With its second full-roster shuffle in only seven months, Cloud9 looks to regain the glory of 2018—and hold onto its spot in the ESL Pro League.

18:57, 06 Jan 2020

Earlier today, Cloud9 announced the formation of a brand-new Counter-Strike: Global Offensive squad. The American organization has breathed new life into its Counter-Strike team by signing the entire roster of South African team ATK.

Cloud9’s CS:GO squad has experienced a significant talent drain in recent weeks. In early December, Gen.G poached Cloud9’s coach and three team members. Later that month, the org lost another three players: Oscar “mixwell” Cañellas Colocho stepped down to Cloud9’s bench, while Yassine “Subroza” Taoufik left the team and Tyson “TenZ” Ngo retired from competitive CS:GO in favor of a streaming career. 

James “JamezIRL” Macaulay, who coached Cloud9’s former roster, also announced his exit from the organization today, praising Cloud9’s management and indicating that he is moving into a career outside esports.

Today’s announcement marks Cloud9’s second full-roster shakeup in only seven months, following an attempt by the organization to shake off a string of middling results by signing an all-new team in July. Not a single member of that July squad remains on Cloud9’s active roster.

A last-place finish for Cloud9 in their ESL Pro League Season 10 Americas group put the organization at risk of losing their Pro League spot, but today’s ATK pick-up might provide a lifeline for the embattled organization. Reporter Ryan Friend tweeted that Cloud9 was angling to acquire ATK’s Pro League berth as part of the trade, though this transaction has not yet been confirmed.

This is not the first time Cloud9 has acquired the full roster of another CS:GO team. When the organization first dove into the first-person shooter in 2014, it did so by signing five members of compLexity Gaming. That team went on to experience a fair amount of success, winning events such as GXL Universe 2014. 

ATK’s former squad has experienced considerable success in its own right, winning the WESG 2019 North America: United States Qualifier and finishing in 7th/8th at the ESL Pro League Season 10 Finals. The new blood provided by today’s signing might be just what Cloud9 needs to return to the glory of its victory at ELEAGUE Major: Boston 2018.

“I think everyone in the community has been impressed with what these players have accomplished,” wrote Cloud9 CEO Jack Etienne in a statement, “and we’re thrilled to be welcoming them to C9.”

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