Perhaps the most lovable team in NA, C9 is coming off a Cinderella Worlds run that few will forget. After an absolutely horrible summer split, Hai returned to the team and led the team through the gauntlet and the first week of the group stage without a loss. Week 2 of the group stage was not quite so successful with C9 losing all 4 of their games and being knocked out of Worlds.
Since Worlds, support LemonNation has retired, and C9 opened up recruitment for a support or a jungler. For long time C9 fans, this was an exciting prospect. Hai has always been known as a world class shotcaller, but he has always had a tendency to play too aggressively, something that doesn’t bode well as a mid or jungler, but the thought of Hai in a support role just makes far more sense. Not long after C9 started looking, they announced that they would be signing the former TiP jungler Rush. They also signed Bunny FuFuu as a back up to Hai.
I’m using stats from the Gauntlet and Worlds to determine the following analysis, as C9’s play prior to Hai’s return is not representative of their true abilities.
Balls: Balls takes a lot of negative criticism. It seems that Dyrus and Balls have always been the go to Tops to make fun of as “feeders.” But Balls managed to PentaKill the best team in Western history at Worlds, so maybe it’s time to take him seriously. As far as I’m concerned, C9 is a successful team because they play well consistently. They don’t have any superstar players that hard carry them, but they all play at the same high level, every game. Balls rarely does anything insanely huge during games, but he never tilts, and he always fills his role to a T.
Rush: Rush is C9’s new pick-up and is therefore the most interesting one to watch. Rush is coming from a team where he and Impact had to go all out try-hard to carry. TiP is many things, but a fantastic team they are most certainly not. It will be exciting to see how Rush can play when he isn’t constantly carrying his team on his back. Rush and Jensen (Incarnati0n) have been duo queuing since C9 acquired him, and according to many, they are a duo to be reckoned with.
Jensen: With a new summoner name, and his toxic past behind him, Jensen is a player to keep an eye on this season. While he wasn’t a particularly interesting player the past season, he was exactly what C9 needed him to be, consistent. He has a 70% Kill participation, and averages well over 300 CS per game on most of his main champions. With the expected Rush camp of mid lane, Jensen may become a much more important player this split.
Sneaky: Everyone agrees that Sneaky is the single most consistent ADC in all of LCS. I’ve been a C9 fan for a long time, and I’ve never seen Sneaky have a bad game. More so than any other player in the west, Sneaky never has a personal bad game. He has a massive champion pool (he played 11 different champions in 2015), and can be whatever his team needs him to be.
Hai: Hai is a world class shotcaller, and that debate was settled after he took a failing C9 and sent them on a massive winning streak to get through the Regional finals. Whether or not he is a world class support remains to be seen. Hai played a lot of Lee Sin while jungling, and proved that he is quite exceptional at hard engaging the enemy team, so hopefully that ability will translate into the support role. As a big C9 fan, this is a move that I’ve been in favor of since before Hai “retired.”
In their favor: They have a consistent team. No player on this squad will ever have an individually bad game. Hai is a fantastic shotcaller. Rush is a wild card, and may end up being a far better jungler than he was able to show while with TiP.
Against them: They have no hard carry. If an opposing team is making no mistakes, C9 rarely will take the risk to punish them. This often times turns into a very stale playstyle that never gets them anywhere. At Worlds they only really played one strategy, and after week one everyone knew what that strategy was, and they were easily defeated.
C9 has a solid team. They don’t have many risk takers, and they have a good shotcaller. This should translate to a very successful season. They will struggle against TSM and Immortals, both of these teams have many hard carries and can potentially break through C9’s consistency, other than that I think they have an easy second place.