From the Major winners in Boston to a dismantled squad with an unknown future. The year looked extremely promising for Cloud9 in January of 2018. A talented squad of purely American players able to hold their own in the Major on home turf in Boston, Cloud9 gradually got picked apart piece by piece. There is much left to be desired about the current state of the organization. Currently consisting of only two players left over since the Major, Timothy “autimatic” Ta and Will “RUSH” Wierzba, the fnatic veteran Robin “flusha” Rönnquist, the ex-FaZe player Fabien “kioShima” Fiey, and a questionable Maikil “Golden” Selim, the Cloud9 roster is still very much unstable. But let us go back to the beginning of 2018 and explore all the notable events from then on up to today.
A story to be told for years: Success at the Boston Major
The road to the final was not an easy one for Cloud9. After a quick exit from the Challengers Stage, going 3-0 along with G2, the Americans ran into trouble at the Legends Stage. Stewie2K and his team faced elimination after losing to G2 and Space Soldiers and going 0-2. From that moment on Cloud9 had to be flawless and win the three following matches and, amazingly, they did. The Americans eliminated Virtus.pro, Astralis, and finally Vega Squadron to make a remarkable comeback and be the only team of the Legends stage to make a comeback from a 0-2 deficit.
The Champions stage, also known as the playoffs, started relatively easy for the Americans. Following a flawless run at the previous stages, G2 crumbled in front of their American opponents and lost in disappointing fashion, 2-0.
The semi-final would see Cloud9 face one of the favorites, SK Gaming (now MIBR). Although the matchup ended with a 2-1 result in favor of Cloud9, the Americans snatched both maps with relative ease, 16-3 on Mirage and 16-9 on Inferno. The matchup was one of the bigger upsets of the Major.
And finally, the final against FaZe Clan – perhaps one of the best finals in Counter-Strike history due to the back-and-forth rounds. Cloud9 found success on Overpass 16-10 and then on the decider map, Inferno, Stewie2K’s solo B bombsite defense saw the teams go shortly after into overtime following a 15-11 comeback from Cloud9. The final map went into double overtime and Cloud9 eventually snatched the map 22-19, winning the Major in Boston.
Beginning of the end: Stewie2K and tarik leave to MIBR
Following days of rumors after SK Gaming let go of Epitacio “TACO” de Melo from their lineup, by the end of March, Stewie2K announced that he would be leaving Cloud9. Stewie2K’s departure from Cloud9 marked the beginning of a disintegrating roster with players slowly crumbling out of the recent Major winners’ lineup. As a replacement for the dynamic player, Cloud9 acquired the experienced Pujan “FNS” Mehta. Unfortunately, things wouldn’t quite work out between the two parties and FNS would be benched at the end of May.
It wouldn’t take much time before the next player, tarik, would also get pulled away from Cloud9. In mid-July, tarik left for SK Gaming to join his former teammate Stewie2K, replacing Ricardo “boltz” Prass. Shortly after, the players on the SK Gaming roster would be acquired officially by the Immortals-owned MIBR. By now, two players of the Cloud9 organization had left the roster.
Losing Stewie2K, a dynamic rifler and AWP-er, paired with tarik, the in-game leader of Cloud9, was a massive blow to the American roster. Things did not get any better from then on for Cloud9.
Skadoodle retires from the competitive scene
Tyler “Skadoodle” Latham, the primary AWP-er for Cloud9 and the MVP of Cloud9’s victorious Major, decided to retire at the end of the year. Troubles started at the end of March as Skadoodle temporarily announced unavailability. He, however, returned mid-April to continue his conquest at Cloud9. Still, the roster issues led to very poor form from the Americans. The remaining trio of Skadoodle, RUSH, and autimatic paired with changing teammates and stand-ins did not yield the desired results.
It would be just a matter of time before another member of the Cloud9 family would crumble. This time, it would be their AWP-er Skadoodle. Mid-October, Tyler Latham announced that he would be stepping down from the competitive scene and therefore leaving Cloud9. He was then replaced by Fabien “kioShiMa” Fiey, who is still part of the active lineup today.
It can be suspected that Skadoodle did not see a bright future at Cloud9. With players coming and going, the Cloud9 roster was in constant shambles. Skadoodle knew that his victory at the Boston Major and the attainment of the MVP award were among the biggest achievements one could wish for in competitive Counter-Strike. His decision to retire, while a shock at first, was the natural thing to do given his situation.
Golden and flusha come on board
Two fnatic players would join the Cloud9 roster on a permanent basis following the leave of tarik and Stewie2K. After tarik left to join Stewie2K at MIBR, Cloud9 was left without a proper in-game leader (igl). Maikil “Golden” Selim, the igl of fnatic, came on-board to rescue the former Major winners and mold the team back together. The team did, in fact, look much better. Golden’s arrival did not cause miracles as Cloud9 still struggled to get victories, but at least they were putting up fights against their opponents.
Robin “flusha” Rönnquist coming on-board, a shocking addition, made things even better. We finally got a glimpse of a talented roster that would put up proper fights at Blast Pro Series Lisbon and Blast Pro Series Copenhagen. Although Cloud9 fell short to win either of those events, the team went on to win against the likes of FaZe and MIBR and even came close to overcoming Astralis on Inferno. It was a breath of fresh air and it seemed like Cloud9 was coming back together ahead of the new year.
Unfortunately, due to health problems, Golden is currently inactive. In order for Cloud9 to participate in the upcoming Major in Katowice, he must be part of the roster due to regulations. The majority of players from the last Major must be present at the next in order to be able to participate. Hopefully, Golden can recover in time in order to guarantee his team participation in the next Major.
2019: Time to start fresh
With a finally promising roster, Cloud9 should look ahead toward 2019 and start on a good foot. The Major in Katowice is less then three months away, and if all goes well, we will see them in good shape. The firepower and talent are there, all it takes now is some team spirit to get the players going. Hopefully, the fans will witness that form from the Boston Major.
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