Cloud9 Wins the 2020 LCS Spring Split
“Cloud9 wins the Spring Split” — this sentence was last written exactly six years ago. The boys in black and blue were always competitive, but for over half a decade, the LCS throne proved ever-elusive. No one expected 2020 to be much different, despite their immensely talented line-up, and there’s a good reason why that was the case.
Team Liquid upgraded by signing Fnatic’s Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen, and Team SoloMid — yet another perennial North American giant — had a line-up that made your mouth water. An aggressive high-tempo jungler, a consistent late-game AD carry, and a support that already etched his name in history while playing under the TSM banner. What’s not to like? If Cloud9 couldn’t get the job done with Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen and Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen, it was hard envisioning them doing any better with a line-up that, by all accounts, seemed like an acceptable sidegrade.
They had a more dangerous bottom lane duo, but Cloud9 wasn’t the only team that attained more depth and a higher skill ceiling throughout the off-season. At best, they should’ve been a fairly solid Top 3 contender and that’s about it. Then again, Team Liquid was “supposed” to have yet another incredible run, Team SoloMid was “supposed” to return to glory and the Golden Guardians were “supposed” to be 10th.
Nothing happened “according to plan,” and it resulted in one of the most exciting and uncertain splits in recent history. So, in short, entertainment and spectacle were not absent. On the contrary. FlyQuest were able to solidify their spot as a top-tier challenger, Evil Geniuses grew and improved leaps and bounds throughout the off-season, Dignitas reached immense heights and then imploded mere moments afterward, and the Golden Guardians proved that you don’t need the best players around to leave a mark — “just” a lot of confidence and a pinch of mental fortitude.
It was an exciting split, that’s for sure, and its biggest and most exhilarating highlights came from Cloud9 and what is now rightfully considered as the most dominant champion in LCS history. Their statistics — especially when compared to their peers — are simply mind-blowing. “Historic” is perhaps the most appropriate term here. Their numbers look like they’ve been padded, artificially inflated, and increased for marketing purposes. In reality, however, they truly were that much better than everyone else.
Determination and Defeat
Their swift Best of 5 against FlyQuest was an absolute masterclass. In a way, the series developed exactly how everyone thought it would, despite FlyQuest’s immense improvement for the playoffs. Are we in for yet another incredible LCS dynasty? Will the boys in black and blue dominate much like Liquid did before them? The potential is certainly there. Now, all we have to do is wait for the Summer Split to begin. Cloud9 has a target on their backs but, given how easily they disposed of everyone so far, they’re probably not that worried.
Still, Liquid wants redemption, and so does Team SoloMid. Even the likes of FlyQuest, 100 Thieves, and Evil Geniuses want another shot at glory, now that they’ve had a couple of months to develop synergy and get on the same page.
The fact that this incarnation of Cloud9 lifted the 2020 LCS Spring Split trophy should come as no surprise. It was the only possible outcome, given their dominance up to this point. Had they lost, it would’ve probably been the biggest and most perplexing upset in the history of the region. Fortunately, we were spared from such a baffling series of events. For Eric “Licorice” Ritchie, Yasin “Nisqy” Dinçer, and Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen, this moment was a long time coming. They had to endure crushing defeats on multiple different occasions, but their dedication and focus never wavered.
Finally, by winning the LCS Spring Split, Cloud9 — as an organization — has managed to win everything that was up for grabs. That includes Coach of the Split (Bok “Reapered” Han-gyu’s fourth win so far), MVP (with Blaber taking the win and other Cloud9 members taking up the second and third place in the votes as well), all of their players were voted on the 1st All-Pro Team, and both Cloud9 line-ups ended up as champions of the LCS and Academy.
It’s hard to find an adjective that can even remotely describe what they’ve accomplished.