Cloud 9, Na's Darkhorse
Cloud 9 comes out playing impressively well vs AHQ,Fnatic, and Invictus Gaming. Managing to take a win off of each team in their group created a major upset amongst analysts and fans. By the end of week one, C9 were sitting comfortably in 1st place with a two game lead on the other teams. Finding major success in fast pushing tower comp, that suited C9’s style of making impressive rotational plays and superior teamfight control. During the team’s time bootcamping in Korea they had found the style and synergy they needed to exceed expectations and prove their worth as one of the world’s best teams.
Starting the day with a great record set by their dominant performance last week, C9 needed to win one game of their three matches that day to clinch a spot in the quarterfinals. In worst case scenario, C9 had already clinched a tiebreaker game to fight for the 2nd seed heading into the knockout stage. Previous to their matches, Team Solo Mid and Counter Logic Gaming struggled in finding wins on the other teams in their group and ultimately did not claim any spots for the knockout stage. All of the North American region pinning its hopes on Cloud 9 being able to represent them in the Top 8(teams)of the tournament. External pressure could’ve played a massive role in explaining the team’s rather unexpected outcome. C9 faced a disappointing defeat at the hands of Fnatic, playing their usual fast push approach. Next up they face the LMS’ AHQ, who also gave them their second loss. After playing nearly the same comp as their game versus Fnatic, C9 tries to make a shift and play a slightly different approach that still focuses on their strengths in teamfighting. Surprisingly, C9 again watches the red glow of defeat at the end of their game against Invictus Gaming. Forced into now battling with AHQ for the second seed in the group, they decide to pull out all the stops and play a more comfortable team comp that they hope can bring them one last win. Unfortunately, they cannot bring themselves a win, ending their second half of group stages 0-4. While C9 was unable to bring about necessary changes to their playstyle, they have proven themselves as players and a team that they’re not as weak as most claim. Balls, who was criticized for having a rough performance in Korean Solo Ranked Ladder, managed to show he wouldn’t be a liability to the team like he was during the Spring and Summer Split. Hai, was able to further solidify his ability to make on the fly calls and lead his team to victory through swift and decisive plays both in-fights and out. Incarnati0n, the rookie, was able to prove himself as a player and live up to the hype surrounding him when he first joined at the introduction to the Summer split. Sneaky, still earning the title of one of the best adc’s in the North American Region. Lastly, Lemonnation who had a rocky performance this past season, is my Most Improved Player for the team. Visibly each week after Hai rejoined, Lemon was slowly regaining his skills and came back into form. While, Cloud 9 was unable to add more pages to their cinderella story, they have proven to be a very successful team eyed by many aspiring players. From one game away to playing in the promotion tournament to top of their week 1 worlds group shows these players definitely has what it takes to be a top team.