Cloud9 Never Settles: A Paragon In The LCS
Ever since they joined the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS), Cloud9 has been nothing short of trailblazing. Whether it was with their astonishing 25-3 record when they burst onto the scene in the 2013 summer, their consistency in making it out of the group stage every time they get to the World Championship stage or their willingness to flip the script and trust new, up and coming players. In a sense, Cloud9 does it all.
This past 2021 season was a bit of an outlier in some ways. An organisation that has dedicated itself to building the team up with newcomers - and in some cases some purchases here and there - went for a sort of superteam after bringing in Western great, Luka “Perkz” Perkovic in the mid-lane. A superteam isn’t anything new for this organisation, as in 2013 when they first got their big break in the LCS, each and every one of their players could be considered a top talent in their role. But in Cloud9 fashion, they made this new superteam strategy their own.
As opposed to the traditional superteam building of grabbing multiple pieces from different directions, Cloud9 took their own route and decided to grab one piece from Europe and move up another from their secondary roster. The classic going to the grocery store method of grabbing one item and using what’s left at home.
Cloud9 still infused their own flavour to it. Perkz, plus what they already had: Robert “Blaber” Huang, Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen”, Philippe “Vulcan” Laflamme and the moving up of Ibrahim “Fudge” Allami from the Academy team. This lent itself to be one of the top rosters in the whole of the LCS alongside Team Liquid, and in many ways proved to be.
A spotty start to the first-ever LCS Lock In tournament was a cause for concern for any normal League of Legends fan, as knowing the players on this roster and their capabilities should bring more onto the table. This was all for nought though, as regardless of their shaky beginnings, Cloud9 just powered up as it went on. As the only team to play a whopping 17 games - essentially a whole split in one tournament - due to the round-robin and the best-of-fives in the playoffs, Cloud9 not only reverse swept 100 Thieves in the semifinals, but they almost did the same to their new rivals, Team Liquid in the finals. This became invaluable for the team moving forward.
Once the spring split started, they were just dominant - a mirroring of 2020 - but this time they actually were able to set foot at the Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) stage. Unfortunately for them, the classic post-MSI hangover was in full effect, a benching of Zven and creeping inconsistency made things rough for them. But no matter, they still did what they do best and barely scraped by into the World Championships in which, in classic Cloud9 fashion, they were the only North American team to make it past the group stage.
Cloud9 Never Settles, The New Roster
Now, into the 2022 season the landscape for one of the most prolific LCS organisations is going to be altered and in some cases, this is by far the most it’ll be changed. After deciding to bring not one, but two Korean players - something they haven’t done since the 2016-2017 season - replacing Vulcan with two supports and moving Fudge to the mid-lane, this is new territory for the organisation. It can be viewed as possibly Cloud9’s toughest task yet.
It’s not like they kept the team relatively the same, they’ve added quite a bit of chips onto the table. Fudge, Blaber and Zven all remain, Zven’s playtime will be uncertain, while top laner Park “Summit” Woo-tae, ADC Kim “Berserker” Min-cheol, and supports Jonah “Isles” Rosario and Kim “Winsome” Dong-keon are all new to the roster. This is a lot to play with.
Only time will tell how this new roster will perform, but if there’s an organisation that can juggle all of these changes, it's Cloud9. They have the pedigree, the experience, the history and the want to do it.