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3 Keys for Cloud9 to Take Down Team Liquid in the First Round

As is tradition, Cloud9 and Team Liquid face off again in the LCS playoffs. This time around however the two familiar foes have taken a strange route to get to this point in the season. Both teams have shuffled around some pieces on their roster, and both teams looked quite weak at times. The combination of roster moves and meta shifts hasn’t been too kind to TL and C9. But they both found a way to persevere and make it to the upper-half of the bracket.

[Related: LCS Summer Split Power Rankings Playoffs Week 1]

Though both teams stumbled along the way, Cloud9 debatably has looked worse at times than TL. Swapping King in for Zven didn’t provide that boost C9 was looking for, and then adding Zven back in didn’t appear to solve any issues either. With all of the mistakes in the past, it’s now time for Cloud9 to push forward and use the momentum from the previous 2-1 weekend to take the win over their LCS rivals.

Once Again, all Eyes on the Top Lane

It’s been quite some time since the Lock In tournament. The preseason event for the LCS saw two rookies duke it out in the top lane, and Alphari came out of the Lock In with a solid hold of the “Best Top in LCS” title. Fudge struggled to keep pace with the rest of the league, and that stayed true through the first few weeks of spring. However once MSI came, everything change. Fudge transformed into TheFudge.

Courtesy of ESPAT and Oshin Tudayan

It looked like Iceland had something in the water as Fudge came through as the most exciting player on Cloud9 after MSI. Meanwhile in the TL camp, Alphari stepped away from the team for a large majority of the summer split. Jenkins served as TL’s top laner for the time and proved serviceable for the most part. However when Alphari came back, he didn’t miss a beat.

With all the dominant top lane champions available to these players, this playoff game will come down to which player gets ahead. Fudge has been lights out on Gwen this split with an 83% win rate despite blind picking the champion 100% of the time. Alphari hasn’t had many games to match Fudge’s win percentage, but history has shown he can certainly dominate a game on Gangplank and Camille. This matchup is going to be nothing but fireworks all the way through.

Just Don’t Fight for Scuttle

What was once a joke is now a legitimate worry for Cloud9. Several games in the summer have been decided by a terrible fight over the lowly jungle creature. The priority over the top half of the map is crucial, but now teams have realized the almost predictable pathing towards top side for Blaber. Whether it be a miscommunication or just stubbornness, Cloud9 is insistent on contesting scuttle crab even when the fight is not in their favor.

Even in the last few games C9 has realized the game can be winnable even is scuttle goes over to the enemy team. Not dying to the opposing jungler at level 3 is incredibly important for C9, especially against a player like Santorin.

Courtesy of ESPAT and Tina Jo

Santorin had taken a step back from the team as well through the summer, this time to focus on his health. Now in his return, he is certainly looking to get revenge on C9 for missing the Spring Finals earlier in the season. Cloud9 needs to play just a little safer in the early game so that they can ramp up and battle through the mid-game. Just leave the scuttle there, it’s going to be ok.

Playoff Perkz Needs to Activate

Fans have been saying this from the very start of the season. “Cloud9 got Perkz for moments like this” or “Perkz really shines in the playoffs” are very common phrases when people discuss one of the most successful western players to play the game. Audiences even got to see those sayings come true in the Spring split playoffs as Cloud9 took down TL to win the whole thing. It was comforting to see that Perkz was worth the investment at the time.

Since then, Perkz has been very much a rollercoaster of a player. High highs and low lows has been the story for C9 mid laner. The meta shift was a bit of and odd one for Perkz, as he looked mainly comfortable on must-picks but mediocre on much else. But that is all in the past now. It’s playoff Perkz time.

Facing up against Jensen it is vital for Perkz to come through and perform well. Every lane has a tough matchup, but the mid lane can be a place for Cloud9 to attack and find advantages. For that to happen, Playoffs Perkz needs to show up. If Perkz can come through in a big way to kick off the playoff run, Cloud9 could ride that momentum and find their way into the finals.

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Featured image courtesy of ESPAT and Oshin Tudayan

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