For Cloud9, It's A Game Of Patience
In the last twelve months, Cloud9 have had eleven players in their jerseys. After the historic run at the ELEAGUE Major: Boston, Cloud9’s role as NA heroes soon faded as Jake ‘Stewie2k’ Yip left the team less than two months later for SK Gaming. He was followed soon by Tarik ‘tarik’ Celik as SK became MIBR and Cloud9 continued to tumble. Pujan ‘FNS’ Mehta was shown around C9 HQ through a revolving door he never left, EU’s lost boys found temporary homes and the roster saw changes almost every single month after Stewie’s departure, only taking a break for the Major cycle at the start of 2019.
The new Cloud9 roster was announced on Cloud9’s Twitch channel through their show ‘The 9s’. Fans were made to sit through Overwatch League discussion and other esports news until the lineup was revealed. For fans who have had to sit for months waiting for a decent roster, a half an hour wait felt like nothing.
The roster overhaul brings four fresh faces to the team. Respected in-game leader Damien ‘daps’ Steele comes to Cloud9 ready to become a titan in North American CS. Although things fizzled out in NRG, daps is undeniably one of the best leaders for star rifler Timothy ‘autimatic’ Ta. Daps will come in and immediately establish a sense of stability within the lineup that autimatic has been missing for far too long.
But what comes next for a Cloud9 who finished last in the StarLadder Americas Minor, so will sit out the Major cycle and has a new lineup debuting at #301 in the world?
Behind the Clouds
All-new Cloud9 will debut at BLAST Pro Series Los Angeles this week. With Liquid, FaZe, NRG, MIBR and Renegades also in attendance, a placing above last is not beyond possibility. FaZe are struggling with NEO at the helm, Renegades have been ruffled by visa issues and poor showing in Cologne and MIBR are a mess, with star Marcelo ‘coldzera’ David sat by the team door with his bags seemingly already packed.
Daps will be aiming to take a decent swing at his former team NRG. Beyond Team Liquid, NRG are a strong contender at BLAST and will be hoping to score their first final of the year. Daps raised the inexperienced NRG roster and led them to the playoffs on multiple occasions over the last two years and with a new roster to lead, the Round 5 clash will serve as a chance to show NRG just what they lost. Daps will have to improve individually if he wants to take Cloud9 above his former team. In 2019, daps has finished 14 of his 74 maps played at LAN under ten frags, which comes out to 18.9% of maps played. Nearly one of every five maps played, daps is hitting rock bottom in the server.
The Major absence, while disappointing for fans, will give the new roster time to practice, bond and focus without waiting to scout whichever players are ejected from teams post-Major as before.
Joining autimatic as a potential star on the team is Spanish talent Oscar ‘mixwell’ Cañellas. Mixwell showed the world his abilities as a part of the OpTic team that won ELEAGUE Season 2. That tournament stands alone as mixwell’s most impressive, and rightly so. He finished the event tied for sixth best rating with 1.28 in thirteen maps. He finished top five in total kills, KD difference, total assists, won clutches, total headshots, total awp frags and total opening frags.
He did all of this despite playing against FaZe in the semis and Astralis in the finals. However, that was over three years ago, and there is no telling how long it will take mixwell to get comfortable at this level of play. Considering he has only played eleven maps at big events since 2018, he may or may not need a lot of time to find himself in superstar form as a hybrid player.
Canadian prospect Tyson ‘TenZ’ Ngo is joining Cloud9 raw as can be. He has played very few games againsts even mid-tier teams. In the few times he has, it has been fairly boom or bust. Every two or three really good games is met with a mediocre one, and TenZ will need to find that consistency in order to hang at the top level. Fortunately, daps is very good at working with young talents, and will certainly be able to help mold TenZ into everything he can be as a player. Look for daps and TenZ to partner up inside of the server. TenZ has the mechanical talent necessary to become a sharp entry fragger and will greatly benefit from daps’ support. Cloud9 was the team that gave Jacky ‘Stewie2k’ Yip his big break and it more than paid off. Stewie developed into a highly respected player under C9, so it is understandable and sensible that they wish to attempt this formula again with a younger and less experienced player.
The safest of daps’ acquisitions has to be Kenneth ‘koosta’ Suen. He has done well the past year to refine himself as a player with Ghost. He will not turn heads with his statistics, but koosta has found his place in the server as a commendable “glue guy” as implied by former in-game leader Joshua ‘steel’ Nissan. Koosta is good for doing the intangible things needed to keep the team together and performing well, like playing the worse spots or helping the team with mid-round calls. Daps’ run with NRG looked significantly better when he had Jacob ‘FugLy’ Medina in it because daps had a support he could trust. Koosta will have a lot of responsibilities like FugLy used to. These roles will likely include offensively supporting autimatic and mixwell, as well as playing alone defensively.
The Silver Lining
Cloud9 have struggled ever since their peak in Boston. As the best team in NA and the first NA team to win a Major, the future looked bright, but instead players departed for what they thought were greener pastures and left C9 with a roster filled with patchwork EU additions. In the meantime, Team Liquid took the crown that should have been theirs.
Will this Cloud9 roster topple their domestic counterparts? It’s unlikely, but by finally having a stable roster, Cloud9 can finally attempt to rebuild and continue their legacy in CS:GO. After all, summer is coming...