Cloud9 and North need to pick up the pace.
Aside from their historic run at the 2018 ELEAGUE Major in Boston, Cloud9 has fallen off over the past two years. They haven’t placed first in any event, including zero top three S-Tier placements. With a roster worth roughly six million dollars, the North American org plans on changing things around. A lot of issues have led to their downfall - including retired players, mismanagement, and all-around disappointments. Leaving Cloud9 with little room to grow, they were forced to invest in a three-year run. North has also been sinking, showing that they’re incapable of playing in A/S-Tier events. With fifty grand in earnings this year, that’s definitely not enough to fund any top tier org.
PEAKED TOO SOON
The first players to leave Cloud9 after the Majors included Tyler “Skadoodle” Latham and Jacky “Stewkie2K” Yip. Due to stress and a lack of job consistency, Skadoodle moved onto streaming, and a platform where he could earn more money, play whatever he wanted, and design a schedule that worked for him. With an itch to once again play at a competitive level, Skadoodle moved onto VALORANT, playing for T1. Stewie2K, who is still active in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) left Cloud9 for SK Gaming - he felt that the offer would better his career since SK was the best team of 2017. As for Tarik “tarik” Celik - he chose to leave due to their losing streak, feeling that his team couldn’t hold up after the 2018 Majors. In 2019, William “RUSH” Wierzba and Timothy “autimatic” Ta were acquired by new teams.
After losing RUSH and autimatic, Cloud9 picked up a bunch of players, but never made anything happen with their new roster. The team went through inconsistent pickups such as smaller players like Tyson “TenZ” Ngo. After participating in three events with two top-four placements, TenZ was pushed out due to his personality. The rookie was known for his ego and wasn’t afraid to stir things up. Damian “Daps” Steele and Kenneth “koosta” Suen were apart of these disagreements resulting in a move to Gen.G Esports.
A CHANCE TO REPAIR THE PAST
Hoping to rebuild their past of success, Cloud9 acquired their roster from ATK, an organisation from South Africa that was founded in 2019. The team was known for dominating A-Tier qualifiers, but hardly won B-Tier tournaments. In their first year of playing the team earned around fifty thousand dollars. and for a new org that’s an impressive start. At the ESL Pro League finals they placed eighth right behind 100Thieves, beating out teams such as North and G2 Esports. Cloud9 obviously wanted to take advantage of this roster and build them up. They continued to dominate within qualifiers but kept losing main show events. Cloud9 placed fourth at Flashpoint Season One but fifty grand and three hundred BLAST points just wasn't enough.
Halfway through 2020, Cloud9 started to form a new team. Henry “HenryG” Greer joined the org as a General Manager. Along with their new head coach Aleksander “kassad” TrifunoviÄ, Cloud9 finally had new management to lead the way. In September of this year, Cloud9 acquired Alex “ALEX” McMeekin, Özgür “woxic” Eker, and William “mezii” Merriam. After two disappointing placements, the org transferred Ricky “floppy” Kermery to the main roster. On October 24, Cloud9 dropped their entire roster due to contract breaches except for Joshua “oSee” Ohm. Because of this decision, Cloud9 acquired Patrick “es3tag” Hansen from Astralis. With one of the most expensive rosters in the league, Cloud9 has three years to profit from their six million dollar build.
NORTH IS ON THE SAME PAGE
North has also been on a huge decline this year. Founded in 2017, the org from Denmark was founded to compete with top tier Danish teams including Astralis. In their debut year, they earned half a million dollars and placed first at the DreamHack Open in Montreal. In 2018, the team’s earnings went down roughly fifty percent but still managed to place first at two DreamHack events. Out of five Major events, North hasn’t even placed in the top three, whereas Astralis has won four in total, including winning three in a row which is a record holder in competitive CS:GO. From 2017 to 2020, Astralis has earned 8.5 million dollars, while their “competitor” North has earned around 1.2 million with no Major titles. It’s clear to say North is struggling to stand at the top of Danish CS:GO.
With a constant cycle of teams, it’s hard for established foundations to keep their stature. They must learn to adapt in their field and keep up with other rosters. Money doesn’t always fix this, but when used properly, it can create a dominant lineup of players. Perhaps within the next year or two, Cloud9 and North will once again build up a reputation as the best in CS:GO. These two teams will either be on top, or out of the competition by 2023.
Images via Cloud9 | North