Only one quarterfinal match remains as we approach Worlds 2021 Semifinals. This time we'll get to see the only LCS representative that made it out of Group Stage take on Gen.G Esports, a Korean powerhouse team who are fresh out of a chaotic 4-way tiebreaker from Group D. Can C9 pull off the biggest upset of Worlds 2021 so far and continue to carry on as the last western team remaining? Or will Gen.G return to form and crush NA's hopes and dreams? Here's our thoughts..
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- Worlds 2021 Group A Recap - DAMWON KIA
- Worlds 2021 Group A Recap - Cloud9
- Worlds 2021 Group B Recap
- Worlds 2021 Group C Recap
- Worlds 2021 Group D Recap
Cloud9 at Worlds 2021
Cloud9 has been able to keep their Cinderella story alive so far at Worlds 2021, they narrowly escaped the Play-In Stage after dropping a tiebreaker match to DetonatioN FocusMe but were able to recover with a 3-0 against PEACE to make their way through to the Group Stage. After that, things just got trickier - but C9 lucked out a little bit. FPX self-destructed on the final day of Group A against all odds, losing 4 straight matches and shaking up the standings. After that, all C9 had to do was defeat Rogue and advance to the main event.
Naysayers will argue that Cloud9 has had a relatively easy path to their current spot in the tournament, but I think it shows a lot of fortitude and perseverance for them to have made it this far. They looked somewhat decent in their final match against DAMWON KIA, who continues to stomp their way through teams after 3-0'ing MAD Lions yesterday (Sorry EU fans). Additionally, C9 still had to beat FPX and Rogue who are both respectable teams; They deserve some respect. NA teams have consistently failed to make it out of Worlds Group Stage in the past, but C9 as an organization seem to defy that rule.
Cloud9's 2021 Recap
C9 had a fantastic start to their year, placing 2nd in the first ever LCS Lock-In Tournament, unfortunately falling to Team Liquid in the 5th game of Finals. Fortunately, they used that loss as motivation to stomp through the 2021 LCS Spring Split and won the entire thing. From there, they were slotted into MSI 2021 where many memes about NA League of Legends were unfortunately created in no small part to Blaber's Jungle antics.
After failing to make it out of Group Stage at MSI 2021, this team seemed to have lost their momentum. C9 fans were shocked to see Zven get moved out of the starting roster on May 29th, along with Reignover moving to an assistant coach position. C9 dropped 3 out of 4 games in the starting month of the Summer Split, only gaining a win against FlyQuest - who was beyond help at that point. Luckily, they were able to improve their summer split record to 15-12, putting them in 4th place before playoffs.
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Finally, the Summer Split Playoffs began. C9 began their run with an immediate exit out of the upper bracket, handed to them by none other than Team Liquid. It was a 1-3 loss for Perkz and co, but they still had a shot at making the lower bracket run. They 3-0'd both Golden Guardians and Evil Geniuses in quick succession, but ran into some trouble with TSM. Luckily, they escaped that BO5 with a 3-2 victory to the Losers Finals against 100Thieves. 100T had plenty of time to study C9 given all that time in the lower bracket, they dismantled Cloud9 in a 3-1 series and went on to win the 2021 LCS Summer Split.
So all in all, not a horrible run for Cloud9 in 2021. Obviously fans are right to expect more from a team willing to spend $5,000,000 to buyout a player. It's been a fall from grace for C9 in the latter half of 2021, but they can still redeem themselves in the hearts of NA fans with this victory.
How can Cloud9 beat Gen.G Esports?
This matchup will almost completely rely on the mid lane. BDD is a key player for Gen.G and although he's solo carried plenty of games in the past for them, he struggled to do so on the final day of Group D. On the other side, Perkz usually has a similar effect for Cloud9 but hasn't really shined in many games so far at Worlds 2021. He's made several notable mistakes, indicating that the pressure of performing at an international event might be too much for the EU superstar. Whether this is related to him playing on an NA team or not, Perkz will need to figure it out and step up in this series.
NA fans should also hope for a positive coinflip performance from Blaber, as he seems unable to conquer his inconsistency at international events. Fudge can be included here too, as he seems to switch between worst top laner at worlds and top 4 contender on a game by game basis. It's worthy to note that C9 as a whole have looked much better since those first few days of Group A, they appeared to have calmed their nerves and it couldn't have come at a better time.
Gen.G Esports at Worlds 2021
I'm no expert, but I don't think Gen.G Esports wanted to be in this position. They've dropped games left and right against a multitude of different playstyles. BDD is trying his best to do a Chovy cosplay, but his team might end up suffering the same fate as Hanwha Life Esports. They need this win against Cloud9 as a confidence booster, as they have scarier teams ahead.
Gen.G's 2021 Recap
This team is the definition of a little brother to DAMWON KIA. They finished 2nd place in the Group Stage of the 2021 LCK Spring Split, only to turn around and finish 2nd yet again in the playoffs. Don't get me confused: They're a fantastic stack of players, but they were only able to take one series against DWG in 2021 throughout both splits. They went on to place 2nd in the Group Stage of the 2021 LCK Summer Split, just falling behind DAMWON KIA yet again. However, they were trumped in the Playoffs by T1 - who rose through the ranks and cemented themselves as a top tier LCK team just in time for Worlds 2021.
All in all, it's been a successful but likely disappointing season for a team like Gen.G Esports. Almost reminiscent of their Worlds 2020 performance in which they only dropped 1 game in the Group Stages, only to get 3-0'd by G2 Esports. It appears to me that Gen.G as a team need to learn how to step up in the important moments and especially treat this this next BO5 like it matters.
How can Gen.G Esports beat Cloud9?
As we covered previously in this article, the mid lane matchup is monumental for Gen.G. Get BDD ahead at all costs! He's a superstar player with amazing game sense that will lead the team if he's allowed to have agency in this series. It would be a huge shame for Gen.G to throw BDD's champion pool to the wolves in the draft. Just try to make sure he gets a comfortable champion and a playable matchup, this series should be extremely straightforward for Gen.G Esports.
Another angle to consider is the Jungle matchup: Blaber is less experienced than Clid at international events. Clid has placed highly at Worlds and MSI/Rift Rivals with T1 in the past, he's less likely to experience nerves or succumb to pressure. If they can get him a favorable matchup in the Jungle, Clid might be able to put the team on his back with his signature Lee Sin!
The final angle to talk about is the bot lane matchup. I didn't mention it much before, but Zven and Vulcan are likely the most stable bot lane in NA. They may have looked shaky in the play-ins, but improved massively in Group Stage. With all of that being said, Ruler is a 2017 World Champion ADC along with Life who has competed at the top level of Pro LoL for years. These two bot lanes are fairly even, with a slight edge to Gen.G given the wealth of experience shared by the Korean duo.If needed, I think Gen.G can rely on Ruler to pull out an insane carry performance as we've seen plenty of times before.
This matchup will likely be a stomp in the favor of Gen.G. Regardless of how they looked on Day 4 of Group D, they've had some time to breathe and study their opponents. They are the better team on paper coming from a more competitive region, Cloud9 will have to step up if they want to have a chance in this match. Both teams have a ton of pressure on their shoulders, no doubt about it. However, I think only a miracle can save NA at Worlds 2021.
Gen.G 3-1 Cloud9
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