Cloud9, the LCS representatives in the Worlds 2021 play-ins stage, have stormed to a perfect 3-0 record after two days in Iceland. Despite many questions raised about the team before Worlds began, C9’s performance so far has been a return to form for the LCS team.
The team started 2021 by winning the LCS Spring split. However, they were plagued by a decline in performance at MSI and the Summer split. They dropped matches to Australia’s Pentanet.GG and Japan’s DetonatioN FocusMe at MSI before battling their way through the Summer Loser’s Bracket to secure the LCS third seeding.
Inconsistency was their biggest issue, with C9 never being able to find a rhythm or optimal team cohesion. They also looked relatively dull on the Rift in comparison to teams like 100 Thieves and Evil Geniuses, who were enjoying successful splits with exciting young talents on the roster.
Even though the Blue-and-White were expected to make it out of play-ins, they entered Worlds 2021 with many questions hanging above their heads.
Cloud9 dominate early Worlds matches
Cloud9’s first outing was a rematch against DetonatioN FocusMe, who got one over them at MSI earlier in the year.
They only needed 28 minutes to beat the Japanese team this time around, giving the opposition just four kills in the process. They followed that with a win against Beyond Gaming that lasted nearly 40 minutes. They finished day two of the first Round-Robin by absolutely decimating Galatasaray, who had established themselves as a potential giant-killer with a surprise 2-0 start to Worlds. With three wins in tow, C9 are guaranteed at least second in the group.
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A win against Unicorns of Love on day three secures them first place, as does a DFM loss to Beyond Gaming. However, if they lose and DFM win, the group will be decided with a tie-breaker between C9 and DFM.
Cloud9 have addressed their major issues
Cloud9 looked like a better team than they did during the Summer split.
AD Jesper ‘Zven’ Svenningsen, who was benched for a month in the Summer, put up a 12/1/11 stat line across the first three games, while superstar mid lane Luka ‘Perkz’ Perković went 14/5/10. In fact, the Croatian was pleased with the team’s performance in their day one win over DFM, as the NA org are coasting so far in the play-ins.
“We’ve been working really hard in scrims to improve our early game,” Perkz said in his Worlds post-game interview. “But today, the communication was really great, everyone was really on point. It was a very fluid game”
C9 have gained a reputation as a team that heavily favors late-scaling champions. However, this focus can work against them if they fall too far behind in the early game for their tactics to be effective.
Perkz’s insights suggest that the team is aware of the disadvantage that can be put and has worked on it in order to be a competitive team at Worlds.
How will C9 fare in the group stage?
Cloud9 can automatically qualify for the Worlds group stage with a win on day three. However, the main group stage will not be easy for the North American team.
Given how the draw went, NA’s third-seed will likely find themselves in a group with DWG Kia and FunPlus Phoenix. However, Perkz was confident that Cloud9 can pull out a strong performance.
“Why is MSI a bad memory?” Perkz asked interviewer Laure Valée, “We beat Damwon, we beat RNG, we beat MAD Lions. I believe we can do something at this tournament.”
With a chance to go undefeated, Cloud9 will play Unicorns of Love on the final day of the Worlds 2021 play-ins schedule.