(courtesy of sk-gaming.com)
Cloud 9Â has not shied away from making drastic changes and taking risksÂ this offseason. After acquiring Enemy eSports’ NA Challenger Series slot, the team hasÂ siphonedÂ three starters from their main lineup into their secondÂ squad. To replace An “Balls” Le, Lee “Rush” Yoon-jae, and Hai “Hai” Lam, C9 addedÂ Jeong “Impact” Eon-yeong,Â Will “Meteos” Hartman, andÂ promotedÂ Michael “Bunny FuFuu” Kurylo to a starting role.
To place a capstone on their rebuilding effort, Bok “Reapered” Han-gyu, a Korean former pro and coach of EDward Gaming, joined the Cloud 9 staff as head coach.
Reapered, who does not speak English fluently, is a risky addition with high potential for C9. His success as a coach for EDG demonstrates his ability to make positive changesÂ in an environment where the majority of his players don’t speak his native tongue. From China to North America, he will look to make the same impact onstage with the help of translator and on-site analyst Lee “Robin” Seung-hwan, who has served as a translator for OGN in the past.
This is a risk that Cloud 9 perhaps needed to take. As former head coach Daerek “Lemonnation” Hart is also heading down to C9C to play support, and as the style of the C9 LCS roster has completely changed, perhaps new direction could help facilitate Impact’s move into the roster and solidify their strategic ability going forward. The language barrier may be difficult to overcome initially, and a slow start may lead to frustration within the team.
The upside, however, is immense. As a coach, Reapered has won multiple Demacia Cup titles, an LPL championship, and an MSI crown in 2015 (a tense 5 game series against SK Telecom T1). If Cloud 9 can capitalize on his expertise, and if Robin can effectively facilitate smooth relations between player and staff, this could be a huge get for a team desperate to make its fourth consecutive World Championship tournament.