The finals of the summer split playoffs for the North American League of Legends Championship Series is a familiar sight. Team SoloMid. Cloud9. Two teams that have a fated historic rivalry will meet up once again for the fifth time in the finals. Both teams are in top form and we can only wait with bated breath to see which team establishes their dynasty on the Air Canada Centre stage.
TSM just wrapped up the season with the best record (17-1) in the org's history, and followed up that momentum by demolishing long-time rival Counter Logic Gaming, the spring split champions, in a 3-0 playoff sweep. Last split, TSM did not gel despite the all-star caliber lineup on paper. But this split, their performance turned over a new leaf. Replacing Bora "Yellowstar" Kim with rookie support, Vincent "Biofrost" Wang, allowed for more flexibility in the laning phase for AD carry, Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng to call his own shots and aggression.
It led to a better relationship and an overall stronger pairing. TSM, however, is not a one-man show. Both Kevin "Hauntzer" Yarnell and franchise player, Søren "Bjergsen" Bjerg can carry and take over any given game. In fact, in TSM's series against Counter Logic Gaming, it was Bjergsen and Hauntzer who bulldozed the matchup in their favor.
But generally, the strengths of the team start with Bjergsen. TSM usually enters each matchup with the knowledge that the mid lane is an assured victory. Couple that with rotations from Dennis "Svenskeren" Johnsen and a snowball lane for Hauntzer and you've got map pressure. But perhaps, the strongest attribute for TSM is objective control, like the team's ability to contest dragon.
C9 enter the finals as arguably the hottest team in League of Legends. The lineup finished the summer split with a 12-6 record, but dismantled its opponents during the latter half of the regular season. C9 earned its way into the finals after a very complete victory over second-place Immortals, establishing itself as a real threat to TSM. The makeup of the team is a very simple one: earn an advantage in the laning phase with rotations from William "Meteos" Hartman and then allow playmakers like Nicolaj "Jensen" Jensen and Zachary "Sneaky" Scuderi to distribute and dictate team fights.
In the playoffs, so far, C9 is executing the plan. The team is usually up 1,600 gold after 10 minutes and have a 67 percent first blood rate. It's a small sample size, but with the new patch and C9's momentum, it's the best indicator to how well this team is playing. The team's most encouraging statistic is the fact that it's only been behind in gold 5 percent of the time in nine games. Cloud9 is an early game snowballing team that can compete in the late game with carries Jensen and Sneaky.