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Reignover: “We played 17 games this tournament…we’re the real winners”

Nick Ray

Cloud9 failed to pull off the reverse sweep against Team Liquid in the League of Legends Championship Series Lock In Finals, netting themselves a second place finish in the tournament. Despite immense pressure to perform with a stacked lineup, they’re not worried about a thing headed into the regular season.

Reignover coach Cloud9

In his first split as Head Coach, Reignover is determined to meet the high expectations places on Cloud9’s star-studded roster (Photo via Riot Games)

We caught up with C9’s Head Coach Kim “Reignover” Yeu-jin to hear his thoughts on the team’s overall performance and how he’s adapted to working with the team in his new role. 

Hotspawn: So how would you summarize your thoughts after the Lock In Finals?

Reignover: Right now? Obviously, it’s sad because we lost and were one game off. I feel like in the last game, with draft, we could’ve done a better job and we kind of tunneled a lot on the Irelia. Generally, I feel happy, though, because I feel like we’re the real winner of the tournament. We played 17 games this tournament; that’s the most out of everyone. And we get to experience a lot of comms and fix a lot of issues we have. We also learned and figured out the strengths and weaknesses of the team in a best-of-five. In those respects, I feel like we’re the real winners. For the upcoming Spring Split, I feel like it’s going to benefit us a lot.

Hotspawn: You brought up Ibrahim “Fudge” Allami’s Irelia pick, and obviously in game four he had a great game. Do you think any play, in particular, stepped up or went above and beyond in this series?

Reignover: Oh everyone stepped up in this series. First two games were very rough; it looked like we were getting dumpstered. But as we had some changes to the draft and adaptation, we were able to pull out really good games and everyone pretty much did their job really well.

Hotspawn: So do you think drafting was the biggest issue that made you guys fall short in game five?  

Reignover: No, I feel like our last game’s draft was fine and we could’ve won. We could’ve made it a lot better, but I don’t really wanna say too much [laughs]. There was definitely a better way we could’ve done it.

I don’t think the game is gonna be decided on draft, you know? Our gameplay wasn’t optimal; we made some mistakes. Generally, I feel like our adaptation was good, and I feel like if we were given more time to prepare– and obviously this is the same for Team Liquid– we would’ve done better. But yeah, we’re not worried too much. In the future, we’re gonna get stronger and stronger and we’re a team that’s gonna pull out a lot of diverse things.

Hotspawn: Speaking of unique picks, what are your thoughts on the true strength of Udyr jungle in the meta? I’ve been asking other junglers for their thoughts.

Reignover: Mainly the idea came from actual pro players playing it on stage, because that means they’re having success in scrims, so people in NA also practiced to see how it feels. The main reason is because the champ clears the fastest in the jungle and you can build full tank. It’s kinda rare right now for junglers to build full tank and still have a fast clear and the damage to actually kill people. 2v2s are strong, and since there are a lot of AP champs right now in jungle in mid, Udyr jungle with Merc’s is really hard to stop.

The execution is so easy; you just point-and-click CC, point-and-click damage; all those things combined. There are also a lot of healing and shielding champions, and once you have one strong frontline with those champs it benefits too. I think it’s just with all those combined, Udyr is a really good pick, but it also means he could drop down pretty fast with some changes.

Hotspawn: So right now it’s like a perfect storm? 

Reignover: Yeah, everything benefits him right now so that’s why it’s really strong. But if you draft really well around an enemy first-pick Udyr, then maybe this champ will be kind of useless. Generally, Udyr right now can always find a good spot.

Hotspawn: Well now I wanna talk about you! How’ve you been doing these days? You joined C9 doing some potential coaching, then Academy, and now you’re Head Coach.

Reignover: Yeah, when I  joined as a positional coach I was taking a break for a split, so I was mainly learning and helping a little bit. My coaching career really kicked off when I started with Academy.

Hotspawn: Do you enjoy coaching more than you did playing?

Reignover: I think it just depends. Right now, for sure I enjoy coaching, even though sometimes it can get stressful. I find a lot of fun in it, too. But right now, I’m enjoying it.

Hotspawn: I guess the split hasn’t really started yet…

Reignover: The thing is, we have a lot of expectations on Cloud9 right now. So once everything goes well, I’ll obviously feel happy and very proud of everything, but once things go bad, maybe I’ll have a lot of stress [laughs].

Hotspawn:  Well let’s hope not too much [laughs]. You brought up the learning curve to coaching earlier. What was it like adjusting to that and having to get your ideas across differently and learning those leadership qualities?

Reignover: The transition was pretty easy for me because, even as a player, I was always getting along with my teammates. It might be my weakness, but I think it’s more of a strength for me. I’m not the type of person to say “you have to do this” or “you have to do that.” I take more of a friendly approach to my team, and so far it’s been working well. The leadership aspect is very important, as well.

I’d say as a player I was for sure shotcalling, at least in the early game. So I was used to it in that aspect. As a person that has to manage everything, I didn’t have experience, but time with Academy has made me better with that; I’m improving a lot. Every day I get to try new stuff; I sometimes f*ck up, but that’s fine. You learn from it, and at the end if you improve that’s all that matters.

Hotspawn: I guess the Lock In tournament was just as helpful for your development as a coach as it was for your team’s synergy since it gives you some room for error as well before the split.  

Reignover: Yup!

Huni Reignover lol

Huni and Reignover were teammates on Fnatic in 2015 and Immortals in 2016 (Photo via Riot Games)

Hotspawn: It’s been a while since we’ve heard from you, so to close out, I wanted to ask if you don’t mind: do you get to catch up with your friend Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon much these days?

Reignover: Me and Huni? We’re still the same, you know? We talk to each other and are still friends. Just the other day we were playing solo queue against each other and were flaming each other. I ended up winning [laughs]. But yeah, it’s the same thing. Sometimes we meet up, you know? But now it’s Corona so… [laughs].

Hotspawn: That’s great to hear! Thanks for taking the time to chat and good luck in the regular season!

Reignover: Thank you!