C9 Licorice: "I am fighting for my spot and have to earn it."

Is Licorice doing enough to maintain his hold on the starting spot?

League of Legends's Icon Steven Paul · 21 Jul 2019


Photo via Riot Games

After sitting out for two weeks due to an injury, Cloud9’s superstar toplaner Eric “Licorice” Ritchie returned to the stage for week seven of the LCS. Upcomer had a chance to sit down with him after his win on Saturday against 100Thieves to discuss his injury, Kumo as a challenger for the starting spot, and what he’s going to name his alien from Area 51.

Congratulations Licorice on a victory for your first day back. How did it feel being back on the stage?

It felt good, but I was kind of nervous, which has been a trend for me lately. Before my academy games this week also I was super nervous and even miss-bought and teleported in. I was trying to buy Kindlegem on Aatrox but only bought a Ruby Crystal. When I got back to lane I was like, “Why do I have so much gold? *Laughs* Oh god…” Even this game I was still pretty nervous for it.

Was it helpful having the academy games to warm you up before coming back to LCS today?

I wouldn’t say I was happy to play them, it was just sort of whatever. I think extra practice time also would have been good or just having less matches. Also having a warm up was fine, so I don’t think it really mattered.

Well catch up the readers on what happened and what put you out of the game?

I’ve been dealing with general wrist issues for a while now, just a little bit of pain in my wrist. Maybe for a couple years now, it’s been super mild and super on and off. Then about five or six weeks ago it started getting a lot worse, so I went to see a specialist and they told me I had nerve problems from my neck that went into my arms. It was the whole thing.

It was getting worse and worse, and I just told my team and said that in order to make sure I’m good for playoffs, I should take a break now. It’s not getting better now, and if it keeps getting worse I won’t be able to play in playoffs or at Worlds. So I took a break, did basically nothing for an entire week, and then talked to my specialist and they told me to start playing a little bit while keeping an eye on it. So I started playing half the scrims the next week, and then now this week I’m pretty much back to normal.

I’m still splitting time with Kumo, and he’s still part of the ten man roster right now. I am fighting for my spot and have to earn it. I’m pretty much scrimming six games a day, plus playing academy and solo queue.

That’s got to be a hard thing to do, going to your team and telling them you need to sit out. What was it like watching the team play and find success with Kumo?

It was stressful. Watching is harder than playing, for me at least. When I play I’m not thinking that much, I’m just in the moment and in the zone. When I’m watching, I’m just seeing all the little mistakes that everyone is doing, and you can see things coming with the god-mode vision.

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Of course I’ve experienced that watching other games, but never with my own team. It was so stressful, but Kumo did really well and I’m really proud of how he played. I’m happy we got some wins so if we’re not first place, we’re still towards the top of the standings.

Must feel good not coming back to a team on fire. Did it in particular make you feel nervous seeing Kumo perform so well and having your starting position challenged?

Yeah, for sure. I mean, it’s good seeing Kumo do well but I wanna play, too, so i had to make sure I got back into form. We’re still competing for the spot right now. I don’t know Reapered’s master plan.

Something I’m interested in getting your opinion on is the conversation about Rookie of the Split. Right now the ones in the conversation are Fakegod and Kumo. What are your thoughts on these two young top laners?

I think if you’re looking at performance then you’d have to give it to Kumo. He’s had more stand out performances, despite the fact that he’s played less games. I think Fakegod has also been doing really well, and the argument for him is that even though he’s not a flashy player, his team has been doing really well with him.

I think it just depends on how you want to give the reward. Kumo came in and made some flashy plays, which might be a reason to give it to him, but Fakegod has also helped his team succeed. It all depends on your criteria.

I’m not sure if you’ve heard yet, but I spoke earlier with Sneaky and he claims that Cloud9 has a plan to go storm Area 51 as a team. Once the team signs up and storms the base, what nickname are you gonna give your alien?

Oh, I don’t know. Maybe I’d go for a League champion, or just something like “Steve” (laughs).

Steve the alien. I kind of like that. It would really help you get around border patrol, like, “Oh this guy? He’s not an alien he’s just Steve.”

(Laughs) Yeah it’s not an aggressive name, he just sounds like a nice guy!

After Licorice left, I sent communications to the mother-ship that he was one who could be trusted. Clearly he has good taste.

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