Cloud 9 and Fnatic: The Western Pride and Their Conditions for Victory

*Courtesy of Riot Games

When it comes to North America and Europe, there are fewer names that are larger than Cloud 9 and Fnatic. Both of these teams have been powerhouses within their respective regions for quite some time and they’re each looking to claim a spot within the prestigious Worlds Group Stage. For these two teams, more than just a place into the next part of the tournament is what’s at stake, there’s a sense of pride for their legacy as upstanding organizations. Let’s delve into what it’s going to take for FNC and C9 to secure their victories.

* Courtesy of Riot Games

Cloud 9 made a statement that they can utterly stomp their obstacles, with a convincing victory over Team ONE as Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen played with the dominance of a world class player. C9 have also revealed their hand in showing that Jensen can play Galio, which should be an important pick/ban in their upcoming match-up against Lyon Gaming.

Lyon Gaming have hinted that they are willing to play Galio, using the champion to great effect in their second match against Gambit Gaming, constantly pressuring Alexander “PvPStejos” Glazkov with a 2v1 disadvantage and expanding their solo lane pressure to overtake the rest of the map.

* Courtesy of Riot Games

The draft phase becomes very intricate, with both teams acknowledging the power of Xayah and Rakan, along with the Jarvan and Galio combo. The key here will be for C9 to force Ali “Seiya” Bracamontes into a skill matchup against Jensen and the C9 bot lane to play with the utmost caution, as LYN will most likely look to play through the bot lane, given the skill discrepancy between the mid laners and the titan Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong having shown to be a rock in the top lane. Zachery “Sneaky” Scuderi and Andy “Smoothie” Ta haven’t looked bad this tournament, but they haven’t really had an outstanding performance either. What makes this for a concern is that they are now going against the formidable LYN ADC Matías “WhiteLotus” Musso, and we may see this lane crumble if Jensen doesn’t exert the amount of pressure he usually does. Lucky for C9, their coach Bok “Reapered” Han-gyu plays chess while everyone else plays checkers. The draft and the experience of playing strong NA teams in a Bo5 setting is what separate these two teams drastically. Keep your eyes on Reapered’s draft to showcase how to deal with the bot lane problem.

Fnatic have shown signs of strength in their convincing first victory over Kaos Latin Gamers as the game was basically over after 10 minutes, with Sebastián “Tierwulf” Mateluna ganking the FNC bot lane too early and Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen crushing him with invading KLG’s jungle for the entirety of the early game.

FNC have also shown weakness during their last game of the Play-Ins, losing to Young Generation in a grueling 32-minute backdoor panic attack. YG were able to take advantage of FNC’s bot lane with 2 early kills, up 25 CS at 12 minutes and the bot tier 1 taken in quick fashion. YG then used their bot lane to snowball around the map and secure a victory. Martin “Rekkles” Larsson and Jesse “Jesiz” Le haven’t been playing to their maximum this tournament and although T-Mobile gave Rekkles the award for Best on The Rift, FNC’s bot lane game play points towards a different story.

FNC’s first match against YG proved to be just as brutal as their last game, with YG heavily drafting towards banning out Rekkless, putting him on Varus against Đặng “BigKoro” Ngọc Tài’s Draven. FNC’s macro was also off, making a bad play at the 20-minute mark, to get YG’s tier 2 bot lane tower and sacrificing their mid lane inhibitor. FNC displayed clear problems around mid as well, with Rasmus “Caps” Winther playing sub-optimally and, quite frankly disrespectful towards his opponents in their first YG game, getting solo killed…twice. YG’s plan was to execute FNC swiftly before the team fighting phase rolled around, which almost worked, but FNC proved once again why they’re known to be a top team. Luckily, FNC can put this all behind them as they will be facing against Hong Kong Attitude.

* Courtesy of Riot Games

Hong Kong Attitude are at a higher pedigree and proved too much for the likes of the LJL’s Rampage, as in both games, their jungler Cheung “Godkwai” Wo Kwai knew exactly where to be on the map and tracked RPG’s jungler to great effectiveness, especially in their first match against each other. The real power comes from HKA’s ADC Huang “Unified” Jun-ji as he exemplified how powerful his laning phase can be, often times getting HKA so far ahead that they didn’t have to think about which objectives to put priority over. What this team lacks is baron control, displaying time and time again that they are willing to go for the 50/50 baron smite. This is the weakness FNC may look to punish them during the later stages of the game. As long as FNC are able to survive the early game, their veterans should be able to guide the rest of the rookie squad to victory.

Pride is on the line for both Western teams and this marks the first time that both NA and EU have had to go through Play-Ins to attain a third seed. Both of their matches will not be an easy task, as the Wildcard teams have proven to be formidable this time around.

Predictions:

Cloud 9 — (3–1)

Hong Kong Attitude — (3–2)


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