Cloud9 brought on young South Korean rookies, Kim ‘Winsome’ Dong-keon and Kim ‘Berserker’ Min-cheol, for their 2022 LCS main roster. With both players untested at the professional level, the moves represent a significant risk for Cloud9.
After signing standout LCK top laner Park ‘Summit’ Woo-tae, Cloud9 continued their pursuit of talented South Korea players.
Cloud9 have acquired Winsome, a support from LCK Academy team Shadow Battlica, and Berserker, a free agent AD carry recently released by T1 Challengers.
With plans to integrate them as starters, Cloud9 is taking a major gamble on two untested prospects.
Winsome & Berserker to Cloud9
Cloud9 have once again thrown a twist into the free agency narrative.
Their lineup will consist of Summit, jungler Robert ‘Baber’ Huang, role-swapped mid laner Ibrahim ‘Fudge’ Allami, AD carry Berserker, and Jonah ‘Isles’ Rosario with Korean rookie Winsome competing for Support.
Cloud9 acquired Winsome, who will compete with Isles in the offseason for the starting support role. Minimal information is available about the 19-year-old, who plays for Shadow Battlica in the LCK Academy Series, the third tier of Korean League of Legends.
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Data from lol.fandom indicates that Winsome had a 4.01 KDA in the recent LCK Academy Series Summer Championship, in which his team finished second. This was the second-highest KDA amongst supports and the eighth-highest overall.
Slightly more information exists about Berserker, the former AD carry for T1 Challengers in the second tier of Korean League of Legends. He was promoted from T1 Academy after a strong 2020 season.
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T1 Challengers won the 2021 Challenger League Spring split before finishing last in the Summer split, going just 5-13. Berserker’s KDA dropped from a league-best 9.2 in Spring to 3.91 in Summer.
Berserker was released by T1 ahead of free agency on November 15.
But he could be the piece Cloud9 has been looking for.
“The fact that he was the starting AD carry for T1 Challengers already says a lot about the sort of player he is,” LCK caster Maurits ‘Chronicler’ Jan Meeusen told Dexerto. “T1 is probably the most mentally taxing org in the LCK, so the sort of mentality that builds is huge.”
Chronicler believes that T1 Challengers’ drop-in form from the Spring to the Summer splits is not a reason to discount Berserker.
“T1 weren’t great in summer but they weren’t as bad as their placing suggests,” he explained. “The thing about Challengers is that it’s best-of-one, so it’s really easy for a losing streak to snowball. But they were definitely more of a middle-of-the-pack team.”
While it’s definitely a gamble for Cloud9, Chronicler sees a lot of potential for the moves to blossom into long-term success.
“If they are also adding Summit, Cloud9 is going to have side lanes that can absolutely bully NA opponents,” Chronicler said. “I don’t think they are going to see success right away; in fact, I think Spring is going to be pretty painful for them. But if they develop these players well, this is absolutely a team that can compete for and win LCS titles.”
Cloud9 willing to roll the dice
Neither player has experience at the LCK level, with only Berserker having played at an LCK Challenger level. These are two completely untested rookies that Cloud9 are banking on for starting roles in the LCS.
It’s an unorthodox strategy, especially for a team coming off an appearance in the Worlds quarterfinals. It’s one where success will see Cloud9 hailed as geniuses and failure will have the team scrambling to save their season.
Cloud9 fans may be in for a rollercoaster of a season with these moves and should make for an exciting spring split.