For the first time since 2015, Cloud9 has been eliminated from Worlds before making it to the Knockout Stage.
On October 18, 2019, C9 entered the second round of the Group Stage round robin with a 1-2 score. In order to stay alive in the tournament, they needed to beat every opponent in their group. This included G2 and Griffin, two of the highest-rated teams at Worlds.
In the first half of the Group Stage, C9 coach Bok “Reapered” Han-Gyu subbed in Robert “Blaber” Huang for the Summer Split MVP. This contentious move did not produce success for the team. However, considering their track record, many expected C9 to pull a miracle.
Even after Reapered’s failure in the first round robin, expectations were still high. His reputation as an innovator was far greater than any few failures. But anticlimactically, C9 failed to show up, ending their Worlds run at 2-4.
— LCS (@LCSOfficial) October 18, 2019
North America has a history of failure at Worlds. Until 2018, no North American team had ever made it past the Quarterfinals.
It was Cloud9 that broke that historic streak on the back of Reapered’s innovations. Reapered built a team by pulling from C9 Academy and thrusting them onto the main stage. Not many believed in the roster, but it was this roster that had found the most success, turning no-names into pillars of C9.
With minimal roster changes from Season 8 to 9, the community expected even more. But in the offseason, C9 suffered the loss of Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen. And while Yasin “Nisqy” Dinçer seemed to be well adept at taking up the torch, this change is the most easily discernible from year to year. In Season 10, C9 may be looking to change up their roster or maybe even the coaching position.
As Worlds continues, tensions are high for North America. Old reliable C9 has been eliminated, and Clutch Gaming are on the edge. Team Liquid has become the region’s best hope for international success.
But that doesn’t instill confidence in many. Team Liquid and Peter “Doublelift” Peng are known for choking during international events. In 2018, despite winning both LCS championships, the team failed to make it out of the Group Stage. Doublelift himself has attended nearly every Worlds since League of Legends’ inception but has yet to produce results.
This year, Team Liquid has once again conquered NA with two regional trophies and are now faced with Worlds. To strengthen their roster, Team Liquid has now acquired Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in—the 2017 Worlds champion—and Jensen, C9’s former mid-laner. If Jensen was the secret to C9’s success in 2018, maybe Doubelift will finally break his curse.
Written by Devon Huge