The West’s Final Hope Tested Against One Of The Best.
With immense pressure on them, Cloud9 was not only North America’s final hope, but also Europe’s, who have both been trying to take down the Korean and Chinese powerhouses but always came short. It wasn’t any different this year. The regions have massively improved over the years but still cannot set foot on the international stages.
Early quick kills seem to have been the move for every team at the Knockouts stages, and with Vulcan slightly overstepping in the bot lane, GENG was able to claim the first blood of the series in just 2 minutes into game 1. It wasn’t necessarily a massive hit on Cloud9 however as Fudge managed to balance it out in the top lane by solo killing Rascal.
It stayed even as teams built up gold in peace until around the 10-minute mark when a small fight occurred over the rift herald. GENG came out on top and got the herald and once again took down Vulcan in the process.
Cloud9 took down the first dragon but in the trade of losing their tower, and at this point, GENG were already ahead by 2K gold. They attempted to get a 3v1 dive but failed and got punished, and with a GENG double TP, they lost 4 of their members.
Once again, with another rift herald, C9 lost 2 more of their towers but compromised it by claiming another dragon. 20 minutes into the match, GENG started the baron but was pushed away by C9, who also didn’t contest it but were content with keeping it on the map in the meantime.
A fight took place in the mid-lane and miraculously, C9 came out on top and ACEd GENG while keeping 4 of their members on the rift; Cloud9 went for the baron immediately afterward and easily secured it. Now, Cloud9 was ahead in gold after being down nearly 3K, ahead in kills and in objectives. C9 also managed to take another dragon and further expanded on their lead.
28 and a half minutes into the match, another team fight took place, this time in the top lane. Cloud9 engaged improperly and had to run away when they began losing it. They managed to get away with only two deaths, which is much better than what could have been five.
GENG took the next baron despite an attempted steal from blaber. With that buff, GENG pushed for the mid-lane tier 2 turret and evened out the turrets at 6-6. It was the next team fight that seemed like it would be the deciding factor in game 1. C9, with fewer players in the bot-lane, lost the tier 3 turret and inhibitor but fended GENG off from taking more. GENG took another baron, uncontested this time, and it put Cloud9 in a difficult position to defend against. With the buff, GENG rushed into C9’s base and took the first win of the series.
The start to the second match was no different. GENG waited on Cloud9 to make a mistake to punish it, and while it took longer this time, it still occurred. Perkz overstepped in the mid-lane and lost a lot of health in the 1v1, and with another player there, they dove and got the first blood on him. Fudge also died in the top lane making it an 0-2 start for Cloud9. Shortly after, Perkz was killed once again in the mid-lane which was a huge setback for the team as they were already down in gold by 2K early on.
Cloud9 did however manage to secure the first rift herald, which would not get any damage on a tower. In the process, Cloud9 lost blaber and Perkz for the third time. GENG claimed the first turret and continued expanding on their early lead. 15 minutes into the match, they were up by 6K in gold with a kill score of 6-0 in their favor.
They continued to push through the map and gain more control, taking a mid-lane tower and an uncontested dragon. The first team fight occurred shortly after, and while C9 got a single kill, they lost many more of their players and the only surviving one had to run back. GENG took down 2 towers after the kills which pushed their gold lead to 8.5K.
While Cloud9 did manage to turn around the last game, there was almost no route for a comeback for them in this one. GENG got another dragon and when starting the baron, C9 attempted to engage a fight and came out slightly more successful despite getting ACEd in the end. As a result, the baron was free for GENG to take and they happily did just that.
Finally, with the baron buff and pre-existing lead they had, GENG pushed their way into Cloud9’s base and could not be denied the game 2 win.
At this point, Cloud9’s memes and social media posts were far better than their performance on the rift as they headed into game 3 down 0-2, their “comfort zone.” What could have been a much more favorable 1-1, C9 was now down 0-2 and needed to reverse sweep GENG in order to qualify for the semi-finals.
To their credit, Cloud9 managed to take the first blood 3 minutes into the match after a few attempts. It was however eventually traded in the top lane thanks to Rascal’s solo kill on Fudge. C9 once again brought it back with a couple of kills which allowed them to have slightly more map control and a small lead going into the first 10 minutes of the match. They were now up by 1.3K with three kills to one.
Soon after, GENG claimed a dragon after getting a couple of kills, evening out the lead that C9 once had. Another team fight took place, this time in the Jungle, and C9 managed to come out on top 3-1 in that, which put them in a gold lead of 2.5K. They then traded a dragon for a couple of GENG’s towers.
Both teams fought for the third dragon in the river, but Cloud9 could not steal it nor engage in a fight. After lurking there for long, GENG started a fight that found them on top, allowing them to secure the dragon and eventually the baron after another team fight win. Cloud9 attempted to jump GENG quickly after, but could not come out successful, making it three team fight losses in a row.
With the baron buff, man advantage, and a sudden lead change, GENG hurried their way into C9’s base, sweeping and eliminating them from Worlds.
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The West’s final hope was finally brought down after barely surviving the Play-Ins and a miracle run in the Groups stage.
This leaves Worlds mostly Korean.
GENG is set to take on EDward Gaming in the Semi-finals. Once again, it’ll be a close match but with predictions going in favor of EDward Gaming at 3-2.
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For the full schedule, check out LoLEsports.com/schedule