During the first week of the LCS, we were lucky enough to sit down with C9 top laner Eric “Licorice” Ritchie to discuss C9’s 2-0 opening weekend. He speaks on the difficult game against Clutch Gaming, trust issues with Nisqy, and how his addition changed the look of C9 in game.
Licorice: I’m feeling pretty good! I think that we had a strong showing in spring but we didn’t quite clench it out in playoffs so this split will be just looking to go strong through the whole thing. Hopefully take first in the regular season and win it all after that.
I think the communication was good, we just knew that they started our blue so the map was split. That meant topside I could do whatever I wanted while our botlane just had to be scared of their jungler. So then it’s kind of expected that Sona/Taric falls behind in the early game so we were totally ok with it. Then we just figure out what I can do. We couldn’t really do anything toplane so I just sort of roamed around. We ended up getting a fight that Nisqy just flashed in… We might have been telling him to back off but he went in. So that started to go, but then we won the fight and started to snowball the game.
I think the enemy team might have missed a couple of spells that could have made it hard for us. But yeah, maybe trust Nisqy more? I’m not too sure on that one.
Ever since I joined, Reaperd’s been really good about making sure the draft is maybe not focused on me, but always good for me. I’m always comfortable with the champion I’m playing, and he doesn’t want me on something that I don’t have practice on or a matchup I don’t wanna play. Sometimes there’s bad matchups, but there’s bad matchups I’m comfortable playing and then bad matchups that I just don’t wanna touch with a ten foot pole… So I think he’s always been good at focusing the draft around picking me a good champion. I think recently I’ve just been more confident as a player. Then we started to be able to play topside more towards me.
I mean it’s something I’ve been trying to work on for a while. Because I’ve never just been a player that demands a lot of resources like a lot of the carry top laners are known for. I think Reignover since he’s joined has helped a lot. He used to play with Huni, so he’s trying to teach me how Huni used to hog resources. It’s pretty aggressive but I’m trying it out.
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Next we spoke about the invasive Pyke top lane pick, made prominent by G2’s toplaner Wunder at MSI 2019. He shared his thoughts on the pick:
I think it’s a really strong pick, but I would be really hesitant to blind pick it personally. I think there’s a lot of champs you can pick into it that just beat it. I think Camille beats it because it gives kill pressure with the ultimate. You can actually gank the Pyke now, whereas usually it’s just this super safe pick that runs around and is annoying. There’s other picks that I won’t mention here that make me not want to first pick it, but as a champ I think it’s really strong as a counter pick.
Yeah that was kind of the first matchup. It’s good at being poked and just staying at full hp so it seems pretty strong against poke champions. Especially champions that wanna burst you and push you out really hard. I actually think it’s ok into most things, and then there’s a couple matchups that are really bad.
Finally, Licorice shared some of his thoughts on Rift Rivals, including: The laner he’s excited to test his skills against, C9’s chances against g2, and his sympathy towards the EU pros’ travel requirement.
I think I’d have to go with Wunder. He’s been seen as the best EU toplaner. I scrimmed him a bit at worlds last year, didn’t get the chance to go to MSI this year, but we did scrim them a bit when we bootcamped in Korea. I think it’ll be exciting to play him on stage.
I think we definitely have a chance. We’ve been trying to sort of copy the IG/G2 super aggressive style of just fighting all the time. I think that just based on how the fights go, either team could win the game.
For me personally, this year it’s in North America and it’s just during when LCS would normally be that week. Other teams kinda get a break but not really. We did that last year, and I’d prefer playing in Rift Rivals to sitting out. But I think it would be rough with the travel involved, I don’t know if I would be as excited if I had to travel to Europe for it. But this year, personally, I’m happy.