Just like the rest of North America, Cloud 9 never first picks top or ADC. This makes a lot of sense; first picks are normally aimed at highly-contested power-picks. Top is a lower impact role (you may lose lane, but a Shyvana with a 20 cs and a kill lead isn’t going to have the same impact as a LeBlanc with a 20 cs and kill lead), so there are few priority picks, and counter-picking is more a luxury than a goal.
Their main picks are:
For these picks, Cloud 9 almost always picks up their ADC and one other pick. The two times they didn’t pick an ADC, they ended this round of picks with jungle/mid/support. In both cases, they had used their first pick on a high priority pick: LeBlanc and Elise. This syncs with their 1st pick strategy of securing a jungle, support, or mid they really need.
Cloud 9 tends to pick its top and mids in the 4 and 5 spots
There’s not much new here: Cloud 9 basically handles blue side like every other team
Cloud 9’s strategy is a bit different from the average pick order.
As we saw previously, most teams prioritize support/jungle for 1st/2nd pick, with ADC/Top shortly behind, and Mid well behind. Cloud 9, on the other hand, picks mostly Jungle, Top, and Support:
In their first 4 games, they picked top here every game, picking up either mid or jungle with it. After one Top/Support game, they shifted over to Jungle/Support for 4 games, then ADC/Jungle for 2 games.
Cloud 9, tends to pick ADC and Support:
Interestingly enough, they only twice picked ADC and Support together.
As well, 3 of the team’s 4 losses come from those ADC counterpicks of Draven/Ezreal/Lucian.
Obviously, counter-picking plays into Cloud 9’s pick strategy. But how?
Let’s check out their records with counter-picking for both sides:
It’s hard to draw too many conclusions from blue side, because they won every game, but here is the data:
Overall, Cloud 9 doesn’t pick too differently from other teams. However, they definitely like to pick their bot lanes later than most teams, with both ADC and Support seeing more picks in the 3rd/4th pick slot, at the expense of more early top lane picks. They can no doubt afford to do so – at least in part – due to Balls’ consistency on Renekton and Shyvana, two champions they seem to have no fear about picking early.