Team SoloMid vs Cloud9
This match-up -- despite being as old as time -- is always a load of fun. And, frankly, it matters very little whether it ends up being competitive or not: it is a perennial clash and a rivalry upon which the LCS as we know it has been built. Black and white, going up against blue. Two entirely different styles and approaches, one that is synonymous with dominance and control, the other laden with creativity and imbued with a more laidback approach.
Two polar opposites and yet somehow, some way, *both* have been tremendously successful over the years.
Unlike TSM, however, Cloud *have* managed to stay afloat, and still have some of the very best and most capable players in the entirety of North America. Their current line-up is one of immense, awe-inspiring strength, and a kind of potential that can only be found with a "handful" of other teams, namely EG, TL, and 100 Thieves. Let's get one thing straight: this version of C9 has all the tools it needs to compete for the LCS throne. They are the biggest "dark horse" we've seen in years and they sure do have a shot at making Top 3 and subsequently representing their region at Worlds. It's not going to be an easy task, but with players like Fudge, Blaber, Jensen, Berserker, and Zven, they'll definitely make a run for it.
TSM FTX, on the other hand, are the very definition of a sinking ship. They were incredibly volatile throughout the first three weeks of play and now, one could argue, have become ever worse after being forced to shake up their starting five for what feels like the millionth time. Huni, a legend in his own right, has been forced to retire because of recurring wrist injuries; as a result, TSM will now field a line-up with a very limited skill ceiling. They still have Spica and Maple, granted, but the rest of their allies are simply not equipped to compete on the LCS stage.
They'll still put up a fight, there's no doubt about it, but they shouldn't be able to come out on top once everything is said and done -- Cloud9 simply have more tools to work with and are staggeringly more capable in comparison. This will, therefore, be a good litmus test and an opportunity to not only add yet another win to the board but also make a statement and, in doing so, generate some much-needed momentum.