by Brandon "Mothman" Moore in
Interviews Valorant

Cloud9 Blue was one of the hottest teams in Valorant. Unfortunately, they were cooled down during the third day of NA Challengers Finals. The team defeated Envy and NRG prior to facing Sentinels in the Upper Final. That match saw them lose a close battle to determine the first team to advance to Iceland from North America. Cloud9 Blue received one more chance to reach Masters Reykjavík in the Lower Final, but another close series saw them fall to Version1. After the completion of that match, Run It Back spoke with both Nathan “leaf” Orf and Ricky “floppy” Kemery about the loss and their thoughts on the teams representing NA in Iceland.

Run It Back spoke with leaf and floppy after Cloud9 Blue’s loss to Version1

leaf

Run It Back: After Split against Sentinels, you sent out a tweet about Raze not being balanced in this meta. Can you elaborate on that?

leaf: She’s really really strong. Every single piece of utility and every single agent that has been meta in the recent weeks heading into this tournament. Like Viper and Astra have been more and more meta. They’re very powerful at stopping. Obviously, the [Viper] wall doing 50 is really insane. The vulnerable status effect goes in hand with Raze. The suck [Gravitational Well], too, and the stun [Nova Pulse]. She is honestly the best Duelist in this meta. You don’t even need to shoot people. If you’re a good team with good synergy and cohesion, you’ll kill people just based off of utility. That is why she is insane. There’s no other agent that can do that as effectively as she can.

Run It Back: There are only a few players that consistently dominate as Raze. What is it about her skill set that drew you to her and allows you to play her so well?

leaf: Personally, I don’t really like Phoenix. He’s a really good agent, but he’s just not for me. I don’t like his flash or his molly. And his Ult seems like a gamble most of the time. I don’t really like that. I obviously play Reyna on some maps. And then Jett, she is an agent you need to have played for a long time. When I played Duelists, it was clear I wasn’t going to play Jett. Like I said, you need to have played it for a long time. You need to be really confident in your daggers and Oping. I’m not the type of person to use the Op really or use daggers. I kind of just strayed away and it was Raze and Reyna for me mainly.

Run It Back: Now, onto the matches at hand. It was a tough day with losses to some very talented teams. Is there anything that stood out that you feel could have or should have gone differently for Cloud9 Blue?

leaf: We lost quite a bit of dumb rounds on Icebox. That is mainly due to lack of practice. I think most of our problems stem up from the lack of practice and lack of time playing competitive Valorant from floppy. There’s not a lot to be angry about. There is a lot to take away from this tournament in our defeats and our wins. We can’t be too mad about the losses. We lost to Sentinels, which is the best team. That was a close BO3. And also Version1 was just a really close BO3, as well. They played really well and they deserve it. Lots to improve on, but can’t be too mad.

Run It Back: This iteration of the roster is pretty fresh, all things considered. There is no way that this is the last time we see you guys in these high profile matches. How proud are you to have at least come this far?

leaf: I’m really proud. I don’t know how the others feel. I mean, I know some of us think it, but not how everyone feels. But we are all pretty happy that we made top three with such little time to do things. Floppy is just plopping into the new meta of playing Astra and Viper, which is a headache to play against. I’m really proud of him for not giving up on the game or in our matches when he doesn’t know what to do. His mental resilience is pretty high.

Run It Back: At the end of the day, we all want NA to do well. Do you have anything to say to the two teams, Sentinels and V1, that are representing NA in Iceland?

leaf: If you lose to EU, you’re pretty trash. Maybe except for Liquid. They can lose to Liquid because ScreaM is pretty nutty. But FNATIC? They can’t lose against FNATIC.

floppy

Run It Back: This day (Saturday) of NA Challengers Finals marks your 10th day of officially playing Valorant. It looks like the sky is the limit for you and this Cloud9 team. Even after falling short today, there has to be some excitement for the future of the squad. What do you feel the future holds?

floppy: It is only up from here. Like you said, I have been playing the game for 10 days on this team. There is definite potential for a lot of growth with this team together.

Run It Back: You jumped right into Valorant as a Controller player, using Astra pretty regularly alongside Omen. Do you feel it was more of a benefit to start your Valorant career fresh with this new agent and meta rather than being involved in previous meta iterations?

floppy: I think this meta was definitely something interesting to jump into. There hasn’t been an agent this strong in my opinion. With the concussing and the welling from Astra, it is just OP in my opinion. I can’t change it, right. If I could go back, maybe. I don’t know. I think it is fine for me. It’s not too hard for me to learn the agent.

Run It Back: When it comes to the matches, are there any specific moments that you feel were the team’s undoing against Sentinels and Version1?

floppy: This one round on Icebox, we got eco’d, like the second round of the game. If that didn’t happen, I think we could have gotten the ball rolling a little bit easier on that map. Something could have happened there. The half was like 6:6. We could have made it an 8:4 or something to turn it around a little bit.

Run It Back: For the final match of the day, it was going to be either Version1 or Envy. You already played well against Envy. Would you have preferred that rematch or was the same preparation there for Version1?

floppy: Considering we already played Envy, we did a lot of prep work on them. Playing Version1, we still prepped for them as well. I don’t think it really mattered who we played today. We still would have prepped the same way.

Run It Back: When all is said and done, the main goal is to represent North America in Iceland. Do you feel the two teams heading there will do that well?

floppy: Both of the teams will be fine. Especially Sentinels, since they have been playing since the Beta together this whole time. They have a ton of chemistry and that will hopefully translate to LAN Valorant.

*Questions and answers may have been edited or altered for clarity and fluidity.*

Stay tuned to Run It Back for more player interviews and Valorant Champions Tour coverage!

Brandon is a long time gamer with a passion for writing. Combining the two has been a dream come true. He was Run It Back's official correspondent for First Strike NA and looks forward to covering the North American Valorant scene for a long time.
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