LoL – 2022 Roster Analysis: Cloud9 rolls the dice

After Luka “Perkz” Perkovic’s brief stint with the organization, the organization was faced with some tough choices, and fan... | 23. November 2021

After Luka “Perkz” Perkovic’s brief stint with the organization, the organization was faced with some tough choices, and fan favorite North American squad Cloud9 has decided to overhaul its roster. 2021 was supposed to be a great year for Cloud9.They had acquired Perkz after a huge buyout deal from G2 Esports and he had promised to dominate.

Ibrahim “Fudge” Allami was promoted from their academy team, prompting a rather polarizing decision to part ways with Eric “Licorice” Ritchie. Robert “Blaber” Huang, Jesper “Zven” Svennignsen, and Philippe “Vulcan” Laflamme all stayed even after not making it to worlds in 2020 despite winning the spring split. It looked like a very competitive North American roster, and the organization’s reputation of making deep runs in international tournaments made people trust the roster.

Inconsistend season

Things went a bit differently than expected. They lost in the LCS Lock-in finals against Team Liquid. They then ran into Team Liquid once again in the spring finals, where they managed to narrowly eke out a 3-2 win, despite their opponent having a sub jungler.

The mid-season invitational was kind of a mixed bag, with them losing games to Japanese representatives DetonatioN FocusMe, and even to Oceanic representatives Pentanet GG, but they did take a game off of the LEC’s MAD Lions, the LPL’s Royal Never Give Up, and the LCK’s Damwon Kia. They bowed out of the tournament after the Rumble Stage, as they did not reach a level of consistency in the tournament that was necessary to advance.

In the summer, their struggles continued, with Zven being subbed out for Calvin “King” Truong. The team did not seem like it found its groove even after subbing Zven back in, and narrowly got into Worlds after beating TSM 3-2. In the World Championship they got into a group that was supposedly rather easy for them, with Beyond Gaming, DetonatioN FocusMe, Galatasaray Esports, and the Unicorns of Love. They were dominant on the first day, but failed against DFM twice.

As a result, they had to play a best of five against Oceanic representatives Peace. They beat them 3-0, and advanced to what was seen as the group of death with Damwon Kia, FunPlus Phoenix, and Rogue. They secured a three-way tie with FPX and Rogue, and advanced into quarters as they won the final match against Rogue. In quarters they were rather easily dispatched by Gen G 3-0, ending their 2020 season.

The reconstruction of Cloud9’s roster

Following Perkz’s return to Europe, and Zven’s clear underperformance during the world championship, Cloud9 made changes with its roster. They signed Park “Summit” Woo-tae as their starting top laner, Fudge role swapped to the mid lane, and they signed Kim “Berserker” Min-cheol from T1’s academy team, and Kim “Winsome” Dong-keon.

A previous understudy to Afreeca’s Kim “Kiin” Gi-in, Summit is a very strong laner and he has been regarded as one of the best top laners in Korea. Playing through him is always a viable strategy for his team, and he is capable of playing a great amount of champions. He is also fairly good when playing tanks, and could serve as an effective weak side player.

Blaber needs no introduction, as he is simply the best native North American jungler. He is a mechanically proficient jungler, and he has aggression in spades. He is a capable carry jungler, but questions arise if the meta shifts to a more facilitative jungle style– will he be able to play Sejuani to the same effectiveness as he does with Olaf?

Fudge’s mid lane swap is a huge gambit for the squad. He was by far their best-performing player in all of 2021, and changing his role might prove detrimental both to him as a player and to the entire team. How much he will adjust to the role remains to be seen, however.

Not much is known about Winsome

Berserker and Winsome are rather lesser-known quantities. Berserker spent most of last year on the T1 academy team, and even there he was not the best of the bottom laners. While he is mechanically gifted, he may still be an unrefined bottom laner in the highest level. No one knows much about Winsome.

He has previously been with amateur teams in South Korea, but there is not a lot of information available about him and how he has played. Despite being of Korean descent, it is to be noted that Winsome was born in the US, thus he has LCS residency. Winsome will be splitting time with Jonah “Isles” Rosario, from C9’s academy team. This roster definitely has the potential to be a top LCS team, but the language difference may take some time to be bridged.