Just two days before the opening of the 2018 NA LCS Summer Split, Cloud9 has announced that it will be replacing three of its starting players in favor of their Academy League counterparts.
Mid laner Nicolaj Jensen, ADC Zachary “Sneaky“ Scuderi and support Andy “Smoothie“ Ta, have all been benched from the Cloud9 starting roster, at least for week one. Replacing them will be Greyson “Goldenglue” Gilmer in the mid lane, Yuri “Kieth” Jew at ADC, and Tristan “Zeyzal” Stidam playing support. These roster changes were announced in a video that featured the Cloud9 main roster coach, Bok “Reapered” Han-gyu and Cloud9 founder and CEO Jack Etienne.
Details on why exactly the players were benched aren’t exactly made clear in the video, which states a variety of reasons. The first thing mentioned is how hard the Academy players have been working and the ways that the swap will help motivate the main roster players. But speculation as to what exactly might have happened behind the scenes to cause such a massive shift with such short notice is still swirling around the internet.
It is worth noting that Riot announced last week that teams would, for the first time, be able to stream the Thursday games from the Academy League on their own team-branded streams this split — something that Cloud9 advertise at the end of this announcement though not actually mentioned by Bok or Etienne. It’s possible that this roster move is both a move to help reward progress and spur on motivation in the players, while also bringing a huge amount of attention to Cloud9’s first ever Academy stream by throwing three of North America’s highest profile players on-stage for that game.