Ibrahim ‘Fudge’ Allami has issued a “keep calm” order for Cloud9 — North America’s Mid-Season Invitational representatives may be struggling in LCS 2021 Summer so far, but the Aussie star promises as long as they make Championship playoffs, they’re still a very clear title threat come crunch-time.
Cloud9 has struggled for consistency since returning from their international League of Legends adventure in Iceland. While they sit third — tied with fellow contenders Team Liquid and Evil Geniuses — with a 24–15 record, recent form tells a different story.
In the past six weeks, Cloud9 has managed a 3–0 weekend just once, all the way back in the second round. Their run in Summer’s second raft of games has been even worse; they’ve scraped to a seven-win, five-loss streak, recently losing to Evil Geniuses and FlyQuest in another shakey weekend in July.
Their poor Summer run, though, hasn’t crossed Fudge’s mind once.
“We take a look at the standings every so often, yeah, we take notice of them, but we’re focusing on a decent playoffs seed over anything else. I don’t think it actually matters that much, as long as you’re top six,” he told Dexerto.
“Honestly, it just doesn’t matter. First, second, third, fourth, they’re all the same. What matters is how much you’ve improved when you get to those games.”
On that front, Fudge says he’s been “very impressed”. It’s no secret that the Mid-Season Invitational was a less-than-stellar moment in Cloud9’s history, and the whole roster knows they have to lift if they want to challenge at Worlds.
“I think we’ve definitely progressed as a team,” he said.
“In previous games where we get behind, we’ve just been getting actually stomped and losing in like 20 minutes. When we look at games like the one against TSM [in Week 5] we actually made decisions that weren’t complete flips.”
Most recently, Fudge dominated Golden Guardians with a monster 10/1/7 game on Gwen. He’s been the crux of C9’s wins, but he points to the whole team as “key.”
“Our play has been a lot better than it was in the first couple of weeks even. Obviously we played with a different ADC then. That’s changed now, right? But I think all of our players have been improving a lot faster, myself included. I feel like I’m learning a lot more during scrims, and taking heaps out of our practice.
“There’s always stuff we can do better, definitely. And, we’re only just over halfway there, considering the split has changed a bit. We have the mentality right now that every game we play, scrims or otherwise, it’s a lesson for us to be learning.
“We’re focusing on playing, improving at a faster rate [than our rivals]. We do that, then I’m confident we’ll be the best team in North America by playoffs.”
The other major factor for Cloud9, outside their 11–10 record, has been managing burnout across the year. The team charged into Lock-In all the way back in January, went straight into Spring and its 18 games, then the Mid-Season Showdown.
By the time the LoL team arrived in Iceland, they had already played 47 pro games, and added another 16 there to boot. Now, mid-way through Summer, Fudge and the rest of the team are up into the mid-80s.
It’s not the biggest concern, but some are pointing to their “marathon” year as one potential reason for Cloud9’s slide. Not so, Fudge explained to Dexerto.
Fudge laughed: “I don’t think I’ve ever taken a break.”
“Even in the offseason, I just play heaps of League! I don’t really have a lot of things outside League of Legends. Is that a bad thing? Maybe it’s a bad thing, could be a very good thing too, considering the amount of time that I put into trying to get better. I don’t really like taking breaks. I always want to play.
“It is a problem if people fall off, but it’s manageable.
“Of course the team has already talked about it. We’re really focused on avoiding any kind of major dip, but I don’t think that’s an excuse. It’s a 27-game season, and that’s long, but we knew that already.
“I don’t blame anyone being wary of burnout, in Cloud9 or other teams, but I’m not feeling that. I never stop playing League, I genuinely love it… love improving.”