The final series of the League of Legends World Championship quarterfinals between Cloud9 and Team WE was full of fireworks and heart-stopping plays. In the end, Team WE eliminated the last Western seed after a close five-game series Sunday in the Guangzhou Gymnasium in Guangzhou, China.
It was clear from early on that no punches would be pulled as Cloud9 surprised WE with a unique draft, giving star midlaner Nicolaj "Jensen" Jensen an Aurelion Sol for the first time in his career. The power of the pick synergized excellently with AD carry Zachary "Sneaky" Scuderi's lane-dominant Caitlyn. All the ingredients for a C9 snowball came together perfectly as C9 took first blood and the first three turrets of the game, amassing a whopping 4,000-gold lead at the 8-minute mark.
Despite the huge deficit, Team WE managed to stall long enough for its late game composition to come online, eventually outscaling C9's early-game-focused lineup. Despite dropping Game 1, the result was huge for building C9's confidence moving into the next games, with Sneaky managing to set a Worlds record for damage dealt to champions and nearly eclipsing 1,800 damage per minute.
The creativity and willingness to bend the meta C9 showed in Game 1 carried over into Games 2 and 3. Once again, the North American organization stunned the crowd by selecting a surprise Singed for top laner Jung "Impact" Eon-yeong. With the pick locked in and the pressure on, Impact rose to the occasion and ran circles around Team WE AD carry Jin "Mystic" Sun-jun's less-mobile Kog'Maw and removed him from teamfights. That game was a turning point in the series and allowed Cloud9 to take Game 3 as well.
Unfortunately for fans of Cloud9 (and/or Singed), Team WE had the perfect counter for the toxic champion: immediately banning him in the draft. With its secret weapon neutralized, Cloud9 was forced into selecting standard compositions, which suited Team WE perfectly. Without the added stress of a champion it was unprepared for, the Chinese squad reverted to the smash-mouth teamfighting playstyle that allowed it to reach Worlds in the first place. Map control and top tier-team fighting, spearheaded by Mystic's Kog'Maw once again, prevailed at the end of the day, sending Cloud9 packing and WE into the semifinals.
Cloud9, which made it to the quarterfinals as the No. 3 seed out of North America, is now out of Worlds. The next test for Team WE, with a grand finals spot on the line, comes at 3:30 a.m. ET on Oct. 29 against Samsung Galaxy in Shanghai.