The 2018 NA LCS Coach of the Split, Reapered, lead Cloud9 to Worlds. With a 3-0 sweep over TSM, Cloud9 clinched the last spot for Worlds assigned to the NA LCS.
The mastermind coaching behind the Cloud9 players had confidence to spare; in the post-match interview with Ovilee May, Reapered said that he told the players, "[If you] give me 1 win, then I will give you the series.” As it turned out, this coach of the split had a genius strategy prepared.
His statement was no mere bluff either; as a coach who has experienced success in gauntlets all over the world, he knows what it takes to win. As a result of his strategy, TSM failed to reach Worlds for the first time in the history of the organization.
The four teams involved in the NA Gauntlet were Clutch Gaming, Echo Fox, TSM, and Cloud9. Fierce fights for the gauntlet were expected, but all the matches ended up with sweeps by the higher ranked team.
On the first day, Echo Fox defeated Clutch Gaming 3-0, and they were on a confident run towards TSM on the next day. However, their match was interrupted by multiple pauses including a chronobreak. It seemed that the players of Echo Fox had trouble getting back on track with their game. TSM came up on top with Bjergsen carrying the team to the regional finals.
Cloud9 was ready and waiting, the final boss of the gauntlet - the 2018 NA LCS Summer Split runner-up. Although they were swept by Team Liquid at the finals, they didn’t have time to be depressed for long as TSM came up to fight for the last slot left for Worlds. It was the last chance for both teams to go to Korea.
In Game 1, Cloud9 started off with an Aatrox top pick. TSM put up a good fight with Bjergsen as Urgot and the game was close up to the end, but Cloud9 ended up destroying TSM’s Nexus.
Game 2 was where Cloud9’s strategy really shined. As Cloud9 collected a win on Aatrox in the previous game, TSM picked Aatrox first. Cloud9 played mind games right at the start, picking Hecarim as if they were going to play him in the jungle. However, with their last pick, they picked Nocturne and flexed Hecarim to the top lane. Cloud9’s picks were all diving picks; Hecarim, Nocturne, Galio, Kai’Sa, and Alistar. The ‘dive comp’ certainly worked out well for Cloud9 and they took Game 2.
Cloud9 picked Hecarim again in the following game. Knowing that Hecarim could also be played in the top lane, TSM responded with a Galio and Nocturne ban. Again, Licorice played Hecarim top and dominated the lane against Hauntzer's Aatrox. After securing a 2K gold lead, Cloud9 rode the momentum straight to the enemy nexus. As a result, Cloud9 reigned over TSM and claimed the last NA ticket to Worlds.
The League of Legends World Championships of 2018 will commence on the 1st of October, touring around South Korea from Seoul, Busan, Gwangju for the play-ins to semifinals, and the grand finals at Incheon.
▣ 2018 NA LCS Regional Qualifiers Results
Clutch Gaming 0 - 3 Echo Fox (W)
Echo Fox 0 - 3 TSM (W)
TSM 0 - 3 Cloud9 (W)