When we last left our boys in blue, the team was starting to feel the crunch of the season. After poor Week 2 results, and constant pressure from fans, Cloud9 looked to make changes going into Week 3. Sadly, their changes weren’t enough to eliminate their defined issues.
The C9 Academy team continues to be the bright spot among the dark storm of Cloud9 League of Legends. C9 was able to score three for three by utilizing the in-vogue gold funnel strategy.
For those unaware, the gold funnel is a newly crafted stratagem from the cruel depths of the anything-goes meta. The gold funnel looks to jump-start hyper-carry champions (Kayle and Kai’Sa in C9’s case) by drafting multiple supports and putting the majority of the wealth onto one player. This allows the hyper-carry to more quickly reach a point of relevance and hold a small lead over the opposing team.
C9 was able to execute this composition, however they certainly looked uncomfortable in doing so. During their first match of the week against Echo Fox Academy, C9’s play looked rather clumsy. The team seemed uncomfortable with the strategy and were still learning the proper way of executing it. Had it not been for another hero performance from rookie top laner, Ziqing “Colin” “Shiro” Zhao, C9’s mistakes may have led to a loss.
Luckily, the team seemed to quickly adapt to the gold funnel after each match. Against Optic Academy, the team tightened their play and were able to dig out a satisfying win, once again on the back of Shiro’s mighty performance. In their final match of the week, gold receiver Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi shined on Kai’Sa. Sneaky was able to put Team Liquid Academy through their paces by touting an impressive 9-0-2 performance.
Sadly, this is where the good vibes end for Cloud9. As the weekend came to a close, Cloud9 once again found themselves unable to follow through with their leads and have themselves stuck dead last. The drafting lately has not particularly been a strong suit for C9, as they find themselves twisting in the wind and hoping flavor of the week strategies can propel them to a win. For this week, the team went with yet another new roster configuration with Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen and Andy “Smoothie” Ta ascending to the LCS stage and Greyson “Goldenglue” Gilmer remaining as a starter for the bottom lane.
Against TSM, C9 could not seem to control themselves. With every smart play, one or two foolish plays would follow. While C9 was able to edge out a small lead and two inhibitors in the back-and-forth match, they ended up losing to TSM’s more late game focused composition.
Against Echo Fox, the team seemed to throw caution to the wind by creating a composition around Eric “Licorice” Ritchie’s Irelia dive. While Licorice demonstrated some exhilarating personal skill on Irelia, his rookie status showed as he seemed to miscalculate his own limitations.
This could also go for C9 as a whole given how they decided to play with their composition. Given the low amount of damage, C9 should follow the methodology of poke, poke again, poke some more, then start a fight while the enemy is low. Instead, C9 (sometimes impatiently so) skipped the poking and jumped straight into the punching. This approach worked at first, but quickly rendered diminishing results as their opponent once again brandished the sharper late game.
What to do?
It is never good when even the added firepower of Smoothie and Jensen isn’t able to solve Cloud9’s problems. And while some will definitely say that the addition of Sneaky would have been the deciding factor, we have to consider that the problems demonstrated are problems that Cloud9 possessed since the middle of spring. Coupled with Sneaky potentially playing a mage bottom lane, victory may still not have been guaranteed.
While it is easy to point fingers at under-performers, the blame should be pointed on the organization as a whole. It is the coach’s fault for drafting snowballing compositions despite the team’s inability to manage them; the players’ fault for not being able to overcome their issues and adapt. It is the organizations fault for allowing this situation to happen in the first place. Ultimately, Cloud9, and Cloud9 as a whole, is responsible for their poor situation, and it will be Cloud9 as a whole that will dig themselves out.
Thanks to the Rift Rivals event, C9 will have two weeks of much needed practice before their next set of games. It will be sink or swim time for Cloud9, so hopefully the team will have at least perfected their doggy paddle. Until then, thank you for reading and be sure to keep your eyes on the sky!
Featured Image courtesy of Riot Games. Images courtesy of LoL Esports Flickr