Cloud9’s Xeppaa spoke with esports.gg after advancing in the VCT Americas lower bracket off of a win against Leviatán.
Cloud9 finished the VCT Americas regular season with just one loss. That streak did not continue into the playoffs, as they fell to Evil Geniuses. Things took a turn for the better after staying alive in the lower bracket against Leviatán, however, and we spoke with Erick "Xeppaa" Bach after the win.
He gave us some insight into the team bouncing back after the EG match. Xeppaa discussed staying confident no matter the outcome, how the series versus LEV unfolded, and kept any plans for NRG close to his chest.
C9 Xeppaa gives details regarding the loss to EG, the win against LEV, and more
"We saw everyone's tweets after losing to Evil Geniuses. The team seemed pretty down, but we've heard all season long about the camaraderie. When everyone got together after that series, what was the conversation like?"
Xeppaa: "Everybody was disappointed, for sure. And it's not like we're putting blame on one individual. I think us as a team, yesterday against EG, we were completely terrible. We came out flat and I guess they came in at peak performance. I guess the light shined on us too bright that day.
"But at the same time, it's good that we actually lost to a team like EG in the way we lost. It just shows how much gut and how much will we have as a team, to come back the next day. And hopefully come back against NRG and qualify."
"What kind of criticism did you have for yourself after that series?"
Xeppaa: "It's hard to say because I felt like, at least with me, maybe I wasn't talking too much or as much that day. I wasn't hitting shots or just things where we weren't doing things together. And I guess me, as a big part of the team, I should've been a little more vocal that day. But it's also hard to say, because everybody came out flat as a team and we were just terrible. And they kept 4K'ing, 3K'ing us and we're just losing every duel. So, I mean, great on EG."
"Well, you turned things around here. How did mCe address the mistakes that were made in the game to whip you guys back into shape, with such a short amount of time leading into this one?"
Xeppaa: "He, as a coach, he knows our potential as a team and what we showed that day against EG was not it. And I think, maybe the pressure was too high for everybody. Everybody got nerves and things like that. So, I mean, I'm happy that it happened before we lose that chance.
"Like right now, we play against NRG and that happening again, obviously, it would be a terrible thing. But because we lost to EG in the way we did, everybody knew that's going to be our lowest. And coming against NRG, as long as we don't do what we did against EG, then we're probably going to qualify for Tokyo."
"We'll get to NRG, but before that. We've heard over and over about Zellsis taking on the 'big brother' role on the team. You've been a part of the Cloud9 VALORANT roster for a long time. So, what's your role been in welcoming the newer players and getting them used to the Cloud9 culture?"
Xeppaa: "Jordan's (Zellsis) definitely the big brother and there are times where he maybe isn't as vocal. Me and Leaf always chime in and help the team out, because obviously Jordan can't do it all. And as vets on the team then, it is our job, leaf and I, to step up when it's needed. And Jordan's been been doing an amazing, amazing job."
"So, you live to see another day after taking down Leviatán. At certain points, it looked like the series could go either way. Was there any point where you knew you guys had it in the bag? Or do you avoid feeling that way until the result is final?"
Xeppaa: "As a team and as players, as competitors, I feel like you need to always feel like you have it in the bag no matter what. I mean, you should never have any doubts on your potential as a team, and winning or losing, the thought is always to win. We're always going to be the better team in our heads for sure. And there should be no doubts."
"Okay, well let's talk about the series a bit then. It started on Haven, you were playing the Killjoy. That's not your most common Agent. How do you feel you approach KJ differently than the other Agents you play, and even differently than other players who typically play her?"
Xeppaa: "It's hard to say that I play differently compared to everybody else. I think KJ on that map, on Haven, people kind of play it the same way, but it's more of adapting on how the other teams play and just switching things up. And the difference between me on KJ and other roles is the map.
"I think it fits everybody's roles, the Agents we play on that map, better than what we had before. And putting me on KJ just lets me do my own thing instead of being with the pack as I was before. And because Jordan's the most vocal on the team, it puts him in a role Breach, where he gets to be part of the pack, be a little more vocal, and then just me on a solo part."
"And onto Lotus. This was the team's first loss on the map. What has helped Cloud9 find so much success there and how did that falter against Leviatán?"
Xeppaa: "Well, I don't want to say why we were so good on the map, but I can definitely say why we played ourselves in a sense. We weren't trusting what we were doing in a high intense situation, with pressure coming to the playoffs. We won the first map and I was like, 'Oh, second map we should be winning. This is our map.'
"And as they kept doing what they do and winning round by round, I think people couldn't adapt towards the end as a team. It definitely shows, because we lost the game, but at the end of the day, I think losing makes you better as a team anyways. So, we lost on our best map and maybe NRG sees that we lost Lotus, then maybe they'll pick it."
"Last up was Ascent. There's not much to talk about there. It was a clean cut victory to take the series. From your perspective, what made it so overwhelmingly in your favor?"
Xeppaa: "It'd probably be the comp we play. It's not the most common comp the region plays. So, them running into us and playing for the first time on that comp definitely showed that they weren't ready on how we play and how we wanted to play the map. I mean, kiNgg had an amazing map on Ascent, and it's good that nobody else on that team shot back. It probably would've been closer, but I mean, good on them. I'm proud of the boys and how we played. Ascent was a clean map for us."
"As you said a handful of times, next you've got NRG, an always dangerous opponent. How familiar with them would you say that you are?"
Xeppaa: "I would definitely say we, at least us three, me, Zellsis, and leaf, have a great idea on how each of them play and it goes vice versa. They definitely know how we play and our tendencies like that. So, I mean it's always going to be a close match, for sure, against them. And then as players, I do know s0m, FNS, crashies, and Victor, ardiis probably the least for sure. And you know, I talk to him sometimes here and there, but we're good friends."
"And how will you use that familiarity to your advantage to qualify for Masters Tokyo and Champions?"
Xeppaa: "Hey, that's for us to know and nobody else to find out."