The LCS Spring season finally starts today. After an action packed Lock In Tournament that gave players and coaches a bit of time to warm up in non-essentials, its now time for the real deal. Cloud9 was one of the few teams to play over 10 games through the Lock In, meaning they had the chance to practice a bit more than their competitors. Now with the real season on the horizon, its now time to see if all that practice can correlate into success. To start off their season, Cloud9 faces a young but promising Golden Guardians team in the late night time slot.
First Week 1 Opponent: Golden Guardians
Friday February 5, 9pm EST (6pm CST) On LoLEsports, Youtube, and Twitch
Top Lane: Fudge vs Niles
Jungle: Blaber vs Iconic
Mid Lane: Perkz vs AblazeOlive
Bot Lane: Zven vs Stixxay
Support: Vulcan vs Newbie
Golden Guardian Advantage: Plenty of Tape to Study Cloud9
Looking at these two rosters, its tough to find a positional advantage in favor of the Golden Guardians. In the Jungle, collegiate standout Iconic has to battle against Blaber – a player that has not only looked dominant in the Lock In Tournament, but has years of experience in the league including experience playing at worlds. Zven and Vulcan looked significantly better than Stixxay and Newbie. Then there’s the mid lane matchup that seems quite lopsided in favor of Cloud9.
For years, Niles had to deal with being told he wasn't good enough and didn't have what it takes.
With the opportunity he's chased finally in his grasp, he looks to silence the doubters and prove his place in the #LCS is no fluke.
— Golden Guardians (@GoldenGuardians) February 4, 2021
Oddly enough, getting knocked out of the Lock In tournament just may have been the best thing for Golden Guardians. With this time, the Golden Guardians coaching gained valuable knowledge on not only how to compete against C9, but how to beat them. The best bet Golden Guardians have to upset Cloud9 early this season is to copy a strategy from Team Liquid – bully Fudge in the top lane. After a pop-off performance from the Cloud9 top laner, Team Liquid dedicated an incredible amount of time and resources to make sure he couldn’t do that again. Looking at the GG roster, this is certainly something they can manage.
Niles is an exciting rookie to watch this season and in his few games during Lock In he proved that he can hang with veteran LCS top laners. Given his synergy with Iconic, the two could easily attempt to put a hurt on the struggling opponent. Creating an advantage somewhere on the map will be the first step in a long journey to upset Cloud9 in the first weekend of play.
Cloud9 Advantage: Playing a Whole Stage Worth of Games in Lock In
On the flip side of this matchup, the members of Cloud9 have had the luxury to test out new strats and drafts on stage. Though some of the picks, like Graves top, should probably stay on the drawing board. Those extra games for Cloud9 appear to be incredibly important from a learning perspective. Most teams this split won’t nearly have the same kind of preseason training like Cloud9 have had thanks to Lock In. It’s crucial for the Cloud9 roster that they take this practice and experience and convert that into LCS wins.
With new coach Reignover having plenty of opportunities to try weird stuff in drafts, fans should see some more refined pick and bans this weekend. Along with improved draft phases, audiences are still looking for that play-making ability from Perkz to show up. He has had plenty of chances to take over a game on Akali, LeBlanc, and Yone, but only one of those matches saw the highest paid offseason add truly carry a match. With 17 games under his belt in NA, now has to be the time that Perkz comes through for Cloud9.
The difference maker in this game will, unsurprisingly, be the bot lane matchup. Zven and Vulcan simply outclass Stixxay and Newbie. The Cloud9 bot duo have proved to be the players the team wants to play around and build up as fast as possible. Zven has again made it a point to die as little as possible in the early stages of the LCS, and Cloud9 is better for it. Meanwhile Vulcan is doing a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to initiating and play making. His ability to roam and create pressure around the map as any support at the moment is a massive upside as Cloud9 progresses through the season. Right now, Stixxay and Newbie just haven’t shown that they can consistently keep up with other bot lane partners.
Though it’s not all over from the get-go for Golden Guardians. Iconic and AblazeOlive are in an interesting position to make a monumental statement to the rest of the league. If those two can lift up their team and contest Blaber and Perkz, Golden Guardians can yet start a surprise 1-0. But if they can’t, expect this game to be over by the first dragon fight.
Featured image courtesy of 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