Cloud9 and 100 Thieves take to the Rift this weekend in a highly anticipated matchup.
Cloud9 and 100 Thieves go head-to-head in the LCS Championship Loser’s Bracket Finals. The winner will take on the awaiting Team Liquid to find out who will win the Summer Split as well as claiming the number one seed for Worlds. Here are ESTNN's three biggest talking points ahead of Saturday’s best-of-five.
Which Cloud9 will show up?
It is safe to say Cloud9 has had a mixed bag as far as their summer performances go. The MSS Champions were only able to secure the fourth seed heading into playoffs and were immediately dumped to the Loser’s Bracket. It is evident this roster is stacked with talent, the question is which version of Cloud9 are we going to get against 100 Thieves.
From series to series, this playoffs Cloud9 has been hot and cold. An occurring theme for this Cloud9 roster has been their ability to overlook major gold deficits and still pull out the victory. This was something Cloud9’s AD Carry Zven alluded to in their post-match interview against TSM. In the majority of their matches against both EG and TSM, C9 was consistently falling behind in the early game, whether this be through a misplay by Blaber or the entire team taking a fight they shouldn’t have.
Regardless of being in losing positions consistently, Cloud9 has shown great resilience to come back from certain defeat. This is a trait that should not be taken lightly on the side of 100 Thieves. Cloud9 has looked at their best when their mid-jungle duo is synergised. Perkz has referenced in previous post game interviews he will make/call plays that puts his team in a losing position and it is something they are working on.
One thing that cannot be understated is how clutch this Cloud9 roster is, especially Perkz. Games Four and Five against TSM was where fans got to witness the $11 million signing Cloud9 purchased with back-to-back world-class performances.
How will 100 Thieves attack Cloud9?
In some ways, this ‘Semifinals’ match is far more interesting than the Final itself, given how strong Team Liquid has looked in the postseason. All eyes will be on the coaching staff of both sides this series. This is the first time Reapered will get the opportunity to face off against his former team in a best-of-five, and fans can be certain he will have a trick or two up his sleeve.
Given how Cloud9 performed against 100T in their final regular-season encounter, it will be interesting to see if 100T adopts a similar approach as they did versus TL. 100 Thieves decided they were not going to entertain the Alphari skill-match and left Ssumday on a safer pick.
This is something 100 Thieves should consider doing again. Prior to Alphari's return, Fudge was by far the best top laner in the league and a player who would get the better of Ssumday in a skill match. 100T’s best bet is to get their bottom lane ahead. FBI and Huhi could cause serious problems for the C9 bottom lane who performed tremendously well in the late game. If 100 Thieves can adopt a similar strategy and target the bottom lane, this series will be over before it gets started.
Blaber could hold the key to C9 3-0
While 100 Thieves were a ‘different team’ when the sides met in the 2021 MSS, Cloud9 has already won the skill matchups in the past, specifically in the jungle. Blaber on his day is up there with the best in the West, let alone in North America. In Games Four and Five against TSM, Blaber reminded the league just how good he truly is with two dominant performances over Spica.
Historically in the LCS, Blaber has gotten the better of Closer. This will be a test of Closer’s mentality, who in the past, as seen on 100T’s YouTube series, has struggled to deal with Blaber and his aggressive nature. The problem Cloud9 has had since the 2021 Mid-Season Invitational is their decision-making. Cloud9 is a team that is always down to scrap and sometimes this can come back to haunt them.
Throughout the playoffs, we have seen the highs and lows of Cloud9. When they can control that aggression they are a world-class team. The other end of the spectrum is them being eliminated from playoffs and not making it to Worlds. In the Spring Split, it was evident the introduction of Reignover was having a positive effect on Blaber. The 2x LCS MVP was aggressive but also smarter in the way he plays. If Blaber can return to that form, as seen occasionally in playoffs, Cloud9 will be locking in a date with Team Liquid in the finals.