LCS Breakdown: 100 Thieves vs Cloud9

The first day of the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) concludes with victories for Cloud9 (C9) and Evil Geniuses (EG). Evil Geniuses triumphed over 100 Thieves in the first of Friday’s matches and after that, Cloud9 defeated FlyQuest.

The four teams that played don’t have much time to celebrate or mourn their result. All four play again this weekend in the LCS’s revamped schedule for the Summer split. Evil Geniuses and FlyQuest prep for Saturday matches against Counter-Logic Gaming (CLG) and Immortals (IMT), respectively. C9 and 100 Thieves will face off for the opening match of Sunday.

LCS Breakdown: 100 Thieves vs Cloud9

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Team Re-Analysis: Cloud9

We already did a pre-match analysis of C9 before their Friday opener. Cloud9’s performance was strong against FlyQuest, but their match hints that C9’s Spring dominance may not be as overwhelming in Summer. C9’s game was noticeably messier in the early to mid-game stages.

FlyQuest didn’t back down and concede the early game, as teams often did against C9 in the previous split. Normally, C9 would punish that kind of confidence with mechanical outplays and superior synergy. On Friday, however, C9 had to fight hard to eke out advantages. What were once stomps became closer brawls from which C9 emerged victoriously.

Top laner Eric “Licorice” Ritchie continues his Spring slump. He isn’t playing badly, but his average level is definitely worse than in previous years. It’s not a major weakness for C9 given the overall strength in other positions, but it is worth noticing.

To contrast, jungler Robert “Blaber” Huang maintains his impeccable performance from the prior split. The 2020 LCS Spring MVP remains the centerpiece of C9’s game plan. It is not a coincidence that C9 appears more coordinated when Blaber’s Olaf hit its first major power spike during the midgame.

Despite these factors, Cloud9 is still the defending champion and the likeliest candidate to win Summer. The early slip-ups were minor, and C9’s transition from mid-game into late-game is sublime. No other team in North America is better when it comes to setting up for and utilizing Baron Nashor to win games. After that, it’s a simple matter of cleaning up and closing out the game at around the 30-minute mark.

Team Analysis: 100 Thieves

Much of 100 Thieves’ issues in their Friday loss stem from Tommy “Ryoma” Le. While he showed promise over the course of Spring, it looks like Ryoma has taken a big step backward in the Summer. Ryoma carries a lot of responsibility as the mid-laner. While Ryoma lacks the flair to use that role to carry his team, it is still his duty to play intelligently and set up his teammates.

Unfortunately, Ryoma’s level of play was very lacking in the Thieves’ match against Evil Geniuses. He had multiple missed skill shots in both simple and crucial situations. He struggled against EG’s mid-laner Daniele “Jizuke” di Mauro in lane, in farming gold, in split-pushing, and in team-fights. While Jizuke is a superstar player in his own right, it is still problematic that Ryoma was unable to slow down Jizuke long enough for 100 Thieves.

Still, it would be unfair to place all the blame on Ryoma. None of 100 Thieves’ star players really showed up on Friday against EG, even accounting for the disparity in the mid lane. While bot laner Li-Yu Cody “Cody Sun” Sun never had the set-up to effectively carry, top laner Chan-ho “Ssumday” Kim had an uncharacteristically poor performance. Jungler William “Meteos” Hartman has not had a lights-out hard carry performance thus far in 2020.

When Ryoma is underperforming, the star players must pick up the slack. There is plenty of the Summer split remaining for 100 Thieves to finish high and prove their faith in Ryoma is warranted, but it will require everyone to play better.

Predictions

Even if 100 Thieves improve and Cloud9’s form stays the same, this should still be a one-sided match in C9’s favor. C9 has better players in every position except possibly the top lane, if Ssumday returns to form and Licorice’s slump continues. In this specific match-up, C9 mid-laner Yasin “Nisqy” Dinçer is an especially difficult match for Ryoma. Nisqy is talented at winning his lane and pressuring the map. Ryoma will need to step up to effectively to stop Nisqy.

C9’s superior ability to gank lanes and dive towers will likely award them First Blood, however, depending on how the top lane match-up goes, Ssumday and Meteos could coordinate to take down Licorice first.

Blaber’s stellar performance is likely to earn both the first Dragon and the first Rift Herald. Taking these objectives naturally translates into lane pressure, which will see Cloud9 take the first Turret. From there, it will probably be a straight line to 100 Thieves’ Nexus for C9. Betting aficionados should lake at LoL odds on exotic markets for First Turret, First Dragon and First Blood.

The match between Cloud9 and 100 Thieves will take place on Sunday, June 14, at approximately 1 pm PST. The broadcast will be available on the LoL Esports website.

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