After successfully taking down Team SoloMid in the quarterfinals, Cloud9 sets their sights towards 100 Thieves in the Lock In semifinal matchup. Through the Lock In Tournament, 100 Thieves have looked like the real deal. Their bot lane of FBI and Huhi look even better than last year, and Ssumday continues to be a force in the top side of the map. Worse yet for Cloud9, Damonte is playing with a chip on his shoulder and is looking to silence more doubters as he faces his toughest lane opponent yet.
Cloud9 on the other hand look to be hitting their stride at just the right time. With a much-needed carry performance from Fudge to close out the TSM series, C9 is ready to take on the new challenger. Both teams look great, making this matchup one that is bound to create some fireworks. If anything, these two teams will certainly push each other to the limit and bring this match to five games in this best-of-five series.
Matchup to Watch: Blaber vs Closer
Much like their previous match, Cloud9 looks to their veteran jungler Blaber to make things happen every game. Spica is an incredible jungler, and Blaber needed to step up his game to keep C9 alive. Now against 100 Thieves, Blaber will need to continue to go above and beyond to win this series. Closer is easily one of the premier jungle carries in the league. 100 Thieves have coasted to some easy wins thanks to his ability to create non-stop pressure across the map.
Needless to say, each team will ban a lot of high priority junglers. It will be a miracle if Blaber gets his Kindred, or if Closer gets his Graves. As Olaf and Taliyah are both receiving bans as well regardless of the matchup, these players will most likely swap between Nidalee and Hecarim picks. These two champs have very different styles that are sure to shape how the game is played. The pathing and objective priority that each player decide will be the focus and more likely the talking points for plenty of analysts and fans.
The 100 Thieves Advantage: Top Lane
What a tough series of opponents for Fudge. The Cloud9 rookie faced Impact, Licorice, and Huni in his first two weeks of the LCS. In this upcoming series, Fudge has to once again prove himself against another dominant force in the top lane. Ssumday is the only returning member for 100 Thieves, but he has wasted no time getting right back into mid-season form. In fact, Ssumday made a monster statement in the deciding match against Immortals, notching a massive 10/3/7 KDA. After Fudge’s very own carry performance, something has got to give between these two.
One of the worst case scenarios for either team is having their top laner get relegated to the tank role against a much more aggressive lane opponent. Fudge faced this issue right out of the gate, having to play Ornn into Renekton. Cloud9 needs to be careful in the draft phase. If they allow 100T to give Ssumday a favorable matchup, Fudge and company are going to have to find a way to create massive advantages on other parts of the map.
The Cloud9 Advantage: Bot Lane
Much like the jungle matchup, each team’s bot lane has shown up so far in the Lock In Tournament. FBI and Huhi have looked stellar in the first few weeks of the 2021 season. The two were even able to trade back a 2v2 kill in the bot lane to help spark a surprise win over Team Liquid. FBI in particular has continued to shine as one of the young stars in the league. With Huhi’s flexibility and wide hero pool, the 100 Thieves bot lane can come out with several different looks that Cloud9 will need to answer.
Meanwhile, Cloud9 does two things very well. Vulcan loves his Alistar, and Zven sure hates dying. Oddly enough, Cloud9 has only won matches with Vulcan on Alistar this entire tournament. In the two matches Vulcan did not have the initiating cow, against EG and TSM, Cloud9 floundered. Vulcan’s partner on the other hand has played everything so far. Miss Fortune, Lucian, Kai’sa, and even Sivir – Zven’s options look to be quite plentiful. It’ll be tough to completely ban out the C9 bot lane, but onlookers can be sure it starts with banning Alistar.
Prediction: Cloud9 3-2
This is a game of inches. Both teams are benefiting from this jungle-centric meta, and it will come down to the team who can adjust and adapt on the fly. At least in the Lock In Tournament, Cloud9 proved they are able to bounce back from a shaky opening and change their game plan mid-series. This new 100 Thieves lineup has yet to be tested in a multi-game series. While 100T has shown they can beat anyone in a best of one, it’s Cloud9 that should be able to come through with a win over a longer series.
Featured image courtesy of Riot Games
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