Previewing LCS Playoffs Series 2
100 Thieves: 0-2 vs Cloud9 During Spring Split
100 Thieves is one of the eight lucky teams to lose against Cloud9 twice this split. Both games were heavily Cloud9 favored and rightfully so as Cloud9 controlled every aspect of each game. To fully understand this series, a look at each lane is necessary.
Eric “Licorice” Ritchie has cemented his place in the Top 3 top laners this split. One of the other Top 3 players in the top lane is Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho, who is arguably carrying 100 Thieves kicking and screaming into the playoffs. Whenever two Top 3 players meet, sparks are guaranteed. This will be the most volatile matchup this series.
If 100 Thieves want to take at least one game off of Cloud9, they need to play around Ssumday. First off, they need to draft him onto a carry, not a tank like Ornn as shown in two of his last three games. Win conditions for Ssumday are not for him to sit around and absorb pressure until he gets a few items and cannot be killed. Ssumday needs to be on a carry or bruiser to maximize his effectiveness. He will need Jungle intervention early, especially considering his lane opponent and the fact that the rest of 100 Thieves will struggle in their lanes.
There is no way to sugar coat this, Licorice is a better player right now. Whatever Cloud9 needs him to do, he does better than almost any other player in the LCS. He can absorb pressure just as well as he can exert it. If Blaber needs Licorice to wander to the jungle and secure a buff, Licorice does his best Rammus impersonation with a hearty, “okay” and gets that buff. Oops! Licorice got counter-picked. That somehow plays right into Licorice’s hands and gives him the advantage.
This matchup of Robert “Blaber” Huang and William “Meteos” Hartman can be summarized as skill vs experience. Blaber has shown he is a force to be reckoned with on the Rift and Meteos will call upon his experience to try to cull Blaber’s aggressiveness.
The main advantage Blaber has over Meteos is his unfettered aggression. He will invade relentlessly in an attempt to put the opposing jungler at a disadvantage. Blaber has played either Gragas or Lee Sin, both very good invading champions, in 14 of his 18 games. This may seem like a disadvantage, having a small champion pool, but it is an advantage because opposing teams rarely ban both Lee Sin or Gragas. Not because Blaber isn’t a threat, the rest of Cloud9 just pose bigger threats. Thus ensuring he will play either one of them, with great success as well.
Meteos’ strength is something Blaber may not possess for years, an insane amount of experience. Meteos has been a mainstay in the LCS since Season 3, that’s over seven years of professional experience. He will use this to attempt to predict Blaber and Nisqy’s pathing through the jungles. Meteos will use any information he can get to try to stem the flow of Cloud9 creating advantages in each lane. In most games, once it reaches late-mid game anytime the jungler dies, the other team will get either Dragon or Baron. If Meteos isn’t on the Rift to contest a Dragon or Baron, Cloud9 will stop everything and take the objective faster than you can figure out what they are doing.
If there is one lane that will end 100 Thieves playoff hopes, it’s the mid lane. Yasin “Nisqy” Dincer is a superior mid lane presence, which will allow him to roam even more and snowball the game out of reach. The only way Nisqy could lose this lane is if he is hard countered or hard feeds. Otherwise, this lane will belong to Cloud9 for the vast majority of the games.
Saying Nisqy is superior is by no means a slight at Tommy “ry0ma” Le, Nisqy is just that good. Ry0ma’s time will come as this is his first split in the LCS after coming over from the Oceanic League. He has shown improvement over the course of the split, but ry0ma isn’t even close to Nisqy’s level. Luckily, he has time to grow and develop into the player everyone thinks he can be. But now, this is Nisqy’s year.
Again, Cloud9 has the clear advantage here, Jasper “Zven” Svenningsen and Philippe “Vulcan” Laflamme are more consistent at a higher level. This is most apparent during Zven’s deathless streak early in the season, one of the games was against 100 Thieves as well. The streak was a shining example of dominant and consistent both Zven and Vulcan can be and actually are.
However, Sun “Cody Sun” Li-Yu has shown flashes of being a World Class ADC. That being said, William “Stunt” Chen is the weakest link in this lane and as unfortunate as it is, that may mean the series for 100 Thieves. For reference, Cody Sun and Stunt have a combined 96 deaths this split compared to just 30 for Zven and Vulcan. In the two games played against each other, Cloud9’s bot lane has just 2 deaths, both by Vulcan, and 100 Thieves accounted for 12 deaths.
What To Watch For: Top Lane (Licorice vs Ssumday)
The top lane will be the deciding factor in this series. Whomever is forced onto tank duty, will lose the lane and hand over a lead to a very dangerous player. An alternative is if they both are on tanks, the viewers will get an always entertaining wet noodle fight.
Both have shown how proficient they are on carries or bruisers. Licorice and Ssumday’s most played champion is Aatrox so expect The Darkin to be pick/ban for the whole series. One strategy 100 Thieves could do is use all 5 bans on Licorice and force him onto Shen again. However, that would allow the rest of Cloud9 to have a clear advantage in the other four roles.
Prediction: Cloud9 3-1
Cloud9 is the clear favorite not just for this series, but for all of playoffs. But 100 Thieves do have “pop-off potential” meaning they possess the players with enough skill to steal a game from Cloud9. There is a strong possibility that both Ssumday and Cody Sun find early advantages, mainly through the intervention of Meteos. Once these two get a lead, they will snowball the rest of the game leading to a 100 Thieves victory.
While all that will make for one exciting game, Cloud9 is just too good right now. Their aggressive early game puts the opposition in a hole that cannot be overcame. In order for 100 Thieves to even sniff a victory, both Ssumday and Cody Sun have to get an advantage. Cloud9 will simply look to get other lanes ahead if 100 Thieves gains an advantage in top or bottom.
Before Cloud9 even chose to play 100 Thieves, they were favorites. But 100 Thieves do possess the players and experience to steal a game from Cloud9.
All statistics sourced from Games of Legends.
Featured Image Courtesy of @LCSOffical
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