Coming into the quarterfinals, the hopes of North America rested squarely on Cloud9’s shoulders. Their match against the Afreeca Freecs could either send them to their first semifinal, or crash them out of Worlds in the quarterfinals for the third year in a row. Here is a breakdown of C9’s historic series against Afreeca.

Game 1

Afreeca Freecs Lineup:
Kiin “Kiin” Kim – Top Viktor
Dayun “Spirit” Lee – Jungle Gragas
Seohaeng “Kuro” Lee – Mid Kassadin
Jonghoon “Kramer” Ha – Bot Xayah
Jong Ik “TusiN” Park – Support Alistar

Cloud9 Lineup:
Eric “Licorice” Ritchie – Top Aatrox
Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen – Jungle Xin Zhao
Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen – Mid LeBlanc
Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi – Bot Lucian
Tristan “Zeyzal” Stidam – Support Braum

Cloud9 came out swinging to start the game with a level two gank from Svenskeren in the mid lane. Both he and Jensen Flashed onto a clearly surprised Kuro who was CC’d then killed, giving Jensen first blood.

Afreeca responded quickly by picking up two kills in the next two minutes, but that was the closest they would come to getting a lead in this game.

At 20 minutes, Cloud9 were already ahead 7k in gold due to winning out on nearly all of the early skirmishes. This forced Afreeca play incredibly defensive, their vision line barely extending outside of their base.

After picking up the game’s first Baron, Cloud9 rolled into the Afreeca base and took objectives at will. Facing an insurmountable deficit, there was nothing the Koreans could do but watch as Cloud9 took a 1-0 lead in the series.

Game 2

Afreeca Freecs Lineup:
Kiin – Top Viktor
Jaeha “Mowgli” Lee – Jungle Xin Zhao
Kuro – Mid Ryze
Kramer – Bot Kai’Sa
TusiN – Support Alistar

Cloud9 Lineup:
Licorice – Top Aatrox
Svenskeren – Jungle Graves
Jensen – Mid Ahri
Sneaky – Bot Lucian
Zeyzal – Support Braum

Afreeca took an early advantage in the game by getting first blood gold onto Kuro via a mid lane gank and kill just after two minutes. However, the game remained relatively even until a big team fight in the top side at 16 minutes.

Svenskeren was the first to fall, but he was able to pickup a trade kill onto Kiin as he died. However, Kuro swung the fight squarely in Afreeca’s favor by taking out Licorice and Zeyzal, further empowering his already fed Ryze.

Fortunately for Cloud9, although many of their members were behind their Afreeca counterparts, they had a savior in the form of Svenskeren.

At 19 minutes, with the help of Sneaky and Zeyzal, Svenskeren was able to take out Kuro and Kiin around the Afreeca top lane tier two turret.

Not a minute later, Svenskeren was able to get further ahead by sniping Mowgli with his ultimate in a skirmish near the red side blue buff. 20 minutes into the game and all five Cloud9 kills belonged to their jungler.

Cloud9 secured the Baron at 24 minutes, but Afreeca would not let them reset without a fight. Unfortunately for the Koreans, the Hextech GLP of Jensen stopped any engage and turned the fight into a slaughter for Cloud9.

The North Americans then pushed into the Afreeca base from the bot lane, taking down the inhibitor there and then destroyed one Nexus turret before resetting.

Up 6k gold at the end of the power play, the game was securely in the hands of Cloud9. The Afreeca Nexus fell at 29:45, putting Cloud9 one win away from the semifinals.

Game 3

Afreeca Freecs Lineup:
Kiin – Top Gangplank
Spirit – Jungle Gragas
Kuro – Mid Galio
Kramer – Bot Varus
TusiN – Support Thresh

Cloud9 Lineup:
Licorice – Top Ornn
Svenskeren – Jungle Nocturne
Jensen – Mid Lissandra
Sneaky – Bot Lucian
Zeyzal – Support Shen

Although not a notoriously strong early jungler, Svenskeren was nonetheless able to get first blood with his Nocturne. After being out-Smited by Spirit for his blue buff, Svenskeren turned onto the Korean jungler and killed him.

The early game overall was very even, but the gold graph swung slightly into Afreeca’s favor just after 15 minutes when they were able to get first turret gold in the bot lane.

The first team fight of the mid game happened around an infernal drake at the 19 minute mark. It initially looked to be going the way of Cloud9 after Licorice landed a big Ornn ultimate that lead to the North Americans killing Kiin and Spirit.

However, the skirmish continued as Afreeca disengaged and Cloud9 chased. This would turn out to be a mistake as it lead to the death of Jensen at the hands of Kramer. Afreeca then started up the drake and killed three Cloud9 members in the process, but Svenskeren did steal the infernal before dying.

Still standing five-men strong, the Koreans then went for the Baron. However, Jensen and Licorice would not let them take it quietly.

The solo laners dove into the pit as the Ornn ultimate was dropped and were able to focus down Spirit first. Without Smite and the Baron already low on health, it was a true 50/50. Luckily for Cloud9, it was Licorice who was able to secure it, swinging the momentum in their favor.

Afreeca gave themselves some life by getting a four for one team fight at 27 minutes, but the gold lead still stayed with Cloud9. In the 33rd minute, Cloud9 used a Paranoia/Call of the Forge God combo to take out Kuro and Kiin in the mid lane. The North Americans then knocked down the Afreeca mid inhibitor, but curiously did not turn for the Baron. Instead, they reset.

The decisive team fight would come as the clock struck 35 minutes in the mid lane. Once again, it was the Paranoia/Call of the Forge God combo that got things started for Cloud9. Sneaky and Jensen then dove forward onto the retreating Afreeca members and melted through their health bars. The two of them combined for an ace, paving the way for Cloud9 to destroy the Afreeca Nexus.

With their victory, Cloud9 became the first North American team to advance to a Worlds semi-final since Team Solomid did so in Worlds 2011.

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Author Details
Content Creator at Armchair Overwatch , The Armchair All-Americans, LLC
I was born and raised in Hawai’i with a passion for the sports world, including esports. When I was younger, never did I think that my interest in video games could translate into anything meaningful, but here we are witnessing the rise of esports, which I couldn’t be more excited about. The Overwatch League in particular has motivated me to get more involved in this growing community. I’ve never enjoyed a game more than Overwatch, which is saying quite a bit considering the amount of games I’ve played over the years. I’m a diamond support main, mostly because I have the aim of a potato, but hey, somebody has to do it. In addition to gaming, I enjoy working out and reading (Stephen King is the man). Feel free to contact me at [email protected] or @Court_ofJustice on Twitter.
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Content Creator at Armchair Overwatch , The Armchair All-Americans, LLC
I was born and raised in Hawai’i with a passion for the sports world, including esports. When I was younger, never did I think that my interest in video games could translate into anything meaningful, but here we are witnessing the rise of esports, which I couldn’t be more excited about. The Overwatch League in particular has motivated me to get more involved in this growing community. I’ve never enjoyed a game more than Overwatch, which is saying quite a bit considering the amount of games I’ve played over the years. I’m a diamond support main, mostly because I have the aim of a potato, but hey, somebody has to do it. In addition to gaming, I enjoy working out and reading (Stephen King is the man). Feel free to contact me at [email protected] or @Court_ofJustice on Twitter.

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