This week we take a look at the new C9 roster. Considering some of the massive changes, which have come into place thanks to the new franchising rules, C9 has stayed relatively the same. They have brought in two new players, but their roster still retains some of the talent which they played with last season. Their changes aren’t as large as some of the other NA LCS 2018 roster changes.
A new top laner
You’d be forgiven for not knowing who Licorice is. He has been around in the challenger scene for a few years now. He has played for Cloud9 Challenger and for eUnited since 2016. Now he makes the step-up to the big leagues, playing for one of the NA LCS’ top dogs, Cloud9. He’s an NA home-grown talent, as he hails from Canada. This is the first time he has played in the NA LCS. He has had a lot of success at eUnited, as they had an almost unbeaten run in the 2017 NACS Summer Round Robin.
Licorice joins an already experienced roster. Cloud9 obviously thought that Jensen, Sneaky and Smoothie all played well enough to stay in the roster. They are losing one of the best top laners in the world, as Impact joins Team Liquid. They will be sorry to see Impact go, but it was definitely time. C9 fans will always remember the contribution which Impact made to their favourite team, “top die” will be sorely missed. Licorice has some big boots to fill and will be relishing the opportunity to do exactly that.
Svenskeren joins C9
Svenskeren had a solid run at TSM. He often drew more flack than was fair to give him, although he did underperform a few times at big events (Worlds 2016 is the most glaring example). Svenskeren definitely enjoyed his time at TSM, and he was incredibly happy to win his first tournament with them. However, he has been part of the era of TSM where they have completely failed internationally. In 2016 they needed one more win to progress, it was the same at MSI and Worlds 2017. Getting that close so many times had an effect on the team, but Sven has come out feeling positive.
He joins C9 off the back of an incredibly disappointing run at Worlds 2017. Svenskeren actually played pretty well at Worlds 2017, and this was probably one of the reasons C9 picked him up. There is some debate as to why Contractz left, the money at Golden Guardians won’t exactly be bad, and C9 would have made a pretty penny from his buy-out clause. Whatever the reasons, Svenskeren steps into his shoes, and will be looking to continue his dominance in the NA LCS.
The golden oldies
Sven and Licorice are joining a trio of C9 players who have been to Worlds and who have competed strongly both internationally and domestically. No-one can deny how much of a monster Jensen is in the mid-lane. His dominance of both NA mid-laners and international mid-laners is incredibly impressive. (see the two videos below).
Sneaky and Smoothie have always had good synergy, and although a lot of people say their laning together isn’t the best, they will at the very least come out of laning phase equal in CS. Once Sneaky ramps up towards the late game, however, he becomes an absolute beast. Smoothie has great play-making potential and although they eventually lost against WE at Worlds 2017, Sneaky and Smoothie played pretty well throughout.
Flop or top?
With the addition of Svenskeren, who had become almost like a walking ward at TSM, C9 are looking pretty good. He wasn’t allowed to play all of the champions which he had become known for, being forced to stick to the meta. This was not the case with Contractz, who was playing Graves at Worlds when nobody else was. If C9 continue this tradition of giving creative freedom to their junglers, Svenskeren will definitely flourish. This will help C9 compete with the other new rosters in the NA LCS 2018.
C9 also have another big advantage. Most teams have made a lot more swaps than them. C9 have only replaced their top-laner and their mid-laner. Although Licorice will be seen as a downgrade by some, the fact that the core of their team remains the same gives them a massive advantage over the other teams. Some of the newer teams will take a few weeks to gel, by which time C9 could potentially have a massive lead over them.
Furthermore, they should have great mid-lane: Jungle synergy. This was the case at TSM, thanks to Bjergsen and Sven both being Danish. You can see this in the videos that TSM put out every few weeks. Jensen and Sven are also both Danish, which doesn’t guarantee synergy, but will definitely help.
All of these factors should lead C9 to continue their run of top 3 performances, with the potential for them to take NA LCS Spring 2018 from TSM.
Potential to flop
There aren’t many things which could lead them to flop. Number one is Licorice. As he has no previous LCS experience, the pressure of playing on a top team could get to him. He is a very good player, however, and his team-mates will help him in any way they can. Taking on the legacy left by Impact won’t be easy, and should he capitulate, C9 did recently pick up Ziqing “League” Zhao, from the NA Scouting grounds. Although he’s very new to the professional scene, with the correct coaching he does have the potential to be a top player.
Other than that it’s very difficult to see how C9 could flop, considering how similar their roster is to last year. A lot of the other rosters seem incredibly strong, which could push C9 out of the top 3. They will be fighting all the way, however. C9 should definitely be at least in the top 5, and anything below that will seem like a failure for their new roster.