Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi has become synonymous with Cloud9’s League of Legends team, but now that he’s been benched for week one that could all change.
Sneaky is the face of the franchise, thanks to his consistent play since bringing his team through the Challenger Series in 2013 and his monthly cosplays. Yet, Cloud9 announced in a YouTube video yesterday that Sneaky, Nicolaj Jensen, and Andy “Smoothie” Ta were being benched for the NA LCS’ first week in favor of a group of mostly unproven players.
This marks the first time in 1,909 days that Sneaky will not be playing for the team, according to a post on Reddit. He has been a rock for Cloud9 and was a major factor in their run at the World Championships last year, even breaking the tournament’s all-time record for Damage Per Minute in the quarterfinal round.
Without him, the team lacks a clear veteran presence, someone that can be a leader. Top laner Eric “Licorice” Ritchie is only in his second split in the LCS, and jungler Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen has never shown an ability to hard carry a team. C9 is pairing that duo up with Tristan “Zeyzal” Stidam, Yuri “Keith” Jew, and Greyson “Goldenglue” Gilmer. Zeyzal has never played in the LCS before and neither Goldenglue nor Keith have found success on the big stage. While Sneaky was never the team’s primary shotcaller, he is the only player remaining on Cloud9 from their dominant 2013 season.
Cloud9 will be hard-pressed to find their footing in week one of the Summer Split, which begins this week. The team faces Clutch Gaming and Optic Gaming at 6pm CT on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.