LCS Summer 2020 Playoffs Preview: Cloud9 vs FlyQuest

FlyQuest, LCS. Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games.
FlyQuest, LCS. Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games. /

We preview the first series of the LCS Summer playoffs second round, as Cloud9 faces FlyQuest.

The LCS playoffs move on to the second round on Thursday, with Cloud9 facing against FlyQuest. For the winner, it’s a trip to the semifinals and one step closer to a spot at the 2020 World Championship. For the loser, they still have hope in the loser’s bracket as they’ll have to face off with Evil Geniuses.


Record: 13-5


Eric “Licorice” Ritchie
Robert “Blaber” Huang
Yasin “Nisqy” Dinçer
Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen
Philippe “Vulcan” Laflamme

The Regular Season

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Cloud9 entered the Summer Split as a team that was seemingly bulletproof. They won the Spring Split Championship in decisive fashion, only dropping two games all split, and looked to repeat that performance with a perfect first half of the Summer Split.

Then the bottom fell out as Cloud9 went a pedestrian 4-5 over their last nine games. Despite the tailspin, they were able to secure the number two seed and a first-round bye. That bye is going to be critical for a team that enters the postseason reeling and needs to identify how to make their playstyle work in the meta.

One thing that didn’t change about C9 was their immaculate early game play. Per Oracle’s Elixir, Cloud9 was the best early game team in the LCS. In the mid and late game, though, they were right at the middle of the pack.


Record: 12-6


Colin “Solo” Earnest
Lucas “Santorin” Tao Kilmer Larsen
Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage
Jason “WildTurtle” Tran
Lee “Ignar” Dong-geun

Playoffs: Defeated Evil Geniuses (3-2)

FlyQuest was the only team that did not sweep their playoff series last week. After going up 2-0 over Evil Geniuses, they faltered and dropped the next two games as EG appeared to figure out how to stifle PowerofEvil. Then, in the deciding Game 5, FlyQuest managed to turn the series back on its head and take the win.

One thing that was quite evident to me in watching that series was how good FlyQuest is at finding champions to play to their style and form a cohesive comp, even when those champions aren’t in the meta. For instance, in every game that series WildTurtle was on either Senna or Ashe, PowerofEvil was on a mage mid (yes I’m counting the AP Kog’Maw in Game 5 a mage), and Solo was on a champion with some form of dueling capability (Mordekaiser, Renekton, or Shen).

FlyQuest’s ability to identify their players strengths and weaknesses is why they have one of the most solid coaching staffs. This team will always highlight their own players strengths and mitigate their team’s weaknesses, which is why they are such a solid team.

Head to Head Matchups

Top Lane: Licorice vs. Solo

Although Licorice had a “down” Summer Split compared to spring, he still proved to be one of the best top laners in the LCS, helping him to win first-team All-Pro honors. Solo, on the other hand, is widely regarded as one of the bigger snubs in that category and, while I still think Licorice is better, I do tend to agree that he should have gotten consideration. Both players have very similar and wide champion pools, so this is going to be a very fun matchup to watch but I give the edge to the better player with more experience.

Advantage: Cloud9

Jungle: Blaber vs. Santorin

Another first-team All-Pro versus another snub (Santorin did earn second-team honors at least), the jungle matchup will likely be as tightly-contested as the top lane. Once again, I give the edge to Blaber because he did end the season graded as the best player at his role. That said, the difference between Blaber and Santorin isn’t as big as the gap between Licorice and Solo, in my opinion.

Advantage: Cloud9

Mid Lane: Nisqy vs. PowerofEvil

Now this is the area where FlyQuest really has a huge opportunity to blow the game open. Power of Evil versus Nisqy is a clash of styles, as PoE loves to smash lane while Nisqy wants to roam and snowball other lanes.

If I’m FlyQuest, I’m doing everything in my power to keep that from happening because PoE is one of the best laners in the LCS and in a late-game, scaling fight I think he’ll outperform Nisqy. This one goes the way of FlyQuest if they get the right picks for PoE like Syndra and Orianna, who can pressure Nisqy and keep him from roaming on those champions like Galio, Zoe, and TF.

Advantage: FlyQuest

ADC: Zven vs. WildTurtle

Zven’s stats were skewed down due to his playing some unconventional picks like Wukong and Sona, but he still managed to have a rather solid split. He wasn’t nearly as good as his first split, though, when he was dominating on Aphelios and Senna.

As discussed above, Turtle’s champion pool is largely different from those picks and neither has yet shown much prowess on the new hot pick Caitlyn (though Turtle did play it once in the first round with success). This will also be a close matchup and it will swing on the champion picks, but I’ll give the slight edge to Zven.

Advantage: Cloud9

Support: Vulcan vs. Ignar

This is going to be an absolute treat to watch, as two evenly-matched ADCs face off against two very different supports. Vulcan is clearly more of the “dominate lane” support, while Ignar is more comfortable to roam the map and set up plays. As FlyQuest wants to keep PowerofEvil from roaming, C9 should look to target Ignar from roaming effectively, giving their bot lane a huge advantage.

Advantage: Cloud9

Keys to the Series

I don’t think there’s a series this weekend that will swing as hard on the drafts as Cloud9 versus FlyQuest. These two teams have players with almost opposite playstyles and champion pools in the key roles and there aren’t really any massive mismatches that either team can take advantage of.

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I could see scenarios from draft that heavily favor Cloud9 (having a strong, invading jungler and a roaming mid with a stable bot) as well as ones that favor FlyQuest (a roaming support who can help gank mid and keep Nisqy in lane). This matchup is truly a chess match and both teams have solid coaching staffs that should and will be able to navigate both what their team wants to do and what the enemy will try to do. This series will be close, and even though I’m picking Cloud9 because of their overall better talent, I could absolutely see FlyQuest taking the win.

Prediction: Cloud9 wins 3-1