Cloud9 appeared to have a relatively easy match to ease into the LCS Summer Split against Golden Guardians, the lowest ranked team in North America, after obtaining vital preparation against some of the greatest teams in the world during the Mid-Season Invitational in May.
The Golden Guardians, on the other hand, proved to be as tough an opponent as the LCS champions had faced all season, as GG stunned Cloud9 in a 37-minute upset to begin their Summer Split run.
Golden Guardians defeated Cloud9 in a manner reminiscent to how teams like DWG KIA and Royal Never Give Up defeated Cloud9 in Iceland last month. After fumbling through the middle of the game and allowing Cloud9 to build a lead, Golden Guardians exploded in the final 90 seconds, storming the Cloud9 base with 12 kills in four minutes to win today's match.
Overall, a quickly rebuilt Golden Guardians team—one that included relatively strong 2021 debut performances from Academy-level youngster Jonathan “Chime” Pomponio and veteran Colin “Solo” Earnest—was a difficult opponent for a Cloud9 team that was clearly still adjusting to local competition.
The LCS debut of Cloud9's new AD Carry, K1ng, took place during today's game. After spending the whole 2020 season in the Cloud9 Academy after being signed, the Oceanic native was finally given the opportunity to represent the team on the LCS stage to begin this year's Summer Split.
K1ng made the most of his opportunity while playing on the major platform. K1ng managed to turn a few heads with an 8/5/7 score, but not quite well enough to clinch a victory. It's unknown whether Zven will return to Cloud9's starting lineup, but team owner Jack Etienne stated last week that Zven is "absolutely aiming on recapturing the LCS starting position."
The Golden Guardians, on the other hand, have begun their long climb back into contention. While today's result did not instantly change the standings, the squad is now only two games short of a playoff spot. There are still 26 games left on the schedule, and Golden Guardians will face Cloud9 at least twice more before the Summer Split ends.
Moreover, Cloud9's loss puts the squad in a tie with TSM for first position right away, as both the team now share a record of 13-6.