Cloud9 vs CLG
For our first match of the day, we have an incredibly exciting clash between two top-tier teams: Cloud9 and Counter Logic Gaming. Now, this match is an absolute must watch regardless of your allegiance. That's just a fact.
And seeing how a couple of unexpected things occurred over the last couple of weeks, it's important to highlight that predicting the outcome of this game is downright impossible right now. That is just one of the many reasons why this game is so exciting, and should rightfully be considered as the match of the week.
Whenever these two teams step foot on the LCS stage, no one is left indifferent. And that kind of aura followed many incarnations of both CLG as well as Cloud9. They both love to skirmish -- it's in their DNA, and they're always willing to throw down regardless if they're ahead or behind in gold/objectives.
That said, both of these two teams are entering today's clash with different amounts of hype and momentum. Let's take a look at Cloud9 first. The 2018 World Championship semifinalists have entered the Summer Split on a somewhat strange note. They're solid, if not even fantastic, but they're just not consistent or particularly dominant. They're experimenting more often than not, and certain members of the team simply aren't playing as well as many expected. Licorice's play leaves a lot to be desired, especially considering the fact that we know just how good and talented he actually is.
Such inconsistency means Cloud9 is currently sitting on a fairly respectable 4W-3L record. Nothing too spectacular, but far from bad. Still, for a team that has so much going for it (not to mention their built-in synergy), they are somewhat disappointing. Up to this point, they've lost to 100 Thieves, Team Solo Mid, and the Golden Guardians. They're currently riding a two-game losing streak, and are looking to get back into the win column.
Counter Logic Gaming, on the other hand, has been nothing but surprising over the last three and a half weeks. They have a slightly better overall score with five wins and just two losses, and have been able to take down a plethora of teams, including Team Liquid and Team Solo Mid. They're deceptively strong and are a very versatile team. They might not look like a top tier contender, but they should not be underestimated at any point in time.
The problem is, they're still somewhat rough around the edges, and whether or not they start off on the right foot heavily impacts their chances further into the game. That said, they have mental fortitude in spades and were able to display their calm demeanor on more than one occasion. When it matters the most, the CLG bunch is always on the same page, and they're currently tied for first along with Team Liquid and OpTic Gaming. While they're probably not going to be challenging for the LCS throne once all is said and done, they are a concrete contender and should be more than capable of locking down a playoff spot.
Cloud9, even though they're rightfully considered a Top 3 team, are entering today's match without much hype. They made a couple of key mistakes against 100 Thieves starting with the pick and ban phase, but their play and overall team cohesion should've been more than enough to take down a 1W-5L 100 Thieves roster. But it wasn't, and that's a worrying sign, at least ever so slightly. The boys in black and blue simply didn't play well, but one would think that even a weakened Cloud9 should be more than able to get the job done against a team of 100 Thieves' caliber.
But competitive League is tricky business. We're taking about nuances at this point, and Cloud9 were the worst team on the day. 100 Thieves definitely pulled off one of the biggest upsets in recent North American history, and the fact that they did so through some very commendable play is what was most surprising. We saw Ryu back in form, Amazing engaged perfectly time and time again, Aphromoo had a vintage game filled with spectacular Rakan play, and perhaps best of all -- Bang finally showed the world just how good of an AD carry he really is. Everyone expected the SKT T1 Bang to start dominating in North America from the moment he stepped foot on American soil, but that failed to be the case.
He was mediocre in all facets of play, and it was hard distinguishing whether that was his own fault or a result from playing for such a shoddy team. Regardless, his incredible skill was on full display yesterday, and it's hard not to get excited at this point in time.
This is basically a fight between two teams of equal strength, and even though Cloud9 are favored to win, we simply have to side with Counter Logic Gaming. They have a big chance of scoring yet another upset and seeing how Cloud9 simply isn't performing at the highest of levels, this might as well be their biggest chance of taking the 2018 Worlds semifinalists down.
That said, if you're looking for an "easy" bet, for a game that is easily predictable then it's probably best to skip this one entirely.