Eric “Licorice” Ritchie joined Cloud9's main roster way back in Spring 2018, replacing Jung "Impact" Eon-yeong.
A previous substitute on Cloud 9's challenger team, Licorice spent some time on eUnited from 2016-2017 before coming back to Cloud9, where he has been their top laner since.
With Cloud9 achieving a historic win for the organisation at the LCS Spring Split finals, there’s mounted expectation for the team heading into the summer season. Ahead of the LCS’s return this weekend, we spoke with Licorice about what we can expect.
Read more: LCS host James “Dash” Patterson interview
You guys dominated Spring Split and the postseason, so what's the plan for Summer? Are you guys going to keep doing what you've been doing or try something new?
Our plan for Summer is really just the same plan from Spring. We actually did a really good job of trying out a lot of new things and I expect that we’ll keep that going forward. Even just preparing for Summer these past couple of weeks of scrims we've already been trying a lot of new things and I'm really excited to play on stage with my team.
Licorice is the top laner for Cloud9 (Picture: lolesports/Riot Games)
You guys beat TSM recently while off-role in the Mid-Season Showdown. I know it was a bit different, but is that a preview of what’s to come? If you can beat them off-role, then surely there's probably not going to be an issue if you guys are playing on-role.
Yeah, the off-role Showmatch is a fun game mode, but at the same time, when you put ten competitive players in there no one wants to lose, so I'm really happy we won and I hope we can keep up that kind of dominance in real matches.
Cloud9 has been producing some really awesome content, including the Never Have I Ever, the Blind 1v1s and the Bob Ross Painting one. Do you see this as a great way to bond and de-stress, especially when we're in the middle of a pandemic?
For me, it's really important to spend some time with my teammates and even when it's content, I think it's still good to just do things together as a team.
So, like, the Bob Ross one in particular was actually fun for me and I actually really enjoyed that. I think it's just great that we're spending time together.
Speaking of your team, Cloud9 is starting this Presence of Mind initiative to increase mental health awareness. Is that particularly important to you?
I think mental health is super important and for me, I've always been fortunate to have really good mental health. It's like a privilege; it's not something that you should take for granted, because a lot of people don't, so it's definitely a cause that I can get behind and support.
I know when you were on The Queue with James "Dash" Patterson, you talked a bit about Bok “Reapered” Han-gyu as a coach. I'm sure he isn’t saying, “Well, we won Spring, so we don't need to try anymore,” but is there a different approach that he's taken to coaching now?
No, not really. I think we pretty much have the same approach as always; speaking for myself and my teammates, we all still really want to win so we're going to try just as hard during the Summer and I think it's the same for the coaching staff.
There have been some team changes over the off-season; do you think that any of these roster changes are going to change the way that you view your matchups? Is there any team in particular you're looking forward to seeing what that change is going to bring?
I don’t think there’s really a team in particular that I'm super excited to see what they're going to look like. I think that going from Spring to Summer, I think you can expect the competition to get better as we're all just working hard to make sure that we stay ahead of the curve, that that we're still going to be dominant in Summer like we were in Spring.
We definitely want to go to Worlds and performing well at Worlds is a big goal of ours, but first we'll have to win Summer.
What have you been doing to fill your time besides the Cloud9 content and scrims? Are there any new games you're getting into? Tried Valorant?
I played one game of Valorant for content, but apart from that, I haven’t played it. I just don't think [it’s] the kind of game I could play casually.
I kind of always struggle with playing multiplayer games because I want to be good, and there's such a big learning curve when you're playing against other people that it ends up eating up too much of my time.
If it’s taking away from my League competitive time then I don't think it’s very good for me or my career so I kind of stay away from those. But I have been doing a lot of reading and I also picked up Pokemon Go which has been a lot of fun.
What kind of books? Any recommendations?
I was reading a mix of fiction and non-fiction, and the non-fiction stuff was sort of practice--like, self help-ish kind of books. But I think my favourite book that I read during the off-season, which was a re-read, was The Hobbit.
Finally, how have you been doing during the pandemic? I'm assuming you can't go home and visit family.
I've been doing really well. I think I've been really fortunate; I'm still able to work even though it’s the off-season, but I still can basically do everything that I was doing before.
I'm just really grateful to have this kind of experience during the pandemic and I know it's been a lot more rough for other people.
You can catch Licorice and Cloud9 in their first match of the Summer Split beginning on 12th June. You can catch it on YouTube, Twitch, and lolesports.com. Be sure to catch more League content here on GINX Esports TV.