Slingshot’s Andrew Kim caught up with Cloud9’s Juan “Contractz” Arturo Garcia during Week 6 of the North American League of Legends Championship Series.
Andrew Kim: Cloud9 still seems to be doing well, and so are you. Have you met your expectations when it comes to your performance or is there more to see?
Juan “Contractz” Arturo Garcia: I’m definitely not good enough right now. There’s a lot I can improve on, but I think during the two week break, we improved a lot from week five of LCS, and we definitely still have a lot to improve on because our games were really sloppy (in Week 6). We had a massive gold lead (against FlyQuest), but we weren’t able to snowball well enough to be able to end the game cleanly. Overall I think I’m doing OK. I think I’m doing pretty well, and I can improve a lot.
AK: What was it like playing against FlyQuest again?
JAG: Yea I mean, I played with four of their members in the past on C9C, and I lived with them for three or four months. We got along really well and they’re still really good friends of mine. So playing against them is always really exciting and fun, and maybe we’ll run into them in playoff eventually.
AK: Do you spend any time watching VODs of other regions?
JAG: Yeah, actually I watch LCK VODs a lot because I think their junglers are insanely good. There’s (Go “Score” Dong-bin), who I think is the face of KT Rolster and is probably the best jungler in the world right now. I actually think (Kang “Blank” Sun-gu) is really good right now. I like to watch his pathing and VODs of him a lot.
AK: Do you find that you watch the VODs for personal entertainment or for studying?
JAG: I think it’s 50-50 because I like to study Score’s jungle pathing a lot and Blank’s jungle pathing, and see what I can improve on from what I see. The games are also just really clean so it’s really fun to watch. Like the SK Telecom T1 vs KT matchup, those games are really exciting to watch for viewers.
AK: International tournaments are in a unique positions because teams are declining and there are still voiced in the community that wants more international tournaments. What are your thoughts on the matter?
JAG: This is a hard one because sometimes international events aren’t worth it because of how much jet lag and the time you have to practice and actually play at the event. It’s really weird. It’s hard for me to say, though, because I’ve never actually been to one before, but from what my teammates say and my coach, sometimes it’s not worth it. But usually if there’s really good teams going like SKT, the top of LPL, the top of EU LCS, then it’s definitely worth going for sure.
AK: In your opinion, who do you think is the most underrated player in the NA LCS?
JAG: I think (Jang “Keane” Lae-young) from Dignitas is actually really underrated. People put him in the bottom of the standings for mid laners but I think his performance this split has been pretty good compared to a lot of the mid laners of the LCS. He always performs (well) usually, and people don’t expect him to do well, but he’s been making a name for himself again in the LCS I think.
AK: What was it like as the jungler for Cloud9, filling the shoes of Meteos (William Hartman) and now you actually having to face against him?
JAG: I thought it was just another game, another match to win. Obviously we lost 2-0 to Phoenix1, but we were just not in form that week. It definitely showed because we got destroyed both those games. Like I said, the two week break really helped us regroup and look at what mistakes we had to improve on those mistakes.
AK: There’s a lot of interest over C9’s coaching methods such as Reapered (Bok Han-gyu)’s meditation and how the coaching staff approaches players. If you had any positive experiences on the matter, what was it like?
JAG: Meditation actually, I didn’t really do it before, and going into this split we practiced meditation a lot, and, before each scrim set we do it. It really calms you down and helps you focus, I think, for the matches. I actually do it on stage a bit too because sometimes I’ll just be really nervous or really stressed out, and just taking those five or 10 seconds to just close your eyes, take a deep breath, regroup and refocus is really helpful.
AK: Now a good portion into the spring split, what do you think is going to be the final results of the playoffs for the spring split top one, two, and three?
JAG: I’m obviously going to say that we’re going to be first because I’m pretty confident that we can improve on our current form, correct our mistakes and be a really good team. I think second place is most likely going to be TSM, and third is kind of weird because it could be FlyQuest. I think it’s a toss up between FlyQuest and P1 because I don’t see many other teams catching up to their level of play, but it’s hard to say right now.
AK: Do you find that the lower rankings is more coin-tossing?
JAG: Yeah, in the lower ranks, it’s really hard to say who’s going to beat who because CLG looks kind of mediocre against top teams but they can destroy bottom teams, so it’s really hard to tell what they’re going to do. Echo Fox is on some weeks and off on other weeks, so it’s really hard to say where they’re going to end. I think it’s basically a coin toss in the bottom teams, six through 10, it’s kind of hard to tell what’s going to happen there.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games/illustration by Slingshot