Just like that, the first half of the 2021 Spring LCS season is complete. After nine games of professional LCS play, fans finally have a better idea of where their team stacks up against the competition. Cloud9 looked good but not great coming out of the Lock In. Though surely enough when the games mattered, C9 came to play. Sitting at the top of the leaderboards at 7-2, Cloud9 can confidently say they have had a successful first half of the spring season. Here are some key takeaways for Cloud9 as they head into the second half of the LCS Spring season.
The Lock In Tournament Was a Huge Boon
The Lock In Tournament really could not have gone better for Cloud9. Though they could not quite get the first place finish they hoped for, Cloud9 still managed to gain vital experience and practice they needed to clean up a few issues. Playing seventeen games through the course of the tournament allowed Cloud9 to not only learn more about themselves, but to learn more about their opponents heading into the regular season.
“The teams we faced were really competitive” head coach Reignover mentioned during an discussion with league reporters, “the teams we faced had their own style that we were able to absorb”. Specifically in the two best-of-fives Cloud9 faced, Reignover talked about the ability to adapt mid-series to best compete with their opponents. He mentioned how important it was to the team to gain that experience in multiple series, and how it helped the roster moving past Lock In.
For many teams it seemed like a perfect time for new signings to catch up to speed and for rosters to start to mesh together. But for Cloud9, they turned the tournament into a massive advantage that pushed them far past the majority of the league.
It’s a Marathon, not a Sprint for Fudge
In a team that looks to be a complete package, there is one piece of the piece of the puzzle that has fans divided. Fudge’s inaugural LCS season hasn’t gone as well as he had hoped in terms of individual performance. Coming into the league, Fudge trash-talked this top lane competitors only to be immediately rolled by Impact in Cloud9’s opening game in the Lock In Tournament. NA fans were quick to call him out on his earlier comments.
Since then, however, Fudge has been a rock for Cloud9 on the top side of the map. In the first week C9 gave Fudge a carry option in the top lane and cruised to a 3-0 start to the year. After starting the year playing Jax, Renketon, and Camille, Fudge has helped Cloud9 cement their first place status with a 4-1 record playing only Gragas. While a top lane tank like Gragas isn’t the most exciting pick for a young player, it fits well into Fudge’s role on the team. Taking the weak side lane and simply absorbing pressure is enough to give the rest of the all-star roster time to takeover.
The most important thing about Fudge’s growth is knowing that it takes time to develop into an elite player. As audiences have seen, Fudge is a smart team-fight player that will often times make the best play for the team overall. Unfortunately, his laning phase and early game decision making has been questionable but slowly improving. By the end of the season, fans should see a whole new monster for Cloud9 in the top lane.
Drafts Still Need a Bit of Work
Not everything can be a positive right? For the most part, the drafts from Cloud9 have been pretty standard. While the current default draft for Cloud9 features plenty of Gragas and Taliyah, the team isn’t afraid of trying new things on the fly. The only problem is that sometimes C9 gets a little ahead of themselves when facing the top half of the league. Specifically, the games against Evil Geniuses and Team Liquid were some of the rougher drafts.
Oddly enough, plenty of the drafts have been thwarted by Tahm Kench. In Cloud9’s two losses, they picked pretty suboptimal picks into the opposing Tahm Kench. Against Evil Geniuses, Cloud9 took a truly ambitious Blitzcrank selection that didn’t pan out thanks to the tanky support. Then against TL, Cloud9 figured the best bet to beat a Aphelios/TK bot lane was Thresh and Skarner. Both of those losses really appeared like pure compositional gaps between the two teams, rather than a skill differential.
Drafts in the past have been a sore spot for Cloud9. With Repeared at the helm, Cloud9 would often find themselves losing the game before it starts because of strange draft decisions. Overall it looks like Reignover has fixed most of those lingering problems, but the ghost of Repeared has popped up here and there. As C9 finds their groove, the draft phase should go much smoother.
Blaber is a MVP Front Runner
Tim Sevenhuysen said it best – Blaber is playing like a God. Looking at a purely statistical standpoint, Blaber is playing out of this world. He sits at the top of league in Kills, Assists, KDA, Kill Participation, Gold Difference at 10, CS difference at 10 and Damage per Minute among all junglers. In short, Blaber is the most lethal and profitable jungler in the LCS right now. Even more impressive is that Blaber has been able to accomplish this while using multiple different junglers. He has made an insane impact on every game this year, that is is tough not to start the MVP conversation early.
Throwing away the stats for a second, Blaber passes the eye-test for a clear MVP candidate. He is just everywhere on the map. The pressure he creates on the opposing jungler allows Cloud9 to have advantage over key objectives. When their opponent moves to make a bid on Dragon of Rift Herald, Blaber is proactively working to secure another objective to keep the game even. While he has had issues with smite fights in the past, he is very much on the positive end of those duels this split. Blaber’s exceptional jungling so far will continue to keep C9 ahead of the competition.
This Team is Well-Rounded and Dangerous
Top to bottom, Cloud9 is a team that already looks ready to win it all. Perkz, Zven, and Vulcan are all leaders in their position that can individually take over a game. Perkz in particular still hasn’t warmed up to the mid lane adjustment yet, and teams are not ready for the high-profile signing to get truly comfortable on his new team. Already fans have seen Perkz take control of the game with Tristana and Ryze, potentially just a taste of what’s to come from the former G2 star.
The best thing about this team is that the carry-potential is everywhere. Zven and Vulcan are the duo to watch going forward, as they are going to be the targets for teams to attack. The two have been on the receiving end of a tower dive in multiple games this year, but they always seem to bounce back. Then, of course, Blaber and Fudge round out the well-balanced roster leaving Cloud9 with talent all over the Rift. The team is still working out some issues, which should be the scariest thing for the rest of the league. It won’t be long before C9 takes a stranglehold on the first place spot.
Featured image courtesy of Colin Young-Wolf and Riot Games
You can like The Game Haus on Facebook! And make sure to follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other TGH writers.
Follow Bryan on Twitter @esportsbrock for more updates on Overwatch, VALORANT, and the LCS