Cloud9 has exceeded expectations once again. The long-time North American organization advanced to its fifth NA LCS Finals, winning a dramatic 5-game semifinal series against Immortals 3-2 Saturday. Cloud9 will play the winner of Sunday’s semifinal between No. 1 seed Team SoloMid and No. 4 seed Counter Logic Gaming next weekend in Toronto. will play the loser in the third-place game, also in Toronto.
It was the third best-of-five series of the day that went the full five games, following the LCK Finals and EU LCS semifinals. The win vastly improves CLG’s chances of auto-qualifying for Worlds: as long as Cloud9 does not beat TSM in the finals, CLG qualifies on Championship Points.
Cloud9 is tied for the most NA LCS titles in the region’s history, with two (TSM and CLG also have two each). Immortals, in only its second split as an organization, has never appeared in an LCS final, but every player on the roster except for Adrian has won an LCS final in the past. Immortals will now compete for North America’s final Worlds spot in the Gauntlet.
The success of both teams in this series depended heavily on the play of their respective top laners. Huni delivered strong performance in the first (6/3/9) and fourth (6/2/7) games of the series, while Impact dominated in the second (5/4/10), third (7/3/5) and fifth (5/1/10) games.
Game 1 was a stellar display from Huni on Rumble, showing one of his counters to Impact’s Gangplank. A well-timed teleport and ultimate bottom lane early in the game broke open an otherwise even game and gave a lead Immortals would eventually build into a win.
Immortals won 20-11 in 33 minutes, and Huni finished the game 6/3/9.
After that experience, Cloud9 banned Rumble in Game 2, and Huni attempted to counter the Gangplank pick with Riven. It ... didn’t work quite as well. He ended the game 3/5/3, as Impact (5/4/10, nearly twice as much damage dealt as Huni) dominated a bloody, sloppy game on both sides.
Cloud9 won the game 25-14 in 39 minutes.
Rumble was once again banned in Game 3, but so was Gangplank. Impact picked Gnar, and Huni responded with Kennen. While that’s considered a counter in some circles, it didn’t work like that in this one.
At nine minutes, Impact solo-killed Huni for First Blood.
That was one of multiple solo kills for Impact on Huni in the game. He ended up going 7/3/5 on Gnar in a performance reminiscent of Splyce’s Wunder earlier Saturday.
Cloud9 seemed to seal the win with a 4-0 team fight at 30 minutes, but Immortals was able to effectively stall out the game with a few picks and strong wave clear. C9 eventually broke through, however, winning 19-8 in 46 minutes.
Game 4 was a much improved performance for Immortals all around, with particularly strong play from Huni’s Gangplank and Adrian’s Taric. Cloud9 picked up the first few kills of the game, but Immortals routinely chained crowd control with Elise, Ashe and Taric and stalled the game long enough for Gangplank to get to the late game.
Then, this happened.
Immortals won 14-10 in 27 minutes.
Game 5 seemed to start smoothly for Immortals, collapsing on Meteos in the jungle for First Blood and holding early game gank priority thanks to roaming from Jensen’s Taliyah and ganks from Reignover’s Rek’Sai.
But then things turned around quickly. Impact’s Ekko and Meteos’s Gragas started wracking up kills while Sneaky’s Ashe started fights from afar, and a 4-0 fight at 23 minutes swung the game completely and resulted in Baron.
Two more advantageous Cloud9 fights opened up a lead that mostly fluctuated between 4k and 7k, but Immortals was somehow able to keep the skirmishes that erupted close. But when Reignover went down trying to contest Baron at 46 minutes, Cloud9 was able to march into the base and win 19-5 in 47 minutes.