Cloud9 fans who are hoping for the squad to defend their LCS Championship title saw exactly what they wanted to see in the first week of the 2023 LCS Spring Split. C9 was dominant in their wins over 100 Thieves and Golden Guardians, and with four of the five starters returning from 2022, the team’s identity looks virtually unchanged.
Perhaps most crucially, rookie mid laner Dimitri “Diplex” Ponomarev has, thus far, slotted in the place of Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen effortlessly.
Of course @Diplexlol arrived fully dripped out 🥶
Meet and get to know our new mid laner!
Full vid👉https://t.co/jCbttWWwkY pic.twitter.com/F88Mp28fTB
— Cloud9 League of Legends (@C9LoL) January 31, 2023
That isn’t to say Diplex is trying to mimic Jensen’s role in Cloud9 last summer with his own performance, however.
“I kind of want to make my own way in this team,” said Diplex. “From an outside perspective, I don’t think Jensen was the biggest factor to Cloud9’s success. It was mostly the meta and the bot lane playing really well around it.”
On C9, Diplex has four players with more experience than him and a lot of experience playing with one another — and that dynamic is what’s allowed his integration into the team to be as smooth as it has been thus far.
He said: “They know how to play. I’m just giving my information and we build around it. So it’s not too hard, I would say.”
Diplex admitted to experiencing some nerves before his LCS debut, but he had played on stage before during his time in Ligue Française de League of Legends, which helped him settle in. Going against the greatest LCS mid laner of all time in Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg, Diplex posted a 6/2/9 scoreline on Akali in Cloud9’s win over 100 Thieves.
Who Diplex has his sights set on
By following up his Akali performance against 100 with a 5/2/9 Sylas performance against Golden Guardians, Diplex has set the bar high to kick off 2023, but remains confident in his skills. After besting Bjergsen, he’s looking at Evil Geniuses’ Joseph Joon “jojopyun” Pyun as the main mid laner to test his skills against in the LCS Spring Split.
“I think he really likes to ego battle in the mid lane,” Diplex said of jojoypun. “And sometimes he also just dies for fun, so I think it would be funny to play against him.”
As the defending LCS champions, C9 are one of the favorites to win the 2023 LCS Spring Playoffs, and should they compete internationally this season, there’s one man in the mid lane that Diplex would like to play more than any other: Dplus KIA’s Heo “ShowMaker” Su.
“I really like the way he plays, and he used to be a Katarina one-trick like I was,” said the C9 mid. “I’m really looking forward to maybe playing against him. Hopefully.”