Slingshot’s Vince Nairn caught up with Cloud9’s Jake “Stewie2k” Yip during the ESL Pro League Season 5 Finals. They talked about Stewie switching back to in-game leader, comparing Cloud9 to other North American teams and staying with one lineup.
Vince Nairn: I know it was kind of a difficult week for you guys, but what were your major takeaways or things you can use at the (Americas) Minor next week?
Jake “Stewie2k” Yip: I think losing these matches was terrible, but it’s good because we can fix up these mistakes for the Minor. I think we’re pretty good head-to-head when it comes to North American teams, but EU teams are the kind we slack on. EU teams are pictured as above NA, so we try to copy their play style since they have more experience. So I think the Minor wouldn’t be as harsh as this tournament.
VN: N0thing said you guys are probably gonna switch back to you as in-game leader. What led to that change?
JY: I guess just a little inexperience in calling when it comes to Tim. I think he’s not a bad caller. He definitely takes a lot of stress off my shoulders. He has a lot of good leadership qualities, but right now since we’re on this summer run, it’s better to go back to the original calling. So that’s why we plan on changing.
VN: Do you think it will be comfortable or easy to slide back into that role?
JY: I think just seeing Tim’s perspective of calling, it really balances things out for me. So I think calling will be a lot easier than it was before for me. So a lot of props to Tim for that.
VN: It’s been an interesting handful of months for you guys. The end of last year was kind of a high point but it’s been a difficult climb to get back there since then. What have you guys learned about yourselves along the way?
JY: I learned this team is kind of a hit or miss team. No disrespect to VP, but I feel like we’re kind of like VP right now. Sometimes we come out with fire and are one of the best teams in the world. Sometimes you come out without fire and are one of the worst teams in the world. That’s kind of like us right now. I think we need to take SK and Immortals as examples as players because they all have really hyper personalities, and winning (is) all they’re about. I think we need to get loud and kind of get in people’s faces when we’re on stage. Getting loud, that kills the other team’s motivations sometimes.
VN: There’s been a lot of discussion about IGLs in North America lately, and you have a unique perspective being someone who stepped out of the role and now will step back into it. What do you think is such a challenge to have a good amount of IGLs in NA?
JY: I think in-game leaders come with experience, right? And I think a lot of NA players don’t have a lot of experience. They have a really (scrim-like) mentality. It’s all about aim. It’s about out-playing these players when (in reality) it’s all about teamwork. It’s all about structure. You have to have loose play styles, but I think NA lacks in-game leaders because of inexperience or skill. It’s one or the other. When in-game leaders have the skill, they don’t have the knowledge. Or when they have the knowledge, they don’t have the skill. So it’s kind of hard to pick up players who don’t have the skill for it.
VN: You guys have had the same five players for a while now, but is it also a lack of patience involved with the problem? It seems that if it doesn’t work out teams will make a quick change…
JY: Changes are just a lot of teams’ problems. For us, I think, and this is just a personal perspective: We don’t make changes because we kind of see it more generalized when it comes to problem. Was the problem really because of this specific person? Or was it because everyone didn’t do their part to help this person? That’s what I think teams need to start doing. They don’t need to cut people because of one problem. It needs to be done in a professional manner where your teammates need to help. If they really can’t overcome it, then you need to tell them it’s a problem and be a professional.
VN: Who is the one player you find it most difficult to gameplan or go against right now?
JY: Right now, I think it’s fer (Fernando Alvarenga) because he’s so unpredictable and his aim is really good. He’s always up in your face. Once you spot him, you get just one shot.
VN: Of the teams you’ve played so far (since the Major), who do you think is most difficult to defeat?
JY: So far I still think SK, just because they’re hard workers and they always have tricks up their sleeve.
VN: What’s one big-picture thing in the scene you think needs to be changed or more attention shed on?
JY: I think there needs to be more attention on CS but not from fans or teams, just from Valve. I think they need to give a little more attention to the game because the game’s not dead yet. It’s actually still growing. But without Valve’s attention, how can it grow to the highest point?
VN: One of our writers interviewed Jack a while ago, and he talked about trying to form a partnership with Cloud9 and a university in California. Where do you fall on that issue of education in esports and what was your experience with school?
JY: I’ve never been a really big school fan, so I hope I never have to go to school again. I hope I can work in esports. But I think it’s a really big part of your life, being able to get education in your life. Especially in college because that’s where all the experience come out of and where you mature as a person. I Think what Jack said is really important.
Cover photo by Adela Sznajder/DreamHack, illustration by Slingshot