In one way or another, Cloud 9’s Tristan “Zeyzal” Stidam and Eric “Licorice” Ritchie having been playing with each other for a while. Before being added to the Cloud9 franchise, Zeyzal and Licorice were part of the dominant North American Challenger Series roster of eUnited. Currently the duo, and C9, are sitting firmly in second place in the LCS.
Our Amanda Stevens chatted with them for their perspective on why Fnatic was struggling at the start of the LEC from the perspective of a team that lost to them and then a more fun topic of Sneaky and his cosplays.
We were chatting before the interview about Fnatic. What do you think was causing them to struggle so much at the start of the split?
Zeyzal: Fnatic lost one of their main proactive players in Caps and I think that will generally hurt a team’s idea of how they want to play the game and how they previously played the game. They still have their previous four players who are really good but they adapted to playing around a playmaker in Caps who would start almost all their fights and give them a lot of openings to show how good they are individually. like Broxah with how good he was on Lee – Caps would start a fight which would open plays for him. I would say they lost a lot and they have to adjust after losing someone that plays that proactively.
Licorice: The thing Fnatic struggles with is how to get good fights started where before Caps sees two people and goes “I’m gonna fight them” and then Broxah can come in and Lee Sin kick one into the other. Whereas now when they try to play proper macro it feels like there’s something missing. I think that’s probably what’s going on there.
Weird segue but I’m sure it probably comes up a lot: Sneaky’s cosplays have been getting a bit more risqué – do you guys have a personal favourite Sneaky cosplay?
Z: It has to be the Pizza Delivery Sivir. It’s just a classic. That’s one of the first ones I saw. “Yeah y’know this one’s not too aggressive, I can show this to my kids in ten years.”
Be like “I played bot lane with this guy”?
Yep, played with this.
What about you [Licorice]?
L: Would definitely have to agree. Pizza Delivery Sivir skin one.
I feel like you guys are going with the safe thing.
Z: Oh yeah. Always. Oh, man – that half-naked picture by the C9 house pool picture.
Were you guys home when he was doing those shoots?
Z: I’ve only seen him in cosplay unexpectedly once when I walked in the house from the academy house. “Sneaky’s in- That isn’t Sneaky?” Ok I see what’s going on here. It’s just like “Hey Sneaky”. He’s just like “Hey”, casual. I don’t know what they were shooting, what was going on. He was just getting water.
L: I saw him twice around the house. The first was the Dark Lux skin he did. I came back to the house, running errands. Walk in the door. He’s getting water in heels and the whole outfit. He says “Hey” and I’m like “Hey man”. The second one was actually the Pizza Delivery one. I came home and there’s this pizza delivery girl standing outside my house. He seems to really enjoy it and I think it’s really cool.
Z: None of us care that he does it. Just something to mess with him a bit. Make some jokes about it, some lighthearted ones, nothing really serious.
I can imagine even if I woke up and looked outside and saw my teammate in a bikini I’d be like “What’s uh….huh. That’s interesting. Ok. I guess this is happening right now”. Any cosplay plans for you guys?
Z: Oh we got some coming up.
Is this a real thing or are you trolling me?
Z: We can’t leak too much.
L: I don’t think we’re supposed to talk about it yet but we were forced into doing it.
Z: We got a cosplay coming up. We can’t release any details, it’s heavily on lock.
Is it this split? This Halloween?
Z: We have no idea.
L: Yeah, we have no idea.
I’m assuming this is Sneaky’s fault. Did he like trick you guys into agreeing to this?
Z: Oh we had no choice. We’ll tell you that.
Now I feel like Sneaky is a mobster who throws incriminating pictures on the table. “Now I own you.”
Z: He doesn’t even have to blackmail me. He just got away with it. “I’ll int your next scrim.”
Wait doesn’t he already int the scrims?
Z: Not really.
L: No he’s pretty –
Z: Well, actually. His level of aggression has increased to the level where there’s often times some intentional feeding from his dash abilities like Ezreal E, Lucian E, those kind of picks.
So do you wish he just never got to play a dash champion?
Z: Oh no I like it. We were bullying him for a bit because they’d watch us trade bot. I’d combo in on Alistar and he’d dash out so Reaper and Dennis were bullying him about it. Now it’s a full 360 now it’s like “alright I’m going in”.
Speaking of that, before we end the interview: There was always those memes about Sneaky mechanics, Sneaky in lane. A lot of times people would say “Sneaky doesn’t look that great domestically”. But then Sneaky gets to an international event and it feels like there’s this other person who gets behind the keyboard and mouse. What do you think causes that for him? Do you think it’s like a pressure point that just unlocks him more?
Z: I think how much the players pressure him and how much of a difference in skill he sees between himself and other players. I think Sneaky will match the best player he plays against almost consistently at some point of playing against them. Like when we played against JackeyLove it was pretty obvious Sneaky could match his skill but it wasn’t like he was always at that level. Sneaky gets really good if he knows that someone is better than him and he tries to continually push that level so he can keep improving every time he goes international.
L: I also think Sneaky is a really underrated players in north America. Like maybe one of THE most underrated players based on community perception. I think he plays really good in north America, he’s a super solid AD carry but a lot of people don’t see it that way. They see a huge gap between NA and worlds.
Standard last question: Do you have anything you want to say to your fans, especially from your eUnited days?
L: Do we have eUnited fans?
Z: There’s probably like twelve of them?
L: To all you eUnited fans out there, thank you.
Z: Thank you for supporting us even on Cloud 9.