groove: "We have some problems because we have a lot of stars and a lot of voices"
Cloud9's coach says the team needs time to find the right balance with their star-studded roster before they can meet expectations.
So far, though, the new "superteam" has been well off the mark in terms of battling for titles. Cloud9 placed in the top six at IEM Cologne and the top eight at Gamers8, unable to challenge two of the world's best teams, Vitality and ENCE.
In an interview ahead of their next campaign at ESL Pro League kicking off on Wednesday, Cloud9's coach, Konstantin "groove" Pikiner, discussed why meeting the high expectations has been difficult in the short time the team has had together.
"Yes, it's a really good team, but I understand that we changed the captain, which means a lot of changes in our playstyle," the coach explained. "electroNic is pretty much an experienced guy who has his own vision of the game. We are restructuring a lot of things because we have a new captain and his new vision of the game, and we are trying to move mostly towards his vision."
The growing pains do not end with just the changes in leadership, as finding the balance with such a stacked lineup has not been easy, according to groove. "We have some problems because when you are creating such a roster with a lot of stars, we have a lot of voices and a lot of opinions. HObbit and sh1ro assisted nafany with shotcalling before, now electroNic, also Perfecto. Sometimes it's [easier] to have one or two star players and make a very good team. In this scenario, I think we need time to find the balance."
"That's why I understand we will not become really good in a short period," groove went on, pointing out that the team has not played as many officials as they would have liked with the whole lineup because Sergey "Ax1Le" Rykhtorov could not be with them at their first event, IEM Cologne, until the playoffs due to visa issues.
Upon the 21-year-old's return Cloud9 went on to lose to Vitality in the quarter-finals in Germany in their defacto debut with the new lineup. Since then they have only played Gamers8, where they beat fnatic handily and got obliterated by ENCE in the single elimination bracket, and the online BLAST Showdown qualifier.
In the three LAN matches he has played so far in the new season, 2022's fourth-best player, Ax1Le, struggled to find impact with an average 0.88 rating. groove says this is a result of a changing playstyle with which Cloud9 are still coming to grips.
"When you come to restructure about 60-70% of the game, the players who showed their best results can't do it anymore. They have to adapt to the new style. We've spent a lot of time on discussions, not playing but on finding the correct decisions, and that is why sh1ro and Ax1Le can't show their best in my opinion, because they are not fully focused on the game," the coach explains.
"We're still trying to find the correct way to play. Everyone is trying to find their place in the new team. We have a lot of stars, and it's not easy to make such a mechanism work when you changed the captain and made two changes."
Cloud9's LAN match experience will at least double over the course of the next week in Malta, and groove hopes this will help the team understand where they stand and expose what issues they need to keep working on to find that balance. "EPL will be a good experience for us. We will have a lot of matches, so it will be easy. Only after official matches you can fix your problems and you can find them."
"We just want to play and test our tactics, our playstyle. For everyone the [goal is] first place, of course, but now we understand that we have to work really hard because we didn't show the results we expected. Now we are just focusing to show our best. That's it. We know we have to work harder and harder."
Cloud9's campaign in Group D at ESL Pro League Season 18 starts on Wednesday with an opener against Eternal Fire, a rematch from the two teams' close encounter in last weekend's BLAST Showdown qualifier.
|ESL Pro League Season 18|