The 2022 LCS Championship has finally kicked off, with Cloud9 closing the first round of the upper bracket with a huge victory over Counter Logic Gaming. The well-earned, five-game victory has sent them into the next round, where they'll fight for a spot in the fourth round of the postseason.
It has been a huge turnaround for CLG over the course of the 2022 Summer Split, after spending the past five seasons as a bottom three team in the league.
The organization stripped down its League of Legends division at the end of 2021, and turned its focus towards youth roster development. It have taken their young players a split to adjust, but they've now become one of the most surprising developments of the year, ending in fourth place.
C9, on the other hand, hasn't looked nearly as good as what people expected them to be, especially after they announced their new roster for the summer. With veterans like Jensen and Zven joining the main lineup, fans believed those years of competitive experience would be exactly what the roster needed to succeed. Instead, the team played far too inconsistently to find themselves in the top three, and instead dropped to fifth place with a 10-8 record in Summer.
This five-game series was a back-and-forth tug-of-war between two closely matched squads, with both C9 and CLG trading blows for the first four games of the highly-contested series.
Neither LCS squad was scared to skirmish from the first minute onward, but ultimately, it was C9 that came out with the fifth and final win to seal the deal.
Whether it was Berserker taking over the mid-to-late game from the bottom lane on Sivir, Fudge speeding forward with a perfectly-timed flank on Kennen in game three, or Jensen jumping into a skirmish to assassinate a target in game five, it was clear their experienced roster had the confidence to carry the team over the finish line.
With this victory, C9 will now move forward in the upper bracket to face off against the best team of the regular season, Evil Geniuses.
This will be one of the biggest challenges for the squad yet, but if they can send the defending LCS champs to the lower bracket, it will send a strong message to the rest of the pack.