Despite being the team-to-beat for the Spring split, Cloud9 have continually struggled against one opponent. Team Liquid have the secret stuff to consistently beat Cloud9, and it looks like they aren’t sharing it with the rest of the league. After beating C9 in the Lock In finals, TL have maintained a 2-0 record against the first-seed team. Now the two face off once again in the winner’s semi-final match. If Cloud9 want to flip the script on Team Liquid, there are a few key ideas that they’ll need to take into this match to finally take down TL.
Pressure the Mid Lane Matchup
TL/C9 games are always a good time because of the strength of their playmakers. For this series, eyes should be all on the mid laners as they fight for the title of “Best mid laner in NA”. Perkz and Jensen are two very strong players, but it’s also one of the best lanes for Cloud9 to press for advantages. Because Jensen is one of the most stable players on the team, Cloud9 will want to put extra pressure on the TL mid laner and potentially disrupt any plans to play through Jensen.
"Perkz plays control mages. Not as well as me. He tries to play assassins. Not as well as me … he's an AD Carry player."
— LCS (@LCSOfficial) April 2, 2021
On the other side of this matchup, it is vital that Cloud9 elevates Perkz in this series. Right now, Perkz is playing some of his best League of Legends this split. Perkz’s champion pool is riddled with hard-carry champions that Cloud9 will want to utilize in this matchup. If Blaber and Vulcan spend extra time in the mid lane and get Perkz a sizeable advantage, Cloud9 should have no problem winning this match through mid.
Simplify the Draft
The draft is easily one of the most important fights to win even before the players load onto the rift. Already in the playoffs fans have seen teams lose a draft phase in a way that it was almost impossible for them to win before the game even begun. Cloud9 is guilty of this as well. Several times through the regular season, C9 drafted suboptimal comps that lead to unlikely losses against weaker teams. Against a team as strong as Team Liquid, Cloud9 can’t afford to make any mistakes in the pick and bans.
What that means for C9 is that they cannot allow Team Liquid the “power pick” advantage. For every top-tier pick Cloud9 allows through the draft, they need to make sure they can select their own power pick. Fans saw in the Dignitas vs 100 Thieves game just what happens when one team fails to plan around the most prominent power picks in the meta. Cloud9 did showcase their ability to conduct smart and effective drafts in the first round of the playoffs. Now it is the time to prove they can consistently execute winning draft plans.
Leave Fudge On the Weak Side
The TL/C9 top side matchup will be the focus for every fan, analyst, and player this weekend. Alphari and Fudge could not have more different storylines so far in their first year in the LCS. Alphari has been dominant from day 1 and has never let the foot off the gas. Fudge on the other hand stumbled at the starting line and has unfortunately dragged this stigma of “bust” through the majority of the season. Now as the two face off again, it’s time for Fudge to silence the critics once more.
The key for Fudge’s, and Cloud9’s success against Alphari could be easy as just leaving top lane alone. Fudge has played incredibly well on the weak side through Spring and it could be the missing piece in beating Team Liquid. While Fudge has had a few good games on carry champions, he has had issues being a consistent threat on these high damage picks. Being that solid rock on the top half of the map will mean everything for Cloud9. If Fudge can escape laning phase even with Alphari, that will be a huge win for Cloud9.
Featured image courtesy of Cloud9
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