‘Individuals don’t win championships, teams do’: yay claims Cloud9 needs to get better after VCT LOCK//IN loss to DRX

The NA "superteam" is out, and it seems that everyone agrees they need to do more.

After a hot start to their series against DRX, Cloud9 struggled to keep up with the kings of Korean VALORANT, losing decisively on Haven and Icebox to punctuate a second-round exit from the VCT LOCK//IN event.

After the loss, C9’s superstar offseason acquisition Jaccob “yay” Whiteaker acknowledged that his individual performance didn’t quite live up to expectations. But his overall message was that the team has to start playing better for their Champions goals to be realistic.

“I’ve always thought that individuals don’t win championships, teams do,” yay said in response to a question from Dot Esports asking if his high level of play was vital to C9 winning a world championship. “In terms of whether or not I need to be a top-tier individual, I mean, that would help. [But] overall, I think we just need to get better.”

For the majority of the maps C9 played in São Paulo, the team looked cohesive and precise. Pearl is quickly looking like a favorite for C9 on both attack and defense, with the duo of Nathan “leaf” Orf and Erick “Xeppaa” Bach shining bright.

Overall though, it was a quiet showing from yay, whose best individual performances at VCT LOCK//IN have come on Chamber, an agent that once solely defined the competitive meta but one that’s been relatively absent from almost all comps. But C9’s in-game leader Anthony “vanity” Malaspina also agrees that there’s still work to be done overall.

Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games

“I’m pretty disappointed with the result,” vanity said. “That’s obviously not how we wanted it to end. I still think we were giving it a fair shot in most of these rounds [against DRX]. We were misplaying very micro things at the very end, and the round would collapse. We definitely played a lot better in practice.”

While disappointed, the loss hasn’t sunken the spirits of the team. Even as they were down big on Icebox, getting jumping right-clicked by DRX players, vanity and Zellsis could be seen smiling and laughing.

But the biggest test still awaits: VCT Americas league play. Beginning March 26, the real work towards a potential world championship begins for C9 and the other nine partnered teams on the western side of the Atlantic.

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