Cloud 9’s Cinderalla Story and Fairy God Sneaky
Cloud 9 looking down the road to worlds, had four best of five games ahead of them. Cloud 9’s competitive spirit was decently absent during the season having placed 7th overall. The expectation for Cloud 9 coming into the NA LCS Regional Qualifier was to fall out in the first or second match. Their first best of five against team Gravity, even losing their first two games Cloud 9 looked to be losing as anticipated, then it happened. Game 3 Cloud 9 pulls the win out keeping them alive and bringing the series to game four. The immediate fear when a team wins game three after losing the first two is the possibility of a reverse sweep, picking up the next two and winning the series. The turnaround in Cloud 9’s favor was decisive with games three through five going in their favor from the very beginning. Cloud 9 makes it to game two against Team Impulse in the NA LCS Regional Qualifier or as dubbed by Riot, “The Gauntlet”.
The surprising win by Cloud 9 was short lived as they lost the first two against against Team Impulse. Their ability to gain an early advantages and make decisive plays to execute on what advantages they did have disappeared. Cloud 9 was floundering against Team Impulse failing to close out the first two games. But then it happened again, game three Cloud 9 picks up the win. Replicating their game against Gravity, Cloud 9 reverse sweeps and closes out game two of “The Gauntlet” with a win.
The dream is real, Cloud 9 makes it into the semifinals against Team Liquid, the third place winners from the NA LCS Finals. Breaking the reverse sweep cycle Cloud 9 takes the first win, followed by losing game two to Team Liquid. Game three in the best of five was spectacular in length ending at just over one hour in favor of Cloud 9. The early to mid game belonged to Team Liquid however Cloud 9’s positioning, vision play, and objective control turned the game around, eking out small advantages that turned into a giant snowball of a Vayne. Game four is on, and Team Liquid did not give up, staying on Cloud 9’s heels all game. However Team Liquid made some poor decisions, face checking bushes and walking solo it ended up giving the game to Cloud 9. It was a real Cinderella story, from 7th in the regular season to going to worlds.
No Cinderella makes it to the ball without a strong force to bring them there, and Cloud 9’s fairy god mother was Sneaky. Between Draven in the first and second games Vayne in the third, Sneaky’s impact was felt in every game, from ambient pressure by by playing Draven or late game pressure as Vayne. The support of his team was not without mention, Cloud 9’s Hai being moved to the jungle supported the team and provided the platform for Sneaky to be successful and carry late game. Of particular note with regards to Sneaky is LemonNation, playing perfectly as a support facilitating Sneaky’s strengths.
Cloud 9 is currently preparing for worlds in South Korea with many other teams in an attempt to prepare for new and unexpected gameplays from the international teams.