In the first quarterfinals series of the 2016 League of Legends World Championship, Samsung Galaxy beat Cloud9 in a quick 3-0 sweep to build on their strong group stage performances.
After the series, theScore esports sat down with Cloud9's veteran jungler William "Meteos" Hartman to discuss their loss to Samsung and his jungle matchup with Kang "Ambition" Chan-yong.
You said previously that Ambition is a jungler with a similar playstyle as yourself. What was it like playing against Ambition and how did you prepare for the matchup?
I think Ambition is pretty good. I think he played better than I did. It was kind of weird for me preparing for this match because he’s one of the only junglers who plays in the style he does which is a lot more farm-oriented — selfish is the word that people use but it has a negative connotation. He plays better than most of the other junglers and his team plays around him really well. It’s kind of like how Reignover plays and how I was trying to play when we played against Immortals. In the semifinals and The Gauntlet I feel that I had more of that style but at Worlds, I guess I changed the way I played a bit. Most of the other junglers here play really crazy. Just looking at the group stage a lot of weird stuff was happening — early kills were just happening, so I tried to adjust my play to that and the stuff I did became less efficient. For this match, I found myself just getting behind — I felt like I was over-prioritizing vision a bit, going out of my way to check pink wards while he was clearing camps more efficiently. He played better than me, I guess that’s really all there is to it.
You had also said that you and the team were having trouble transitioning from what you saw in scrims to what worked better in game. What did you think about your performance today and did anything from Samsung surprise you?
We did improve from groups to quarterfinals, but obviously it wasn’t good enough. We got really weird reads on stuff because teams we were practicing against didn’t play like Samsung did at all. Other teams played really aggressive and we would meet their aggression and counter it. [Against Samsung], we weren’t really able to make our proactive plays work as much. I don’t know if it’s because we didn’t go for stuff that we should have or we weren’t able to execute things that should work. I think that in scrims, we had a different take on how the draft would go. The team comps we ended up with in scrims weren’t what we ended up with here. We didn’t really have much practice with all of these mid bans. Samsung permabanned Ryze and Jensen played well but it was a lot of champions that we didn’t practice as much against like Cassiopeia and it was Cassio/Ori every game. That was kind of weird. I think their Olaf priority was higher than expected — they were first-picking it on blue and we didn’t really have any kind of priority on it so when we were on blue we just banned it. It was weird.
Why do you think Samsung prioritized Olaf so heavily?
Olaf is really strong because he just has the strongest early game of any jungler. He clears really fast, he doesn’t really need a leash, he’s just insanely powerful early game. His weakness is that he doesn’t scale very well. If you make it to mid game on an Olaf then he’s not going to be as useful which is what happened to us against SKT. I got ahead early but wasn’t able to translate it into as much. He’s always been good early so it’s about what you can do with it. They put pressure on a lot, it made me play very reactively. They made it so I played pretty scared, maybe I didn’t have to play that scared, I don’t know.
In Game 3, you picked your iconic Zac. Why did you use that pick for that game and what does Zac bring to the game?
We tried Rek’Sai in the first two games and I wasn’t able to do much against Olaf — Game 2 I should have made more stuff happen but I wasn’t able too. Game 3 we tried to set up a Caitlyn/Olaf trade because the two best AD carries right now are Jhin and Cait. So we thought if we banned Olaf we wouldn’t get a good draft. Zac was just something I’ve always enjoyed playing and he’s pretty strong right now. Nothing’s going to be Olaf early but basically after he gets his first buy I think Zac is okay into Olaf. You can also jump away from him if he runs at you. We just tried to survive the early game and I think we did okay but we messed up our draft a bit in our second rotation. I was saying, ‘Yeah just take Zac here because we can counterpick top.’ but we decided to take Jayce 3/4 and it was a split decision. I know Impact wanted to wait and he would have rather had the Poppy into Jayce. It was a bit of a mistake and we were a little — we kept talking about all the things we wanted to do in the draft but we messed up a bit. I think the Zac pick wasn’t bad even though it’s hard against Poppy.
Samsung is known for being a really strong mid and late-game team. You guys played a lot better in Games 2 and 3, keeping it close early. What did they do mid/late game to take control of the game?
The way Ambition plays, from my perspective as a jungler, it’s so much harder to play against him than someone like [RNG’s] Mlxg. When I play against Mlxg as a jungler, it’s pretty easy because, after his initial clear, I know that this guy will go for some play and if it doesn’t work out then I’m a level ahead of him and I can do whatever I want all game. With Ambition it’s the opposite. If you go for a play and it doesn’t completely work, you’re just going to get f****d. So many times I would go for a gank and he would take my other side of the jungle and I was always down on XP. From a jungler’s point of view, playing against someone like that is really hard. I want to be efficient but at the same time I want to pressure especially since the downside to that style is that he’s probably not going to be counter-ganking as much. I can go for ganks but if there’s nothing available or if it doesn’t work I fall super behind.
How do you communicate this to the team, especially transitioning from the early to mid game?
For Games 1 and 3 we were against Olaf and everyone sees Olaf as this guy who’s so strong and his route is really unpredictable. It’s hard to get a Level 1 ward against Olaf since he’s also known for doing these crazy cheese things. He takes Ghost and if he hits you with an axe at Level 1 you pretty much have to Flash or you just die. It’s really obvious with a pushing mid and a pushing bot that they’re going to try to deny blue — prevent the handoff from Rek’Sai to the mid laner. I did some weird route where I did golems, wraiths, and then just blue because if you do it any later Olaf will be there. I did that route but they were able to ward it without Olaf and saw they did that. [Ambition] had a more efficient route. It’s really hard because I don’t know what the Olaf is going to do. He could be ganking or he could just be farming all the time, it puts a lot of pressure on me. I could have done more plays.
What is next for C9 and you as a player?
I don’t really know what’s next for C9. I presume that most of the team will want to keep playing because competing is fun. It’s a really long offseason and I’m not sure what everyone wants to do. I’ll probably see what happens.
Emily Rand is a staff writer for theScore esports. You can follow her on Twitter.