Trust and togetherness are key for Cloud 9, one of the top North American League of Legends teams.
After they steamrolled the competition at the League of Legends North American Regionals last week at PAX Prime, other pro teams will likely be studying Cloud 9 closely. With the 14-team World Championships starting September 15, other teams will probably be poring over the VOD’s to try to discover the secret of how new NA champs easily defeated Vulcun and TSM Snapdragon.
A Question of Trust
But the answer, Cloud 9 players and management told Red Bull eSports, is an easy one – trust and togetherness.
“Individually our guys have some of the top skills, but they also know to trust each other,” said Jack Etienne, general manager and owner of Cloud 9.
“They don’t need to tell someone on the team that they did something wrong, or didn’t do their job – they all just know. If Meteos says, this is the time and we have to go kill the dragon, they all just trust this guy and go all in. There’s no hesitation. This trust in each other allows them to be more in synch than the other teams in the LCS.”
It certainly seemed like Cloud 9 was completely in sync during a LCS regular season in which they finished with a 25-3 record and at the North American Regionals, where they didn’t drop a single game. Many of the other League of Legends teams demonstrated a strong reluctance to initate teamfights – a few games of the tournament were marked by a trend of both teams dodging fights in order to farm minions and jungle until the last possible minute – Cloud 9 tower dove and started fights with supreme confidence.
“We’re really good friends with each other and can basically finish each other’s sentences. When you get really close to someone, and you know what they’re going to do, that translates into the game as well,” Cloud 9’s mid-lane player Hai Lam told Red Bull eSports an in interview.
“If I’m diving someone, I know my buddy is going to back me up, I know Meteos is going to be there, and I know Sneaky is going to do what he can to kill that person. I know what they will do, and don’t need to talk about it. I’ll call a target or something, but I know they’ll be able to their job.”
The source of the team chemistry, according to Cloud 9, is their relationships at the team house in San Jose, CA, where they spend most of each day with each other – even after practice and scrimmaging is over.
“We’re with each other at least 14 hours a day. We have our rooms, but it doesn’t matter because we’re all out in the living room,” said Hai. “Or we go eat together, do laundry together—everything. We’re as close knit as you can be. Even if we argue once in a while, we get over it quickly because we realize that we’re all friends and we just let our egos drop.”
The final secret ingredient of the team’s success, according to Etienne, is the ability to actually have fun in a competitive environment.
“The best games are when they’re having a good time. If you listen to their chat while they’re inside the game playing, they’re all having a great time.”
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