If the LCS is good for anything, it’s rivalries. TSM-CLG, C9-TSM, TL-C9. The list goes on. However, in 2020, with the landscape of the league changing immensely, there’s going to be plenty of chances for new rivalries to grow throughout the course of the year, and if there’s one potential rivalry that should be seriously interesting to watch as the seaspn goes on, it’s going to be the clash between Cloud9 and Evil Geniuses.
Of course, the two franchises haven’t faced off in a competitive setting since 2014, but with the early developments of this past offseason leading into new opportunities in a revitalized era of the LCS, there’s a good chance that these two teams could be squaring off face to face at the forefront of the league in no time.
The past few months have seen EG and C9 already develop some sort of relationship without even touching the Rift. Back in November, Cloud9 made a blockbuster trade with the newly-coined organization, sending the reigning MVP Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen, as well as rising stars in Colin “Kumo” Zhao and Tristan “Zeyzal” Stidam, over to Evil Geniuses. If anything, that move turned EG into “C9 Lite”, establishing a dynamic between the two teams before the season even began.
And now, as we make our way into the new season, it’s going to be intriguing to see how the C9 castaways perform as the anchors of an organization that’s had new life freshly breathed into it. With two of the most promising young players in recent memory lining the outskirts of the starting lineup and perhaps the best jungler in North America holding down the fort, there’s good enough reason to believe that EG has the potential to compete for a playoff spot right from the beginning of their tenure in the league.
And still, the greatest element of intrigue comes from the fact that the majority of the roster consists of players that were sent off from one team and shoehorned onto another. There’s no doubt that these players most definitely want to show their old org that they’re capable of great things on a different squad, and it wouldn’t be totally unreasonable to assume that a fire will be lit under EG as they try to make an impression on the LCS.
It’s almost as if the players on this EG roster – specifically Sven, Zeyzal, and Kumo – have the chance to look back at where they came from and set out to prove that they don’t need their former organization to be viewed as winners. The ball is firmly in their court and they have a great opportunity to rise through the ranks of the LCS with a brand new franchise.
As for C9, the team will surely be looking to prove that it doesn’t need the former cornerstones of their team to keep progressing and maintain its status as one of the perennial contenders of the league. Although the roster situation has resembled a carousel as of late, there’s no doubt that the infastructure of Cloud9 is strong enough where any player could walk through the organization’s doors and turn into a superstar. Players like Eric “Licorice” Ritchie and Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen can attest to that.
Regardless, the connection that the team has already established with EG makes it so that there’s a universally dynamic presence in terms of tenure and experience on both sides. For EG, there’s a fresh-faced organization helmed mainly by LCS veterans in players like Svenskeren as well as Junsik “Bang” Bae. As far as C9 goes, it’s a veteran organization led by players getting their first chance to shine in the spotlight full-time. No matter how you split it, there’s always an equal balance of veteran leadership and promising, organic talent.
On both ends of this spectrum, you have teams that bring elements of experience and newfound freshness to the table in more ways than one. Whether it’s through a newly curated presence in the league, a roster full of new faces, or a dynamic combination of the aforementioned factors with a stalwart veteran presence, it’s clear that both Evil Genuines and Cloud9 bring so much to the table this season, and their unique relationship that’s already established throughout the course of the offseason will most definitely make their matchups worth watching.
EG and C9 square off against each other on Monday, February 17 during week 4 of the new season. If the offseason has told us anything, it’s that that date should be one to mark on your calendars.
Photo Credit: League of Legends, Riot Games, Lolesports