Throughout the golden era of the North American League of Legends Championship Series, nothing was certain but for the three facts of life: Team Liquid finish fourth, Doublelift is trash and Team SoloMid battle Cloud9 for 1st place. The narratives shifted but the main cast stayed the same: the apprentice versus the veterans, micro against macro and with the World Championship just around the corner, this rivalry could be on its way back at long last.
No rivalry is as longstanding as that between Team SoloMid and Cloud9, but over the course of the past three seasons, the once anticipated head-to-head started to fade into the background, no longer the guaranteed headline fixture – for many the NA LCS felt hollow as a result.
For a long time, C9 and TSM were, and arguably still are, the poster boys of North America. Cloud9’s reputation for team unity stemmed from their unchanged roster for close to two years, while TSM’s imported talent shone as some of the NA’s brightest personalities. C9’s unique approach to macro play was personified by the emblematic Hai “Hai” Du Lam, whilst TSM star-midlaner Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg looked to single-handedly carry games alongside his supporting cast. Watching the two styles come to blows never disappointed.
The fairytale storyline’s persisted for a little over two years, the pendulum slowly swinging from C9 to TSM – each game was a joy. But suddenly, the classic hero and villains of the rivalry began to disappear, new powerhouses emerged through the ranks and Cloud9 vs TSM became just another game in a hectic weekend schedule.
Internationally, neither side were ever in a position to challenge the best foreign teams and across the rift, players’ individual weaknesses were left exposed. Like bidding last farewell to a childhood friend, Marcus “Dyrus” Hill, one of the relics of TSM stepped down alongside Jason “WildTurtle” Tran, whilst C9 finally ripped off the plaster that was Hai, having previously called him back as both a jungler and later a support. Both teams needed a chance to repair – the rivalry needed a chance to rebuild.
So After an eventful Spring split in which both rosters flattered to deceive, the summer split has brought far more positive results and the first signs that the LCS might soon see the return of it’s glorious rivalry. Bjergsen and Sneaky have been reunited with one of the finest personalities on the rift in Meteos – C9’s ‘memeing’ bromance are back on form:
yeah the superstar jungler has returned. Watch out for my feature in the next issue of Sports Illustrated. pic.twitter.com/JhcZLQJSpT
— C9 Meteos’ Ego (@c9meteosego) 10 May 2016
With CLG in a slump for the majority of the split and Immortal’s lacking the history to have established any considerable rivalry, fans are willing for TSM and C9 to reignite their battle at the summit of the NA LCS.