C9 made it out of group B today in dramatic fashion, fending off Vitality in a close race for a quarterfinals spot. It was a fantastic game of edge of your seats drama, hype, excitement and heartbreak. With C9 surging to take the second seed.
So why after a day in which C9 took a game off of RNG and defeated a surging Vitality do I think C9 have hit their peak? The answer is that I feel they are reliant on certain picks to paper over the cracks in their play. Notably the Zilean pick. There were a number of instances in which C9 players were caught and saved from the brink of ruin by a clutch Zilean ult. Whilst this is something that teams can play around and Jensen has been performing well on the pick; it is easily scouted and banned.
It wont just be the Zilean either, the Shen can easily be taken away. Zilean and Shen in particular are great drafting decisions for C9. They fix the sloppy play that Blaber, and Sneaky have demonstrated by bringing revives and shields to protect players that are caught. But this is a strategy that they have now shown. My concern is that in a best of five against a 1st seed from another group, C9 wont get these comfort picks and the holes in their play that made them vulnerable to Gambit and led to them giving Gen-G their only win will re-emerge.
Anyway, these were my impressions of C9 today. C9 did incredibly well and executed their comps well. But I struggle to see them making it through stronger teams and Bo5 format.