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Cloud9: History

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This page is part of the Cloud9 article.

ESL One: Cologne 2014[edit]

At ESL One: Cologne 2014, Cloud9 were placed in Group D, alongside Team Dignitas, Titan, and Australian fan favorites, Vox Eminor. Cloud9's opening match of the tournament was against the French side Titan on Dust II. The halftime score looked like there was no way back for Cloud9, after being 4:11 down. Amazingly, the Americans matched the same score as Titan and took the team to overtime. In overtime, Cloud9 clinched victory, by winning the second overtime with a final scoreline of 22-18. The group winners match was against Team Dignitas on Mirage. This game is now famous for Hiko's insane play during Cloud9's comeback on the CT side against the Danes, which caused caster Anders Blume to say his now famous catch phrase "Hiko are you kidding me?". With a final score of 16-14, the team had won their group for the second time at a Major, after having done so at DreamHack Winter 2013 the previous year. In the quarter-finals, there opponents were Swedish team Ninjas in Pyjamas. They would face off on a gripping three map series, on Nuke, Dust II and Cobblestone. Cloud9 won the first map on Nuke 16-8, in what was considered to be an upset score by many fans, as NiP was known at the time for their dominance on the map. Now in the second game, strong performances from Xizt and shroud kept the game neck and neck, but in the end the Ninjas prevailed, and won the map 16-14. Momentum now on their side, NiP ultimately powered through to winning the series, after another close match, with again a final score of 14-16. Ninjas in Pyjamas went on to win the Major against Fnatic in the grand finals.

DreamHack Winter 2014[edit]

After Cologne, Cloud9's results started to decline. At the next Major, DreamHack Winter 2014, the team were placed in Group A, alongside opponents Fnatic, HellRaisers, and Bravado Gaming. Initially, Cloud9 were touted to emerge victorious from the group but a shock performance from CIS-based team HellRaisers prevented this, defeating Cloud9 on Inferno 16-5 and Swedish favourites Fnatic 16-14 on Mirage. Now 0-1, Cloud9 played South African newcomers Bravado Gaming on Cache. Cloud9 looked strong and closed out the match 16-1. In the elimination match, the Americans once again faced Fnatic, and finally met their demise after a final score of 5-16 on Dust II.

After the Major and other shaky results, for example the ESEA Season 17 Finals where the team placed 5th-6th, it was clear some roster changes were needed. As a result, on December 14th, ShahZaM was acquired from Denial eSports to replace Hiko.

Summer of 2015[edit]

In April 2015, the team released SEMPHIS and ShahZaM and signed Skadoodle from iBUYPOWER and also signed fREAKAZOiD. In the summer of 2015, Cloud9 hit a run of good form, with wins over EnVyUs in multiple BO3 upsets and other strong results throughout the summer, which led them to second place finishes at the ESL ESEA Pro League Season 1 Finals, ESWC 2015 and the FACEIT 2015 Stage 2 Finals. Later that year in November, seang@res stepped down from the lineup following internal issues with the team; he would later join Torqued which went on to become the first roster of Rick Fox's Echo Fox.

Beginning of 2016[edit]

In January, the team controversially picked up Stewie2K. During this time n0thing would be the in-game leader for the team. The team also picked up Irukandji to coach and prepare the team for the upcoming Major, MLG Columbus 2016; however, due to his prior commitments with dentistry school Irukandji was unable to attend the Major itself. The team scrapped through the qualifier with a loss to Gambit and two narrow victories over Dignitas and Renegades. During the Major, the team did quite poorly with crushing defeats of 9-16 and 3-16 to Natus Vincere and G2 Esports respectively. Shortly after the Major fREAKAZOiD stepped down from the active roster and later joined Echo Fox after some inactivity. Now with an open slot on the roster, Cloud9 began trialing potential new 5th players. One of the more notable players that were trialed during this period was adreN of Team Liquid. Eventually, the new in-game leader of Cloud9 was found, Slemmy from Without a Roof.

autimatic Transfer and Championship Win[edit]

After the first season of ELEAGUE, Irukandji left as the team's coach. Only a couple weeks after, Slemmy asked to be removed from the active roster. Cloud9 later acquired autimatic and valens from TSM as their replacements. valens became more of a psychologist for the team and helped solve some internal problems the team were having and helped boost the confidence of the team. These acquisitions payed off, as the team's performance unexpectedly and immediately took an upward turn, with a 3rd-4th finish at StarLadder's StarSeries Season 2 finals, second at Dreamhack Bucharest and another second-place finish at Northern Arena Toronto. As well as this, Cloud9 had an impressive near flawless run in the online season of ESL Pro League, only dropping one map to former Cloud9 leader seangares' Echo Fox. Despite their great showing in the online portion, Cloud9 were not favoured to do well at the offline finals, with opponents such as dignitas, NiP, FaZe and SK in their group. Despite this, Cloud9 made it past the group stage, with a result of 4-1, losing only to SK. In the playoffs, Cloud9 blitzed through OpTic in the quarter finals, and later defeating mousesports in the semi-finals, without dropping a map to either opponent. In the grand finals, Cloud9 met SK once again, the only team who Cloud9 had lost to in the tournament. The first map ended in overtime after a 2-13 comeback by SK on Overpass. Despite this setback, Cloud9 won both the second and third maps easily, surprising many with their amazing performance.
Cloud9's win marked the first win at an international S-Tier tournament by a North American team in 10 years, the last of which being done by compLexity at CPL Summer in 2006.

Summer of 2017[edit]

Following the win at ESL Pro League Season 4, the team struggled with leadership as both autimatic and Stewie2k would switch the IGL role constantly. Eventually, the role was given to Stewie2k to allow autimatic to focus more on his fragging in the game. During this time of IGL switching the team struggled to get past many group stages of tournaments, but once Stewie2k was permanently set as the IGL the team were able to break their curse by achieving a 3rd-4th finish at the ECS Season 3 Finals, winning over Fnatic 16-8 and getting an upset victory at 19-15 over Astralis to make the playoffs, before losing to FaZe Clan in the semi-finals. The week after, they finished with a 3-1 record at the PGL Krakow Major Qualifier, earning their first major spot since MLG Columbus 2016. Their second place finish at ESL One: Cologne 2017 put Cloud9 in the spotlight, projecting them as one of the best teams going into the Major.

End of an Era[edit]

Despite showing promise at the ECS Season 3 Finals by reaching the semi-finals and placing 2nd at ESL One: Cologne 2017, the team placed 9th-11th at PGL Major Kraków 2017, marking yet another Major group stage exit. Following the poor result, Cloud9 benched its two longest serving players, n0thing and shroud, and replaced them with former OpTic Gaming duo, RUSH and tarik. After these changes, tarik begins to in-game lead, after showing motivation towards picking up the role. [1]

A Major Success Story[edit]

After months of inconsistency, the team qualified for the ELEAGUE Boston Major in the New Challengers Stage, where they swept through the Swiss stage 3-0. The New Legends Stage would not go as smoothly with the team immediately going down 0-2. On a limb, Cloud9 sent Virtus Pro, Astralis, and Vega Squadron packing, pulling off a reverse sweep to continue on to the New Champions Stage with a 3-2 record. In Quarter-Finals, Cloud9 faced off against G2 and easily disposed of the team in in a 2-0 fashion. The Americans met their Brazillian rivals SK Gaming in the Semi-Finals, with the series stretching a full three maps, but ultimately landing easily in Cloud9's favor. Making it to the Grand Finals after an epic run, the Americans came up against FaZe Clan, a team considered by many at the time to be the best in the world. A hard fought map on Mirage finished 14-16 in favor of FaZe, showing the Americans would not go down easily without a fight. The next map Overpass was again a brutally fought map before Cloud9 eventually took it 16-10. The final map to determine the Major Champion was Inferno. A monster performance from GuardiaN lead to FaZe gaining match point at 15-11, seemingly guaranteeing a victory for the Europeans. However, heroic plays from both tarik and Stewie2K forced the final map into overtime in the final map. In overtime, Cloud9 swept through the first three rounds easily, but were immediately countered with three immediate round losses in the subsequent half, forcing the final map into double overtime. In double overtime, the team eventually pulled through, defeating FaZe 22-19 and becoming the first North American team to win a Major.[2]

Post-Major Struggles[edit]

This magical run would not last for long though, as the team stumbled, only making it to the Grand Finals of cs_summit 2. The limited success lead to Jacky "Stewie2K" Yip departing the team to join SK Gaming. Cloud9 called upon compLexity in-game leader Pujan "FNS" Mehta to lead the team and fill the vacancy left by Stewie2K's departure, but was later transfer listed shortly after due to differences between his playing style and the rest of the team. The longest standing member at the time, Skadoodle announced he would be taking a break, leaving yet another hole from the most recent major champions to fill, although he later decided to stay after improved performance. Amidst continued poor performance, Martin "STYKO" Styk from mousesports was loaned to replace FNS with tarik now in-game leading, although the Turkish-American powerhouse would leave the team to follow Stewie2K on MIBR. After being benched by Fnatic, Maikil "Golden" Selim joined mousesports loanee STYKO as stand-ins for several events in the summer competitions of 2018. Golden would go on to sign as a full-time member of the team, and STYKO would eventually be sent back to mousesports' bench when Cloud9 decided to acquire three-time major champion Robin "flusha" Rönnquist from Fnatic's bench. However, Skadoodle would eventually go inactive again, thus stepping down from playing Competitive CS:GO - which he had planned to do earlier in the year. After this, Cloud9 replaced the American sniper with the former EnVyUs and FaZe player, Fabien "kioShiMa" Fiey. Not long after, Golden fell ill and was unable to travel to tournaments, which saw Cloud9 attend events with different stand-in players including Ismail "refrezh" Ali. Due to Golden’s health issues, Cloud9 later added Zellsis on trial in place of Golden. Since Cloud9 only had two of their starting five players from the previous major, Zellsis was listed as a coach at IEM Katowice 2019 in order to take Golden’s place on the roster, letting them play with two out of five players from the previous major.

It was after Katowice that Cloud9 would go on to make more roster changes. flusha was the first to depart, taking a break from playing competitively due to a personal emergency. Following flusha’s departure, Golden returned to the active roster. Zellsis and kioShiMa were later released by Cloud9, being replaced by vice and cajunb respectively. Former Team 3D player Ronald "Rambo" Kim made his coaching role official in the team after standing behind the squad in the first few tournaments of 2019. However, his role only lasted about two months before valens returned to the coaching position. After the continued roster chaos, Cloud9 were left with autimatic, RUSH, Golden, vice, and cajunb.

Rock Bottom and Restructuring[edit]

However, despite the mixed results Cloud9 had been receiving with their various rosters, their biggest failure was yet to come. At the Minor Qualifier for the Starladder Berlin 2019 Major, Cloud9 went out in last place to mix-teams New Identity and The Quest. Cloud9 had finally hit rock bottom. About two weeks after this mishap, Cloud9 decided to revamp their roster. They wanted to build the roster around autimatic and daps, the former leader of NRG. On July 2nd, 2019, the new roster of autimatic, daps, koosta, mixwell, and TenZ was announced.

References[edit]