The Reverse Sweep: Living on Cloud 9

In the first round of the NA LCS Gauntlet, Cloud 9 achieved what few teams can do. The reverse sweep to take a best-of-five series. After Cloud 9 went down 0-2, they quickly changed their game plan and showed up. Like in the last week of the regular season, Gravity once again choked when they were a couple games away from where they needed to be. They will be disappointed with their performance, but let’s take a look at each of the 5 games. It is important to note that Cloud 9 was blue side and Gravity was red side every game due to side selection from both teams.

Game 1

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Right out of the gate Cloud 9 decided to take off-meta picks to start the series. Hai’s Amumu was very underwhelming. He made no impact throughout the game and never had a great ultimate all game. On the other hand, Gravity’s jungler Move did his best to pitch a tent on the bot side of the map and get Altec ahead of Sneaky early. BunnyFufu had a quality Braum game as well finishing with a 1-1-13 scoreline. Cloud 9’s bot lane never recovered after giving up first blood to Altec and Gravity went on to control the game all the way to the end. Cloud 9 never managed to get a dragon as they had no chance at controlling objectives thanks to Gravity’s superior map movements and warding. In just under 35 minutes Gravity was able to destroy the nexus and jump out to an early 1-0 lead in the series.

Game 2

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In the second game, there was only one change in the bans from game 1. Cloud 9 decided to ban out the Braum instead of the Lulu. They then decided to first pick the Lulu. This allowed Gravity to pick almost the exact same team composition in back to back games. The only change being that BunnyFufu picked Alistar since Braum was banned. This game had many similarities to the first game. Hai once again failed to deliver on Amumu. The first pick Lulu for Balls in the top lane also was not effective. Haunter’s Gnar (5-0-11) and Keane’s Viktor (8-1-8) completely destroyed Cloud 9 throughout the game as they had no answer for either player. The Karma pick by LemonNation also left many people scratching their heads. Karma had little to no impact once again as Sneaky could not do enough damage for his team. Incarnation really struggled on Yasuo (0-4-4) as Gravity took Baron and the win after being in the lead for almost all 40 minutes of the game. Gravity’s 2-0 start to the series had many viewers wondering if there was only 1 game left in the Cloud 9 schedule and if this would be the end for many of their players.

Game 3

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Once again in the pick and ban phase, Gravity made no changes from game 2 and selected the exact same team comp. Cloud 9 decided to go back to the Lulu ban and first picked Braum this time. Every player on Cloud 9 pulled out a champion they was not played in the series so far as their season was on the line. The change paid off for Cloud 9 as they were able to not fall behind Gravity in the early game for the first time this series. Hai finally made an impact from the jungle with his Shyvana. His hard farming early game got him extremely far ahead of Move this game as he wasted a lot of time on failed ganks this game. Game 3 was the first game where Hai out-jungled Move and this hurt Gravity’s vision in the mid game. The Maokai and Orianna combo worked beautifully on a couple of occasions and Cloud 9 were able to blow up Viktor on two consecutive fights which ultimately led to two team fight wins, and a 2-1 series deficit now. The bottom lane for Cloud 9 was not spectacular, but the solo laners for C9 stepped their game up. Cloud 9 team fought much better than Gravity in game 3 and allowed them to easily take objectives and the win in just 33 minutes.  Now up 2-1, Gravity decided it was time for some changes.

Game 4

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The bans for game 4 remained the same for Cloud 9. The only change in bans was from Gravity, who opted for a Shyvana ban over the Fizz ban they had done in the previous 3 games. Cloud 9 once again first picked Braum and it paid off once again. Sneaky was on point with his Varus ultimates throughout the game and led to many team fight wins for his team once again. Cloud 9 were also able to finally take away Viktor from Keane and that led to a great game from Incarnation (5-1-4). The biggest surprise of the game was the Kha’Zix pick from Hai. He capitalized well on mistakes from Gravity at times and he was able to single out stragglers and pick them off. He once again dominated Move in the jungle this time and finished 6-1-3 on Kha’Zix. Gravity was able to keep up with Cloud 9 in gold throughout the game due to the passives of Twisted Fate and Gangplank, but they could not compete with Cloud 9’s superior team fighting once again. Cloud 9 drove home the win in just 36 minutes to force a game 5. With only 4 kills in game 4, Gravity looked to be getting worse and worse every game. Little did they know, that the worse was still to come.

Game 5

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Once again, Cloud 9 decided to stick with their same 3 bans. However, Gravity decided to ban Maokai instead of Azir, who had been banned in the previous 4 games. That was the final nail in the coffin for Gravity. Cloud 9 first picked Azir and never looked back. Gravity felt the need to make a Cloud 9 like move and select a bunch of champions that they have not played at all during the series. Only BunnyFufu got to play a champ that he had recently played, but he had no impact with his 0-6-2 scoreline. Keane got his counter pick of Fizz into Azir, but Hai pressured mid early with his Elise pick and got Incarnation the lead. A lead that they would never give back. Every single member on Cloud 9 had a fantastic scoreline after this one was over. Game 5 was the most lopsided match of the series as it finished with 21 kills for C9 and only 2 for Gravity. Gravity couldn’t manage a dragon either as they fell in 30 minutes to Cloud 9 who once again excelled in the team fighting part of the game. Sneaky taking the Ashe away from Altec lead to his best game of the series (9-0-7) and his bot lane parter LemonNation also had his best game of the series on Janna (1-0-18). Hai and Incarnation showed better synergy than Move and Keane did in this series, and this lead to Incarnation coming up big in the final 3 games and sending Cloud 9 into the next round of the Gauntlet.

 

Can Cloud 9 Keep Floating?

Next up for Cloud 9 in the Gauntlet is Team Impulse. Cloud 9 will definitely need to clean up their mistakes in the early game, because that is where Team Impulse excels at. Team Impulse is a better team than Gravity, so Cloud 9 will have to perform even better if they wish to keep their Worlds dream alive. Should be an entertaining series regardless of the outcome.

 

By: Jeff “Gravy” Miskin