Cloud9 win LCS Championship in dominant fashion – Nerd Street Gamers
by Nick Geracie
On Sunday in front of thousands of screaming League of Legends esports fans at the United Center in Chicago, Cloud9 won the 2022 League Championship Series Championship in dominant fashion. After a postseason that featured close series after close series, C9 managed the only sweep of the LCS Championship against 100 Thieves to win their fifth domestic title and punch their ticket to the League of Legends World Championship as North America’s No. 1 seed.
C9 came into the series as the only undefeated team in the postseason. After a 3-2 win in the first round against Counter Logic Gaming, C9 sent defending champion Evil Geniuses to the lower bracket in a convincing 3-1 win before doing the same thing to 100 Thieves. 100T were able to battle back for a rematch with C9 after defeating EG in the lower bracket final on Saturday in a 3-2 slugfest.
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Unfortunately for 100 Thieves, their second meeting against Cloud9 in the postseason was much more of a shellacking than the first. In Game 1, C9 jungler Robert “Blaber” Huang secured first blood on 100 Thieves mid laner Felix “Abbedagge” Braun with the help of his own mid laner Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen. This kill gave Blaber the springboard he needed to continue accelerating his Nocturne’s scaling, which he began to do by relentlessly targeting the Malphite of 100 Thieves top laner Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho with help from the Kennen of C9 top laner Ibrahim “Fudge” Allami.
The pressure exerted by Cloud9 on the top side of the map allowed AD carry Kim “Berserker” Min-cheol to farm up on Zeri before joining his squad to take over teamfights. A Baron Nashor buff and subsequent teamfight ace was the nail in the coffin for 100 Thieves as Cloud9 took Game 1.
In Game 2, 100 Thieves jumped out to an early lead, with jungler Can "Closer" Çelik getting the better of Blaber in the Jarvan IV vs. Wukong matchup, but in the mid-game, Cloud9 were able to showcase one of its primary areas of superiority to 100 Thieves: mid-game teamfighting.
C9 were able to turn fights from a gold deficit time and time again, and despite being behind about 3,000 gold in the early game, they were able to rip Game 2 out of 100 Thieves’ hands in under 25 minutes to go to match point.
Game 3 featured the most back-and-forth early-game yet, but with the game nearly even in gold in the mid-game, C9 once again won a pivotal teamfight near the dragon pit as they had in Game 2.
C9 spared fans any drama present in previous rounds of the 2022 LCS Championship and never looked back after gaining control of Game 3, Although the last win was longer than the others, it was just as convincing.
C9’s superior teamfighting weren’t their only advantage over 100 Thieves — the depth of the individual champion pools of the Cloud9 players was a major factor in the series sweep. Blaber’s gambit on Nocturne in Game 1 paid off in spades, and Jensen’s Zilean, although certainly not the only problem for 100 Thieves, was yet another thing they needed to consider.
Read more: How Ssumday found a home with 100 Thieves
Fudge was able to get the better of Ssumday’s Fiora on Jax, and that’s not even considering the other unique picks C9 had been willing to play like Berserker’s Nilah or the pocket Ashe of support Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen. In fact, in 100 Thieves’ press conference after the loss, head coach Bok “Reapered” Han-gyu emphasized the flexibility of C9’s bot lane duo.
“To be honest, the C9 bot duo was showing that they had a larger champion pool. It was safer that we trade Zeri and Sivir,” Reapered explained. “Both champions have high carry potential and premium teamfight power, so we were betting on that.”
Berserker dominated in the bot lane. Photo credit: Cloud9
It wasn’t a great bet. Aside from falling slightly behind in the laning phase in Game 2, Berserker was able to win both sides of the Zeri/Sivir matchup against 100 Thieves AD carry Victor “FBI” Huang. Zeri is universally considered the stronger individual pick of the matchup, but after winning Game 1 on Zeri, Berserker had no problem replicating the same level of impact on Sivir in Games 2 and 3. It was a performance that earned him MVP honors for the final.
The final between Cloud9 and 100 Thieves was the most one-sided matchup of the 2022 LCS Championship. The series could be considered a bit of an anticlimactic end for a postseason with previously unseen levels of parity, but in the clean sweep, Cloud9 left no doubt that they are North America’s best team heading into Worlds.
Lead photo credit: Cloud9
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