For now, let’s ignore the hype around DIG and assume that TSM and C9 are the top two NA teams. How does this matchup play out for them?
Balls is known for tank AP Bruisers like Rumble, but he’s adapted to the current meta decently well, with solid Renekton play.
Meteos, much like Cyanide, has split his games between Vi and Elise. He had a pretty small jungler pool in Season 3, so he may have something up his sleeve, but then again, he may not.
Hai has struggled in Season 4. He was always the member of C9 with a wider champion pool, but he has yet to hit his stride on any champion.
Sneaky has stepped away from the utility-heavy role he played with Ashe, and back onto lane bullies like Caitlyn, Lucian, and Draven. This has put more pressure on him, and allowed Cloud9 to win despite slightly less dominance from Hai.
LemonNation has performed great on Thresh. Now let’s see him win a game on another champion.
Dyrus has only had one bad game, and it was on Nasus vs Cloud9. We can guess we won’t see that pick in this game, and without him losing so hard, TSM’s chances look a lot better this time around.
The OddOne has been an allstar on Elise, and average on everybody else. He’s the missing link for TSM right now.
Bjergsen dominates every mid in NA. The best thing to do is keep him off of LeBlanc and try to contain his impact.
Wild Turtle’s Sivir play has been entirely underrated, with his ultimate use allowing for great initiations by TSM.
Xpecial is extremely versatile, with almost equal success on all 3 dominant supports.
Balls has played every top champion competently, but his Rumble and Renekton have been extremely dominant, with a KDA of 13 and 11 respectively.
Meteos has put all of his games into Vi and Elise thus far.
Hai has been all over the place. His Teemo wrecked havoc on TSM’s ability to control space, but his KDA has been lackluster on every champion.
Sneaky has performed well on Lucian, Caitlyn, and Draven.
Just like last season, Cloud9 wins or loses based on LemonNation. They lost only 3 games last split, 2 to Thresh bans, and one to an inexplicable Sona pick. This season their only loss came with Leona instead of Thresh, with LemonNation running a dismal .75 KDA on Leona.
Dyrus has played Shyvana extremely well, although his Mundo play has been quite strong as well.
TheOddOne has been incredible on Elise (17 KDA), and a bit disappointing on every other jungler (3.7 KDA).
Bjergsen has rocked every mid on every champion, but his LeBlanc play has been phenomenal.
Wild Turtle has done well with Jinx, Sivir, and Lucian.
Xpecial has performed alright on all 3 main supports.
C9 has only banned 3 champions more than once:
Kayle – 4
Kassadin – 2
Olaf – 2
The Kayle ban seems pretty crucial, given Hai’s focus on single-target assassins. Other than that, LeBlanc, Elise, and Shyvana would all be strong bans, and Kassadin is always a strong ban.
TSM has banned 4 champions more than once:
Kassadin – 3
LeBlanc – 2
Elise – 2
Shyvana – 2
However, it is interesting to note that every team has banned Kha’Zix vs Cloud 9, presumably to keep a comfort pick away from Hai. TSM would like to target out Rumble, Vi/Elise, , Kha’Zix, and Thresh. They have first pick, however, which changes things drastically.
If I had to guess, they’ll try to first-pick Elise. Shyvana is not a priority pick for C9, LeBlanc is likely to be banned, and their lanes are all versatile enough to wait on picks. This leaves them with the obvious 3 bans of Kassadin, Kha’Zix, and Vi. This will force Meteos onto a new jungler. Yes, it leaves Rumble open, but Balls has shown that his Renekton is almost as good.
Personally, I’d like to see a Thresh ban out of TSM, as support bans tend to hit Cloud 9 hard.
Balls should end up on Rumble or Renekton, if all goes according to plan, while Dyrus will probably end up on Shyvana. Personally, I’m pulling for Shyvana vs Rumble, a matchup we haven’t seen yet.
If Elise is picked and Vi is banned, Meteos will have to show off a new jungler (or perhaps bring back the Fiddlesticks he brought out vs Fnatic). TheOddOne should be able to at least go even in this matchup, given his stellar Elise play.
Nothing against Hai (Cloud9 is my favorite team), but Bjergsen is probably going to win this lane. Hai should pick something safe. Maybe Zed or Yasuo, or another Teemo pick?
With no bans, we’d probably see Caitlyn/Lucian/Draven and Thresh vs Jinx and Annie or Leona. C9 has struggled in the face of bans on LemonNation, however, so if TSM bans Thresh and picks Leona, who knows what LemonNation will fall back on.
Regardless of the compositions, both teams have very different styles. TSM are going to try to get Bjergsen fed, then have him roam and make plays. C9, on the other hand, is going to be grouping a lot around objectives, especially mid tower and dragon.
Meteos is perhaps the perfect jungler to deal with this threat, as it’s going to be on him to be in position to counter-gank and prevent the Bjergsen snowball. If he’s on a comfort jungler, it’s hard to imagine him failing at that. But if he’s banned and picked onto a new jungler, look to see Bjergsen start to get out of hand.
With blue side advantage (especially first-pick), I’m calling this one for TSM.
Mattias “Gentleman Gustaf” Lehman is a big time nerd-gamer who has been involved in both SC2 and LoL. He has ranked as high as Diamond 1 in solo queue and Diamond 3 in arranged 5s.
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