“This year, your small mistakes are punished so hard,” C9 jakee on VALORANT’s changes after NRG loss cover image

“This year, your small mistakes are punished so hard,” C9 jakee on VALORANT’s changes after NRG loss

Esports.gg sat down with jakee of Cloud9 after a VCT Americas Kickoff loss to NRG, discussing how the game has changed from last year to now.

Cloud9 may have been on cloud nine after besting MIBR during VCT Americas Kickoff, but they were brought back down to Earth after losing to NRG. Following the series, we spoke with Jake "jakee" Anderson to get his thoughts.

He discussed how his debut season helped him prepare for 2024 and any key differences between this Cloud9 roster and the last one. As well as a critique of his performance against NRG, which forced them into another match against MIBR.

Cloud9's jakee on staying confident despite meta affecting his performance

(Photo by Tina Jo/Riot Games)
(Photo by Tina Jo/Riot Games)

"You had a hell of a debut year last year, but of course, things didn’t end how you would have liked. What did you learn most about this level of VALORANT ahead of 2024?"

jakee: "The thing I learned most was that during the game, it's best to keep a positive attitude and not stress too much about your mistakes. I think that was something I definitely struggled with last year, where it was just like, I made a bad call and it would come back to bite me.

"We would lose the round or match because of it. And that was depressing last year. But it's definitely something I've tried to take on board with me this year. To not weigh on my mistakes as much. I'd say that's the main thing I learned from last year. And to be confident, but as we can see, that's not working out too well as of right now."

"And with the new pieces of the Cloud9 roster in place, what are some of the biggest differences compared to last year, whether its team synergy, how practice goes, the vibes, whatever you’ve got?"

jakee: "We're able to pick ourselves up after a loss more so than ever. I don't think anyone really tilts that hard, at least in a match setting. Scrims are obviously a bit different, but that's just because it's a different environment.

"It's hard to put a 100% every day, when you have to work out in the morning. Then the eight hours of practice. It's a lot sometimes. It's definitely harder to put in a 100% during practice days, but I feel like those like 60, 40, 50, or 80% practice days are helping us be a 100% for a match.

"You could see it on Ascent, but not so much on Sunset. As far as team synergy goes, I think it's a lot more happy to play with this team, but definitely, I don't know how to put it in words. Definitely a bit worse individually for me, playing more of a team game now rather than just doing my own thing, like I was last year.

"And that's not to say it was right or wrong to do that last year, but that's just what my play style was back then. I have had to become more team-oriented, even though we don't have as much structure as I would say we had last year. It's just small differences here and there."

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

"I'm not asking you to trash your teammates from last year, but do any pieces of this new team feel like an upgrade?"

jakee: "I think our team has at least the potential to be better and I think our potential was seen in Japan. I won't say one player is better than the other, but I will say that we work better as a team compared to last year.

"It only felt like if everything went right, we would work better last year, but this year, even if things are going wrong, we're able to pick ourselves back up faster and identify what's going wrong. And I think that allows us to be a better team altogether, but it's not to say that we couldn't have done that last year. It just ended up happening too late last year."

"It’s a new system this year. Championship points, no LOCK//IN-style tournament, an additional team in the league. Do you feel like your rookie season was enough to prepare you for what’s ahead this year?"

jakee: "Last year was definitely a meta that favored my play style, but in terms of different util being used, different Agents being played on different maps, last year was a lot better of a meta I think. This year, it's more so that those small mistakes get punished far worse.

"And in my rookie debut, you could pretty much win the game just by killing everyone. But this year, your small mistakes are punished so hard. Like if you TP in the wrong spot, if you don't get your blind off in time, millisecond timing differences.

"It's hard to say if my rookie season prepared me for the season. I think it's just an entirely different game. It feels like I'm prepared mentally. I'm more mentally sharp, but I think my gameplay has fallen through a bit as a result of the meta change."

"And after how last year ended for Cloud9, did that experience help you when it comes to bouncing back after losses like this one?"

jakee: "I'd happily say it did. It's just a matter of getting back to it and not letting it dwell on you. Of course you're going to be sad the few hours after a match or whatnot. But definitely, I would say it helped tenfold.

"I realized what I liked in my old teammates, what I didn't like, and tried to take some of those qualities with me into this year. I'd say it helped in terms of bouncing back from high pressure matches, and being ready for the next one."

(Photo by Tina Jo/Riot Games)
(Photo by Tina Jo/Riot Games)

"Okay, well what happened out there against NRG? Just in your words, what gave them the upper hand or what was Cloud9’s downfall?"

jakee: "We didn't play exactly how we played Sunset in the past. We were prepared for them to anti-strat us, as NRG will. That's just how they used to be as a team. Not sure if they still are, but they have like five f*cking coaches.

"Oops, sorry for cursing, but they have five coaches, and we were prepared for the anti-strat. So, we just switched up a bit of our attack, but I don't really feel like that's where we lost the game. Although, it was a 4:8 half, we still had a chance on defense.

"It was just pivotal mistakes, where we aren't playing together like we used to. NRG were really quick to punish. As I said before, mistakes are punished really fast this year. If we're not in the right setup at the right time, or if they're walked up and we don't expect them.

"Even though they could be there for like 15 seconds. It's a lot of different pieces, in VOD reviews you'd consider micro mistakes, but they just kept on adding up and we just kept on getting punished because of it. And I don't think that's true to what our Sunset normally is.

"Then as far as Ascent goes, we played our CT-half, I would say considerably well. We got no pistol and we played our CT half pretty well. I'd say on T-side half, I don't know how to explain it. We just didn't have the right read at the right times.

"Demon1 was just right side Heaven the whole game. We did almost nothing to stop it and it was just really poor from us. I could have Omen blinded right side Heaven. I could have TP'd in a different spot with Oxy, but that just didn't end up happening.

"Our adjustment came far too late, and even in the overtime round, we read the game wrong again. Not to say it was Vanity's fault, because it wasn't. It was definitely all of us calling the read. We were all down to go A, but all five of us really didn't have the right idea in mind that round. And we lost in overtime, the same way that we lost the string of rounds in our early part of the attack half."

"Well, you’re taking on MIBR once more in an elimination match. The first time around was a super close series. How confident are you and the team about winning this rematch?"

jakee: "I think we're pretty confident that it should be a 2:0 from us if we play at our best. We're going take the day to review our match, review what mistakes we made on what maps from both series. Do our homework a bit, and I feel like it should be a 2:0 from us if we play to our best. If we play to our worst, who knows, it could go three maps, but I just hope that we show what we've been working on this season and be better than we were today."

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