The draw of the LoL World Championship 2018 groups was unfortunately not in favor of Cloud 9 who had to face Royal Never Give Up, Gen.G (former roster Samsung Galaxy, World Champion 2017) and Vitality. This group B was rated as the “group of death”. After a relatively logical start (defeats from RNG and Gen.G, victory against VIT), it was during the day 5 of the group stages that the NA players became the surprise of the competition.
The players knew perfectly well that they did not have the advantage if they play the game of the Asian teams. They then figured out how to adapt to their opponent’s strategy by showing for example an exemplary macro against RNG by intelligently playing around the Baron’s vision to finally catch Ming. Against the reigning champions Gen.G, they managed to surprise their opponent by leaving a Hecarim Top combined with a Nocturne and a Leblanc, achieving a solid snowball. Finally, their decisive game against Vitality was won in draft with Licorice on an unstoppable Singed at the top associated with a formidable duo Zilean / Nocturne, the European players slowly but surely helpless against the pressure coming from all lanes.
At this time of the competition, Cloud 9 and RNG automatically qualified for the finals, but remained to seen who will win the seed 1 through a tie-break. North American players undoubtedly dominated the early game but eventually tapped out after RNG constantly countering C9’s strategy.
After this defeat, C9 were in quarters against the leader of the group A: the Afreeca Freecs Koreans. At the start of the competition it was unthinkable that Sneaky and his teammates could even win a game against such a team. But the NA team showed that it clearly had more than one trick in its bag and the team was able to execute any kind of draft. This quarterfinal will finally prove to be a show of strength of Cloud 9.
From the game 1, Cloud 9 team dominated: Licorice and his teammates played a draft based entirely on the early game. The Koreans did not have the draft to respond to such aggression. As for the second part, the game was relatively tight. Cloud 9 eventually won the battle of vision and won a decisive team fight. It ended up leading them to the Baron then took the top inhibitor, after that they destroyed one in the middle lane to finally catch Mowgi and finish the game.
Match point for the NA, the Koreans were on the edge of the elimination. New game, new strategy from the Cloud 9. The Afreeca Freecs found themselves trapped in team fight by the synergy Nocturne / Ornn, the first removing the vision allowing the second to easily place his ultimate. Unable to do anything, the Asian players bow. Cloud 9 – Afreeca Freecs: 3- 0!