As the 5th week and the first round-robin of the 2020 LCS Spring Split comes to a close, it’s hard to overlook the undefeated Cloud9 team. The squad has won all 10 of their matches this year, and it doesn’t look like any other team is remotely near their level. However, Cloud9’s 2020 roster permutation was unexpected when it was first announced— especially to the last player to join the team.
“I was kind of shocked at first, because I didn’t expect to be traded at all,” support player Philippe “Vulcan” Laflamme explains. “But I said yes, very fast. I’ve always wanted to play for Cloud9.”
Vulcan, age 20, became the most expensive North American player in LCS history last November. Cloud9 agreed to pay $1.5 million and trade rookie ADC Johnson “Johnsun” Nguyen to Dignitas for his contract buyout. Vulcan had been a breakout star with Clutch Gaming in the 2019 season and was a keystone for the organization’s success that year— so it was a surprise to him when he received a call from his general manager.
“Honestly, Dignitas had told me multiple times that they thought I was a very important piece of the roster, and that they would keep me, no matter what,” he explains. “So I was just chilling, expecting to play with Dignitas for at least another year. And out of nowhere, my GM contacted me, asking me if I can hop on a call. And instantly, he was like, ‘Are you okay being traded to Cloud9?'”
The support player had just returned back home to Canada from a long streak, competing through the 2019 LCS Regional Finals Gauntlet, the Worlds Play-in, and the group stage of 2019 Worlds. As a result, the trade call during the off-season was not only unexpected but also a chaotic process.
“Next year, I’m probably going to make sure that I’m in LA so I can see the people that are in charge of my destiny,” Vulcan laughs.
Vulcan’s Early Struggles
As Cloud9 continues to dominate every game and stay undefeated, it’s no contest that Vulcan has been performing to expectations on this squad— but he hasn’t always had the opportunities to shine. The young support player spent just under a year with CLG’s academy team back in 2017, but never saw the light of day with the starting lineup.
“Well, I was on CLG, but I was a remote sub,” he elaborates. “I was in Canada while they were all in LA, so I didn’t interact with them at all. I played one scrim. I even got thrown out twice, actually, for tryouts, and I couldn’t do anything. I didn’t really have a shot from the beginning. I felt like I wasn’t really given a fair chance to start.”
His frustrations on the bench led him to find another opportunity through the 2017 NA Scouting Grounds later that year. Vulcan’s performance in the event led to a 4th place draft-pick with Clutch Gaming. His time in the Academy league would prove to provide immense experience for his career.
“I got to play with Gwang-Jin “Piglet” Chae, who’s one of the most, if not the most talented individual players I played with,” Vulcan states. “I learned a lot of laning stuff, even some micro. He’s a pretty smart player. I learned a lot from Piglet.”
Not only did Vulcan learn how to play the game better through his botlaner, but he also learned other social cues from the former world champion.
“I learned how to communicate with my teammates on when we struggle, when we have problems. I can’t just like avoid the problem or ignore my teammates or avoid having conversations… so to be like, a human being, I guess,” he shrugs.
Since the addition of Vulcan to the roster, Cloud9 has been on a dominant tear through the LCS. The team averages a league-fastest 29.6 minutes per game, making each victory short and sweet. Vulcan has adapted to his new team just as quickly and believes that the organization is a great fit.
“Cloud9 feels like a big family,” he says. “I always see Jack (Cloud9 CEO) around chilling with us. Everyone seems pretty close. You know, we do morning workouts, stuff like that. We’re always doing stuff together. The players are really nice. They’re very open to criticism and really easy to work with.”
Vulcan continues, “The public seems to think that Cloud9, has a very ‘troll’ atmosphere. But from what I see, I don’t think it’s true that Cloud9 is trolling or just makes fun of everything. Obviously, we’re able to be professional when we need to.”
As a part of the team to beat, Vulcan continues to chase his goals ambitiously. With the Spring Split halfway complete, he has a few to check off of his list.
“We can win the split, so I’m aiming for winning the Spring Split,” he begins. “But individually, I want to be all-star support, or all-pro support. Because last year, it was just Yong-In “CoreJJ” Jo that everyone talked about. And I want to be able to make it more interesting. So I’m thinking either that, or to be the MVP.”
He takes a moment to think, then smiles.
“Because… you know, if you’re not aiming to be MVP, then… you’re boring.”
Feature image courtesy of Riot Games.
Follow The Game Haus for more sports and esports coverage:
For more League of Legends and Overwatch League content, check out Steph’s Twitter @kdpanthera.
Want to show off how much you like TGH? Check out our merch shop here!
“From Our Haus to Yours”