The 2021 LCS Lock-In semifinals are here, which means a couple of predictions are in order, starting with 100 Thieves vs. Cloud9! Simply put, this is one of the most exciting match-ups in all of North America and if things pan out as expected, it’s bound to deliver in all the right ways! Both 100 Thieves and Cloud9 are S-tier teams and have immensely talented players competing under their banners.
Still, their roads towards this point have been nothing alike. Cloud9 entered the 2021 season with a metric ton of hype after signing Western mid lane legend Luka “Perkz” Perković (of G2 Esports fame). On paper, it seemed like a match made in heaven. In actuality, however, it’s anything but, at least at the time of this writing.
Cloud9 is going through some immense growing pains, and they’ve looked quite unimpressive as a result. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise seeing how they need to rebuild synergy from the ground up — a process invariably filled with trial and error. But for a team stacked with bona fide legends and superstars, no one thought they’d be this inconsistent and sloppy. League of Legends is a team game, of course, but individual talent and mechanical prowess still go a long way, especially in the early stages of the game.
Of course, we know they’ll step up and start dominating at some point in the near future, but right now, as things stand, they’re not a Top 3 team. Not in the slightest. And yet for some inexplicable reason — probably sheer name value — they’re favored over 100 Thieves. Absolute lunacy!
As far as predictions go, this is far from an easy one, but seeing 100 Thieves so undervalued simply boggles the mind. They’ve done more than enough to warrant our benefit of the doubt and should unquestionably be the favorites in this match-up. Heck, they arguably stand the best chance of winning the whole tournament, let alone a Best of 5 against Cloud9. Again, there are never any guarantees at the very start of the season, but betting against 100 Thieves at this point is simply ill-advised.
100 Thieves vs. Cloud9 Predictions
First of all, one thing needs to be said: both teams struggled against their respective opponents last week. Well, perhaps “struggle” is pushing it a bit too far, but they weren’t as dominant or clean as most of us expected. This is especially true for 100 Thieves who, for some odd reason, fumbled and failed in a myriad of ways against Immortals’ Academy line-up. Now sure, we’re talking about mistakes that can easily be fixed in a couple of days’ time, but they need to be called out nonetheless.
— LCS (@LCSOfficial) January 24, 2021
The situation wasn’t much better with Cloud9 and their performance against Team SoloMid, but at least they had a tougher opponent so their faults and slips in judgement can at least somewhat be justified.
Overall, both teams got the win which is the only thing that matters, but they didn’t look all that great in the process. We did, however, get a slightly better read on both line-ups, and most of our initial suspicions and evaluations proved correct. Cloud9 don’t have much going for them overall, with nearly all of their wins coming by way of Robert “Blaber” Huang and his obscenely dominant play. When Blaber isn’t doing the hardcarrying, Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen tends to step up and take over.
The rest of the team has yet to deliver. Ibrahim “Fudge” Allami is nowhere near as good as people initially thought (at least not right now), with Perkz mostly being a complete nonfactor. Cloud9 might eventually become a top-tier contender, but that’s still a ways off. A few moments of brilliance aren’t enough to warrant our benefit of the doubt, nor will it be enough to compete with 100 Thieves on even footing, should 100T come out the gates swinging.
A Clash of Titans
100 Thieves aren’t perfect in execution, but they’re darn close. The pre-existing synergy between four of their members is already paying dividends and, if we ignore a couple of their egregious mistakes (and that one upset loss to Counter Logic Gaming), we’d have to argue that they’re the best and most capable team in North America right now. That could very well change in a week or two, but at the time of this writing, they’ve done incredibly well and even hold a dominant win over Team Liquid. What more could you ask for?
They know each other’s playstyles inside and out, and they also have what can rightfully be deemed as the best bottom lane duo in the league. Plus, it’s not like the rest of the line-up is bad or underwhelming. On the contrary! These are de facto some of the most talented players in North America, with Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho standing out the most in terms of sheer name value. Tanner “Damonte” Damonte also deserves a big shoutout for his immaculate Twisted Fate play. He’s always on the offensive, looking to roam and impact the map whenever possible. If he keeps playing this well, he won’t have any trouble in rubbing shoulders with a struggling Perkz.
That said, Cloud9 never goes down without a fight, and they can definitely pack a punch, even in their current, somewhat weakened state. This is especially true if Blaber decides to hardcarry like his life depends on it. Over time, this Cloud9 line-up should, by all means, be able to realize its inherent potential. But that’s still a couple of weeks away, if not months. Until that point, the only two teams in the LCS that are worthy of our undivided attention are 100 Thieves and Team Liquid. They’re the most mature and have yet to show any glaring weakness.
In any case, this Best of 5 has a metric ton of potential and will no doubt deliver in all the right ways. And don’t let the odds fool you — 100 Thieves are by no means the underdog in this one!