Cloud9 Stops the Miracle Run and Wins the 2023 LCS Spring Split

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Cloud9 Stops the Miracle Run and Wins the 2023 LCS Spring Split

Cloud9 stops the Golden Guardians’ Lower Bracket run with a 3-1 victory in the LCS Spring Finals and secures themselves as the LCS's number one seed at MSI.

On one side, the reigning champions and the most dominant team in the league for the most part of the Spring Split. On the other side, the biggest underdogs LCS ever saw in recent years. Not a lot of people expected Golden Guardians to find themselves in the LCS Finals, and it was reflected with the majority of broadcast members predicting 3-0 for Cloud9 before the series.

The series was also full of different storylines. Almost seven years since Stixxay’s last Finals and title, Licorice’s redemption arc against his former team and huhi’s climb to the top of the all-time LCS rankings with his fourth consecutive final in two years. For Cloud9, this would be the first back-to-back title ever since the original five-man roster, despite them being consistently at the top of the league in the last four years.

In the end, it was Cloud9 who came out on top even with a blazing hot start from Golden Guardians, fourth LCS title for Blaber, another player trying to leave his mark in the league’s history.

Cloud9 vs Golden Guardians Game 1

Teams carried over their draft priorities to the first game of the series. Cloud9 opened with a first pick Maokai followed by an Aphelios and Golden Guardians answered with Zeri for Stixxay and Gori’s mid K’Sante.

 The game itself started disastrously for Cloud9 as they gave up a level one first blood in the bot lane and with River finding back-to-back kills on EMENES. Every early fight went to Golden Guardians’ way as they found kills by diving side lanes and catching Cloud9 members in rotation. At 14 minutes GG was 5k gold ahead and they pushed it further by forcing Baron just as it spawned, even though they gave up couple of kills for it.

The first Baron siege didn’t result in too many towers taken for GG but they still pushed Cloud9 back and kept stacking drakes. But it’s always hard to keep C9 down during teamfights. Fudge was massive in two back-to-back fights, as Cloud9 found themselves a drake, a Baron and multiple objective bounties and took the gold lead. With their newly found lead, Cloud9 started a Baron and baited Golden Guardians into a fight. The one-sided fight allowed Cloud9 to complete their comeback.

  • Teams: C9 1 – 0 GG
  • Time: 37:57
  • Kills: 20 – 16
  • Turrets: 9 – 5
  • Gold: 74.7k – 68.6k
  • Dragons: 3 – 3
  • Barons: 2 – 1
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Cloud9 vs Golden Guardians Game 2

Golden Guardians went back to the blue side and first back Wukong for Game 2. With both teams playing scaling teamfight comps, the early game was also slower. But just as Cloud9 thought they were having a stable early game, they forced a rather unnecessary 4v4 in the bot side river which went horribly wrong. Golden Guardians got four kills without any deaths and found themselves ahead by nearly 6k gold once again at 14 minutes.

Cloud9 still found couple of favorable fights to get some kills and objective bounties to try and keep the gold difference steady. Golden Guardians still pushed their advantage with an early Cloud Soul and a Baron after a good Teleport play. GG played with their Baron much better this time around. They didn’t wait around and just went for the base. With gold lead 10k in their favor, they were able to force their way through a tied series.

  • Teams: GG 1 – 1 C9
  • Time: 28:25
  • Kills: 14 – 5
  • Turrets: 9 – 1
  • Gold: 57.8k – 45.1k
  • Dragons: 4 – 0
  • Barons: 1 – 0

Cloud9 vs Golden Guardians Game 3

The losing team picking blue side continued into the third game. Cloud9 made a significant change to their draft focusing on early game with Elise and Lucian/Nami. Golden Guardians stuck to Zeri bot lane with a skirmishing mid-jungle.

Cloud9 came into the game having to win the early game. They found some kills and took the first two drakes, but it was once again Golden Guardians who had the gold lead thanks to the first tower with Herald. The mid game was much better for Cloud9. They used their pick comp to hunt GG members around the Rift and after getting one kill on River they secured a Baron along with the Mountain Soul, giving themselves 6k gold lead. The gold lead with the Baron gave Cloud9 just the opening they needed as they closed out the game in a very fast fashion to take the series lead once again.

  • Teams: C9 2 – 1 GG
  • Time: 26:21
  • Kills: 14 – 4
  • Turrets: 8 – 1
  • Gold: 50.7 – 41.4k
  • Dragons: 4 – 0
  • Barons: 1 – 0
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Cloud9 vs Golden Guardians Game 4

No surprise on the GG side as they chose blue side and first picked Wukong with their backs against the wall. Cloud9 answered it by pulling out the Poppy jungle for Blaber, first time she was picked during playoffs.

Cloud9 also looked like they learned from the past games and figured out they had to be much more active in the early levels. The aggression started with a solo kill from EMENES and continued with Blaber who found multiple dives in side lanes which gave Cloud9 every early game objective with a 3k gold lead. As Cloud9 kept snowballing with towers and drakes, it got harder and harder for Golden Guardians to challenge them with their low-damage team. They couldn’t even step up to their jungle as EMENES kept poking them so Cloud9 was able to secure a Baron in a 5v5 without a kill.

The Baron led to Ocean Soul for Cloud9 and the gold lead was slowly approaching 10k. Golden Guardians found no angles back into the game because they were either low health thanks to LeBlanc, or got disengaged by Blaber’s Poppy. All they needed was one more Baron and they just brute-forced into the GG base, ending the game and the series for their second title in two splits.

  • Teams: GG 1 – 3 C9
  • Time: 29:05
  • Kills: 6 – 16
  • Turrets: 1 – 10
  • Gold: 46.1k – 60.4k
  • Dragons: 0 – 4
  • Barons: 0 – 2

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Cloud9 Stops the Miracle Run and Wins the 2023 LCS Spring Split
Rohat Dicle Kılınç
Rohat is a writer mainly focused on the League of Legends esports scene, and an LCS hopeful.