Despite Team Liquid’s confidence going into the LCS Spring Split, Cloud9 had a pretty convincing win over the four-time repeat LCS champions in the first game of the 2020 season.
Many fans were surprised to see Team Liquid Academy’s Australian jungler Shern “Shernfire” Cherng Tai filling in for Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen instead of former teammate Eugene “Pobelter” Park. But assisant coach Kang “Dodo” Jun-hyeok was confident in the decision before the match began.
“Pobelter practiced with us all of January, but Shernfire came about four days ago and was playing really well in scrims, even with jetlag,” Dodo said.
WIN.gg sat down with Shernfire to discuss going from Team Liquid fan to teammate.
Do you think you underestimated Cloud9?
Shernfire: No, I think we respect them. But I’d say we got surprised. We got caught off guard.
What surprised you?
Our understanding of matchups, definitely. We weren’t scared. But some holes in our game got exposed. We just lost, that’s the only way to put it. Personally, I didn’t think much of the [Cloud9] players individually, but I just lost to them. We gained a lot more respect for them. I definitely want to face them again ASAP.
Do you think you guys would win if you faced them again?
Yes, definitely. We’re going to get better.
How were you hoping your draft would work against C9, especially around objectives?
We didn’t get many chances and that was on their part. They played really well. The times where we had chances, I failed to step up. It was all individual mistakes, and I was part of that.
I think we could have come back and won, even though it felt like a hard game from the start.
What do you wish you had done differently?
It doesn’t matter what I wish. I just want to get better with the team. I just know I can play better. I’m not too frustrated about this loss. I obviously wanted to win, but my preparation and everything… I was happy with the process overall.
How were you feeling during scrims?
The first day I got off the plane, I instantly started scrimming. I had no sleep. I tried, but I can’t [sleep] on planes. It was probably more intense than this LCS game. Just playing with players I looked up to and wanted to play with. It was just sick. All the flashing lights in the facility.
I wasn’t tired in that moment, I’ll tell you that.
Were you nervous when you learned you’d be playing the first match?
Yeah, when I got the call you can say I practiced a little harder.
Why do you think you were a better pick than Pobelter?
I just proved it. He was practicing for a month before me.
How is it playing on the LCS Arena stage with the main roster?
It already sinked in during scrims. There was a moment where I realized I was a part of the team. I’m an equal, you could say. But at the start I felt pretty uncomfortable. I just wanted to prove myself to the guys, and I think I earned their respect.
Now I’m a teammate first, a fan after.
Doublelift shared your message to him in 2018 a few days ago, where you asked him if Team Liquid would give you a chance.
He was going to share that whether I wanted him to or not!
Do you think he had any influence over the team signing you?
I don’t think so. CoreJJ actually helped a lot. I was in Korea with him a lot. When I was in North America I was with him. I think he recommended me, but it’s always been my dream to play with the best players and I think these guys are the best players.
How are you feeling about your match against Team SoloMid on Monday?
I’m a little more intimidated than I was with C9. But the more I respect my opponent, usually the better I play.
So you’re looking forward to it?
Yeah, for sure.
What are your thoughts on the new schedule, with Monday Night League?
I just want to play League of Legends. I don’t care. I just want to play.
Obviously, it makes things a bit weird. Usually you play for two days, then take a break. People are making too many assumptions that it’s shit. I need to see how it feels first.
What are you goals for the 2020 season?
To be the starting jungler for Team Liquid. To win internationally and domestically.
Those are big goals. Do you think you can do it?
That’s definitely what I’m working towards no matter what. I think that’s why this team was formed, this whole team: to win. And I think we have the tools to do it.