Cloud 9 — Early Top, Late Bot



Blue Side
1st Pick

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:

  • Jungle – 4 (Elise 3/Vi 1)
  • Support – 4 (Thresh 3/Lulu 1)
  • Mid – 2 (LeBlanc 1/Lulu 1)

2nd/3rd Pick

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.

  • ADC – 8 (Caitlyn 4/Sivir 2/Lucian 1/Draven 1)
  • Top – 4 (Shyvana 2/Renekton 1/Dr. Mundo 1)
  • Support – 3 (Thresh 1/Leona 1/Annie)
  • Jungle – 3 (Lee Sin 1/Elise 1/Pantheon 1)
  • Mid – 2 (Kha’Zix 1/Gragas 1)

4th/5th Pick

Cloud 9 tends to pick its top and mids in the 4 and 5 spots

  • Top – 6 (Shyvana 2/Rumble 2/Renekton 1/Trundle 1)
  • Mid – 6 (LeBlanc 3/Kha’Zix 1/Zed 1/Teemo 1)
  • Jungle – 4 (Kha’Zix 3/Lee Sin 1)
  • Support – 3 (Thresh 1/Morgana 1/Annie/1)
  • ADC – 2 (Lucian 1/Sivir 1)

There’s not much new here: Cloud 9 basically handles blue side like every other team

Red Side

Cloud 9’s strategy is a bit different from the average pick order.

1st/2nd Pick

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:

  • Jungle – 7 (Elise 4/Lee Sin 2/Pantheon 1)
  • Top – 5 (Renekton 3/Shyvana 2)
  • Support – 4 (Thresh 2/Leona 1/Annie 1)
  • Mid – 2 (LeBlanc 1/Yasuo 1)
  • ADC – 2 (Caitlyn 1/Sivir 1)

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.

3rd/4th Pick

Cloud 9, tends to pick ADC and Support:

  • ADC – 6 (Caitlyn 2/Jinx 1/Draven 1/Ezreal 1/Lucian 1)
  • Support – 6 (Leona 3/Thresh 2/Morgana 1)
  • Top – 4 (Renekton 2/Shyvana 1/Gragas 1)
  • Mid – 3 (Yasuo 1/Riven 1/Zed 1)
  • Jungle – 1 (Lee Sin 1)

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:

Blue Side

It’s hard to draw too many conclusions from blue side, because they won every game, but here is the data:

  • Top – 6-0
  • Jungle – 3-0
  • Mid – 2-2
  • ADC – 5-5
  • Support – 5-5

Red Side

  • Top – 1-1
  • Jungle – 3-1
  • Mid – 4-3
  • ADC – 3-4
  • Support – 4-1

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.

Pick Order Analysis – To Secure or to Counter?

What can we learn from picks order in NA LCS? Do pros prefer to pick priority champions or counter-pick, and what lanes are priorities for picks and counter-picks?

Well, it turns out there’s a pretty strong pattern for champions selection (although it depends somewhat on whether you are blue or red side). But the basics are pretty simple. Pick up your OP picks and your safe picks early. Pick up your safe picks or counter-pick in the middle. Try to counter-pick with your last picks. It should be noted that counter-picking does not necessarily mean counter-picking your lane, but can be about compositions. Ok, so that’s obvious. But what sort of counter-picking strategy do the pros prefer? Find out, after the break!

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