C9 Valens when asked about the NA CS meme: “We hope to be an inspiration”
Cloud9 are the ELEAGUE Major: Boston champions, after defeating European side FaZe Clan in the grand finals of the first Valve Major of 2018.
Both teams fought tooth and nail throughout each aim duel, buy round, and clutch situation, but it was ultimately the North American favorite who emerged victorious in the four hour best-of-three match. Despite losing map one, Mirage, in round 30 14-16, C9 showed their resilience for the remaining maps of the series, with wins on Overpass 16-10 and on Inferno 22-19 in double overtime. They are the first North American team ever to win a Valve Major, setting a new benchmark for what it really means to be a top team in the region.
C9 CS:GO coach Soham "valens" Chowdhury sat down with Dot Esports following the team’s Major title win.
You guys just won a Major on home soil. As coach, what emotions are going through your head right now?
I think that a really big part of it is seeing these guys be able to bounce back throughout the last few weeks. I think it’s really important for them to know that it doesn’t matter who they’re playing against. We could lose to teams that we really shouldn’t, like Space Soldiers [at the New Legends stage]. But at the same time, we can bring it back against teams that are maybe better than us—maybe FaZe right? I think it’s good for them to know that it doesn’t really matter who we lose to or who we win against. So long as when we are doing poorly or when we win the wrong way, then we are able to know why. And that’s the main reason that we were able to bounce back today.
At what point did you guys realize that you were going to win the Major? Was there a particular round that really sticks out in your mind?
I think it was 15-10 or something like that, and we were in the midst of that CT side comeback. Once we figured out how to stop their T side. We knew the plan. We had no plan going in, and we didn’t have the economy to have the mollies to stop their T side. Once we did, I remember [Jake “Stewie2k” Yip] said, “Guys, one more round. We’re going to break their economy. We’re gonna tie this, and we’re gonna win this.” At that point, I think everyone just started to believe it, even if they weren’t already [winning].
The crowd was heavily in your favor, obviously because it’s a North American event. What do you think about the crowd’s treatment of FaZe, especially considering the “NiKo’s tilted” chant starting every couple of mineutes?
NiKo had a pretty poor start on Overpass too–the second map–and I know he’s a guy that is also momentum-based. So if he doesn’t get off to a strong start, I know he kinda lingers. So the crowd was obviously a big part of that. Every kill we got, we heard insane chants every round we won. Obviously, you press the scoreboard, and you see that he’s not doing very well. I know that’s bothering him. And obviously they bounced back great on Inferno. They were definitely the better team [in] the first half. They kinda figured it out, but at the same time, we showed that we’re not going to give up. That was super important.
Let’s talk about the “NA CS” (North American Counter-Strike) meme. Do you think it’s dead now?
I think that meme exists for a reason. Just because we won a Major, doesn’t mean that the majority of NA is doing things the right way. We hope to be an inspiration, of course. There’s plenty of things we can improve on as well. Just because we won a Major doesn’t mean that we were clearly the superior team in all ways. It just means that we made less mistakes. That’s what Counter-Strike is about. It’s a game about making the least mistakes [to] win the game. There’s a lot for us to improve on, and the same with NA. I would definitely say Europe still has the upper hand, but we’re gonna help the [NA] scene moving forward.
Where do you go from here, now that you’re Major champions?
That’s a great question, honestly. I think one of the things is that we know it’s kind of a sigh of relief, knowing we did this. At the same time, there’s a huge amount of events this year, and they’re all really big. We know when the next Major is, which is nice. At the same time, there’s WESG coming up, which is an even bigger prize pool than the Major. I know, for example, if we take our foot off the gas pedal, then we might get surprised or get upset and start losing to teams that we shouldn’t be. It can start haunting us a little big, like “We just won the Major. We should be able to beat these teams.” That’s the mentality I’m here to prevent, and these guys are doing a great job of bouncing back in general. So as long as we keep our emotions and egos in check, we’re going to do just fine.