Team SoloMid took down Cloud9 3-1 in the finals of the North American League of Legends Championship Series, picking up the first North American seed at the World Championships. There was plenty of history and hype before the finals, with the teams meeting several times in the past.
This time around, TSM was the best team throughout the summer split while Cloud9 blew up as the hottest team in the final weeks. It was a back-and-forth series that highlighted TSM's strength as a team and C9's ability to play with versatility. But in the end, TSM's mechanical skill and ability to grind out games took its toll on C9.
The end of the series looked lopsided on the surface, but C9 looked every bit like a respectable challenger. There was much written about the fantastic damage-dealers of C9, Nicolaj "Jensen" Jensen and Zachary "Sneaky" Scuderi, and they delivered clutch moments one after another. But the team eventually ran out of steam.
For TSM, Kevin "Hauntzer" Yarnell's insistence to run Ekko and be the sticky champion in team fights was met with highs and lows. Even though he was largely ineffective during C9's lone victory in game one, he managed to turn things around in every game after. Hauntzer was exactly what the team needed: a flexible glue that could stay alive and harass the enemy the entirety of the game.
That was the large difference between the two teams: TSM stubbornly forced its style and picks onto C9. But Hauntzer was not the star; Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng and NA LCS MVP Søren "Bjergsen" Bjerg were. The duo was masterful in team fights. With the draft formed around the two players, the team broke down C9 systematically.