Cloud9 were victorious at the Vainglory Unified Western Championships last weekend, showing sheer dominance throughout the competition; even knocking out pre-tournament favourites TSM. After the tournament was done and dusted, we sat down with two of the three Cloud9 squad: Captain Gabe “gabevizzle” Villarin and Carry Gabriel “Oldskool” Villamariona.
Esports Insider: Congratulations for winning the Unified Western Championship. How long of a road has it been to get here as a fairly new team?
Gabevizzle: In some people’s eyes it’s probably been really quick for us to get to the top this fast. But in my eyes, it has been a fairly long road. Being together for five months there’s been a lot of conflict between school and I. We’ve always had good mechanics, but we haven’t meshed too well as a team until now. Coming to the live championships, we’ve slowly started breaking it down and making sure we’re on the same page.
ESI: You’ve been extremely solid throughout this tournament – only dropping two maps this weekend. Was that a surprise or did you know you could do it?
Oldskool: I expected a really strong finish. I didn’t expect us to only drop two maps, but we definitely expected to come out on top.
Gabevizzle: I’d probably say that the expectations from each of us were really high, I don’t think we wanted anything lower than top three. Coming into the semis, we were both confident and nervous at the same time. We were so close to getting to the finals and lifting up that trophy, we didn’t want to miss out.
ESI: After beating TSM, who were this weekend’s favourites, what were you feeling after that semi-final?
Oldskool: We knew that after we took down TSM, we had won the trophy. In our eyes, that was our finals match. That was more important to us.
Gabevizzle: Yeah. That definitely felt like it was our finals match. I was actually more hyped winning against TSM over beating Gankstars.
ESI: Is that down to how you see the quality of Gankstars play, or the rivalry between you and TSM?
Gabevizzle: Since TSM are our primary scrim partners, I’d say they knew a lot about us and we knew a lot about them. But we’ve never been able to pull off a strong series against them. I just think it meant a lot to us to beat them 3-1.
Oldskool: In the regular season we matched up against TSM four times. One of the times we beat them 2-0, another time they beat us 2-0, the other two games we lost 2-1. We knew it was going to be our hardest match of the tournament.
ESI: Now that you have the trophy, what’s your attention going to be on for the rest of the year?
Gabevizzle: Right now, we’re going to take a small break. Once Summer kicks off we’re going to go hard again. It’ll be a little bit different to how we were coming into this tournament, as we won’t be practising in the same place. Now that we know how we play when we’re together our shot-calls and our synergy will be much higher.
Oldskool: I completely agree. After meeting in person, we were able to resolve our internal conflicts, and now we have that in mind and know what’s best for the team.
ESI: Vainglory as an esport isn’t one of the major esports, especially as it sits on mobile. Where do you see it grow in the near future?
Gabevizzle: I don’t believe Europe is where the fan-base is the strongest. North America, Korea, and the rest of Asia, are definitely the strongest places right now. I definitely hope Vainglory grows, and I think that the 5v5 mode coming within the next year will definitely help push it’s numbers up.