It’s easy to look back at the past and reminisce about what could have been. For Cloud9 fans, the biggest what-if moment in recent memory has to be the possible signing of superstar mid laner Caps at the end of 2018.
Yesterday, however, C9 CEO Jack Etienne revealed on The Crackdown podcast that no amount of money could have made the 20-year-old phenom sign with the team.
When the 2018 League of Legends offseason hit, C9 had a huge hole to fill in the mid lane position when Jensen left the team to join Team Liquid. As a result, Etienne began to reach out far and wide for a replacement—and that included contacting Fnatic about Caps.
“Caps didn’t care how much money was going his way,” Jack said. “He felt like, ‘I’m gonna have international success with G2, and that’s not something you can even offer me, so I’m not interested.'”
Caps’ decision ended up bringing him three LEC championships in a row, as well as Europe’s first MSI trophy.
Although Europe has been thriving as a region, at the time, this situation highlighted one of NA’s biggest problems. Many top European talents would prefer to join a top-three EU team for half the salary rather than move to North America.
Not many European players considered NA an actual contending region when it came to MSI and Worlds, which meant that only a select few would want to make the big switch. It was clear that Europe was on the rise, so it didn’t make sense to make the move unless a huge amount of money was involved. And even then, many young players seemingly preferred the chance at a real championship over cash.
Jack also confirmed that C9 ran into the same problem in 2019 when trying to find a replacement for veteran AD carry Sneaky. The team tried to sign Upset as his predecessor, but instead, he decided to join Origen.
Everything ended up working out for C9 and its eventual ADC replacement, Zven, though. The organization completed a historic run throughout the 2020 Spring Split, producing a 17-1 regular season record and earning its first LCS championship since 2014.