Cloud9 retain control over their top two spot in the LCS after an impressive comeback win over Team SoloMid. In wake of Eric "Licorice" Ritchie's extended absence from C9's starting roster due to wrist issues, Ziqing "Kumo" Zhao has become a driving force in the team's push for victory.
Games between storied rivals C9 and TSM are always dynamic to say the least, and this match was no different. TSM continued their recent trend of experimental drafts, placing Søren "Bjergsen" Bjerg on Rumble mid up against Yasin "Nisqy" Dinçer's Vladimir. C9 answered this with a standard team fighting composition with a clear win condition.
Much to the surprise of those who've been following the team's recent struggles, TSM took full control over the early game. After their solo laners gained individual leads, TSM used that pressure to continuously attack C9's bot lane. Despite giving up three towers and two Infernal Drakes by the 20 minute mark, C9 knew that TSM's early comp was on a timer. All they had to do was hold out for Zachary "Sneaky" Scuderi's Sivir to hit key item spikes and look for a good engage.
C9 found their opening around the top lane inhibitor turret. Dennis "Svenskeren" Johnsen exploited TSM's disastrous siege attempt by engaging onto their back line as Jarvan IV. C9 picked up three kills and transitioned to Baron, but were ultimately scared off by TSM's returning members.
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For the rest of the match, C9 continued running at TSM's squishy members to prevent them from getting a chance to whittle away at their team. After clawing their way back into the game, C9 continued to throw themselves at TSM, and it was Kumo's Aatrox that made the difference in these fights. After catching out the stragglers in a team fight started off of a last ditch Baron attempt by TSM, Kumo lead the charge into TSM's base to destroy their Nexus.
Although Kumo's time as a temporary addition to C9's LCS roster may come to a close soon, he's proven in the time that Licorice has been out that he can be an asset to the team.
"I think I've gotten better at literally everything," Kumo said when asked about his improvement in a post-game interview. "The experience was pretty insane."
It's uncertain whether or not Licorice will return to his starting spot next weekend, but given the level of play exhibited by Kumo, it wouldn't be surprising to see him make a return to the LCS soon.