Going into the weekend 9-2, Cloud9 was tied with Team Liquid for the top spot in the LCS for the second week in a row. An entire weekend (two wins) ahead of third place, these two teams were deemed the top teams in the LCS and the primary competitors for the LCS spot in MSI. This weekend, the two North American juggernauts duked it out for bragging rights and the best placement in the LCS Spring Playoffs. 

This isn’t the first time these two titans have clashed in this split. In their first meeting, Team Liquid played without star support “CoreJJ” due to complications with securing his green card. The LCS’s import rules allow a maximum of two imports per game. Imports are players that do not have U.S. residency, but can still play for their respective team under work visas.  Because of this limit, “CoreJJ” could not play with the other two imports acquired this season: “Hans sama” and “Bwipo” in their first matchup against Cloud9.

However, that didn’t stop TL from narrowly securing a victory 17-11 in 38:48. This time, however, both teams fielded their entire intended starting rosters for a rematch of the ages. The starting rosters are as follows:

Team Liquid

  • Top: Bwipo
  • Jungle: Santorin
  • Mid: Bjergsen
  • ADC: Hans sama
  • Support: CoreJJ

Cloud 9

  • Top: Summit
  • Jungle: Blaber
  • Mid: Fudge
  • ADC: Berserker
  • Support: Winsome

A Rematch for the Ages

The match opened with a first blood by Summit against Bwipo with an assist from Blaber at the 5-minute mark. Bwipo held onto his stun as Jax to keep Blaber under turret long enough for a postmortem trade 1-1. Worried about how lethal the C9 top laner has been all split, TL opted for a four-man gank onto Summit at the 6:20 mark, securing Santorin a kill and the rest of the team a minor gold lead. This lead was short-lived as a team fight broke out for the rift herald at the 9-minute mark. With Hans sama trailing the fight, TL was left without crucial damage and C9 found a four-for-one trade, rift herald, a gold lead, and a hefty bounty on top of their now fed Tryndamere.

A critical misplay by Bwipo led to Summit finding his fourth kill of the game, further extending the top gap and making the window for TL to win very small. An ambitious invade by Blaber and Summit at the 13:30 mark fell short, allowing TL to secure Summit’s shutdown and Blaber at the cost of CoreJJ. This is followed shortly after by an aggressive play in the bot lane by TL. While it looked good initially, Berserker was able to kill Hans sama with his Jinx ultimate, leaving Santorin exposed and susceptible to the rest of C9. This brought the scoreline to 9-5 with a 3,400 gold lead for C9.

The next play wouldn’t unfold until around the 18 minute mark, where Fudge, Blaber, and Winsome look to pick off Bwipo, who they think is alone. However, CoreJJ and Hans sama emerge from the fog of war and find a kill onto Fudge before Blaber and Winsome can engage.

The game remains largely quiet until soul point drake emerges for C9. Both teams rally around mid, but Bwipo hops into the right brush where both teams have vision. Unbeknownst to him, Fudge and Winsome are just on the other side of the wall to that brush and they are able to burst him down before the rest of TL can engage. With a man advantage, C9 push into TL and find another pick onto CoreJJ.

C9 secure soul point, and reacquire their diminished gold lead. Seeing Berserker alone, Bwipo dives him under mid lane tier one turret, but miscalculates his damage and is outplayed once again, leaving the scoreline at 12-6 at the 30:40 mark. Summit and Berserker combine for a play onto Hans sama in the top jungle, while Blaber keeps Bjergsen at bay in the bot lane. With both Bwipo and Hans sama down, C9 focuses their efforts to midlane, securing all turrets up to the nexus where they are able to end before TL can recoup and re-engage. Cloud9 won in 31:35 with a 13-6 scoreline.

Outlook on the Split

With C9 now topping the LCS with a win over the next best team, there is not much room for error here. While it is likely C9 will continue their win streak into Week 7, Week 8 poses the next biggest challenge for them. Week 7 pits the number one seed against the current last-place seed in TSM (2-11) on Saturday (March 19) and CLG (currently 7th place seed 5-8) on Sunday. While C9’s second loss this split was to CLG, it is unlikely to repeat due to the development since that week 3 mishap. Their next opportunity to lose would be in week 8 where they would face off against number 4 seed FlyQuest (7-6) followed by 3rd seed 100 Thieves 8-5). While they also play against Dignitas (7-6) that weekend, an upset loss would be shocking.

Regardless, C9 currently leads the LCS and will likely continue to as the remainder of the split unfolds into playoffs. While TL is still the favorite to win, C9 are definitely a force to be reckoned with and definitely have a shot at securing the MSI spot. The LCS kicks off once again for Week 7 on March 19th, before closing the next day on the 20th. Be sure to tune in so you don’t miss the action!

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