Cloud9 Blue's Ascent Defence Breakdown
In the last 3 months, we have seen Cloud9 Blue play in the NA LCQ and now champions. They have played Ascent 4 times and have won every time. Their defender side is a particularly strong point for them with a 63% win rate on this half.
Vision Strikers were completely unknown coming into this having no games played on Ascent in the last 3 months, but knowing Vision Strikers, they always seemed to have something up their sleeves.
Both teams ran identical compositions in this match, which is normally very interesting to watch. Both teams will immediately know their own weaknesses and how to exploit that for their opponent
This is a very interesting composition as its’ focus is on information and controlling space. They had all the tools to find out the opponents plan and easily be prepared to stop it. It’s certainly unsurprising that both teams had such strong defender halves
So let’s break it down
Cloud9’s pistol is certainly very different to many others we have seen
They clearly favour very heavy mid aggression. We see a wealth of utility on the entrance to A site with nothing on B and this is no accident. This is a basic example of push and pull, you simply can’t fight everywhere at once and they’re happy to give up B and retake it. This is a really common theme all half.
They eventually get to this position which was their obvious end goal. They’re in fantastic positions to fight on A and Vanity can listen and gather information about a rotation to B to help his team prepare. The round plays out exactly the way they’d hoped and they’re able to fight them on A site and prevent a spike plant
THE BONUS ROUND
For me, this round is just as important as the pistol. The general goal of a bonus round is to damage your opponents economy with your lesser weapons and if you can convert it, even better. Typically we see a more aggressive high-risk play here because it doesn’t matter if you lose.
We see this from Cloud9 too as they very quickly take B main. Vision Strikers understandably wait and play a slow default in order to try to not be caught out. The key to this round win is all on leaf. He’s put into market with a crossfire from Xeta. You see how they are able to slow the opponents down to give leaf several 1v1’s where they have every confidence in him coming out on top.
Cloud9’s game plan on this half comes from a clear understanding of their own strengths. Here are two example setups they used
These setups and defaults look very different but both conform to the very simple concept of push and pull. We can see how in both, the Jett and KAY/O are allowed to be aggressive and look for duels. This is the push element. If the opposition’s Jett has control of mid with an OP you’re certainly not going to want to run at it. Equally, if you hear the defenders pushing A your natural response is to go B.
Cloud9 built their whole plan around this idea and it worked perfectly. As the rounds wound down vision strikers had no choice but to run at the devastating Killjoy or Astra utility and struggled to contest the sites.
A final important element of this defender side is the retakes. If Cloud9 felt too much pressure they would simply give up the site. Vision Strikers are renowned for their flashy executes and coordinated utility, but none of this matters if you waste it all on an empty site. Cloud9 would simply wait to retake, knowing they had a util advantage
We also saw some pretty cool ability combinations too particularly between Xeta and Xeppa.
These simple combinations had a huge effect consistently netting them kills. Well-drilled retakes really were the “cherry on top” of a fantastic half by Cloud9.
The dark horses of NA really showed us just how far good fundamentals go even at the top level. Combined with excellent mechanical skill and flashy utility and there’s no doubt you’re left with a very strong team.