Through two weeks of North American League Championship Series (LCS) play Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen has accumulated zero deaths. Yes, zero as in Zven has not died yet. Is he avoiding fights, or is Zven now a player who plays for statistics, affectionately known as a KDA player? The answer is no as he has amassed 18 kill over the four games played. Zven so far has split his games between Senna and Aphelios, both new champions to League of Legends and are without a doubt the two strongest carries in the game now.
This streak is more than one man’s journey, it’s a strategy of all of Cloud9 playing around Zven.
Licorice- Dive and Destroy
Eric “Licorice” Ritchie dominates the top lane, some may say a rock or an anchor in top lane. His play always draws a significant amount of attention which leads to the other teams pressuring the top lane. The amount of pressure needed to even attempt to suppress Licorice takes away time the enemy jungler has to spend in the bottom lane.
Licorice has exclusively picked a damage dealer each game. Two Camille games and one game each of Aatrox and Gangplank. Camille is a diving champion, with abilities that allow her to close the distance between players quickly. Licorice has used Camille to collapse on the enemy team and force them to choose the immediate threat, Licorice, or the out of range threat in Zven. Opposing teams have time and time again selected to deal with Licorice, leaving Zven able to attack undisturbed. Aatrox and especially Gangplank scale into absolute monsters who have the ability to turn a teamfight nearly instantly. This results in the enemy team funneling more resources to help top lane and take away from shutting down Zven.
Blaber- Engage and Escape
Once the laning phase ends Cloud9 enacts a two support system. This strategy requires Blaber to escort Zven through the jungle, engaging and peeling as needed. Blaber has shown in three games this season that Lee Sin is perfect for those duties. Lee Sin allows Blaber to engage with a Sonic Strike followed by a kick either towards Zven or away from the team with Dragon’s Rage. Blaber could use this combo to make flashy plays, but he settles for a burnt flash or kill. As the saying goes, keep it simple silly.
Consistency, the most valuable skill Blaber brings to the table. Blaber’s play is not going to show up on a Top 10 package, but his lack of glaring mistakes is the reason for his and Cloud9’s success. Cloud9 knows what he brings to the table each and every game, enabling more risky plays for each lane.
Nisqy- Deny and Disable
Yasin “Nisqy” Dincer has flexed and feasted on enemy midlaners this season. He plays ultra-aggressively, creating pressure and even solo-killing his lane opponents. Consequently, this causes the other lanes, mostly the bottom lane, to play defensively fearing the short roams from midlane.
Nisqy has drafted three control mages through four games, Veigar, Zoe and Morgana. By using control mages he executes two important maneuvers. The first is dictating the where the enemy can move, via Veigar’s Cages, Zoe’s Sleepy Trouble Bubbles or Morgana’s Tormented Shadow. In short, when placed perfectly, these skills more often than not, result in a kill and at the very least prevent the team from getting to Zven. He has also played the dive happy Spartan, Pantheon. Similar to Licorice on Camille, Pantheon dives forces the enemy to make a decision, and both decisions are wrong.
Vulcan- Very Large and In Charge
Cloud9’s new support, Phillipe “Vulcan” Laflamme, is the unsung hero of Zven’s streak. Vulcan’s willingness to sacrifice himself to save Zven will not show up on any stat page. Vulcan has only played two champions, Nautilus and Tahm Kench and built a Gargoyle Stoneplate each time. This begs the question, is Fiddlesticks or Nocturne the epitome of fear in League of Legends? No, Vulcan running an over-sized 19th-century scuba diver or a Cthulhu size catfish, both via the active ability on a Gargoyle Stoneplate, straight at the carries ranks higher.
Roaming is another key for Vulcan, as the roams create more pressure in the lanes that do not contain Zven.
When Zven recalls thus starts the Vulcan guessing game. Will Vulcan appear in the midlane? Did Vulcan return to base? Typically, the other teams find out once someone on their team dies. Support roams are not new to Cloud9, as last season Tristan “Zeyzal” Stidam gained a significant amount of attention for his roams, but Vulcan took that strategy and ran with it.
Lack of Vision, Increase in Kills
At the start of Season 8, Riot games made drastic changes to vision and warding, mainly reducing the number of wards each player could carry. As a result, Cloud9 has utterly thrived on the ability to sneak through the jungle, pop out and surprise the enemy. If each player was able to carry four wards each, as they did in 2018, a majority of the plays that nets Zven easy kills would be caught before they even started.
“From Our Haus to Yours”