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Cloud9 reveals LS as new head coach: Tactics, strategies, and philosophy

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Cloud9 (C9) has brought Nick “LS” De Cesare onboard as the new head coach of the League of Legends roster. LS is a famous personality around the League scene, whether in a positive or negative light. But not every fan may be familiar with LS’ approach to the game. Here’s what fans can expect in terms of tactics and strategies as well as other plans that have been revealed so far about C9’s preparations for the upcoming LCS season.

C9 and LS ink coaching stint

After much teasing for the community and even outright denials from both sides, Cloud9 dropped the coach reveal video on Wednesday, the same day that the team had supposedly traveled to Korea to begin their bootcamp. LS has already been staying in Korea, having close ties with the pro scene there, including powerhouse T1. C9 confirmed that their new head coach will be flying into Los Angeles when the season begins next year.

Many factors make this move seem like a good fit for C9 and fans are already anticipating what LS can bring to the team. The new coach will hopefully be able to work well with the three Korean players that the org signed this off-season. After all, LS did play a part in helping C9 identify these promising stars to add into their roster. In addition, LS has already worked with top laner-turned-mid laner Ibrahim “Fudge” Allami and assistant coaches Max Waldo and Veigar v2 in the 2021 season, with the two having come to C9 from his recommendations.

That said, LS is also considered quite the polarizing figure in League, if only for the strong opinions about how to approach the game. These intriguing strategies may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But, LS and C9 now have the chance to put those ideas into action and see whether the philosophy translates well into actual gameplay.

LS’ League of Legends philosophy

For one, LS’ approach to draft is more based on his strategy games background, thinking about the specific synergies and properties that a champion can bring, with each champion having certain traits like Magic The Gathering colors. This means that for LS, the best pick isn’t the strongest or meta pick, but rather one that fits the team strategy to counter what the opponent is building, like holding strong against a hyper-aggressive comp. As such, fans can probably expect some off-meta picks next year.

Speaking of hyper-aggression, LS isn’t too fond of early game-focused comps and much prefers late-game scaling. For LS, when scaling comps are executed properly, they must (almost) always beat out teams that rely heavily on early aggression. The rationale is that the late-game team just needs to defend properly and can come back through their inherent scaling. Meanwhile, the early-game team feels the brunt of the pressure to make something happen, and if they fall behind, they have to scramble to get back in the game.

Other aspects include laning and itemization. LS puts a lot of emphasis on laning as an avenue to get micro-advantages over the opponent and on a macro scale, control the tempo of the game. Wave management like freezing the waves or getting a “free recall” are all part of this. On the itemization end, LS looks at optimization—always choosing the best possible item mathematically to maximize damage output or some other statistic like healing—and making sure to hit those item power spikes.

C9’s vision for international showings

Fans will be hotly anticipating whether the new roster can execute the strats to a T and how much time they need to mesh well together.

Cloud9 will also implement internal scrims. Several teams have tried this in the past to mixed success. But now C9 is “stacking” the academy roster with very high-level players. Doing so would ideally not only help boost competitiveness—like improving mechanics and teamfight synergy—but also ensure that strats stay in-house.

Lastly, LS and C9 have voiced commitment to not only doing well in NA but actually making LPL and LCK bleed. It’s a tumultuous yet exciting time ahead for C9 fans, and if outright success isn’t on the table, at least it’ll be nothing short of entertaining.