Cloud9’s first outing against FunPlus Phoenix in the League of Legends 2021 World Championship Group Stage ended in defeat. However, despite ending the day 0-2 in games, there were positives to take from an incredibly close tie for the LCS team.
Cloud9 showed some real proactivity during the game’s opening exchanges and picked up an early lead, but let it slip as FPX secured key picks – most notably on Luka ‘Perkz’ Perković – throughout the midgame and beyond. One good Baron fight 25 minutes in gave Cloud9 an advantage it ultimately couldn’t make use of, while yet another catch onto Perkz gave FPX one of its own at the 34 minute mark.
Once Perkz had returned to the Rift, he took to split-pushing top. Meanwhile, FPX began to co-ordinate a baron-empowered minion push in the bot lane, which made it seem necessary for the Croatian to base and help his team defend it.
Instead, the game ended in an incredibly-tight base race, with Perkz one auto-attack away from taking FPX’s final Nexus turret as his own Nexus exploded. Following the game, we had a chance to quiz Cloud9’s Ibrahim ‘Fudge’ Allami. According to him, Perkz saw an opportunity to win the game and pounced.
“The comms were mainly Perkz saying that he thinks he can look to end if we can hold,” Fudge says. “And I think it was simply just a misjudgement where we couldn’t hold without him, and they were able to dive us and take our towers in front of our faces if we didn’t fight them. So it was mainly just a misjudgement rather than a comms issue.”
With such tight margins at the top level of competitive League of Legends, it’s a rough ending for Cloud9 in what was a very winnable game. However, with four games left to go during the Group Stage, we are seeing some real signs of life from the team the LCS side.