Just like the rest of North America, Cloud 9 never first picks top or ADC. This makes a lot of sense; first picks are normally aimed at highly-contested power-picks. Top is a lower impact role (you may lose lane, but a Shyvana with a 20 cs and a kill lead isn’t going to have the same impact as a LeBlanc with a 20 cs and kill lead), so there are few priority picks, and counter-picking is more a luxury than a goal.
Their main picks are:
- Jungle – 4 (Elise 3/Vi 1)
- Support – 4 (Thresh 3/Lulu 1)
- Mid – 2 (LeBlanc 1/Lulu 1)
For these picks, Cloud 9 almost always picks up their ADC and one other pick. The two times they didn’t pick an ADC, they ended this round of picks with jungle/mid/support. In both cases, they had used their first pick on a high priority pick: LeBlanc and Elise. This syncs with their 1st pick strategy of securing a jungle, support, or mid they really need.
- ADC – 8 (Caitlyn 4/Sivir 2/Lucian 1/Draven 1)
- Top – 4 (Shyvana 2/Renekton 1/Dr. Mundo 1)
- Support – 3 (Thresh 1/Leona 1/Annie)
- Jungle – 3 (Lee Sin 1/Elise 1/Pantheon 1)
- Mid – 2 (Kha’Zix 1/Gragas 1)
Cloud 9 tends to pick its top and mids in the 4 and 5 spots
- Top – 6 (Shyvana 2/Rumble 2/Renekton 1/Trundle 1)
- Mid – 6 (LeBlanc 3/Kha’Zix 1/Zed 1/Teemo 1)
- Jungle – 4 (Kha’Zix 3/Lee Sin 1)
- Support – 3 (Thresh 1/Morgana 1/Annie/1)
- ADC – 2 (Lucian 1/Sivir 1)
There’s not much new here: Cloud 9 basically handles blue side like every other team
Cloud 9’s strategy is a bit different from the average pick order.
As we saw previously, most teams prioritize support/jungle for 1st/2nd pick, with ADC/Top shortly behind, and Mid well behind. Cloud 9, on the other hand, picks mostly Jungle, Top, and Support:
- Jungle – 7 (Elise 4/Lee Sin 2/Pantheon 1)
- Top – 5 (Renekton 3/Shyvana 2)
- Support – 4 (Thresh 2/Leona 1/Annie 1)
- Mid – 2 (LeBlanc 1/Yasuo 1)
- ADC – 2 (Caitlyn 1/Sivir 1)
In their first 4 games, they picked top here every game, picking up either mid or jungle with it. After one Top/Support game, they shifted over to Jungle/Support for 4 games, then ADC/Jungle for 2 games.
Cloud 9, tends to pick ADC and Support:
- ADC – 6 (Caitlyn 2/Jinx 1/Draven 1/Ezreal 1/Lucian 1)
- Support – 6 (Leona 3/Thresh 2/Morgana 1)
- Top – 4 (Renekton 2/Shyvana 1/Gragas 1)
- Mid – 3 (Yasuo 1/Riven 1/Zed 1)
- Jungle – 1 (Lee Sin 1)
Interestingly enough, they only twice picked ADC and Support together.
As well, 3 of the team’s 4 losses come from those ADC counterpicks of Draven/Ezreal/Lucian.
Obviously, counter-picking plays into Cloud 9’s pick strategy. But how?
Let’s check out their records with counter-picking for both sides:
It’s hard to draw too many conclusions from blue side, because they won every game, but here is the data:
- Top – 6-0
- Jungle – 3-0
- Mid – 2-2
- ADC – 5-5
- Support – 5-5
- Top – 1-1
- Jungle – 3-1
- Mid – 4-3
- ADC – 3-4
- Support – 4-1
Overall, Cloud 9 doesn’t pick too differently from other teams. However, they definitely like to pick their bot lanes later than most teams, with both ADC and Support seeing more picks in the 3rd/4th pick slot, at the expense of more early top lane picks. They can no doubt afford to do so – at least in part – due to Balls’ consistency on Renekton and Shyvana, two champions they seem to have no fear about picking early.