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LOL

Best LoL Esports Series 2021: Cloud9 Vs Rogue - Worlds Tiebreaker

Best LoL Esports Series 2021: Cloud9 Vs Rogue - Worlds Tiebreaker
Riot Games | Getty Images

Written by 

Jack Marsh

Posted 

10th Dec 2021 15:07

The League of Legends World Championships has eluded the Western hemisphere since the first-ever Season back in 2011, with Fnatic taking home the Summoners Cup - although the Singaporean Team Xan and Phillipino Pacific eSports were the only representatives from the East. Since, Korea and China have taken over, and despite valiant efforts from G2 Esports over the last three years, the Western teams have been playing in a league of their own. But when they meet on the world stage, bragging rights go up for grabs, and when the opportunity arose for Europe to dump North America out of the 2021 World Championship, Cloud9 and Rogue would put on a showcase of League of Legends at the highest quality.

It was Europe vs America, Rocky vs Drago, Cloud9 vs Rogue, and with a spot in Worlds Playoffs on the cards, 54 minutes of absolute mayhem would unfold.

In The Blue Corner: America

Coming in with a sprinkle of European and Oceania influence, rallied behind their Captain America Robert "Blaber" Huang, Cloud9's third-place ranking in the LCS Championships saw them qualify for Worlds behind the likes of Team Liquid and 100 Thieves, despite having arguably a more threatening team on paper. 

Having been pooled into the Play-In stages of Worlds, the American organisation was cherishing the opportunity to go up against the big dogs in EU and their rivals, especially with the influence of Luka "Perkz" Perkovic knowing their adversaries' playbook inside out through a storied career across the pond. Cloud9's swift progression through Play-Ins wasn't without a slight fumble to bottom-placed Unicorns of Love, although a 3-1 record was enough to set up a tie-breaker with PEACE, in which they swept aside 3-0 to book a date in the "group of death" at the Group Stages.

Here, the gauntlet turned into a bloodbath. Reigning champions DAMWON Kia made no mistake of obliterating everyone in their sights, whilst Cloud9, Rogue, and FunPlus Phoenix went toe-to-toe, all ending with a 2-4 record and setting up yet another tiebreaker for the Americans. 

With both 100 Thieves and Team Liquid both eliminated, Cloud9 stood as North America's only hope of making the last eight, and now, only Rogue stood in their way.

In The Darker Blue Corner: Europe

For Rogue, their journey had been much-more straight forward, securing the second seed in Europe after a second-place finish in LEC Spring and third in LEC Summer. 

However, similar to Cloud9, the full-European roster was placed in the most-feared group in the tournament alongside FPX and DAMWON, where back-to-back losses against the champions and a split win/loss record against the other two teams set up a tiebreaker for the dark-blue side to be the second EU side to make the Playoffs. 

First they had to get pass FPX once more - although they made light work of the underperforming LPL side, finishing off the Nexus in a casual 34-minute overhauling to set up a date with Cloud9 in a winner-takes-all one match shootout.

The Game:

"A one match shootout" is generous though, as what was about to unfold in the next 54 minutes was more than just a game of League of Legends. It was regional pride, it was prime League of Legends performance, it was ten players wearing their hearts on their sleeves and refusing to let momentum take over, refusing to lie down. It was glorious.

The opening exchanges in the first 25 minutes was typical of both teams. Rogue jiggled and poked their way through team skirmishes to take an early kill lead, whilst Cloud9 took control of the map, securing the first three Dragons and five of the Turrets in response to Rogues two. 

It became a jostle of kills versus map pressure. Rogue had the power and patience to find solo kills onto Perkz, whilst the forgiving nature of the Cloud9's composition allowed the meddlesome Jungler to return to the action when Rogue's adrenaline kicked in, walking straight into the traps. 

35 minutes in and Cloud9 found the opening they had been looking for through their map utility, just after Perkz was taken down. With Rogue trying to take advantage on the Baron, the Jungler's teleport back into the fight meant that he could deal enough damage to the EU side to make them retreat, leaving the Baron open for Cloud9 where they made the buff pay to pick up three kills and go on the front foot. Fortunately for Rogue, the minions were short, and they could live for another wave.

With the pressure coming in from Cloud9, Rogue's exemplary defence left them at bay for a further five minutes, losing no more players and answering back shortly after when the Baron respawned. It was turning into a boxing match going to the 12th round, each making the other bleed with cuts to the face and blows to the body. The unorthodox uppercuts from Rogue were met by combinations of hooks from Cloud9, and there was no referee to intervene.

Rogue's Steven "Hans Sama" Liv and Kacper "Inspired" Sloma put up their best fight for Rogue to continue a kill advantage going into the 50th-minute mark, keeping a tight defence as Cloud9 probed their Inhibitors and asserted their early map dominance and converted it into pressure.

Having vastly overtaken the time for the longest game at Worlds 2021, with everything on the line, a 53rd minute skirmish would decide the tie. If Rogue fended off Cloud9 with kills, they'd surge through the map and rip through the NA base in seconds. If Cloud9 swerved the inhibitors to finally diminish a Rogue defence, they'd become the only NA team in the Playoffs. Regions held their breath, players held their nerves, casters held each other. 

It was Ibrahim "Fudge" Allami - who was having the tournament of a lifetime - who got the skirmish started for Cloud9, solo attacking from the top lane. But his pressure was nothing but a ploy, as Perkz rallied the troops in the middle of the base as super-minions poured into the base. With a quick disengage to capture the Drake Soul, Rogue decided it was do or die, 5-man stacking a teleport to try and catch Cloud9 off-guard. Try. It was all or nothing for Rogue, who would have eventually crumbled. It was their single opening. But it wasn't enough. Despite getting the first kill, Cloud9's splash damage proved too much as Perkz ripped through the Rogue push, smashing them into an Ace, and subsequently breezing through the base.

A brutal 54 minutes down and Rogue were left heartbroken, Cloud9, well, on cloud nine. Western League of Legends was showcased at its scintillating best, whilst NA and EU joined Playoffs with an equal hero side, and the match of the year had been etched into the memories of onlookers.

 

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