After a two year domination by Team Liquid, North America’s top League of Legends sides looked to knock them off of their perch in the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) Spring split.
After a two year domination by Team Liquid, North America’s top League of Legends sides looked to knock them off of their perch in the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) Spring split. Team Liquid themselves had made a single roster change, while historic rivals Team Solomid and Cloud9 had undergone moves of their own in the hopes of closing the gap to the four-time LCS winners.
Cloud9’s decision to allow veteran players Svenskeren and Sneaky to leave initially came as huge surprises to fans. The moves saw Blaber earn the starting jungle spot while TSM’s Sven joined in ADC after having previously had a lacklustre time in NA so far. Support Zeyzal was also allowed to leave the side, replaced by Clutch Gaming’s Vulcan (who came with the hefty price of a $1.75m buyout). C9’s new-look side was hard to evaluate before the split had begun, with few expecting a significant push against TL for the title.
When the regular season rolled around, Cloud9 silenced the doubters. Six perfect weeks to start the split put C9 on a 12-0 record, after which they only dropped a single game and ended the regular season in first place with 17 wins and 1 loss.
Topping the regular-season table meant that C9 were placed into the playoffs winner’s bracket, where they were two best-of-five series away from a spot in the grand final. Their first series was against 100 Thieves, who needed to quadruple Cloud9’s number of losses so far in Spring if they were to progress. Unsurprisingly, 100T were not able to do so as C9’s swift 3-0 demolition was even more one-sided than viewers had predicted.
C9 moved on to face Evil Geniuses, a side that had bought out the contracts of four former Cloud9 players during the off-season and had had fairly positive results since doing so. Despite competing in a closer series than 100T, EG were still no match for the Cloud9 and succumbed to a 3-1 defeat as the latter cemented their grand final spot.
Meeting Cloud9 in the final was FlyQuest, who had made it all the way through the lower bracket beating Golden Guardians, Team SoloMid and Evil Geniuses along the way. However, they were still no match for C9 who put on an efficient display to grab another 3-0 victory, one in which support Vulcan proved to be the player of the series as Cloud9 secured their first LCS title in 6 years.
Coming into the final, nobody could see anything other than a Cloud9 victory and few would’ve even suspected FlyQuest to pick up a single game. Despite ultimately not managing to snatch a win off of C9, FQ certainly put up more of a fight than most had anticipated in what was as about as close of a 3-0 as anyone could’ve hoped for.
Game 1 was tentatively battled between the sides for the first half of the match, with slight gold leads going backwards and forwards and little to separate the two. For C9, their scaling composition with Kindred, Veigar and Miss Fortune was perfectly suited to such a match, where allowing the game to continue on even pegging would eventually lead to stronger point for the team. This came to fruition, as Cloud9 began to grow a lead from 18th minute and ended the game altogether 20 minutes later.
The second match in the series was a similar story for the first 10 minutes, however C9 were once again happy to show their ability to take advantage of a slight lead and stretch this out further as the game went on. The 10-minute mark saw this battle teeter into the hands of Cloud9, as four quick kills (including two on a scaling Kalista for Sven) garnered a lead for the side which eventually saw them win the game after 30 minutes.
Once again, and for the final match of the series, FlyQuest were able to hold Cloud9 at bay for a decent portion of play but could ultimately not earn enough of a lead for themselves to make a significant push for the nexus. Again with little gold difference within the first 10 minutes, Cloud9 took the slightest lead they could through early rift heralds and dragons and never allowed FQ back into the competition. So dominant was C9’s display that FlyQuest failed to earn a single objective for themselves in this final game, not even taking so much as a turret from the
Having formerly shared the jungler spot with previous LCS MVP Svenskeren, the pressure on Blaber to step up and prove his worth this split was immense. Coupled with it the fact that C9 had undergone a number of other roster changes, the jungle role was vital in piecing the new players together and ensuring a smooth transition.
Blaber far outshined all of his fellow junglers this split, boasting a 6.65 KDA (a stat where his closest competitor Broxah only achieved 3.95). While having a huge hand in takedowns for his side (which resulted in an equal high of 19.4% gold share), Blaber was also consistently able to maintain his own strength in games as he also managed the highest CSPM with an average of 6.04. His work throughout the split was eventually recognised by his peers as the 20-year-old was crowned Spring Split MVP.
Cloud9 to win the LCS Spring split
Very few could have expected Cloud9 to show such dominance as they did this split, only dropping two matches across both the regular season and playoffs. In fact, most wouldn’t have expected Cloud9 to take the title at all, but rather would’ve held Team Liquid as the favourites as their only roster change (Broxah replacing Xmithie) was largely thought to be an upgrade. However, the tumultuous TL split (which saw Broxah the unfortunate victim of visa issues as well as a benching for franchise player Doublelift) meant that, not only were they not in the running for the title, but the four-time LCS winners failed to even make the playoffs.
Six-time LCS winners Team SoloMid were also tipped to make a push for the trophy this split after failing to win the title since 2017, however a surprise loss as the hands of FlyQuest saw them drop out of playoffs in only the second round of the lower bracket.
With their closest rivals out of the running and Cloud9 themselves looking by far the strongest side, the organisation were able to earn the trophy in the most dominant fashion that the region has ever seen and are sure to have left their fans delighted (especially those that were willing to bet on their success)!