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C9 flounders despite last-minute roster shuffle

Cloud 9 couldn't secure a win against G2, even with a last-minute substitution

We’re three days into the group stage of 2019 Season World Championship Main Event, and North American hopefuls Cloud 9 have found mixed success.

With a single win against LMS Hong Kong Attitude, on Monday, the team opted to bench starting jungler Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen for his substitute Robert “Blaber” Huang. 

C9’s matchup versus HKA hadn’t exactly gone smoothly, with the team barely securing a victory after their bottom of the table opponents almost outperformed them. And top of the list of underperforming elements on C9 was Svenskeren. His 4/5/9 performance on Elise was certainly nothing to write home about, especially when that champion has emerged as possibly the strongest Jungle pick in the tournament so far. 

With this in mind, C9 moved to try some alternative personnel headed into their game versus Tournament favourites and reigning MSI Champions, G2 Esports. The European side was surely C9’s strongest opponents in the group, and the side expected to top the bracket, and breeze into the Knockout stage. 

However, even after mixing things up in the Jungle, C9 couldn’t find traction in a dominant display from their opponents. G2 showed no mercy, crushing their lanes, and pushing for a 25-minute victory. If Blaber’s substitution had made any difference, it wasn’t discernible, with the backup jungler posting an eerily similar 4/6/4 score on Elise. Again, even with one of the most successful jungle picks at Worlds so far, C9 could do little.

With this result in the books, we’ll have to see whether C9 continues with Blaber, returns to Svenskeren, or makes yet more changes to its team composition. Being flexible with their lineup is nothing new to Cloud 9, who spent much of their 2018 season switching between multiple players. However, the team shifted to a more stable roster for 2019 and has had success without changes so far.

C9’s group stage ultimately hangs on the result of their next game versus Griffin. If the NA Worlds stalwarts can pull off a win against the Koreans, they’ll almost certainly be locked in for a knockout stage spot. Regardless of whether the team plays Blaber or Svenskeren, they need to prove they can beat top teams with any lineup.

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