Ah, Cloud9. Could you even find a better example of a team that’s less than the sum of its parts? On an individual level, every player here is top-tier, but somehow they just can’t pull together in-game. That being said, it’s been a while since we’ve seen them play, so expect Cloud9 to come out with a few tricks up their sleeve.
CLG showed up big in their series. Despite a shaky game 1, they picked up the slack and went on to dismantle FlyQuest through their solo lanes. But what’s even more important is that the Stixxay/Aphromoo duo finally started pulling its own weight both in the laning phase and in the mid game.
Top Lane matchup
Cloud9 didn’t have the best luck with their top lane this season. With a 3.3 KDA and 7.6 CS per minute, Impact is an established player that’s particularly impressive on tanks, but he’s lost that killer instinct that made him so dominant in the past. And while Ray (2.0 KDA and 8.0 CS per minute) thrives on aggression, his hit-or-miss decision-making is a constant problem whenever he’s subbed in.
As for CLG, Darshan has the best of both worlds. Sporting a 4.2 KDA and 7.6 CS per minute, he’s a versatile top laner that can do well on tanks and carries alike. No matter who C9 field, Darshan is going to be a huge hurdle for them.
Verdict: CLG Darshan finds a win in the top lane.
It’s true that OmarGod became more stable lately, but we’re not quite sold on him yet. With a 3.9 KDA and 3.9 CS per minute, he does well enough on tanks to pull through in teamfights, but his early game pathing could use some work.
Of course, Contractz isn’t exactly a jungle juggernaut either. But—holding a 4.1 KDA and 4.7 CS per minute—he’s consistently performed at an above average level in his games.
Verdict: C9 Contractz edges out a win in the jungle.
Mid Lane matchup
There’s no denying that Huhi improved a lot. With a 4.7 KDA and 8.9 CS per minute, he went from being the weakest link on CLG to the superstar of the team. A lot of his success is tied to smart map movement and established synergy with his teammates.
But even Huhi is bound to struggle against the mechanical prodigy that is Jensen. Holding an 8.7 KDA and 9.5 CS per minute, Jensen has spent the entirety of the 2017 Summer Split putting on a clinic in the mid lane—and he’s not about to stop anytime soon.
Verdict: C9 Jensen breaks through the mid lane.
Bot Lane matchup
The bottom lane matchup is as close as it gets. With a 5.7 KDA and 8.7 CS per minute, Stixxay has always been solid in the AD carry position, but it’s the fact that Aphromoo (3.3 KDA) stepped up that makes him shine even more.
On the other hand, C9’s duo finds itself in a bit of a slump. Holding a 5.0 KDA and 8.8 CS per minute, Sneaky is a great teamfighter but a drastically mediocre laner. Fortunately, this weakness is compensated by the aggressive presence of his teammate, Smoothie (5.1 KDA). Even so, when both supports are close skill-wise, we’d have to give the edge to a more well-rounded marksman in Stixxay.
Verdict: CLG’s Stixxay and Aphromoo win out by the slimmest of margins.
Once again, Cloud9 need to put all their eggs in the Jensen basket, but we can’t help thinking that this game plan makes them entirely too predictable. Meanwhile, CLG have two strong side lanes to play through, as well as the long-standing history of stepping up when it matters most. It’s close, but we’re going to have to predict a 3-2 victory in CLG’s favor!
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