LCS Summer 2020 Playoffs: Dissecting Cloud9’s Shocking Fall from Grace

League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /
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League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /

After a meteoric rise at the start of the 2020 LCS Season, we look at how Cloud9 fell from grace.

2020 has been a year of firsts for Cloud9. It marks the first time since 2014 Spring the storied organization lifted the LCS trophy. It was the first time an original member of Cloud9 was not the starting roster in any capacity. It is also the first time the organization will not attend the World Championship.

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Virtually no one expected the boys in blue to come into 2020 as the premier North American League of Legends team. They offloaded a number of key players in their 2018/19 finals teams. Summer 2019 MVP Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen, support Tristan “Zeyzal” Stidam, and most difficult of all: Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi, the only player who was on the original Cloud9 roster in 2013. In their place, they promoted longtime backup Jungler Robert “Blaber” Huang, signed free agent AD carry Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen from Team SoloMid, and bought out rookie Support Philippe “Vulcan” Laflamme from Dignitas for 1.5 million; the largest buyout in LCS history.

Even the most diehard fans did not predict the sheer level of dominance this 5-man lineup would experience in the new decade. A 17-1 spring split capped off with a coach of the year award, an MVP for Blaber, all five players being voted to All-Pro 1st Team, and Cloud9’s first LCS title in six years.

They lost one regular-season game, one playoff game, and in the first half of the summer split they went 9-0 defeating every single team in the league. With a 35-2 record, this Cloud9 team was unquestionably the best team in North America, many were lauding them as the greatest team the region had ever seen.

That same team has failed to qualify for the World Championship. Now, pundits everywhere are being asked to answer the burning question: how did this happen?