It was an impressive result for the defending champions Cloud9, especially against a team used to running up huge kill tallies like LMQ. It's the kind of performance that signals Cloud9 is ready to once again seize the crown of the best League of Legends team in America.
LMQ took their poke composition to the absolute extreme, putting Jayce in the top lane, Xerath in middle, and Ezreal in bottom, with a jungle Elise to catch out targets with her cocoon. But Cloud9 was ready for it.
“If you have a siege comp and you lose laning phase, what do you do?” said Cloud9 captain Hai Lam, after the match. Cloud9 was able to stay safe against the traditionally strong laning of LMQ thanks to controlling vision and smarter decision making.
“We were winning lane through our pressure and the times we backed,” said Lam. “It didn’t seem like we were stronger. We just had map control.”
Cloud9 benefit from one strongest engage assassins in the game. As the team's shot caller, that kind of champions fits Lam perfectly. He put up a 5/0/6 KDA with a pair of double kills on the samurai, no better exemplified than the first three kills of the game.
At the 16-minute mark, LMQ needed to make something happen. They grouped at the middle to try and siege a tower, but Cloud9 was ready. Lam engaged with a nice Yasuo whirlwind into his ultimate, and the rest was history.
Cloud9 would show off their penchant for late game play as they closed out the match. When LMQ postured to take a dragon, Cloud9 simply took a bigger prize, grabbing Baron and putting the match out of reach for the Chinese team.
The match pulls Cloud9 just one win away from first place in the standings with a 15-9 record, just behind the 16-8 LMQ. It’s been a disappointing season for the defending champions, who have lost more matches this split than their last two combined.
But the team is now on a four-game win streak heading into the last week of the season. If their recent play is any indication, they’ll be earning a first round bye at the regional playoffs at PAX Prime later this year, and eventually, a spot at the World Championships in Korea.
Screengrab via Riot Games/YouTube