It’s back to the drawing board for Berserker and Cloud9 as they prepare to face EDG.
It was not the start newly crowned LCS champions Cloud9 were looking for. The North American first seed was dismantled in their opening game at Worlds 2022 against Europe's Fnatic. Although C9's early game got the crowd hyped up, it was not enough and compositionally Fnatic took over the game swiftly without any pushback on the Cloud9 side.
Following their game against Fnatic, C9's Korean AD Carry Berserker spoke to the media in a post-match scrum.
Fnatic surprised Berserker in the draft
It is safe to say Fnatic has not come to North America without its fair share of problems. One of the problems that have plagued the European side throughout the year has been their drafting. Fnatic has been heavily criticised in this department and rightfully so. During the Play-Ins, Fnatic's drafting came into question during their defeat to the Brazilian side LOUD.
LOUD's Park "Croc" Jong-hoon thought their opponent's draft was in some way 'disrespectful' given the meta changing drastically away from enchanters.
Yeah, I mean, the fact this was our first time seeing a team banning Seraphine and Yuumi together so I can take that as a little bit of disrespect.
In game one against Cloud9, Fnatic went for a more traditional front-to-back team composition with beefy tanks to protect Humanoid's Azir and Upset's Aphelios. C9, on the other hand, went for early game aggression which heavily lived and died by their solo laners, Jensen's LeBlanc and Fudge's Fiora, getting ahead of their counterparts.
Despite C9 having a small early lead, their composition ran out of steam very early on. Fnatic's frontline was unkillable and Fnatic's back line was able to mow them down. When asked about the draft, Berserker explained he was surprised Fnatic opted into this type of draft given his views on standard European drafting.
So EU is known for picking a lot of ‘joker’ picks but Fnatic unlike what I expected played more a traditional style like LCK and LPL. Although we didn't have the best of the draft, I thought as long as we played as they normally do. It was going to be winnable.
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The featured grudge match of the tournament promised heart-stopping moments that we had come to expect, and it did not fail to deliver. Following the banger match of Cloud9 vs Fnatic, was the Titan of the EU G2 Esports vs Worlds 2020 winner Damwon Gaming Kia.
"I thought it was going to be like a really big stage. But compared to the LCS finals, it was not as big so I wasn't really that nervous"
Berserker in such a short time has already achieved what many professional players dream of. At the age of 19, Berserker played in a packed-out stadium at the 2022 LCS summer finals. The LCS prodigy was nervous that day, as explained in Cloud9's behind-the-scenes video. And who could blame him, in his rookie year Berserker has already reached the summit of a major League of Legends region.
Berserker got his first taste of international competition when he stepped onto the stage at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden. When asked about the atmosphere, the C9 AD Carry explained due to the venue being smaller than the United Center in Chicago, he was not as nervous.
So, despite it being Group Stages, it's still worlds so I thought it was going to be like a really big stage. But compared to LCS finals, it was not as big so I wasn't really that nervous. So I played as I normally do, you know, unfortunately although we lost the game.
T1 and EDG are on the horizon
Cloud9 fans are no strangers to their side making the group as hard as possible for themselves, with more often than not starting the group 0-1 or even 0-2 in some cases. Fnatic was seen as a must-win game with two Eastern giants in their next two games. It would be 'on-brand' for C9 to drop their opening game to Fnatic and pick up an upset win over T1 or EDG.
Berserker has been put into a trial-by-fire scenario for his first international event. He must go up against some of the best bot lanes in the world from all three major regions. And with C9 not going through the Play-Ins this year, there is no 'ramp-up' time for Berserker to get his feet firmly under the table.
When asked about the competition he is facing in Group A, Berserker has no complaints about having to do things the hard way.
Both teams have a very strong bot lane so I think the laning phase is going to be interesting. And I also have a lot to learn in this throughout worlds so I don't have complaints with how the group's went. And for the second question, I often get asked this question and I somewhat agree for a bit that Asian teams tend to play a bit better but this is worlds where the best of the teams come in together so there's always something up for surprise.