In their third matchup since Lock In, Cloud9 and Team Liquid duked it out in the Mid-Season Showdown semifinal match. Plenty of fans felt that Cloud9 was actually the underdog in this series despite being the first overall seed. Team Liquid easily dispatched a surging TSM squad to make it to the semi’s, proving once again they are easily one of the top teams in the LCS. In their second best-of-five matchup C9 and TL would once again jockey for the first spot in the MSS finals.
All of the hype for this match was quickly extinguished after a decisive Cloud9 victory to kick off the series. Game two gave a bit of hope for TL fans as the momentum evened out with a convincing win of their own. But sure enough, Cloud9 came through with back-to-back victories to take the series and move on to the finals. Fans of Cloud9 can be excited as not only will they avoid the losers bracket, but the team highlighted a lot of strengths as they move on to championship weekend.
Playoff Perkz is the Real Deal
When Perkz underperformed in the Lock In tournament, an incredible amount of fans hastily doubted the ability of Cloud9’s new mid laner. People saw some early season jitters and assumed the worst for the 8-time LEC champion. Then as Cloud9 lost to Team Liquid in the finals of the Lock In, there was a growing concern about how the new players on C9 would perform in these high-stakes situations.
It is now safe to say that is certainly no longer a worry for Cloud9 fans. Perkz came out firing on all cylinders against Team Liquid. In game 1, Perkz displayed the power of Sylas against opponents with extremely powerful ultimates. In game 3 he reminded the rest of the LCS that he has one of the best Ryze’s in the league. Then finally in the match-point game, TL let Lucian slide through the draft, allowing Perkz to once again show off those bot lane skills he learned over on G2.
To put it plainly, this is one of the major reasons why C9 pushed hard to sign Perkz in the offseason. His vast amount of playoff experience allows him to remain calm even after being ganked several times before 10 minutes. His wide hero pool came in clutch, as TL failed to ban out every potential threat from C9’s mid lane. Watch out world, because Playoff Perkz is ready to battle for his first LCS title.
Bot Lane’s Flexibility Continues to Shine
Zven and Vulcan are one of the best bot lane duos in the league and their skills were on full display against TL. Zven, despite his blunder in last year’s summer playoffs, was one of the most dominant players in the series against Team Liquid. He proved to be lethal on several different champions including Kalista and Ashe. Piloting Jinx, Zven served as not only an excellent decoy for Perkz but tied the mid laner with 8 kills to help C9 coast to a 2-1 series lead. It was his constant pressure on TL’s Tactical that allowed Cloud9 to continually have advantages on the bottom side of the map.
But really what is an ADC with their support? Vulcan was gifted one of his most dominant champions in Alistar in game one, where he completely set the tone for the series. Aggressive bot side plays kept Zven and Vulcan ahead at almost every point in the series. Vulcan even debuted Braum in the deciding match to counter the opposing Jinx. Vulcan was often the first to roam and aid Perkz in his quest to take over the mid lane. Much like his lane partner, Vulcan performed at an extremely high level on multiple different champions. With the massive list of potential duos in the bot lane, it will be a tricky ask to focus bans at the C9 bot lane in games to come.
A Tale of Two Junglers
With all the focus on the laners in the pre-game breakdowns and analysis, this matchup truly balanced on the play of the two junglers. Blaber and Santorin are easily considered the top two in their role and this duel was destined to be a battle of wits. When it came to gameplay, Blaber looked to be in full command from the start. It was Blaber’s early ganks in the top lane that helped C9 gain the advantage over Alphari and eventually the game.
However, Santorin is a player that capitalizes on the mistakes of other players. In the early games of both game two and game three, Santorin took advantage of misplays from Cloud9 to secure early kills and dragons. This is the matchup that people truly wanted to see. At the end of the day, however, it was Blaber that remained consistent in his ability to make an impact around the map. For the veteran of Cloud9, it was incredibly important for Blaber to bring his A-game to the series against TL.
Featured image courtesy of Cloud9
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