Cloud9 vs 100 Thieves
This is it, the moment we've all been waiting for: a clash between two of the very best and most capable teams the North American region has to offer. And, well, it's a fact, too. Both Cloud9 and 100 Thieves have proven their mettle many a time over the last few weeks, so we can proclaim with absolute confidence that they really are NA's finest.
They're not perfect, but their few mistakes and weaknesses haven't yet been exploited, so it's hard (if not impossible) to dish out any harsh criticism. That may well change once the World Championship comes around, but right now, as things stand, they're downright "bulletproof."
Cloud9, in particular, seem unassailable. The things they've done and the fashion in which they've done them have left no one indifferent. They're cut from a different kind of cloth. The five players fighting underneath the Cloud9 banner are all stupendously talented. And, well, nearly all of them are former LCS champions, too, so their talent and ability to perform at the highest of levels should hardly come as a surprise. They've been here many a time, and they've dominated across many different metas and seasons. They are, by all metrics, grizzled veterans who have nothing left to prove. They're only playing now for the laurels and to further solidify their already mind-blowing legacies.
100 Thieves aren't nearly as seasoned, but they, too, know what it feels like to etch one's name in history, to get showered in confetti and be deemed as the absolute best. They've been astoundingly consistent so we really have to give them ample credit — maintaining a certain level of excellence in *any* region is a tremendously difficult task.
They're not, however, as good or talented as their forthcoming opponents. The gap between them isn't great, but it does exist, and it's bound to end up making a world of difference once they step foot on stage in Chicago and start trading blows. Cloud9 are simply ahead of the curve. They have the absolute best read on the meta and have shown next to no weakness throughout the last two weeks. The ease with which they dismantled their opponents was simply mind-blowing. They made it look easy! They weren't perfect, but their cohesion and ability to teamfight and execute as five-man unit are unmatched in the LCS. There's really no other way to say it: they're just better than all of their peers.
Now, does that mean that they'll just spawn on the Rift and steamroll through 100 Thieves? Absolutely not, but a 3-1/3-2 win *does* seem to be in the cards, especially if their recent wins are anything to go by. They have the most tremendous champion pools, the craziest picks and team comps, they're versatile and flexible beyond all measure and their mechanics? Out of this world. Fudge has once again solidified his spot at the absolute best top laner in North America, Blaber is back to doing his two-time-MVP plays, Jensen has been as clutch as ever, and Berserker and Zven? Actually the best bottom lane duo in the LCS. When did that happen? It's mostly because of the prodigious South Korean marksman, but a lot of credit needs to go towards Zven as well; he's been making one great play after another and his willingness to engage and skirmish echoes the very best of LEC's Hylissang.
They're just a great team overall. They're versatile and can pivot on a moment's notice. 100 Thieves aren't all that much worse, but they're just not as clutch nor have they been as immaculate when it comes to execution. They're not precise enough and their individual play also leaves a bit to be desired at times. Abbedagge has been a complete non-factor (at least more often than not), whereas Ssumday wasn't nearly as dominant as we've come to expect. It all depends on the day and their preparation: sometimes they come out the gates swinging and put on a show. Othertimes they sort of just fall apart at the seams.
Last but certainly not least, their most recent loss to Cloud9 certainly still lingers in the back of their heads. They're professional players with ample experience so that shouldn't affect them *too* much but it was sort of a blowout and that's not something that's easy to shake off and forget. They know deep down that Cloud9 are better, and that this gap we're talking about simply cannot be narrowed within a week or two's time.
So, our choice is clear: Cloud9 all the way.