Cloud9 faces two of the strongest teams in the LCS as they face Evil Geniuses and Golden Guardians this weekend. These two games are huge for their opponents as it will serve as a measuring stick of their effectiveness. Cloud9 on the other hand will approach this as just another game, with victory in mind.
Evil Geniuses: 2-0
After a stunning loss to FlyQuest in the Semifinals of the Spring Playoffs, Evil Geniuses started the Summer Split with back to back wins. They defeated lowly Counter Logic Gaming and the inconsistent 100 Thieves in Week 1. Against these weak teams, Evil Geniuses showed how strong they can be and even recorded a perfect game against Counter Logic Gaming.
During the break, Evil Geniuses acquired Huni from Dignitas after they released him. Oddly enough, Huni has two starts with the Academy team and Kumo remains as their Top Lane starter. Many expected Huni to start over Kumo but their 2-0 start shows that the coaching staff made the correct decision.
The Italian Stallion Daniele “Jiizuke” Di Mauro picked up right where he left off in the Spring Split. Jiizuke’s playstyle and aggression consistently catches his opponents off guard. His play pairs amazingly with Denis “Svenskeren” Johnsen’s play on carry junglers. This was demonstrated in their game against 100 Thieves where they combined for a 12/5/14 KDA and countless headaches for 100 Thieves.
They also have an underrated bot lane in Bang and Tristan “Zeyzal” Stidam. They are not the best, but if counted out and ignored they can quickly change the game with one fight. Bang is a two-time Worlds Champion when he played on SKT before making the move to the LCS and needs to be respected. Luckily for Cloud9 they have an even more dominate bot lane, which should keep Bang and Zeyzal in check.
Player to Watch: Yasin “Nisqy” Dincer (Cloud9)
Cloud9 has stronger lanes than Evil Geniuses. However, Nisqy will be tasked with containing their midlaner Jiizuke and continuing his roam-heavy playstyle.
Will Nisqy allow Jiizuke to dictate where the fights are going to happen or will Nisqy remain one step ahead of Evil Geniuses? During their meetings in spring, Nisqy kept Jiizuke under control and effectively took him out the games. Of course, Nisqy will look to do this again, but Evil Geniuses comes into this match oozing with confidence. Although Cloud9 is the expected winner, how Nisqy, and to an extent Robert “Blaber” Huang, control and corral Jiizuke will dictate the speed and style of game.
Prediction – Cloud9
Golden Guardians: 1-1
Although Golden Guardians is a top 5 team on paper, they are susceptible to bone-headed plays and general small missteps that snowball out of control. This was very apparent during Spring and the Spring Playoffs. They attempted to fix this situation by bringing in Tanner “Damonte” Damonte before the Summer Split started. This move will go down as one of the best moves this past off-season. It is not a move that will dominate the headlines, but it’s a move that makes this team so much better. As demonstrated against Dignitas, he was all over the map, creating advantages and causing general disarray the whole game. Then in their game against Team Liquid, Damonte’s Jayce was on point. He had great success poking TL throughout the game and contributing to one of the most exciting games so far this split.
But enough about Damonte, Jungler Can “Closer” Celik is the golden boy of the team. His games on Graves and Nidalee showcased exactly how dominate he can be. Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell is still the rock in the Top Lane. Hauntzer has never been the star of a team, but he is one of those pieces every team needs for continued success. Add Hauntzer in with Closer and Damonte and they have one of the strongest top half of the map in the LCS.
Now, Golden Guardians bot lane is…average at best. Victor “FBI” Huang and Midlaner turned Support Choi “huhi” Jae-hyun are the weak spot on this team. Unfortunately they are facing the best bot lane in the LCS in Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen and Support Philippe “Vulcan” Laflamme for their second game of the week.
After talking up Golden Guardians and gushing about their strengths, they are out-matched by Cloud9. But not to worry, Golden Guardians fans – they are still above average.
Player to Watch: Tanner “Damonte” Damonte (Golden Guardians)
As stated before, Damonte will prove to be the biggest addition to any team in the LCS this split. He plays smartly and knows how to handle match-ups. He will be facing Nisqy as his first true test since rejoining the LCS. Obviously, Nisqy will want to win and expect him to spend a lot of time and resources propelling Zven and Vulcan to get as far ahead as possible. This will leave Damonte alone for the most part and allow him to push mid.
This is why he is the player to watch, how he handles this lack of pressure from an opposing mid. Will he hard push and take towers? Or will be cautious because Blaber or Nisqy could appear at any second and get the jump on him.
Prediction – Cloud9
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