Cloud9 could be a contender at Worlds, but many believe the weak competition in LCS Summer 2020 is holding them back.
The League of Legends World Championship is still months away and LCS Summer 2020 has just started, but it is not too early to talk about the league’s most dominant team. In 2020, the LCS has been ruled by Cloud9. The big question still left unanswered is how they would fare against world-class competition.
Cloud9 dominated the Spring Split, only dropping a single game to TSM during the regular season and another game against Evil Geniuses in the playoffs, making for one of the most dominant seasons in LCS history, rivaled only by C9 in 2013 Summer. I for one was extremely excited to see them match up against the world-class competition at the Midseason Invitational, but as we know it was canceled because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that is still sweeping across the world.
It is no secret that the LCS is pretty weak right now, especially compared to the thriving LEC and LPL. This made me wonder if C9 could really compete against international teams or if they were just steamrolling smaller competition in the LCS.
This has been hotly debated since Cloud9’s resurgence. Some say that they will lose in the Worlds group stage due to a lack of actual competition. Others are pressing C9, saying they are the best team NA has ever had, and predicting them to make a quarterfinals appearance, and perhaps even get a knock out stage win.
In their past Worlds appearances, Cloud9 has almost always made it out of the group stage, with the exceptions of 2015 and 2019. Their best run came in 2018 where they were able to advance all the way to the semi-finals, which was the first time the NA won a playoff game in World Championship history, with the exception of TSM in Season 1.
In both 2018 and 2019, C9 had extremely difficult groups, with two reigning MSI champions and a former World Champion. Nevertheless, Cloud9 was able to make it our of groups in 2018, with arguably a weaker roster then they have now. They went 3-0 in Week 2 defeating not only a faltering Gen.G but the favorite to win the tournament RNG too.
In 2019 they were not so lucky, picking up only 2 wins against the 0-6 HKA, and dropping all their games to a young Korean powerhouse, Griffin, and the reigning LEC and MSI champions, G2. In both 2018 and 2019, they were the number two and three seeds, respectively, in their groups and had arguably a worse roster then they do in 2020.
Personally, I believe that Cloud9 does have a fighting chance. Obviously, it is very early to tell and anything could happen but I do believe that they can at least make it out of the group stage, most likely as the group’s number two seed. The competition will be a little tougher this year as well, with there being an additional team from both the LEC and LPL, the two best regions in the world.
Before they can even compete at worlds however, Cloud9 has to still qualify by winning the split or gauntlet. But if spring was a sign for things to come, I guarantee you we will be seeing C9 at Worlds for another consecutive year.