Cloud9 have waited one long year to finally compete at MSI. They had a disappointing end to their 2020 season by missing their chance at World’s, and ultimately never got a shot to compete internationally. After rolling through the competition in the LCS Spring Split, Cloud9 touched down in Iceland to battle against the top teams from around the world. It’s now NA’s chance to prove to the world just how much they’ve closed the gap.
After the first week of the Group Stage, NA’s last hope doesn’t look like it warmed up to Iceland. Cloud9 sat at a pretty uncomfortable 1-2 record, and there was quite a bit to worry about. There were just question mark pings strewn across the Cloud9 team. Whether it be individual plays or team-wide decisions, they just didn’t look like the same team that trounced the North American competition.
That is, of course, until the second half of group play came around. Almost in an instant, the Cloud9 from mere days before had disappeared to make way for an unstoppable juggernaut hellbent on making it out of Group C.
Dueling Against Damwon
As a reward for making it to MSI, Cloud9 had the pleasure of opening up the tournament against one of the best teams in the world. LCS teams haven’t traditionally played well against LCK teams, but for some reason, it felt a little different this time around. Unfortunately for all the NA fans that woke up early, it was just another example of how LCK teams are so good at controlling the tempo at all stages of the game. Fudge had a few questionable plays and Blaber didn’t look great either. In fact, the top performer on Cloud9 was probably Perkz’s Merc Treds. Those boots put in so much work to keep the mid laner alive that they should probably get a Nike deal.
With a pretty forgettable first match, it was the rematch that people will be talking about for quite a long time. It began with a draft that left everyone scratching their heads. Cloud9 opted to take another carry for Fudge with Lee Sin, instead of picking Rumble – one of the strongest junglers at the tournament so far. In the hands of Canyon, it only made sense that DK would easily roll this game through the jungle. However, Cloud9 put their full faith in the right hands as Fudge was the catalyst for a massive upset win. A 10/3/6 scoreline for the C9 top laner stunned the audience and Cloud9 paved their own path to the Rumble stage.
Witnessing Two Different C9’s Against DFM
One of the biggest surprises of the Group stage was DetonatioN Focus Me as a whole. DFM came to win and it didn’t really look as though Cloud9 were prepared. An early death in the river from Blaber set the tone for the first match against the LJL representative. The game quickly got out of hand, and C9 took a really tough loss to set themselves down 0-2 to start. It was at this point that fans and analysts alike looked at Group C and only saw DFM and DK making it out.
In their second game, however, it was Cloud9 that decided to show up in a big way. Perkz took over the game as Yone and Blaber came through with a bounce-back game on Morgana. Yes, Blaber did die once again in a suboptimal spot, but his iron mental kept him in the game. Vulcan and Zven continue to be one of the best bot lane pairings at MSI, thanks to another solid game against a weaker DFM botside. Notably, Cloud9 gave Rumble over to DFM as well, making it back-to-back games where C9 have elected to give away one of the best jungle champions in the current meta.
Through Infinity and Beyond
At glance, Infinity was by far the weakest team in the group. The LLA representative didn’t look too bad in their first matchup against C9, but it was clear there was a bit of a skill gap between the two. Infinity mid-laner Cody did have some great moments against DFM and ultimately carried the team into a win. Cody was less impressive against Cloud9 and Infinity as a whole couldn’t keep up with the macro plays from Blaber and company.
The second match between these teams was a bit of a formality, and both teams looked to just brawl for thirty minutes. Cloud9 grabbed a couple of comfort picks and finally grabbed Rumble first instead of giving it over three games in a row. With second overall in the group secured, Cloud9 played a bit loose but still managed to roll over Infiinty.
Featured image courtesy of Riot Games
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