North America’s Last Hope?

“Esports is like sports!” is usually something I say when someone asks me what the whole hype around it is about. Watching the best players in their respective video game titles duke it out to be considered the best in their region or the world is something that’s very similar to sports. When someone asks me why I watch esports or why I love it, it’s a mix of the things I mentioned previously but also the storylines that comes out of it is something that caused me to fall in love with it in the first place. 

Three years ago in 2018 my passion for esports sprouted because of the team I now support named Cloud9. Seeing the team have a cinderella run from being dead last in the middle of the summer split in the North American league to miraculously making it to the biggest esports tournament in the world, the League of Legend World Championship, definitely caught my eye. Then seeing that same team of funny misfits become the last hope of North America, somehow making it past the group of death, and going through to the quarterfinals having to duke it out against a Korean team was even more astonishing. It was definitely going to be a very interesting match up considering Korean teams are known to dominate LoL esports, having won the last five world championships in a row. This year was different though, Korea in 2018 was having a terrible year in LoL esports and the last standing Korean team was Afreeca Freecs after their fellow countrymens over at KT Rolster had lost their respective quarterfinal matchup against the Chinese team Invictus Gaming in a closely fought series that went to 5 games. Despite being the last standing Korean team, Afreeca Freecs were heavy favourites coming into the series against Cloud9. 

Oftentimes whenever North American teams had to come up against a Korean or Chinese team in worlds, it never ends well for them. But watching the series was something else, seeing Cloud9 just having fun reminded me of why I enjoy playing video games in the first place, playing for fun and the thrill of competition is what gaming is all about for me. Seeing Cloud9 breaking expectations and playing the way they wanted to play was an absolute joy to watch, as they ended up winning the series over Afreeca Freecs 3-0. While Cloud9 would proceed to lose in the semifinals, I did end up becoming a supporter of the team. Now in 2021, I’m getting that deja vu feeling watching Cloud9 be in a somewhat similar spot, after having a rough summer split and barely clinching a spot at Worlds, they were placed in the group of death. Watching the team clinch that quarterfinal spot and being the last hope for North America again is something that reminds me a lot of 2018, and when this blog post comes out I hope the team will have done it.

Here’s a pretty cool hype video a redditor named u/llewbop made that first caught my attention on the team Cloud9 three years ago. This was a hype video that showed Cloud9’s journey from their struggles in the summer to the leadup to their quarterfinal matchup against Afreeca Freecs at Worlds 2018. Enjoy! https://streamable.com/xrsgo 

Written by Brian D.

Having lived most of his life in Barrington, Illinois, Brian is an avid watcher and a fan of League esports. Listening to music is one of his favorite ways of relaxing, doing homework, or playing video games. Check out his show The Dive with Brian D., where he plays some of the music he enjoys.

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