Calvin “K1ng” Truong was North America’s most hyped academy prospect.
Joining the Cloud9 system in 2020, the Australian marksman already had the history of proving his worth with some of the OCE’s best line-ups. Now, it was just developing and getting ready for the LCS in one of the best systems to do so.
But after his first appearance, there is some doubt.
Knowing What You Are Getting
K1ng was entering the league with a lot of positive traits. He was a mechanically gifted marksman and would display this talents in team fights. He offered stylistic flexibility — although wasn’t necessarily a master in bottom lane supports. Surprisingly, he only has four combined games of Seraphine and Senna (3W – 1L).
The poise he had in the game was something we expected of professional players. It does help that he has international experience and experience in being a professional player in the Oceanic region. He was relatively tight in his approach to the fundamentals of the game.
He was a player that would be able to take advantage of early game leads. When partnering with Jonah “Isles” Rosario and David “Diamond” Bérubé, his ability to out trade and control the pace of the lane was key in Cloud9 Academy’s success. Then again, so was the amount of pressure the team would force around the bottom side of the map.
Failing to Help the New Guy
The goal for every team that brings in a young player into the main roster is to allow them to get comfortable. It isn’t just giving them a favorite champion, it is putting them in an environment to grow. Cloud9’s current system of play doesn’t nurture that. Cloud9 relied heavily on Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen and Philippe “Vulcan” Laflamme to be relatively low maintenance. At times, it would be frustrating because they would potentially not be able to dig the team out of a self-dug grave. Other times, it would be the great foil.
Historically speaking, rookies struggle during the laning phase. The only rookie laner to average a creep score lead at 10 minutes last split was Nicholas “Ablazeolive” Abbott. Among the six rookies to continue on into the summer, four have seen an improvement in their creep score difference to start the split. This should alleviate some of the concerns with K1ng’s -10 creep score difference at 10 average. He’s also been able to find his way into the game — averaging the second-highest kill participation among marksman (71.8%) while having the lowest percentage of his team’s deaths among marksmen (12.8%). And even with his struggles, he’s still putting out a respectable 506 damage per minute (25.9% of his team’s overall damage) while talking on the lowest average percentage of his team’s economy among the same population (25.8%).
The problem lies with how Cloud9 is failing to get the bottom lane involved early. Golden Guardians did an excellent job at making the first move across the map for most of the early-to-mid game — setting themselves up for a first blood on Vulcan and a crucial extended fight around 11 minutes to secure the second dragon of the game. Robert “Blaber” Huang would be outpaced by Can “Closer” Çelik as 100 Thieves would force reactions to their top side focus. And even in Cloud9’s lone victory, it was all action in the top side.
Making Sense of Everything
It was a surprise when Cloud9 demoted Zven to the academy roster. That’s what the headline felt like — demoting Zven, not promoting K1ng.
Theories as to why this took the place the way it did continue to circulate. The most popular theory being that Cloud9 is looking to sell K1ng and believe having him receiving main roster minutes is the best way to increase his value. Then again, that doesn’t make much sense. His value can only go down once he steps on the LCS stage for the first time.
Cloud9 either sells or keeps you before you get the starting job. You sell the prospect, not the asset player. Zven’s value is clearly higher at the moment but the LCS doesn’t necessarily have any takers — with potential destinations being locked when it comes to import slots.
Theories aside, this doesn’t feel like a typical Cloud9 move.
This promotion came out of nowhere and so far hasn’t necessarily provided a sense of optimism. But this isn’t on K1ng. This is a result of the underlying issue that the top side of the map for Cloud9 is more important to the success of the team while the bottom lane simply exists. It’s also one of the more frustrating things about this team given the amount of skill Cloud9 has in the bottom lane — both in academy and on the main roster.
And it is a shame. K1ng is a much better player than what he has been able to show on the rift this split. He hasn’t been able to show much and given the nature of his arrival, he’ll take a bunch of unnecessary blame. The hope is that this will only be a short-term problem and that once the team settles him, we can finally see what the hype was all about.
“From Our Haus to Yours”