Perkz On NA vs EU Players, International Bootcamps
After the first month of play, Cloud9 finally stands on top of the LCS. This after an impressive 3-0 weekend against Golden Guardians, Evil Geniuses, and 100 Thieves. The roster was under immense pressure to perform with the arrival of Luka “Perkz” Perković in the midlane, and they have finally risen above the fierce competition. Only time will tell if they can hold onto sole possession of first. Next weekend’s games against TSM and Team Liquid will be a formidable test of their strength.
We sat down with Perkz after C9’s win against Evil Geniuses to talk about his transition to NA, the differences between NA and EU players, and the importance of international boot camps.
Hotspawn: First off, congrats on that win! It seems like C9 is making solid progress towards establishing itself as a firm number one in the region, which I’m sure must feel good. How’re you feeling after that win against Evil Geniuses?
Perkz: I’m feeling pretty good. We played it well, given our team comp and we got the win.
Hotspawn: You’ve been asked the question of “why come to NA” a hundred times at this point. I’m interested in hearing, now that you’re a few weeks in, do you feel like you’re on track with all those goals you came here with?
Perkz: I’m feeling pretty welcomed here, and happy. In general, I think we’re doing quite well, and I’m seeing progress in our play and communication every week. The lifestyle is nice. I like that I walk every day from a house where I sleep to the house where I scrim, and we have workouts and we have food sorted out. We have physiotherapy coming over, we have our haircut lady coming over. I have everything we need for us to have a nice living [situation]. I think the org is doing well, players are doing well, coaches are doing well. I’m just happy.
Hotspawn: When you first announced that you were coming to NA, you said you were going to uplift the region as a whole. Do you feel like you’re still on track for that?
Perkz: I believe we can do that, but first of all I want to make this team strong. Very strong. I think we’re in the right way. We’re learning a lot and I want us to be on the same page, either me being on the same page as my team or my team being on the same page as me.
I still feel like I have a lot to learn in my own role, so in terms of [that], I can still do so much better. Not regarding play, I think [my] play right now is kind of limited in terms of the meta and in general. I feel like my mechanics are on top, but in knowing what to do in the game and knowing what to do in advance, [and] knowing how to communicate all of this with my teammates is something I need to be better at doing. And taking more of a leadership role in-game. I think I’m on the right track, yeah.
Hotspawn: Was it a struggle shifting into a leadership role immediately? Especially having been on one team for so long, and then moving both teams and regions?
Perkz: It’s definitely not easy to switch from a team you’ve been playing on for five years, because everything is known. From the structure and the staff, and obviously the teammates you’re playing with every single day. Some of the things we did in G2 we didn’t do in C9 in the beginning, and now I think we’re getting much better. Small things in-game, small interactions, and just map movement. But also on G2 we started from being really bad in 2018, and not even being that good in 2019. We were just good because of mechanical skills.
I think that we are doing a really good job of improving, and I knew it wasn’t gonna be easy but I think I’m doing a pretty good job of adapting here. I think that’s one of my strengths anyways, I role-swapped and after the botlane [swap] I changed teams. I think it’s just one of my strengths.
Hotspawn: You mentioned that it took a long time for G2 to get where it is now. Do you think this C9 roster has that same ceiling?
Perkz: Yeah. I wouldn’t have joined C9 if I didn’t think we could be a really strong team. I definitely think that we have a lot of potential, and everyone is playing really well at the moment. Everybody can get better, including me, in small things we do in-game. Right now we have pretty good basics and fundamentals, but we still have some things to learn. Once we go to a bootcamp and play international teams, that’s when you develop most as a player and as a team. It’s just a grind. League of Legends is just a grind.
Hotspawn: You said that bootcamping in other regions is one of the best ways to improve. Could you expand on that?
Perkz: Usually, even when we were in Europe on G2, we weren’t really contested that much in Europe. And then we would go internationally, the top teams would obviously do something better than the lower tier teams in EU. When you go internationally, it feels like the ceiling is higher, and the games are harder to play so you learn more. Here you might not get punished for something we would get punished against a different team in a different region.
Hotspawn: I’m sure you know there’s a bit of a stigma against NA players. Do you think that C9 has the proper domestic competition it needs to improve, or are you going to have to rely on going international?
Perkz: Compared to last year when C9 was just stomping every game, now we’re winning most of our games, right. We are getting a little bit challenged I would say. I think there are a few good teams in NA— EG is one of them. TL, TSM. I’m not really too sure about 100 Thieves right now. There’s some competition. I think the biggest difference is in NA and Europe in my opinion. It’s not even that big. In Europe, I kinda knew what everyone plays, but in NA it feels like the champion pools are more limited in my eyes. I think the players on top teams have specific champion pools that they like to play and they aren’t really keen on playing something they’re not comfortable with. I think that’s the biggest difference between NA and EU, is the champion pools.
Hotspawn: I think that’s all I have time for! Do you have any parting words for the C9 fans and the Perkz fans?
Perkz: I’m grateful to be supported by C9 fans and the G2 fans as well. I like to be the positive guy you know, in both the regions. So I’m gonna try to do my best for my American fans, and I’m also gonna try to do the best in my individual plan for my European fans that follow me. I’m just gonna keep trying to play good, and play even better than I am right now, and hopefully, I can lift the trophy in NA.