It seemed so unlikely to happen: C9 making their 3rd consecutive worlds appearance. Now, somehow, in an eSports fairytale moment they did it. Running a gauntlet of the best remaining NA teams, falling behind 0-2 not once, but twice, and both times persevering to make the reverse sweep happen. First the epic CLG win, now this. Does Riot script this stuff? If they do, kudos to the writers, they have outdone themselves here. In all seriousness though, this is truly a great storyline going into worlds to come out of NA. And a good thing it is too, because it’s not like they are going to do much once they get there. I mean I would love to see NA do well at worlds, I really would, but unless CLG somehow draw a magical super soft group, like sponge-cake soft, I don’t see it happening. TSM as second seed pretty much won’t have any chance, simply because of how stacked the other regions are, and as nice as it is for C9 to qualify as third seed they are going to end up in a group of death.
On a positive note let’s talk about C9 a bit. Now they certainly don’t look like the same old dominant force that they were in previous seasons but there are some very positive things that have come out of their gauntlet run. First off, they are tenacious: coming back twice for the reverse sweep after being down shows great mental fortitude. The downside of course is that they were down 0-2 twice! That shows that there are still some major holes. A big positive sign was that Incarnation played very well. Not only that but he played aggressive, a welcome change after playing scared for a long time after joining the team. The more he grows in his role, the better for C9 in the future. As for the rest of the team they mostly performed as expected. Sneaky is still a god (those Vayne mechanics!), LemonNation did his job, Balls is still looking like a weak link (though his performance was mostly passable). Is that everyone? No, wait I think there’s one more person on C9 to talk about. Oh yeah, Hai. Is he a wizard or what? Sure, his in-game personal performance was so-so (those Amumu games were pretty bad), but his shotcalling and ability to make the team work together are simply astounding. With Hai on the team the C9 teamfighting once again looks top calibre (for NA) and the team once again has the ability to make crazy and decisive movements across the map in ways that we simply did not see happening with Hai-less C9 earlier in the season. I don’t think many, maybe any, players in the West understand how to play League of Legends on a strategic level as well as Hai. When he does decide to retire I suspect he’ll make a fantastic coach. If he does take the reigns as coach, either of a re-made C9 (perhaps only keeping Sneaky and Incarnation) or of one of the other top teams, I think that there is a good chance that they would dominate NA as hard as C9 did when they first burst onto the scene. A exciting prospect to look forwards to for next season.