LoL's Enigma: Cloud9 Dominates LCS, Yet Struggles… | RiftFeed
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LoL's Enigma: Cloud9 Dominates LCS, Yet Struggles Internationally

Esports 03-08-2023 18:30
C9 after LCS win vs TSM
Cloud9 are set to win their seventh LCS title. | © Shannon Cottrell/Riot Games

Three things are inevitable: death, taxes and Cloud9 winning LCS titles in the ongoing decade. After a six-year period without a single title, Cloud9 have managed to win four out of the last seven LCS splits. But in an odd turn of events, they could not carry over their fantastic results at international tournaments.

It was as iconic as it was spectacular for every Cloud9 enthusiast: Since TSM made Worlds quarterfinals in 2014, no North American organization has made it out of the group stage – with the exception of Cloud9. However, as they climbed back to the top of the LCS in 2020, their international record started to fall apart. They missed the 2020 World Championship entirely and failed to set the world alight ever since.

With their third successive title in their sights in the LCS summer playoffs, Cloud9 fans hope that their team can finally make an impact at the World Championship again. Sadly, their most recent international record is no reason to be very optimistic. 

Can Cloud9 Defy The Odds At The 2023 World Championship?

C9 Fudge and EMENES Smile
Fudge and EMENES are looking to claim another LCS title with Cloud9. | © Shannon Cottrell/Riot Games

In 2018, Cloud9 made the most successful run of a North American team at a World Championship ever happen. In the group stage, they sensationally knocked out reining world champions Gen.G and Europe's Team Vitality to advance to the quarterfinals. They were not finished there, as they knocked out Korean #2 seed Afreeca Freecs in a dominant 3-0 victory. Only LEC champions Fnatic managed to stop them in the semifinals, with a 3-0 of themselves.

Since then, they were eliminated in the group stage in 2019, missed the World Championship entirely in 2020 and qualified once more for the quarterfinals in 2021. Their latest run at the 2022 World Championship ended after the group stage, with Cloud9 only able to steal one game off Fnatic's hands.

The latest Mid-Season Invitational fails to increase the hopes of western fans too. Like Europe's G2 Esports, Cloud9 were eliminated in Round 2 of the lower bracket, unable to take a single game off Korean champions Gen.G. However, this is not exclusively a Cloud9 issue, as not a single western team has managed to take a series off the Korean and Chinese representatives.

Fans are quick to point out that there has been a shift in play style, from bringing your own formula in to imitating the world's best teams and trying to beat them at their own game. 

However, this has worked out for none of the western teams. Fans are now hoping that their teams find a different recipe for success ahead of the 2023 World Championship. 

Manuel Hirsch

I'm currently studying journalism, and when I'm not busy working on uni projects, I get into all kinds of content creation. This is what eventually led me to EarlyGame and Riftfeed!

I'm a long-standing fan of all kinds of Nintendo...