Reigning LCS champions are looking to repeat while keeping their roster almost intact.
Even with all of their on-and-off-the-Rift problems in 2022, Cloud9 still managed to get themselves another trophy. They were already one of the most successful teams in the LCS in the last three years, but this was the first Summer Finals they won in a long while. But despite the success in the Summer Playoffs, Worlds did not go well for C9. They finished the tournament with a 1-5 record and received a lot of criticism from fans due to their drafts, especially Ibrahim “Fudge” Allami with his carry top lane picks.
Coming into the 2023 Season, they decided not to make too many changes. The only departure was the mid laner Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen and the head coach Max Waldo. They brought in two young players from the EMEA Regional League system, with Dimitri “Diplex” Ponomarev starting in the LCS and Jang “EMENES” Min-soo joining the Challengers roster as a backup option. The offseason also saw the return of Alfonso “Mithy” Aguirre Rodríguez, this time as the head coach of the LCS roster.
- Top laner: Ibrahim “Fudge” Allami
- Jungler: Robert “Blaber” Huang
- Mid laner: Dimitri “Diplex” Ponomarev
- Bot laner: Kim “Berserker” Min-cheol
- Support: Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen
Cloud9 running it back one more year
As the reigning champions, not many expected C9 to make too many changes. But if one player’s situation was in question, it was the role-swapped support Zven. We’ve heard him say during his winner’s interview after the Finals say that he would reconsider his options after Worlds, and many thought the group stage exit would mean he would return to the ADC role on another team. But the rumor is Berserker really enjoyed playing with him and requested the organization to bring him back for the new season.
The two lane partners had great chemistry last year, evident in the content pieces Cloud9 put out. But they also had a very apparent ceiling on the Rift. Despite Zven adapting to enchanters very early on, he struggled to have a similar impact on engage champions in the different meta of Worlds 2022. He now had three more months of practice, and the meta is still reliant on enchanters, so there isn’t too much need for worry on that front. Berserker on the other hand was the shining star of the LCS in Summer. The hope is that he continues his growth and improves his champion pool, which showed some problems at Worlds. He will also face much better bot laners in this split of the LCS with players like Lee “Prince” Chae-hwan joining the league.
Another big unknown for them is their new mid laner Diplex. Although he comes with great potential, he is also a very young player. This will be his debut in a major league, he previously played in the LFL with Vitality Bee. A good starting point for him is the champion pool. He plays all of the standard expected mid lane mages and melee assassins, and he wasn’t afraid to pick off-meta champions like Zeri or Malphite at times.
At least he will be helped by the fact that his top/jungle has pre-existing synergy. Both Blaber and Fudge have been one of the best players in their roles in the LCS and showed they can carry games if needed. It will be interesting to see how Fudge looks this year after his performance at Worlds drew a lot of negative attention from North American fans.
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