The first playoff appearance for the revamped Cloud9 roster looked as good as any fan could have hoped. While the matches leading up to the playoffs weren’t the cleanest games, it looked like Cloud9 had completely put those results behind them. 100 Thieves looked prepared heading into the series and even threatened to steal away game 1 at points. But even with a few misplays, Cloud9 easily dispatched 100T in route to a 3-0 win.
A 3-0 is Exactly What Cloud9 Needed
There is a lot of pressure that comes with being the first seed. As the first seed, there isn’t any room for error. The best team in the bracket gets the advantage of playing against the lowest seed, and in theory the top team should win. Sometimes that isn’t the case and the first seed loses in dramatic fashion to the underdog, often times ending their playoff run all together.
For Cloud9, that certainly was not the case. Cloud9 ran through 100 Thieves with very little effort. It would look like the teams were a bit more evenly matched if fans only looked at the scoreboard. However C9 were clearly in control for the majority of the game. Then in the following games, Cloud9 earned even more decisive victories over 100 Thieves, reminding the rest of the league why Cloud9 had finished the Spring split with the best overall record.
It was incredibly important that Cloud9 won this series by a solid margin. Winning big against a weaker opponent instills a sense of confidence in the players and removes any doubts that fans may have had heading into the postseason. With MSI on the line, Cloud9 can’t afford to limit test or experiment like they had towards the end of the regular season. A clean 3-0 thumping of 100T highlights how C9 is mentally prepared to give zero ground to any opponent.
Definitely Can’t Get in the Habit of Missing Baron
With all the good that happened through the series, there is still one glaring issue that reared its ugly head. Blaber lost pivotal smite fights over Baron. In the Lock-In Tournament, Blaber struggled to win smite fights against Closer and it appeared to be a problem once again in this series. It even looked like one of the Baron-plays was caused by a bit of miscommunication – no one confidently knew if Closer had flash apparently.
Luckily in these matches, Baron was not the decisive objective and Cloud9 wasn’t punished for losing the smite fight. However these moments can’t become a common theme through the rest of the playoffs. Against teams that can generate serious advantages, a failed Baron attempt could create a massive turn in momentum. Sure it’s nitpicky, but realistically Cloud9 cannot afford to fumble important objective fights deep into the playoffs.
Drafts Were Incredibly Clean and Fun
Now to talk about the most exciting part of this series – the C9 drafts. Each of these games had an interesting composition come out from the Cloud9 team that made each match incredibly fun to watch. In game 1 both Fudge and Perkz locked in carry solo-laners in Renekton and Yone. Zven got to play some Ezreal to punish the enemy Senna while still providing insane damage later in the game. After the 2020 Summer playoffs, surely plenty of fans had some bad memories of Zven’s Ezreal but fortunately for viewers it wasn’t paired with the Yuumi.
Then in game 2 Cloud9 somehow finessed Olaf through the first round of pick and bans. It looked as though 100 Thieves thought they had the right pieces to stop Blaber’s Olaf this time around, unlike earlier in the season. To the surprise of no one, 100T in fact did not have the secret sauce to stop Olaf. Blaber ran through everyone and everything to speedrun the victory through the jungle, featuring a 23 minute Infernal Dragon Soul.
The best moment came from game 3, as Cloud9 crafted one of the most ambitious draft plans to date. Typically teams will hover over one or two potential flex picks in order to catch an opponent off guard. Cloud9 said forget that and selected four flex picks over the course of the draft. Lilia was the only champion that could not be used in a new lane. Frankly it was just really fun to watch the entire draft unfold. Best of all, Cloud9 absolutely smashed with this comp. Fans can only hope more and more of these creative drafts come through as the team dives deeper into the playoffs.
Featured image courtesy of Cloud9
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