June 30, 2021, 6:15 PM

100 Thieves take down Cloud9: Greater number wins

100T currently sit atop the standings in the LCS.
100 Thieves take down Cloud9: Greater number wins
Defeating Cloud9 was 100 Thieves fourth win in their current five-match winstreak. Image courtesy of LCS / Riot Games.
By TrackLoL Freelancer
Filed Under
With Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen finally returning to Cloud9’s starting line-up after what fans are deeming the Calvin “k1ng” Truong experiment, C9 stocks were at an all-time high. The Spring champions returned to their winning formula, opening their weekend with a decisive victory over a Golden Guardians squad that emerged victorious the last time the two organizations clashed.
Unfortunately for Zven, not even the threat of his 1v9 botlane prowess would be enough to make C9’s skirmish against the top-of-the-table 100 Thieves competitive. Even so, fans were guaranteed a show thanks to the aggressive, in-your-face playstyle of these two teams. Both C9’s Luka “Perkz” Perković and 100T’s Felix “Abbedagge” Braun left Europe at the top of their games, and unlike most imports to North America, their play has shown no signs of slowing down (0/7/0 Renekton games aside).
While this defeat wasn’t as crushing for C9 as the first time these two giants met earlier in the split, it was still a rude awakening. Even with their complete Mid-Season Invitational line-up back on the Rift, the squad may not be rulers of NA’s playground any longer. Let’s take a look at a few key takeaways from this game.

Top Two

Using a phrase like “top two” is a little loaded. After all, it could apply to any metric in this matchup — both of these teams are top of the table (TSM permitting), both midlaners are at the top of their role (TSM permitting…), and so on. However, it’s another position we’re going to focus on this time, as — with Team Liquid’s Lucas “Santorin” Tao Kilmer Larsen taking an extended break, these are without question the two best-performing junglers currently playing in the LCS.
For both of these players, Summer 2021 has been all about redemption. For C9’s Robert “Blaber” Huang, this is an attempt to compensate for abysmal MSI performances. The aggressive, show-stopping jungler repeatedly overcommit for the smallest of objectives (spawning countless Scuttle Crab references), and apparently refused to learn from his mistakes. This split is an opportunity for Blaber to show that he can be a cerebral, adaptive jungler that reads the map like a book, rather than just instinctively take the most bloodthirsty skirmishes possible.
On the other hand, Can “Closer” Çelik had one of the steepest fall-offs witnessed in professional play between the 2020 and 2021 seasons. A stellar breakout year on the Golden Guardians following an international transfer from his native Turkey saw fans worldwide riding high on the jungler, but with 100T’s difficult midlane situation throughout Spring there was little to show for Closer. The jungler would still take over games — see his 10/0/9 Hecarim playoffs shutout versus Dignitas — but on a far less consistent basis.
Closer went from averaging an almost +700 XP differential on a mediocre team in 2020, to -150. His Gold Differential told a similar story, but thanks to a shift in the jungle meta, and a consistently winning midlaner, Closer is back to being on top.
These two junglers are very similar in their aggressive tendencies, but also entirely different. While Blaber seeks to bully and pressure out the enemy jungler through 1v1s and invades, Closer is an early skirmish/gank machine. While Blaber is almost always ahead of his opponents in CS throughout the early game (nearly 92% of the time this split versus Closer’s 67%) as well as experience, Closer still maintains a significant gold lead on average — due to successful ganks, Rift Herald plays, and turret plating.
Another interesting comparison between the two players — and where we’ll cut Blaber some slack — is that Blaber has more often than not been the driving force behind his team’s attempts to secure First Blood. Participating in the first kill of the game almost 60% of the time, Blaber dictates the majority of C9’s early success. On the other hand, Closer has only been a part of 30%, mostly because his dynamic duo of a botlane consistently outplay their opponents in the 2v2.

Once-Best in the West versus the OPL’s Finest

Another product of Golden Guardians 2020’s winning formula, 100T’s botlane duo have been phenomenal this split. Both Ian Victor “FBI” Huang and Choi “huhi” Jae-hyun have been at the top of their respective positions, looking comfortable on meta picks and off-the-wall champions alike (Lee Sin and Ziggs, with both players flexing Senna).
Winning 60% of their lanes through CS leads, and the rest through sheer dominance (huhi averages 190 damage per minute, while FBI takes a lion’s share of 27% of 100T’s total damage dealt in any given game), 100T’s botlane are a force to be reckoned with. In fact, FBI in particular has a remarkable Kill Participation statistic of almost 74%, something nearly unheard of for a marksman due to their typically quiet early games. This game was but one of three that earned the 100T marksman the Mastercard Nexus Player of the Week award for Week 4 of the LCS.
Having to play against what is currently the best botlane in the league on your homecoming weekend is no easy feat, but if anyone could rise to the occasion it would be Zven. Alongside longtime lane partner Philippe “Vulcan” Laflamme, the C9 marksman went blow-for-blow against a lane dominant first-pick Kalista.
Taking Varus for Zven is one thing - the Arrow of Retribution is one of only a handful of champions that can trade with the Spear of Vengeance early - but Tahm Kench to further guarantee lane safety did more harm than good for C9’s botlane. While Vulcan is certainly a solid Tahm Kench player (most professionals are, or rather were, as the champion has been reworked for Week 5 of LCS onwards), the lack of engage and proactivity granted by the pick meant that one of the league’s best supports was relegated to sitting back and waiting for his opponents to make a move.
As soon as the 100T botlane built up a significant XP advantage, they struck. Level 6 on both Kalista and Nautilus meant that the C9 botlane should have been easy money at the 8:30 mark, but due to an oversight on both their own available mana pool and C9’s ability to bite back, the 100T duo spent way too long under the enemy tower. Vulcan would fall, but so would huhi. As a result, 100T then began to almost exclusively play for top side. Granted, it did work out — Abbedagge’s Azir was 3/0 by the 11:30 mark — but it also meant that 100T’s botlane were left hanging out to dry as Blaber came down for a quick pickup on the 100T support.
By the time teamfights rolled around — 17 minutes, second Herald — lane fumbles from the 100T side were disregarded entirely, as with the massive lead generated in the solo lanes (and jungle) 100T’s botlane were able to fight freely and clean up time and time again.

Midlane Difference

As mentioned previously, both Perkz and Abbedagge are elite midlaners that can go (and in Perkz’s case, have gone) toe-to-toe with the best of the best on a good day. Unfortunately for C9, with Blaber being the hard-carry, farm-intensive jungler that he is, Perkz is often relegated to a more utility role.
This would plague the blue-side squad this game, as the C9 midlaner took Lulu to function as a safe blind/flex pick (Lee Sin could be played mid, but would have a miserable experience versus 100T’s last-picked Azir), and as such could just sit back and watch as Abbedagge farmed himself up a storm. A fumbled fight at the Rift Herald led to C9’s hopes of a successful early game falling flat, and without an opportunity for proactive crazy carry performances from their superstar midlaner, C9’s chances of coming back from a deficit tanked dramatically.
Abbedagge departed Europe after a spectacular Spring on FC Schalke 04 Esports. Often looked at as a player with immense potential who had difficulties replicating his scrim performances on stage, something clicked for the rising star in the midlane this year. Abbedagge is an outlier amongst most imports as he joins the league at the very peak of his career, and 100T fans couldn’t be more grateful.
Despite being forced onto Karma duty for the opening games of the split, Abbedagge’s carry potential has shown through time and time again this Summer. Similar to his marksman, the midlaner sits at a cozy 72% kill participation, demonstrating that he reigns supreme in both early skirmishes and teamfights alike. Due to his willingness to, alongside Closer, fall back into a utility role (his sidelines are the best botlane in the LCS and Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho), Abbedagge’s gold share isn’t much (a little over 21% on average).
Perhaps most astonishing, however, is that Abbedagge seems to be able to fill any role that this team needs in a given moment - or any given draft. His aforementioned utility picks, Karma and Orianna, leave a little to be desired (both of 100T’s only losses this split happened while playing these two champions), but his deathless Akali currently has combined statistics of 12/0/10 across 2 games.

Shaking Up the Standings

Cloud9 should, after this game, look at their drafts with a magnifying glass. While prioritizing Blaber and Zven’s early success is a good thing - they are both world-class and can take over a game at the drop of a hat - if it comes at the cost of having Perkz or Vulcan taken off of playmaking positions, it’s probably not worth it. Fortunately for C9, while TSM are certainly looking formidable, rivals TL are on a freefall through the LCS standings.
While 100T may very well end this split in 1st, 2nd place could still be C9’s if they play their cards, and drafts, right from this point onwards. 100T have demonstrated that they still have even more to show after some stellar individual performances this split, and, coupled with their dominant teamplay, one can’t help but get excited for NA’s hopes of escaping groups this Worlds.
Of course, we’re still early in the split — and roster change roulette has demonstrated that teams can implode overnight. Here at TrackLoL, we’ll be covering as many games as possible as the weeks go by, so be sure to stay tuned — but no matter what happens, as of this week, 100T are the best team in North America right now.

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