The 2021 season is all lined up to be one of the most exciting years for Cloud9 in a long time. Losing both Eric “Licorice” Riche and Yasin “Nisqy” Dinçer certainly felt bad for a moment, but the additions that followed lifted the spirit of fans very quickly. The most important signing for Cloud9, and potentially all of the LCS, is acquisition of Luka “Perkz” Perković. Perkz is a perennial world-class mid-laner that is ready to take on the NA scene after spending a few splits in the bot lane. Fans are rightfully excited to see what the star mid-lander can bring to this Cloud9 roster.
However there is a less discussed signing that could ultimately decide the fate of Cloud9 this season. To replace Licorice, Cloud9 called up Australian top-laner Ibrahim “Fudge” Allami. The young Academy Series standout impressed new head coach Yeu-jin “Reignover” Kim, and now has to fill in those shoes left by his all-star predecessor. But before looking to the future, it’s important to revisit the path Fudge took to complete his journey to the LCS.
2018 – Top Lane for Intuition (OCS)
Fudge made his way into the competitive scene by joining Intuition of the Oceanic Challenger series. As the developmental league for the OPL, the OCS was a perfect spot for young talents to warm up to the competitive landscape. Fudge would split time with fellow top-laner Richard “Phantiks” Su throughout the regular season, playing only four weeks out of the thirteen. Together the two helped Intuition finish the regular season with a perfect 13-0, good enough for first in the OCS.
Fudge didn’t get a chance to play in the playoffs, but he made quite the impression with his chances in the season. While his first game against Crimson Gaming showed a more careful play style, it was his second match in week 5 that truly displayed Fudge’s potential. Intuition decided to give Fudge Fiora in the top lane against Mammoth Academy, to truly prove if Fudge could bring a carry-type character into one of the most pivotal lanes. An impressive 12/0/3 scoreline later, Fudge certainly made the case for teams to ban that champion whenever he was in the lobby. Fudge wouldn’t record a death until his last game in week 10 where he finished 4/2/4 with Dr. Mundo.
2019 – Top Lane Sub for MAMMOTH Academy
After a successful season, Intuition disbanded and dropped their roster after the 2018 season. Fudge was left without a team for a few months, until MAMMOTH Academy gave him a call to act as a two-week sub. MAMMOTH Academy bot laner Joel “Miazma” Sawyer received a two-week ban, forcing starting top laner Francesco “Redempts” Marando to role swap to bot. Fudge once again would not waste this opportunity, helping the team win both matches, one of which saw Fudge embarrass the opposition, finishing 13/1/8 on Neeko. Once Miazma returned however, Fudge was moved back to the bench for the rest of the 2019 OCS season.
2019 – Top Lane for MAMMOTH
Despite the minimal play time on the academy squad, MAMMOTH was certain that Fudge would make the difference for the team. Former teammate Phantiks most likely had a hand in bringing in the Intuition top-laner, as he was the head coach for MAMMOTH at the time. Fudge would join the OPL roster after the OCS season, just in time to participate in Split 2 for MAMMOTH.
We are ecstatic to welcome the addition of the top-lane prodigy "Fudge" to our OPL starting roster.
Split 2 will see MMM with an alternating 6-man roster.
We can't wait to see the future of OPL's top-lane.
— MAMMOTH (@MAMMOTH_OCE) June 3, 2019
A top-lane prodigy Fudge truly was. In his first Split ever, he helped MAMMOTH take second overall in the standings after finishing 9th just a few months earlier. MAMMOTH would go on to win the 2019 OPL Split 2 playoffs against The Chiefs 3-0. That playoff win was good enough to send MAMMOTH to the World’s Play-In Stage.
At World’s, MAMMOTH was understandably a massive underdog. The OPL entry found itself alongside CIS entry Unicorns of Love, and LCS entry Clutch Gaming. Incredibly, MAMMOTH finished 2-2 in the group stage, locking Group A in a stalemate as all teams shared the 2-2 record. Their World’s run ended after losing the tie-breaker to UoL. As one of the youngest players at World’s, Fudge performed admirably against some of the top talents from much larger regions. In fact, Fudge played well enough to catch the attention of one of the most iconic North American teams – Cloud9.
2020 – Top Lane for Cloud9 Academy
Fudge and MAMMOTH teammate Calvin “k1ng” Truong were picked up by Cloud9 following their impressive World’s debut. Together, they continued their on-stage success bringing the academy team to 12-4 record and a Spring Split Championship. The Australian duo were seemingly unstoppable. But of course, a worldwide pandemic can shake things up, and k1ng had to sit out of the Summer Split due to visa issues.
A new bot-laner wouldn’t stop Fudge from rolling over the competition during the summer. Once again, Cloud9 Academy asserted itself as the top Academy team, finishing 13-5 during the season. Fudge led the team to a second championship, this time a 3-1 over TSM Academy. With this kind of success, it was only a matter of time before Fudge would get the nod for the LCS roster. Surely enough, on October 30, Fudge would become the next C9 top laner.
2020 – Top Lane for Cloud9
It’s been a bit of a ride for the 18 year old LCS rookie, but he’s made it to one of the biggest stages in League. Fudge has plenty to prove to Cloud9 fans as he has to fill in the void left by Licorice. Make no mistake however, Fudge is primed for a stellar rookie season in 2021.
Featured image courtesy of Paul de Leon and Riot Games
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