March 29, 2021 | 0 | 6
A bit over six months ago, Cloud9 made their biggest announcement of 2020. The legendary organization was taking steps to rebuild its CSGO team. Moreover, the project was supposed to bring the Cloud9 name back to the top.
Promoting themselves as a “colossus”, Cloud9 invested heavy in this project. Betting in unproven young players as well as a few known pieces, the project surely was promising.
How they are doing now, though, six months and plenty of matches later? Let’s look at how one of the biggest esports organizations is faring in Counter-Strike nowadays.
Cloud9’s starting pieces
In order to take in such a massive project, Cloud9 was willing to bring good names to their ranks in order to make sure they had the right pieces and made the correct choices.
So, in September 2020, Cloud9 announced the first bits of the new team: Henry ‘HenryG’ Greer as General Manager, and Aleksandar ‘kassad’ Trifunović as coach.
Later on, the team announced the ones who would be taking charge in-game. Ex-Vitality captain “ALEX” returns to his role in C9. “mezii” and “woxic” were next, followed by “floppy” and “es3tag”.
The team itself had a very interesting promise. ALEX had shown good signs in Vitality, while mezii and floppy were unproven but highly talented players. Woxic and es3tag had experience in big teams, so they could help their less experienced colleagues.
The first results
The first event fans watched Cloud9’s new roster in action was in November 2020. At Flashpoint 2, Cloud9 finished last place, after being dismantled by both Virtus.Pro and OG.
Unfortunately, 2020 wouldn’t be a good year for this roster. The team gave fans some hope going into their next event, BLAST Premier Fall 2020 Showdown. They won over NiP and Complexity, but were eliminated by Mousesports.
The team went on to DreamHack Masters Winter 2020 and Nine to Five 7, both tournaments saw Cloud9 showing slow, but good signs of improvements. Yet, they weren’t able to leave their mark, and closed the year hoping for better results in 2021.
First red flag
Coming as an undesirable surprise for many fans, Cloud9 didn’t close 2020 in a high note. The team announced in late December that their coach, “kassad”, would be leaving the project.
The fan reaction was negative as many were caught off-guard. Cloud9’s General Manager then explained the reasons behind kassad leaving:
“[…]It simply felt like there was somewhat of a stylistic clash between the IGL [ALEX] and kassad’s game, leading to a few too many compromises from a strategic point of view.”
More changes were in the horizon back then. Rumors of ex-Mouz “woxic” leaving the team kicked off in the new year, and were proven correct shortly after. In his place, Cloud9 brought in “Xeppaa”. As the new head coach, “Elmapuddy” was signed for the role.
Cloud9’s results since then
Cloud9 started 2021 with their renewed roster at cs_summit 7. There, the squad played fairly well for a team still discovering itself as they beat NiP and MiBR. The team went on to try a chance to qualify for IEM Katowice, but they disappointingly lost to OG.
Comes March, and it’s clear that Cloud9 has had enough time in order to start working. Yet, the team can’t qualify to DreamHack Masters Spring as they lost to an unsigned team playing under the “VOYVODA” name.
The team then finishes last in Snow Sweet Snow 2 as they are beaten by Winstrike. The squad went on to play at ESL Pro League Season 13, but again, were eliminated. The team managed to take on FURIA for the first time, but got dismantled by MiBR afterwards.
Where is Cloud9 sitting at the moment
Right now, the situation is very difficult for Cloud9. We’ve discussed OG’s situation which shares some similarities with Cloud9’s here, but things are a big different for the wannabe Colossus.
First, different than OG, Cloud9 never hit a good momentum from where they could build from. When you look at both rosters, you see pieces you definitely need to keep in OG. Cloud9’s, in the other hand, doesn’t really have those.
Yet, there’s some valuable clues as to Cloud9’s lack of success as of ESL Pro League Season 13. In their matches, Cloud9 looked tactically broken and clearly, they missed a player who could make some impact with an AWP.
Moreover, Cloud9’s doesn’t seem to have developed their map pool as they should by now. While ALEX is doing a great job of keeping his team composed during games, he doesn’t seem to be exceeding at any other area as a leader.
Should Cloud9 try to rework their roster?
There’s plenty of players available to pick from as free agents, but how many would work with Cloud9’s plans? The team might want to move back to North America once the pandemic is over. The uncertain future is certainly a key matter that players might not want to deal with now.
It’s impossible to ignore the fact that we’re living on a strange era of Counter-Strike. With online matches becoming the standard, we won’t know if a team playing right now is at their absolutely best. After all, some players will perform better offline.
Still, it’s important that Cloud9 starts dealing with their biggest issues. Is there someone with a compatible style available to lead the team, or can ALEX improve? Who can take up the AWPer role in order to provide some much-needed firepower to the squad?
Results won’t change until they answer these key questions.
Cloud9’s next showing
For now, Cloud9’s calendar is empty. This is a reason that many might be feeling they could be looking into doing changes. Still, such a big name won’t have their calendar blank for much longer.
So in order to keep up, make sure you are following us!
Published at Mon, 29 Mar 2021 19:00:55 +0000
March 29, 2021 | 0 | 13
One of the biggest tournaments of Spring is coming soon and we finally have a full list of the teams taking part in it. All sixteen teams are in after the final qualifier ended with EXTRA SALT taking the last spot.
While the tournament has yet to start, though, it’s smart to take a brief look at every team taking part on the tournament. Let’s get a brief summary, as well as expectations for the squads competing for the $162,500 prize pool.
BLAST Premier Spring Showdown format and information
Before diving in on the teams, let’s first understand BLAST’s Spring Showdown format and some must-know information regarding the event.
First, the event will run from April 13th to April 18th. All matches in the tournament are best-of-three games, and the Showdown runs a single-elimination bracket. The two winners will advance to BLAST Spring Finals which will start in June.
Besides that, the first and second places also get $30,000 and 1250 points in the BLAST Premier Circuit. The teams that finish in 3rd and 4th will take $16,250 and 625 circuit points. The teams that finish in 5th to 8th will also get $10,000 plus 312.5 circuit points.
Now that we’re up with all basic details of the tournament, let’s see the teams taking part on it, sorted by region.
Favorites from Europe in the Spring Showdown
Europe will be the continent with most representants in the tournament. With that in mind, it’s clear that there are favorites and underdogs from the region.
As far as favorites goes, Astralis takes the spot. The Danish team isn’t looking quite strong as they once did, but they still are one of the best teams in the world. Without Na’Vi and Virtus.Pro competing here, they have great chances of taking first place.
Vitality comes as an interesting to watch here too. The Frenchmen have been struggling lately but they still have all pieces to make it work. ZywOo still is playing incredibly well, so it only depends on the rest of the team to build upon his performances.
G2, Heroic and OG are dangerous variables from the old continent
G2 has been a team full of promise that still haven’t reached their ceiling yet, not even close. After all, when it comes to individual skill sets, G2 is almost unmatchable thanks to the cousins “NiKo” and “huNter”.
Also dangerous is the current Heroic roster. The Danes are currently going through a seven-match winning streak, and at times in-game they seem simply unstoppable. Cadian managed to build a highly dynamic team that works well without a star player, striking a balance between all members of the roster.
Then we have OG. The European mix has one spot open in the roster as they went through a rebuilding phase recently. The BLAST Spring Showdown will be the first time we see the team after this process, so hopes are high. Albeit fans should be cautious still.
Holding the underdog position from Europe, the Spring Showdown will see SAW, Endpoint and Dignitas. These three teams are usually seen in second and third tier competitions, but can pack surprises in big tournaments.
Endpoint, especially, has given CSGO viewers plenty of great action to see lately. During EPL Season 13, Endpoint managed to take Evil Geniuses, and while they lost against Liquid, VP and Astralis, they still held themselves high. No one should sleep on Endpoint.
As for Dignitas, the squad is composed of two fan favorites from Sweden along with some promising youngsters. However, Dignitas haven’t impressed in their latest games. It’s good to see legendary player “f0rest” playing, but they won’t be reaching high places at the Spring Showdown.
Coming last, we have SAW. The Portuguese squad hasn’t faced the level of competition they will see here in a long time. They have a decent record overall in their comfort zone, but what can they do among the best in the world?
North American dream
The current situation within the North American Counter-Strike scene could be better. With organizations and key players leaving the game as they move to VALORANT, North America has seen better days.
Still, two teams are carrying the torch for their continent in the Spring Showdown. Team Liquid and EXTRA SALT are the two teams hoping to place high and represent well their region here.
Team Liquid has been playing fairly well as of lately. Since adding “FalleN”, Liquid seems to be working consistently better, although results could still improve. The team managed to get back at the top five best teams in the world rankings, and they can keep building momentum in the Spring Showdown.
EXTRA SALT, in the other hand, isn’t quite well-placed in the world rankings as Liquid, and they haven’t faced the same level of competition. Still, during March the team played fourteen matches and only lost one. They definitely are one underdog to be aware of.
Unpredictability from South America
South America will have three teams representing the region in the Spring Showdown. Besides FURIA, fans will also be watching MiBR and 9Z, which qualified from the Spring Groups and Latin Power Cup, respectively.
FURIA is currently in a slump and while fans hope to see them out of it sooner than later, they still seem to be struggling. After adding “junior”, the team clearly needs to rework much of their structure, and make it work.
MiBR hasn’t been the premier team the brand hoped it could become, but they are still dangerous. As shown in their past matches, “boltz” and his squad are able to pressure some of the best teams in the world, and underestimating them can be a dangerous mistake.
Now, 9Z is a real mystery here. The Latin American team has a very interesting mix of Argentinian, Uruguayan and one Brazilian player. While they aren’t used to play in international competitions, teams like 9Z are known for being able to catch favorites by surprise.
CIS and Asia come with real contenders
We’ve discussed the current potential of Eastern European rosters in the past, and once again they are a real threat. In the Spring Showdown, teams are going closely watch Gambit and Team Spirit. We also have NASR, an Asian team that could be very dangerous as well.
Gambit is coming hot off their trophy win at IEM Katowice 2021 and excellent performance at EPL Season 13. Astralis and Liquid are their biggest challenges, but they have shown once that not even the best can consistently stop them. Expect great things from Gambit here.
Spirit hasn’t reached quite the same success as Gambit, but underestimating them is the biggest mistake any team in the Spring Showdown can do. They recently went through an impressive winning streak and they certainly aim to start another one.
As for NASR, this is their first major international event. They managed to confidently take an interesting mix of opponents to qualify to the Spring Showdown, and while there’s much unknown about them, this could help them upset some of the biggest teams here.
The Spring Showdown will kick off soon
Be ready because the BLAST Premier Spring Showdown kicks off in less than 15 days. Once it’s on, expect some of the best matches of the year so far and heated games as rivalries sprout on.
In order to keep up with everything and get precise predictions for the event, make sure to keep up with us!
Published at Mon, 29 Mar 2021 19:00:37 +0000