has gone for you guys.
The first day was a bit reminiscent of Clutch Con, albeit not to that extent, but I was getting flashback of the type of day in which we might not even play, but they kind of turned it around and upped the security, and fixed the stage up today, so they kind of made due with their promises of fixing things from yesterday. In terms of matches, we were confident in our first match against fnatic, we knew we were the better team on Overpass and we won because we were confident and we knew what we were going to do against them.
The Astralis and fnatic matches were kind of like mirrors of each other in the sense that we started very flat on our CT sides, we weren't playing confidently, we were playing too safe and not like we were better than them, and that kind of cost us. We realized that through the half and came back from big deficits on both maps. On the T-side we won like one round against Astralis before they won it out, but against fnatic we had a good side and were trading rounds. They were up 13-10, 13-11, and we made it back to 14 before they closed it out in the last rounds. I think it could have been ours, but they ended up winning, which is just unfortunate. I think given more time, if we would have played more scrims, we could have won because there were a lot of situations that we hadn't been in before with Jordan, and in general with the team because we've changed up some spots, obviously, and if we had more experience in those situations we could have played them differently and maybe won that game.
Looking at the Major, what are your plans? Are you traveling to Europe to bootcamp?
After this, in three or four days, we're traveling to ELEAGUE, so we have that. We're going to practice as much as we can there. I'm not sure if we'll have practice rooms there or not, but we're just focused on getting as much proper practice as we can. We're going to review our games here to learn from what went wrong, and how we can fix the situations that I was talking about previously.
As far as the Major, we're going to go a week and a half early, so we're going to bootcamp in Katowice and play against the European teams, which is the best practice, obviously, to improve our game and to really become a team. We haven't been a team for so long now that I wish we finally become one. No shots at anyone, we just kind of got screwed over many times now, and I'm not making excuses, but I just hope we'll finally be set in stone. So yeah, a week-and-a-half bootcamp and I hope that by then we'll be amply prepared.
To close it out, do you have any particular hopes or wishes for ELEAGUE and the Major?
So ELEAGUE is FaZe, compLexity, BIG, which is really strange. I don't think anyone expected the four teams that are there, but I think we have a very good chance to win it because FaZe is a fresh roster with AdreN, and they probably haven't practice that much, like us, so we have a chance against them, BIG is a different story. Well, they have a new player, XANTARES, but he's a pretty insane player, can't put anything past him. Again, despite him being really good, it's a new roster. I don't know how much they practiced. Finally, compLexity also has two new players, so anything can happen there and I think we could win the event, actually, I'm confident that we can make a run there.
For the Major, I do think we can make top 8 as long as our practice continues as it is. We seem to be going in an upward trend, getting better every day with Jordan, so I believe that we can make top 8 if not top 4 depending on who we draw in quarters.