Today one of North America’s representatives at the League of Legends World Championships revealed the offseason plan that will push them back on top.
Cloud9 suffered through an up-and-down 2015 after finally making changes to the lineup that dominated domestic competition for years. Now they’re making another change as Daerek “LemonNation” Hart will move to a staff position, leaving Cloud9 without a support heading towards 2016.
The team will hold tryouts to fill the role, but does so with two options: They will either recruit a support player, or add a jungle player and move their current jungler, shot caller, and team captain Hai Lam to the support position.
That’s a roster swap that Cloud9 fans have fantasized about for season. While Hart’s ability to theorycraft and draft in League of Legends always made him a valuable asset to the team, his mechanics as a support player were never world class and he never found his niche as an initiator, a tool required of supports to run many of the basic team composition in League. In the mid lane, Lam offered a similar dilemma: His shot calling is a one-of-a-kind asset in all of League, but his mid lane mechanics and champion pool left a lot on the table. Instead of carrying games Lam often served as the sacrificial lamb initiating fights from the mid lane.
Moving Lam to support could be perfect for his playstyle, putting him on a less mechanically intensive position where he can survey the battlefield, shot call, and initiate fights without putting his team at a mechanical deficit.
Of course, he’s shown that his jungle play, while perhaps not world class, is good enough. With him in the lineup, the team narrowly staved off relegation in a harrowing Summer season. Then they survived a gauntlet of North America’s best teams to reach the League of Legends World Championship for a third straight year.
Whether Lam remains in the jungle or moves to support, it’s clear that they don’t want to take him out of the lineup considering the 2015 year proved his unique ability to shot call games.
This opens the door for some interesting possibilities next season. With Team Impulse on the auction block, 2015 LCS Summer MVP Lee “Rush” Yoon-jae may be available. The jungle player showed the ability to single-handedly win matches with his insane mechanical talent last year and would instantly give Cloud9 a triple threat lineup surrounding mid laner Nicolaj “Incarnati0n” Jensen and Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi.
More interesting might be the potential return of an old teammate: William “Meteos” Hartman. When Cloud9 was winning back-to-back LCS championships, Hartman was the team’s star player. But in 2015, his performance dropped as he took more a leadership role with Hai Lam out of the lineup, leading to him eventually leaving the lineup. At the moment Hartman is primed to lead a Cloud9 Challenger squad in 2016, but with an open spot on the big team, who knows what the future will hold?
Whatever happens, the offseason heading into 2015 is certainly shaping up to be an exciting one. And whoever Cloud9 adds to the lineup, it will be fun to see how Lam leads his team with another talent in the lineup.
Photo via Riot Games/Flickr