FunPlus Phoenix vs Cloud9
It's no secret that both teams looked dreadful in their first outing on the Worlds stage. Who looked worse than whom is less important at this point in time as neither team did much (if anything) to warrant any kind of praise or commendation. They were blown out of the water, pretty much, but at least FunPlus Phoenix fell prey to DWG KIA, the defending World Champions and one of the frontrunners to win the whole thing yet again. So, in that sense, dropping a game isn't exactly the be-all and end-all.
Cloud9, on the other hand, was outclassed by Rogue, the third-best team from Europe and arguably one of the more one-dimensional challengers at Worlds. Now, don't take the "one-dimensional" bit the wrong way as it's not meant as a slighting comment — it's just a fact, and while they can certainly pack a punch they're still nowhere near as capable or dangerous as most of their peers. Still, they beat the brakes off of Cloud9 as if it were child's play. Whether that's a compliment to Rogue or a criticism of Cloud9 is up to you to decide.
In any case, Cloud9 looked like a bunch of out of sync scrubs. It really wasn't a good showing and, in fact, it was slightly offensive given their experience, veterancy, and sheer talent. This can no longer suffice. Blaber, for one, simply has to step up as the mistakes he's been making on the international stage can no longer be justified and excused — this is the former two-time MVP we're talking about, and yet he's making the most egregious, mind-boggling mistakes we've seen in quite a long time. He's as coin-flip as it gets, and that, in short, is inexcusable. The rest of his team hasn't been playing that much better, in all fairness, so it's not like he's the *sole* reason they've been struggling and had lost to Rogue, although his dreadful engages and invades definitely hindered Cloud9 in more ways than one.
FunPlus didn't look good either, but we have to factor in whom they were up against. That's when their defeat -- tremendous though it was -- gets painted in a slightly different light. A loss is a loss, in all fairness, but these nuances matter immensely. They're motivated to get their first win on the board and really shouldn't struggle much against Cloud9 — if at all. They're still one of the best teams in the history of the game and have all the right tools and players to beat Cloud9 to a pulp and correct course before eventually advancing further into the tournament.
As for Cloud9, if they don't step up — and to it straight away — they could potentially end up as Team SoloMid back in 2020: zero wins and six losses. It's a crushing reality to face, no doubt, but at least we know they have the talent and experience necessary to make the right corrections and at the very least put up a fight.