League of Legends LCS Playoff Preview: Cloud9 Vs. TSM

TSM Bjergsen - Riot Games
TSM Bjergsen - Riot Games /
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League of Legends LCS Spring Playoffs 2019: the machinations of fate have brought these organizations back again. The slate wiped clean by a 2018 filled with shattered expectations, who will take the rematch?

The last year of LCS was a big one for both TSM and Cloud9, though their trajectories could not have been much different. For years now, these League of Legends teams have been coiled in a sort of double-helix with one another, going through cycles of dominance and failure, one rising as the other falls. Yet neither team had ever broken from the bonds that seemed to hold them, the proverbial “rules of the game” that each squad played by, split after split.

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These rules were as follows:

·       TSM never misses Regional Finals

·       TSM never misses Worlds

·       TSM underperforms at Worlds

·       Cloud9 wins the Gauntlet

·       Cloud9 never misses Worlds

·       Cloud9 makes Quarterfinals at Worlds, before losing to a strong Eastern team

·       If TSM and Cloud9 play in a best-of-five, TSM wins

Yet strange tides moved beneath the surface of 2018. By Summer – and the hustle for Worlds — the rules of the game had already been broken. In their Spring Playoffs, TSM dropped to Clutch Gaming in the quarterfinals, missing their Finals appearance for the first time ever.

On a wholly different path, Cloud9 had underperformed in 2018 Spring, dropping 0-3 to Liquid in the Quarters. The team seemed fundamentally broken in Summer, dropping game after game and eventually holding sole possession of 10th.

Then, in a legendary run, C9 started winning again. After the dust settled, the team locked in second place and a Playoffs bye, blowing our collective minds.

And so, in the Semifinals of 2018 Summer League of Legends Playoffs, Cloud9 and TSM were set on a collision course for one another.

In this series, Cloud9 managed to take down TSM in a grueling 5-game series – their first Bo5 victory against the organization in four years. TSM dropped into the Gauntlet – another first for the organization. Then, after C9 fell to Liquid in the finals, the two teams eyed one another across the Rift for the second time that year, solidifying the sense that we had truly entered parts unknown.

After all, this was make-or-break for both teams. One would claim the last ticket to Korea, the other would watch from their team house in LA.

In the end, C9 blew past TSM with a swift 3-0 in the third round of the Gauntlet, punching their ticket for Worlds and leaving TSM with their first long offseason in the history of the organization. Meanwhile, C9 went on to their first-ever Semifinals at Worlds.

And now, Spring of 2019, the machinations of fate have brought these orgs back to do battle on the Rift, the slate wiped clean by a 2018 filled with shattered expectations.