At last, champs!
On October the 30th in 2016, Cloud9 did it. In Brazil of all places, they brought glory back to the old US of A. After over a decade, finally an NA team had won a major Counter-Strike tournament again. The stars and stripes banner was raised, and confetti rained down onto our new crowned American champs.
In the final, C9 had to face not only the hometown heroes and best team in the world, SK Gaming, but also a huge crowd of enthusiastic and passionate Brazilian fans.
After overpass and mirage, it was all tied up, and the series went to the final and decisive map, de_dust2. The two teams had met on that map in the group stage already. n0thing & Co. got beaten up pretty bad, losing 16-6. But not this time. This time C9 would turn it around and take dust2 16-5 over SK to take the title. And the Brazilian crowd embraced the US boys all the same!
Re-watch the last map, and Cloud9’s moments of triumph
Waking up to reality
Close to six months have now passed since C9’s coup d’état in São Paulo. And there is not a lot of good we can say about that period.
Cloud9 had to wake up to a harsh reality so many other teams had to face before them. It’s easier to get to the top, than to stay at the top.
They failed to qualify for most of the tier one LAN events, and good results at the ones they attended are non-existent. Even Cloud9’s typically stellar online play has shown little consistency lately.
The only bright spot has been the Subaru Invitational (online) two weeks ago, where they beat SK in the finals.
After finishing last EPL season on top of the league with a staggering record of 25-1, this year they struggled to make fifth place with 15 wins and 9 losses.
Can Cloud9 defend their title?
My head says, No. How could they? SK is in attendance, and they are looking scary now that they figured out how to integrate felps, coming fresh off of two event victories. G2 still has consistency issues, but when they are on, they are ON! kennyS alone can be the slayer of title dreams, add a wild apEX, and an ever so elegant shox into the mix, and those dreams quickly turn into nightmares. North will be there, fnatic, Na’Vi, all of which have shown more promise leading up to the finals than C9.
But my heart screams, YES. Wallowing in optimism, it believes that the reasons for C9’s poor performances can be explained, and their slump can therefore be overcome.
Come Dallas, Cloud9 have had enough time to adjust to autimatic’s style - he took over as IGL - adding to their tactical depth. This will make them harder to read too.
Skadoodle is on point with his AWP, flicking his wrist like it was 2015 again, when he was considered the world’s best AWPer. n0thing has revived his career over the last few months, and I’m sure before retiring in 2018, shroud will burn for victories in his last year of activity.
In Dallas NA won its first major Counter-Strike title, so let’s bring one back. Pro aris et focis!
PS: I didn’t forget about Stewie2k. Careful with your smokes everybody, for in Dallas, a smoke criminal is waiting to jump right through them.
Stewie2k – The smoke criminal. Video courtesy of SuperstituM
The ESL Pro League Season 5 Finals in Dallas, Texas
The EPL Finals in Dallas are now just around the corner. If you want to see Cloud9(or any other finalist) play in a city so integral to esports, be sure to follow ESL’s CS:GO YouTube channel.
And secure your tickets for the finals from June 3rd – 4th here, while they are still available (selling out quickly). For live coverage of the event and all of the latest updates on the ESL Pro League, be sure to follow ESL Counter-Strike on Twitter and Facebook.