September 16th, Cloud 9 made LCS history with their dominant 3-0 win against TSM in the NA Regional Qualifiers, securing the last spot at worlds.
Cloud 9 struggled in the first half of the split, resulting in a record of three wins and seven losses. Their astonishing comeback began with rookie jungler, Robert “Blaber” Huang, making his debut game in week 5 when they took down the dominant Team Liquid. With this newfound momentum, Cloud 9 blew through the next four weeks, not dropping a single match. Cloud 9 finished second place in the regular season after an 8-0 sprint in the last four weeks.
However, C9 wasn’t done yet. They continued their streak with a 3-2 win over TSM in the semi-finals, only to be taken down by Team Liquid in the NA LCS Finals. However C9 did manage to win over their rivals TSM to secure the first spot in the Gauntlet that took place the weekend of 15-16th of september. . For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Gauntlet, it is a best of five, single elimination tournament. Three teams from each region qualify for worlds, thus the Gauntlet is the battle for the third spot.
Championship points determine which teams are going to worlds and which must compete in the Gauntlet. These points are awarded for how well teams do during the Spring and Summer LCS Splits for the season. Team Liquid and 100 Thieves hold the highest championship points. Therefore, the four teams battling (bolded) in the Gauntlet are:
Team Liquid – Spring and Summer Split Champions – Automatically Qualified
100 Thieves – 110 points, Spring: 70 Summer: 40 – Automatically Qualified
Cloud 9 – 100 points, Spring: 10 | Summer: 90
Team SoloMid – 80 points, Spring: 10 | Summer: 70
Echo Fox – 70 points, Spring: 50 | Summer: 20
Clutch Gaming – 30 points, Spring: 30 | Summer: 0
Teams with the lowest points must defeat every team above them to earn their Worlds spot. Cloud 9 must defeat the winner of the bottom three teams. This year, the battle for the last World’s spot was Team SoloMid vs Cloud 9.
More info on the Gauntlet bracket and match replays can be found here: https://www.lolesports.com/en_US/na-lcs/na_2018_summer/standings/regionals
Cloud 9 earning a spot at worlds was no accident. According to head coach, Bok “Reapered” Han-gyu, they didn’t fully understand the team dynamic at the beginning of the split, leading to unproductive practices. “It was my fault. The coach should be the one to realize what is wrong”, Reapered stated in an interview. “We had to reset and rebuild from scratch.” Coach Reapered also played a big part in motivating his team when facing TSM. Motivational statements such as, “If you don’t believe in yourself, believe in me.” And “Give me 1 win, then I will give you the series.” As it turned out, this coach had a genius strategy planned and succeeded in taking down TSM.
This split was a perfect example of how anything can happen professional esports. Cloud 9 secures their spot at Worlds with a dominant 8-0 sprint at the end of the Summer Split as well as their 3-0 win against Team Solo Mid in the Gauntlet.
There’s no doubt that their C9’s effort will be talked about for years to come.
GG C9, you earned it.