Congratulations to the 2020 LCS Spring Champions, Cloud9. This result was expected considering the pure domination they showed throughout the playoffs and regular season. Another congratulations is in order to their opponents in the Final, FlyQuest. Not many outside of the organization expected FlyQuest to compete for the Championship, and they definitely earned their place in the final.
This is Cloud9’s first Championship since 2014, what a time to be alive. In that series they defeated TSM in 3 quick games. For reference, the 2014 team consisted of top laner An “Balls” Le, William “Meteos” Hartman in the jungle, Hai “Hai” Lam patrolling mid with Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi and Daerek “LemonNation” Hart in the bottom lane. With that being said, how has Cloud9 fared in the Spring Splits since their last championship?
2015 (Season 5)
The defending Spring Split Champions once again made playoffs, with the same roster as 2014 Spring. As a wise man once said, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
During the regular season, they were among the best of the best for a second straight split, finishing second to Team SoloMid (TSM).
Their second-place finish gave them a ticket straight to the semi-finals and a series against Team Liquid. They cast Team Liquid aside in a nail-biting 5 game series and were on their way to the Finals for a second straight Spring split. In the Finals, they met a familiar face in TSM for the fourth consecutive time. This series TSM got the better of them and defeated Cloud9 3-1.
2015 Summer Split was somewhat of a…disappointment. Cloud9 finished 7, missing the playoffs by four games. Between the Spring and Summer splits Cloud9 added mid lane import Nicolaj “incarnati0n” Jensen (who would later change his in-game name to Jensen).
2016 (Season 6)
Lee “Rush” Yoon-jae was added in the jungle after the disastrous 2015 Summer Split and moved Meteos to Cloud9 Challenger, a precursor to Cloud9 Academy. Hai played the majority of the games as a support player, with Michael “Bunny FuFu” Kurylo recording two games played as Hai’s substitute. These additions once again propelled Cloud9 into the playoffs, this time as a 3rd place team.
One guess as to who they played in the first round of the playoffs. That’s right, TSM, who got the best of Cloud9 in four games. This caused another shakeup in the Cloud9 organization. They sent both Balls and Hai to Cloud9 Challenger and replaced them with import top lane presence Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong. They also managed to pry support player Andy “Smoothie” Ta away from Team Liquid. Both moves occurred before 2016 Summer Split commenced.
2017 (Season 7)
Before the 2017 Spring Split both Hai and Meteos left the organization to join other teams. This allowed Cloud9 to bring in future Rookie of the Split Juan “Contractz” Garcia in the jungle role. Jeon “Ray” Ji-won also joined to split time with Impact in the top lane. These moves proved beneficial as Cloud9 finished the Spring Season in 2nd place, again securing a ticket straight to the semi-finals.
In the playoffs they defeated the now defunct Phoenix1 3-0, securing a spot in the Spring Finals. Meeting them in the Finals is once again TSM. Again a great series played by both teams, but TSM emerged as the Spring Champions defeating Cloud9 in the full five games.
2018 (Season 8)
Spring 2018 is when the familiar faces start to appear as well as the creation of Cloud9 Academy. Impact left to join the super team of Team Liquid, allowing Eric “Licorice” Ritchie to join the main team. Cloud9 also brought in Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen to replace Contractz, who left to Golden Guardians.
Cloud9 finished the 2018 Spring Split in a 4-way tie for 3rd place. After all 4 tiebreaker games were played Cloud9 entered the playoffs in 5th place. In their first-round series they lost to eventual champions Team Liquid in 3 games.
Once again Cloud9 rolled the dice and traded Smoothie two games into the 2018 Summer Split, allowing Tristan “Zeyzal” Stidam to be promoted to the main roster. Cloud9 advanced all the way to the semi-final round at the Worlds Championship, the furthest a team from North America had ever achieved.
2019 (Season 9)
After such a strong showing at Worlds, Cloud9 looked primed to take the LCS by storm. Shortly after the end of Season 9, Jensen left to join Impact on Team Liquid. Cloud9 then brought in a then fairly unknown European midlaner that goes by the name of Yasin “Nisqy” Dincer.
The team concluded the split in second place, good for another first-round bye. In the semifinals, Cloud9 lost to a familiar face in TSM in another 5 game series. After a disappointing Worlds showing, Cloud9 blew the team up, keeping only Licorice and Nisqy from their 2019 team.
In 2014 Spring Finals, Cloud9 defeated a TSM team with WildTurtle as their ADC. Their next Spring Championship came in 2020 when they defeated a FlyQuest team with WildTurtle as the ADC.
TSM and Cloud9 met each other in the Finals for the first four splits of the North American League Championship Series. As well as the first seven playoff series Cloud9 played. This has established Cloud9 vs TSM as the oldest and most competitive rivalry in the history of the LCS.
2015 Summer Split was the first and only time Cloud9 did not secure a playoff berth since joining the NALCS in 2013.
Featured image courtesy of @Cloud9 on Twitter.
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