Many by now have played on the most recent patch released, Patch 3.10. A lot of the changes this patch were adjusted to the competitive scene, but one huge change is going to greatly affect the North American teams, especially Cloud 9. That change is the fact that turrets are now harder to take down in the first 8 minutes of the game, gaining 60 bonus Armor in the first 4 minutes, giving it a total base Armor of 120, and decays over the next 4 minutes. This bonus was temporary instead of permanent, and increased instead of decreased.
Cloud 9′s core strategy were to take these towers within that 8 minutes of the game, often trading towers with the opposing team, be it top lane for bottom, or bottom lane for top. Even as they mixed up their team compositions, this core concept stuck out like a sore thumb every time. Cloud 9 has played like this very often, taking the ideas from the innovative Korean meta and using them here against the NA teams. By the time all the other NA teams have adapted and figured out how to counter this kind of gameplay, Cloud 9 has already brought a new strategy to the table.
This is what Riot specifically had to say about the change. Not that they don’t mention Cloud 9 at all specifically, but it’s rather evident that this change was directed to their gameplay.
“Due to the high global value of map objectives and the ease of taking down turrets in the early game with certain compositions, players – particularly in competitive play – have been entirely bypassing the laning phase. Ultimately we didn’t want to completely eliminate this strategy but its prevalence was invalidating many champions who have high potential during the laning phase. These changes should introduce more risk into aggressive early-game objective-focused strategies without eliminating its viability completely.”
-3.10 Patch Notes
Cloud 9′s Meteos has said in a few interviews that the team will adapt to this new patch, and that they are always innovating and being on the forefront of strategies, but many, many pros have said that this change will hurt Cloud 9′s winning streak, even possibly put a stop to it. Personally, I highly doubt that a change like this will stop Cloud 9. Teams don’t simply go 21-2 at the end of Week 8 because of one simple number with towers. I personally believe that Cloud 9 will continue to succeed, and that they have the highest potential within the NA teams to become the World Champions.