Probably the most recognizable team from North America (besides Team SoloMid), Cloud 9 has always been hailed as that “special recipe”. The team hasn’t made a roster change since early 2013 and arguably, they don’t need to at the moment. Individually, Cloud 9 is certainly not the best team on paper, but due to the nature of the players having not only played together for quite a while, but playing similar play-styles, the team has excelled in the LCS since the Summer Split of 2013.
Top lane for Cloud 9 holds one of the best in his position in North America (and arguably in the West in general). Meet An “Balls” Le, top laner for the team since January of 2013. Most known for his “god tier” Rumble play, the top laner is successful on numerous champions over the past 2 years, from tanks to carries. He’s one of the more well rounded top laners in the West, and the meta seems to be a bit in his favor at the moment, especially with Rumble, Maokai, Lissandra, & the ever so slight return of his favorites, Jax & Renekton.
Jungle holds William “Meteos” Hartman, the undisputed best jungler in North America. If anything Cloud 9 has going for them, it’s Meteos and that’s because he’s absolutely a monster. He’s known for his impressive Elise, Evelynn, & even Lee Sin, and with the recent buffs to both Elise & Evelynn (and Lee Sin never leaving the meta), I have a feeling Meteos will be right at home this split. Watching Meteos play is nearly always spectacular and he as a player is usually at the front of the Cloud 9 team in their victories.
Mid lane has always been criticized as Cloud 9’s “weakness”; however, Hai “Hai” Lam brings something to the table that is a major part of the “special recipe” that is Cloud 9. This trait is none other than shotcalling, something that most players in NA are rather unexperienced at. Despite not having the most impressive performance in lane (don’t get me wrong though, he’s not really that terrible as some will criticize), when it comes to team-fighting, Hai is probably one of the best shotcallers in North America. As long as Hai can sustain in lane this year versus his prestigious opponents, the likes of TSM’s Bjergsen, TL’s Fenix, WFX’s Pobelter, & more, Cloud 9 should theoretically do well.
The AD Carry for Cloud 9 is one of the more overlooked in the team; however, arguably the most consistent and potentially even their strongest members. When you’re in a team of such high status, it’s easy to get missed sometimes, although recently Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi’s performance has been spectacular, earning him some stripes with tons of fans & viewers in general. Specifically, his immense knowledge of the positions and its meta champions will make him strong this season. Also helps that he’s coupled with a highly knowledgable, strong vision control support as well. Expect Sneaky to be the biggest member to shine this split. If you’re playing Fantasy LCS & you have yet to draft, I encourage you to draft him as your AD Carry.
Finally, the support of Cloud 9. Have you ever known that extremely wise guy, way beyond his age? That probably describes Daerek “LemonNation” Hart in the best way possible. The player and his prestigious “notebook” bring tons of success to Cloud 9 as a whole. Lemon has one of the best understandings of pick/ban phase in the North American LCS, more so than the majority of coaches of these teams. Besides out-of-game traits, Lemon is praised as one of the more solid supports, who has really good vision control, one of the many things a support is required to maintain for the majority of the game.
Here’s the synopsis of my giant wall of text above: Cloud 9 will definitely be top 3 again this year. Their veteran chemistry as a team, as well as great support staff of the organization and the sponsors behind them are a great example of what most e-sports organizations should work to become. The team is not only in a good environment, but most of all, they’re friendly towards one another. On top of their good environment, all 5 players are fairly high caliber, in one trait or another. The team has always done well within NA, as well as fairly decent (for a Western team) at international events, with them recently taking 1st at IEM San Jose.