Cloud9 Pushes Past Their First Hurdle in the 2023 LCS Spring Playoffs

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Cloud9 Pushes Past Their First Hurdle in the 2023 LCS Spring Playoffs

The title favorites managed to come out on top in the hard-fought series.

If there is one certainty in LSC, it is that Cloud9 vs CLG always delivers. These teams had some of the most high-tempo, high-kill games this year and their similar aggressive, scrappy playstyle always results in fun games. CLG is also the team that always gives Cloud9 trouble, even when they are in their best form. So coming into this series, many expected it to be close on the Rift even if the score didn't reflect it.

The most important matchup to watch was the mid/jungle duos of both teams. CLG and Cloud9 generally win through the playmaking of these duos, and both tended to struggle when they didn't perform in the regular season. We also saw CLG take advantage of EMENES's tendency to overextend during the landing phase in his now-infamous 10+ Jayce game, so it was going to be important for Cloud9 and Blaber to cover their mid laner.

Also an important piece of narrative, Cloud9 is the only playoffs team with all-five members selected to the All-Pro teams, while CLG is the only team with zero.

Cloud9 vs CLG Game 1

Both teams stuck to their drafting identities from the regular season in the first game of the series. Cloud9 went with their usual early game lane priority while CLG opted into the scaling teamfight composition.

As expected from these teams, the early game was bloody with kills traded left and right. But Cloud9’s lane prio gave them a lot of control over the objectives, and a small gold lead. CLG didn’t just wait around to scale for late game and they were active around the map going for plays. But Cloud9 answered most of these attempts so their advantages continued growing after each one. CLG eventually managed to find the opportunity they were looking for as they caught Cloud9 divided at the Soul point, getting three kills and a Baron as a reward.

Good defense from Cloud9 during the Baron buff kept them in the game. They took more care when setting up for the next objectives so they were also able to secure the Chemtech Soul and a Baron for themselves. They almost throw the game a second time by getting caught during the siege before the Elder Drake, but a great backdoor teleport play from Fudge led to a victory.

  • Teams: C9 1 – 0 CLG
  • Time: 38:18
  • Kills: 13 – 16
  • Turrets: 10 – 3
  • Gold: 70.9k – 67.4k
  • Dragons: 4 – 1
  • Barons: 1 – 1

Cloud9 vs CLG Game 2

In the second game draft Blaber this time got his hand on a more of a skirmisher jungler with Lee Sin to match the Elise from Contractz. But the biggest surprise in the draft was the K’Sante mid for EMENES, the second time from him this year.

Cloud9 also came in with a great level-one invade, they missed the kill after a mistake from Blaber but he redeemed himself with a great countergank to get the first blood. CLG still found some kills back to get gold on their carries, but once again they were losing early objectives. With both teams slowing the game down we did not see many kills, so the gold was mostly in the middle. But Cloud9's advantage was the Mountain Soul point. As CLG get started to get more items they were able to find a lot of poke and managed to push Cloud9 away during standoffs. Cloud9 also were unorganized when it came to their engages, or lack of it with Kennen. After one last massive fight at another drake, CLG just chased down Cloud9 for the ace and they tied the series at 1-1.

  • Teams: CLG 1 – 1 C9
  • Time: 34:33
  • Kills: 9 – 6
  • Turrets: 7 – 3
  • Gold: 60.7k – 55.9k
  • Dragons: 2 – 3
  • Barons: 0 – 0

Cloud9 vs CLG Game 3

Cloud9 finally took away the Zeri from Luger who had a massive game, but CLG’s answer was ready with the duo carries of Jinx and Veigar.

At this point, it seemed like the early games were scripted as the same things happened in the previous two. Contractz found a couple of kills early on, but it was once again Cloud9 taking the objectives with Blaber stealing the first drake. Both teams with scaling ADCs, everyone on the Rift was happy to sit back, farm and just trade towers. Even as the teams fought over drakes, they secured objectives without bloodshed. It was looking like we would have a big fight at the Soul point for Cloud9, but they did not need to wait that long as they managed to sneak a Baron thanks to their superior vision. CLG tried to contest late but the fight turned out to be disastrous for them as they got aced and lost the game then and there.

  • Teams: C9 2 – 1 CLG
  • Time: 28:22
  • Kills: 9 – 5
  • Turrets: 7 – 3
  • Gold: 52.3k – 44.2k
  • Dragons: 3 – 1
  • Barons: 1 – 0

Cloud9 vs CLG Game 4

Their backs against the wall CLG went back to their tried and true Sion/Elise/Jayce top side while Cloud9 got their hands onto Maokai/Zeri, two picks massive in their wins, and the LeBlanc for EMENES.

CLG also went for the invade bot side and dive the enemy bot lane play with Sion at level one, but Cloud9 was there to answer and managed to salvage the situation. Not letting his foot off the gas, Contractz kept finding dives at side lanes and put his team nearly 2k gold ahead. CLG also secured first Herald first time in the series. They were in the perfect spot to snowball this game and take it to Game 5 but a bad fight at the second Herald saw Cloud9 getting multiple kills back, and more importantly two big shutdown bounties on Berserker.

Cloud9 now on more of an even footing, teams moved toward 5v5s around objectives. Teamfights were close, but Cloud9 won the big one as they aced CLG near Baron and secured the objective. The Baron plus the kills gave them so much gold that they were able to control the map enough till the next Baron spawned. They drew CLG to contest the objective and turned for another great fight. Three big kills in this fight meant the remaining CLG members couldn’t defend the base as Cloud9 ended the game and the series.

  • Teams: CLG 1 – 3 C9
  • Time: 34:23
  • Kills: 13 – 19 
  • Turrets: 3 – 8
  • Gold: 58.5k – 68.2k
  • Dragons: 3 – 2
  • Barons: 0 – 2

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Cloud9 Pushes Past Their First Hurdle in the 2023 LCS Spring Playoffs
Rohat Dicle Kılınç
Rohat is a writer mainly focused on the League of Legends esports scene, and an LCS hopeful.