The League of Legends World Championships are underway in Iceland. In the play-ins group stage on October 7, Cloud9 of the LCS will take on Unicorns of Love of the LCL.
Can Cloud9 regain their spring form?
Cloud9 started the 2021 season strong, winning the LCS Spring Split and earning a place at MSI. However, poor performances in Summer saw C9 recall botlaner Jesper ‘Zven’ Svenningsen from the academy team less than a month into the split. After that move, C9 played well enough to secure the North American region’s third seed at Worlds 2021.
During the summer split, C9 relied heavily on the tandem of jungler Robert ‘Blaber’ Huang and midlaner Luka ‘Perkz’ Perković, and a continuation of that partnership will be key to C9’s success in the early and mid-game. However, Blaber’s aggressive playstyle may prove to be a double-edged sword. It will either help C9 establish an early lead, or prove to be an early-game liability, putting C9 on the backfoot.
Additionally, C9’s plays an overall slower tempo, relying on late-game scaling and match-defining teamfights to secure a win. This is reflected in their 30% first blood rate and 60% first dragon rate from their past 10 matches, highlighting their tendency to forgo the early kills in order to secure objectives that will help them later in the match.
This means C9 also favors late-scaling champions with strong upsides in teamfights, such as Alistair. They will also look to ban away strong engage champions such as Leona and Thresh, who are good against late-game comps.
Are Unicorns of Love good enough?
In comparison, Unicorns of Love has a much faster, more consistent offensive style. However, questions have been raised about the team’s ability. There was a lot of rotation in their bot lane lineup, and they suffered a loss to CrowCrowd in the LCL Summer playoffs. While they bounced back to once again secure the CIS’ spot at Worlds, UOL is not the team they once were and they may find it difficult to keep up.
This is truly a clash of differing playstyles. UOL will likely launch an early attack in this match, but C9’s focus on late-game builds will likely help them overcome any early disadvantage they may incur. This is likely to be a long game due to C9’s preference to build slow and win late, making it an enticing bet.
With the odds at 2.108 for UOL and 1.707, expect Shelly to be summoned on the side of UOL.
By the time Baron comes into play, C9 should be able to exploit their late-game drafts. Odds for this match having more than 2 Baron kills are as high as 2.729, presenting a potentially huge return on a long, close match.
Although C9 hails from a major region, they have struggled outside their home region, as seen in losses to teams such as DFM at MSI. Their heavy focus on the late game may leave them vulnerable to UOL’s early-game aggression. However, if C9 is able to prolong the game and not fall too far behind, they will hold the keys to a crucial victory.