Congratulations are in order for Cloud 9, having made it out of the LoL Worlds 2017 Play-Ins and on their way to the Group Stage. While they might have stumbled during the NALCS playoffs against Dignitas, they still managed to take down CLG to make it to the play-ins and now have gone undefeated as they enter the next stage of Worlds. The only other team that managed to accomplish this feat was Team WE. The praises have to go the way of C9, but they can’t pat themselves on the back too soon as they are going to have to keep this momentum going if they want to see quaterfinals like last year.
Undefeated Powerhouse at LoL Worlds 2017 or Luckiest Team?
Many have questions abound with C9 entering the Group Stage which is not a reaction you want to see from critics after you just won 7 games in a row at an international event. Before you even talk about how those games went, you have talk discuss the teams that C9 faced against. Comparatively, they had the easiest lineup of opponents of any single team that qualified for Groups.
First off, they had Team oNe eSports and LG Dire Wolves to compete against. Neither of these two teams strike on as a team favorited to win their group against most of the other teams attending the play-ins, let alone all of Worlds. Then there is who C9 got paired against in the knockout stage, Lyon Gaming. While this team might have shocked everyone by being able to get out of their group, they were placed as the team least likely to make win against any of the top seeded teams from the play-ins.
What Happened In Game For C9?
Noting the ease of their opponents on paper, C9 should have looked like one of the most dominant teams that smacked around the Brazilian, Oceanic, and North Latin American representatives, correct? Sadly, this wasn’t truly the case. Despite getting a clean 7-0, many of the games were far from clean.
In the groups stage, they did look amazing. Three of their four games were under 30 minutes where oNe and DW only looked like they could compete for the first 10 minutes in order to affirm the trend of Sneaky being incredibly weak in game. The only game that went past 30 minutes was their first in China against oNe and could have been a lot better had Jensen been playing even a touch better.
Continuing the trend of the majority of the games being a staunch performance from C9, two of the three matches against LYN were sub 30 minute games. Contractz was in the right place at the right time, Impact played the tanks well in fights and Jensen plus Sneaky didn’t feed. This is nothing to worry about, at least if this was the end of the story.
There is that one game, game 2, where C9 were on death’s door for 30 minutes in the game. Only off of a better macro understanding were C9 able to hold on for objectives, secure them and somehow win after 60 minutes. Impact looked bad for the majority of the game, Sneaky and Jensen were being picked off too often early, and Contractz couldn’t have a presence for a long time. This game highlights the weaknesses many already pointed to with C9 and now that they are in a group with EDG, SKT, and AHQ, they will be punished heavily for it.
Has C9’s Lucky Run Out?
C9 are weak in lane and can play well as a team. They have a mid lane king, carry top laner that can play tanks, hard initiation jungler, a support who can adapt, and an ADC that might not look the best in lane but will carry late. Hold on, those are the descriptions of SKT. The difference here is that SKT are a lot cleaner in their macro play. If C9 are going to try to compete against SKT in a similar play style, they are going to lose every time to the team that perfected the style.
Then there are both AHQ and EDG. These teams don’t play like C9, instead, they go hard and fast. They are loose with their pressure and want to find leads early. Once those leads are grabbed, they don’t let it go. If C9 continue to play like they did in the play-ins, both of these teams aren’t going to give them the room to bounce back and will keep C9’s sub 30 minute game average going, but with the Defeat screen instead.
Things are looking incredibly grim for C9 as they move on in Worlds and the odds aren't in their favor. It could be argued that they couldn’t have gotten a worse group for the type of playstyle they use. Not just that, but the number 1 LPL team and the two-time Worlds’ champs in the same group. Every year, C9 seem to be paired with SKT and maybe it isn’t about C9’s luck running out, but more that they give power to SKT to win the trophy each year.