Cloud9 tend to stay away from controversies. They’re a powerhouse in every sense of the word, and their spotless reputation is one of the reasons behind their large domestic following.
Yet their recent decision to sub out Jensen, Sneaky, and Smoothie in favor of Goldenglue, Keith, and Zeyzal definitely sparked some debate.
Of course, the move is only meant for Week 1 of the competition. But even the most dedicated fans saw it as a blatant downgrade of the Cloud9 roster.
News of the upcoming Academy stream certainly didn’t help the notion. It appeared C9 were staging a PR stunt at the cost of their NA LCS standings. However, this switch-up could very well work out to their advantage. It might even become a common practice for teams with formidable Academy lineups.
For starters, Academy was always meant to build up domestic talent. The league is filled with up-and-coming pros hungry for opportunities to show off their League of Legends prowess. And there are few better ways of giving them this exposure than in the NA LCS.
But Cloud9 are probably not doing this out of the goodness of their hearts. Remember, Academy League pros are still some of the best players in their region. Plus, Keith and Goldenglue even have some LCS experience under their belts.
Given that, it might actually be viable to sub them in to try out experimental champions or specific team comps. In the past, this wasn’t worthwhile because there were only so many unorthodox tactics. But the current meta is in disarray. Having more LCS-level players is great for finding the most optimal way to play it.
Speaking of the meta, not everyone adapts to the changes at the same pace. Jensen and Sneaky are undeniably great on their trademark champions, but the influx of new picks might’ve put them at a loss. C9’s roster shuffle allows them to ease into the new meta in the Academy League while players who have already adjusted to the changes will take their place in the NA LCS.
Granted, these are all speculations. But there are definite benefits to what Cloud9 are doing. If they manage to unlock the potential of their Academy players, they’ll have a very powerful tool at their disposal.
Editorial Credit: Riot Games, Cloud9