For the fifth straight year, no North American team will make the League of Legends World Championship semifinals. Cloud9, NA’s last remaining representative, was eliminated from the tournament Thursday in the quarterfinals via a 3-0 sweep at the hands of Samsung Galaxy. With the win, Samsung advances to play the winner of Sunday’s H2K vs. Albus NoX Luna quarterfinal.
The last and only North American team to make it to the Worlds semifinals was Team SoloMid at the first ever World Championship — a tournament that did not include Korean or Chinese teams.
Before the games started, the rowdy Chicago crowd booed Samsung Galaxy. That turned out to be a bad idea.
Samsung dominated in Game 1, even though Cloud9 appeared to draft a favorable composition with multiple winning lanes. C9 attempted to use this advantage by making early picks with a roaming Alistar, but even when outnumbered Samsung was still able to win fights.
The first example of this was perhaps the most damning, as Samsung mid laner Min-ho “Crown” Lee outplayed a two-man gank and turned a 1 vs. 3 disadvantage into First Blood.
The standout performer of the game for Samsung, however, was its other solo laner, top laner Seong-jin “CuVee” Lee. He solokilled Cloud9 top laner Eon-yeong “Impact” Jeong, who had the most solo kills of any player in the group stage, a whopping four times, starting with this one to recover from an early farm deficit.
CuVee finished the game 8/2/4 on Ekko.
At 15 minutes, Cloud9’s bottom lane attempted to hide for a pick in a bush, but it backfired horribly and resulted in a Samsung Kill. By 18 minutes, C9 was down 3k gold. At 20, all hell broke loose.
After an uncontested Baron at 21 minutes, Samsung soon held a gold lead greater than 12k gold. A late C9 attempt to stave off a Nexus siege delayed the inevitable, but Samsung was able to close it out 20-6 in 27 minutes.
Game 2 started much more favorably for Cloud9 (or at least less disastrously), now on blue side. After a laning phase that took just about forever, a 2 vs. 2 outplay from Samsung netted First Blood for Ruler, but C9 managed to grab the first turret on the other side of the map.
C9 actually held the lead into the mid game, with a small advantage 25 minutes in as the team’s poke composition continually avoided Samsung’s team fight. But at 26 minutes, the first team fight of the game broke out and went 4-0 in Samsung’s favor thanks to some perfectly chained ultimates.
From that point, it was pretty routine for Samsung. The ensuing Baron swung the gold lead, giving Samsung a nearly 6k advantage, and the Korean team was able to eventually siege and win the game 11-4 in 37 minutes.
Game 3 once again saw Cloud9 take an early lead, thanks in large part to a more effective game from jungler William “Meteos” Hartman, now on Zac instead of Rek’Sai.
But once again when the game hit the team-fighting stage, Samsung was able to wrest control thanks to excellent play from Cuvee (now on Poppy) and CoreJJ (now on Tahm Kench).
Samsung closed the game out in 39 minutes, winning 22-11. Cuvee finished the game 5/2/6, while CoreJJ finished 5/1/3 (making him 5/1/23 on the series).
We will next see Samsung Galaxy at Madison Square Garden for the semifinals, and Cloud9 in the NA LCS 2017 Spring Split (as well as IEM Katowice).