Week 5 was a wild one for Cloud9. At a time where fans would have loved to see a clean 3-0, they instead received a head-scratching 1-2 weekend. Winnable games slipped through the fingers of Cloud9, and audiences were left wondering what happened. Fans aren’t quite sure how to respond to the Week 5 results. Some are understandably disappointed while others aren’t concerned. After all, it is only one weekend.
Cloud9 looked good for the most part, but it was the experimental picks that created pain points for the roster. Fudge got his first game on Gnar, Vulcan got his first game on Morgana, and Perkz was doing whatever he wanted. It seems like this was the weekend to try out new strategies for C9.
The Gap is Closing, and C9 Needs to Keep the Pressure On
Even though the team wants to try new things, it’s important to remember that they aren’t really that far ahead. With the loss to TSM this weekend, Cloud9 now sits one game ahead of both TSM and Dignitas for first place. The good news is the top six teams do make it into the LCS Spring playoffs, but Cloud9 really shouldn’t be aiming to just sneak in. C9 has proved they are clearly above the competition in terms of skill, they just need to continue to keep their foot on the gas.
Momentum is incredibly powerful in League of Legends. Zven even mentions how momentum helped their team in the most recent episode of On Cloud9. Winning the matches leading into the playoffs will be a massive boost to the mental of Cloud9. The last week before playoffs should be a perfect time for Cloud9 to bounce back and remind the rest of the league that C9 is the dog top in NA.
The Caitlyn Experiment has Mixed Results
The oddest part of the past weekend of matches was Cloud9’s insistence in playing Caitlyn. Before week 5, no other LCS team had selected Caitlyn until C9 picked it twice in a row. The pick itself makes sense from a strategic advantage but it floundered once the team needed to go away from the original plan. The moment the script changed for Cloud9, the game became incredibly hard to close out.
Cloud9 wanted to take control of the early game with oppressive laning phases, and convert those advantages into quick mythic item completions, which in turn creates a mid game power spike. Caitlyn is one of the most lane-focused champions in the bot lane thanks to her long-range poke damage and her ability to threaten a kill any time an opponent is trapped. In a meta filled with Kai’sa and Xayah, Caitlyn is a great choice to slow down their late game potential. The only problem is when those champs survive till the late game. If Kai’sa, Tristana, or Xayah make it past the 30 minute mark against Caitlyn, they can easily take over the game.
Unfortunately for Cloud9, that’s exactly what happened. Two games of big early game leads, and two games where the mid game power spike didn’t come to fruition. In both games, the enemy Kai’sa showcased just how much impact she has in the meta currently. Kai’sa appeared to not care at all about the laning phase, and simply aimed to survive the first brutal ten minutes of the game. Once the team fighting broke out, Kai’sa outclassed Caitlyn in every way. It was interesting to watch C9 give Caitlyn a try, but ultimately, she should be left on the bench until a new meta approaches.
A 1-2 Weekend is an Ego Check
The glaring issue leaving Week 5 is the final scoreline. Walking away with a 1-2 record at this point in the season seems a bit out of place. This is the time of the split where teams should be truly finding their stride. Opponents will be playing their best, and any small mistake by C9 can and will be punished. The game against FlyQuest showcased how well Cloud9 can consistently play, and yet the rest of the weekend highlighted how they also can throw matches in a moment’s notice.
It was the culmination of really small things that caused the two losses to get out of hand. Misplays and improper positioning from Cloud9 allowed Team Liquid and Team SoloMid to claw back into the game. It’s mistakes that fans wouldn’t expect from veterans like Perkz, let alone new talent like Fudge. Potentially, it was overconfidence that got to the heads of C9 this past weekend.
Cloud9’s play can really only be described as disrespectful. Both solo laners have died alone in a sidelane at pivotal points in the game, because they thought there was no way they could lose a 1v1 at that time. Both Perkz and Fudge died to a Gnar in the side lane because they didn’t think their opponent could kill them. They didn’t respect the damage from their opponents, and lost the game due to this lack of respect. These losses were important to knock Cloud9 down to earth, and now it is their time to humble themselves before heading into the final week of spring.
Featured image courtesy of Oshin Tudayan 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