The original Cloud9 roster—what was once known to the world as google me—was characterized by what seemed to be bonds of friendship. However, late-September saw the collapse of the original roster, with deBett, reaver, and Grego stepping away from the team. Kyle "KyKy" Souder remained with Surefour and Adam to build a brand new roster, featuring two European talents and Canadian Roolf.
While this roster performed reasonably well, placing top 4 in MLG and doing well online, Cloud9 announced a surprise change: Daniel "GODS" Graeser would replace former captain KyKy right before the beginning of OGN's second season of APEX. However, Cloud9 was not the only team to make a change; KyKy announced that he would coach Team EnVyUs throughout APEX—a tall task given their win in the prior season.
I sat down with KyKy to discuss how he felt about his old organization, and what his role would be in his new home.
Now the news is public: GODS will be flexing on Cloud9 while you're stepping away from pro play. Is there any specific reason this is happening? In terms of your personal performance, it never really looked "weak" per se, and many would argue your Zarya and D.Va were world-class.
KyKy: I think this has less to do with GODS, and more to do with a very weird chain of events that took place in the weeks leading up OGN. It is important to note that my plan was always to become a coach (or both coach and manager) after being a player. It didn't exactly happen the way I planned it, but I am happy with the outcome in the end. EnVy has been very welcoming to me and I am grateful for the opportunity they have given me.
Why exactly did you decide to coach a different team instead of transitioning to Cloud9's coach? What do you expect your role to be as coach of Team EnVyUs?
KyKy: After thinking for a long time, and talking with all of the management in Cloud9, I felt going from player to coach on the same team wouldn't be as productive for either party. I am very loyal to the organization, and especially Jack who I have the utmost respect for, but having separation from my former teammates would be key in making this step in my life. My role as coach is obviously to prepare my team for everything, and I think being the first real "player coach" will definitely put me in the spotlight for better or worse, and I am ready to take on the challenge.
Obviously EnVyUs took home season 1 of APEX; what is your mentality for this season? What would you consider a "success?"
KyKy: EnVy taking home the APEX season 1 trophy is great, but I think that Korean teams are way better even now than they were a few months ago. Coaching a championship team may come with "not much to gain, and everything to lose" mentality to most people, and it does put some pressure on me, but I believe I have a lot to offer and I am confident in my ability. Obviously, as a former player, success only would come with getting first place.
Many people would like to know if there's any bad blood between you and your former team. What would you say?
KyKy: There is no real bad blood between me and my former teammates; I even helped most of them set up their international phone plans right before traveling to Korea. It's not to say there aren't some differences, but that comes with everyone that's ever been on a team. No team will be a perfect, happy circle of friends, but I am never the kind of person to hold grudges.
How do you expect your former team to perform with GODS? Do you think their flex-heavy approach will work out?
KyKy: I expect Cloud9 to do well at OGN. I know they practiced hard in the week leading up to the event, and I wish them the best of luck. As for their approach and if GODS is the right addition to the team, we will find out soon enough!
Is this gig permanent, or are you just trialling with EnVy until the end of APEX?
KyKy: Right now I am still signed to Cloud9, partaking in an opportunity that was given to me by EnVy. You could consider it a trial, but even after Korea my fate will be decided by the bosses and what they think is best.
Thanks for speaking with me, I wish you good luck in your new role on Team EnVyUs!
Team EnVyUs took down MVP Infinity in their first match of APEX, and will face BK Stars on February 10 at 7:00 PM KST. KyKy will accompany the team throughout the entirety of APEX, after which his future remains to be decided.