Cloud9 sit atop the 2017 North American League of Legends Championship Series Spring standings after Week 1, tied with their former challenger team FlyQuest.
Not only did last weekend feature consecutive wins for the boys in blue, but it also marked jungler Juan "Contractz" Arturo Garcia highly-anticipated LCS debut. While on Cloud9 Challenger (now FlyQuest) Contractz made a name for himself as an up-and-coming jungle talent, and impressed audiences with his Week 1 performances. theScore esports caught up with C9's rookie jungler to talk about the week that was and his jungling style.
Congratulations on your 2-0 Week 1. How are you feeling about your performance and the performance of the team as a whole?
The first series against TSM was pretty good, but I played pretty poorly in our second series against Dignitas so overall I think we did okay this week. I’m just looking forward to next week.
What is the primary difference between playing in Challenger and playing in the LCS?
Well, just the level of play is insanely different. LCS is a lot stronger in individual players and just team play in general compared to challenger.
You were highly rated as a jungler in the Challenger Series but were unable to make the transition right away due to your age. Do you think this hurt or helped you?
I actually think it helped in the long run because I got to play under C9C with a bunch of experienced veteran players. Me playing with Hai, Balls, Lemon, Altec was a really great experience.
In both the Challenger Series and now LCS you are fond of diving and initiating fights. Are you used to being the team’s primary initiator and how would you describe your jungling style?
I think I’m just an aggressive player. I can get too aggressive sometimes and it’s pretty bad, but I’m working on it. I just like being aggressive.
You’ve played a lot through the mid lane on both C9C and now Cloud9. Why is that?
It’s definitely because of the strength of Hai and Jensen as players, but also due to the meta. You don’t want to go topside too much because it’s just a tankfest up there. Controlling bot and mid side is more important — for dragon control and a lot of the matchups are super volatile down there.
A few junglers have had trouble transitioning from being more of a primary initiator to more of a DPS carry. How do you feel you’ve dealt with the new meta?
I don’t think I’ve had too many issues regarding that. I used to always just play aggressive, carry-oriented champions so I know some of my weaknesses and strengths in this role right now.
How does communication work on Cloud9, especially when you decide to go in on some of those more aggressive plays?
I’d say Smoothie is the really big voice right now on our team. We all give each other information but overall I think Smoothie is the one making most of the plays and calls.
Is there any jungler that you really look up to or look to emulate their playstyle?
I’d say Peanut on SKT is a really big inspiration for me. He has a really aggressive style just like me and he’s really good. I look forward to him playing more games so I can learn from him.
Emily Rand is a staff writer for theScore esports. You can follow her on Twitter.