The new Cloud9 LCS team is turning heads around the world with their unique drafts that comprise Soraka and Ivern mid, led by head coach Nick “LS” De Cesare.
Both picks are almost never seen in pro play, and have been out of the meta for years. They function as a heal and shield bot, supporting the team’s carries, such as Aphelios and Olaf in this case, so that they survive throughout team fights.
Even though this strategy isn’t considered viable in the current meta, it was super effective, for Cloud9 won both their opening LCS matches against TSM and Evil Geniuses over the weekend.
Sharing his thoughts on how he came up with these unique picks, Cloud9 head coach LS was invited as a guest on content creator Peng “Doublelift” Yiliang’s new League of Legends talk show, Trash Talk.
LS discovered the power of Ivern mid after someone stole jungle from him in solo queue
It turns out, as with many astounding inventions, the pick wasn’t entirely planned or theory crafted beforehand. Somebody in LS’s solo queue game had stolen the jungle role from him, and since he “was on an Ivern kick”, he thought he’d try it out mid.
“When I played it, this didn’t feel too bad–why are my autos slapping for 100 damage?” he said. “[Then] in scrims in Korea, I just picked Ivern to see [how] it does versus competitive players, because I was playing it in solo queue for fun.”
During the offseason, the head coach played in C9’s scrims as the mid laner because Ibrahim “Fudge” Allami couldn’t fly to Korea. As a result, he tried out many unconventional picks in scrims, then taught Fudge how to play them once he relocated to join the rest of the team in Los Angeles in the USA.
Soraka mid was an option in case Ivern was banned
Soraka mid, however, wasn’t an accident. LS had talked about her being overpowered in his tier lists since 2020. The champion came up again because, according to the head coach, he was thinking about what to do if Ivern was banned against Evil Geniuses.
“Ivern’s probably going to be banned, what about Soraka?” he said. “Fudge doesn’t play [the champion] at all… he did maybe a dozen or more 1v1s against [academy mid laner] Jouhan ‘Copy’ Pathmanathan for about two hours straight. And then I said, let me sit down and I’ll play against Copy for a little bit.”
He then went through different item and rune setups while Fudge watched. Finally, they agreed that if Ivern was banned and EG picked Viktor, C9 would pick Soraka.
And the rest, as they say, is history.