After months of speculation, C9 has officially announced Blaber as the starting jungler for the upcoming season. Blaber joined C9 Academy back in 2017 as a substitute jungler. His talent earned him a starting spot with C9 Academy and occasional appearances with the main roster in the LCS.
Blaber is considered one of the most promising junglers in North America today. The 19-year-old jungler has already played in the World Championship, something that many veteran junglers have yet to experience. In the summer of 2018, Blaber was awarded LCS Rookie of the Split.
The rumors that Blaber would be promoted to the LCS started during the World Championship evemt. C9 made the shocking decision to start Blaber over LCS summer MVP Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen during that competition. The organization didn’t offer any explanation and played Blaber for most of the tournament. Unfortunately, C9 would not move further than the group stage and the team returned home early.
C9 completed the transfer of Svenskeren, top laner Colin “Kumo” Zhao, and support Tristan “Zeyzal” Stidam to Evil Geniuses. C9 suddenly had one import slot free to bring in a new jungler if they wanted. Instead, the organization is trusting Blaber to be part of the starting roster in 2020.
C9 added two other members to the roster, support Philippe “Vulcan” Laflamme from Dignitas and bottom laner Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen from Team SoloMid. According to several reports, C9 paid a buyout of $1.5 million to get Vulcan from Dignitas. Through 2019, Vulcan proved to be one of the best North American supports. His outstanding performance through the regular season and the World Championship made him the ideal replacement for Zeyzal, who sometimes received criticism for his mechanical play.
Zven’s signing was a surprising move for C9 since it means that Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi, who’s under contract through 2021, is out of the team. According to Cloud9, Sneaky can stay and fight for a starting spot if he wishes. Sneaky could also become a full-time streamer and content creator under C9. Right now, all teams have recruited bottom laners for the upcoming season, so transferring to another team might be off the table for Sneaky.
Even if Sneaky earned back his spot in the starting roster, it would be difficult to keep the peace within the squad. It transpired that Sneaky had a falling out with top laner Eric “Licorice” Ritchie and that their relationship is now awkward at best.
Changing three out of five players will completely modify the way C9 plays next year. Blaber is the youngest member of the roster and while his talent is undeniable, he still makes some mistakes.
One point of concern for C9 is the bottom lane. While Vulcan is in excellent form, it’s hard to say if Zven is a true upgrade for the team over Sneaky.
Since he joined Team SoloMid in 2018, Zven is no longer the player that was highly praised by the community. Even when he is having a good performance, Zven may not a top-three LCS bot laner. Perhaps under the guidance of head coach Bok “Reapered” Han-gyu, Zven will become a dominant player once again.
2020 will be an interesting year in the LCS, as every team made at least one roster change and some are coming to the rift with a completely new look. Spring is the adjustment season, and whoever adjusts faster will have an advantage.