Cloud9, also known as C9, is a professional eSports team from North America with squads competing in League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Super Smash Bros, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, Vainglory, and Overwatch. Cloud9 also had a team that competed in Dota 2, and this article will focus on their short stint in the Dota 2 competition.
Anyone who has been a fan of the Cloud9 Dota 2 team knows that it was sometimes a difficult task to stay with the team through thick and thin. During one game, they could be the greatest team in the world, and in the next game they would be utterly defeated, without providing almost no resistance at all. They were also renowned for creating innovative strategies, and the next day they would toss it all aside with senseless drafts.
Cloud9 established themselves early on as a team that had more acclaimed heroes than all the other team. Their hero pool was nowhere near limited, but their players were famous for using heroes that suited their particular draft strategy and were within the team’s comfort zone. But on the other hand, Cloud9 is also known for their unusual drafts, which might have been out of their comfort zone. This shows that the team was often far from fully composed and straightforward in their strategies, probably still searching for their identity. They were definitely one of the more flexible and versatile teams in Dota 2 tournaments, but ultimately, it did not pan out as they had envisioned it.
The Cloud9 organization has always had close ties to the League of Legends eSports discipline and was formed when their current CEO Jack Etienne acquired the Quantic Gaming LoL squad. They previously only had a StarCraft II team. Quantic was a media company and eSports organization founded in 2010 in Quebec, Canada. They organization had multiple problems, most being due to the company founder Boudreault missing to pay the players and the company ultimately dissolving. In the end, Jack Etienne, a former Team SoloMid manager, bought the team in May 2013 and became its new manager.
In August 2014, Cloud9 managed to acquire the CompLexity Gaming CS:GO team when the team received an attractive offer from Cloud9 before they renewed their contract with CompLexity Gaming. In November 2014, Cloud9 acquired The Agency’s Halo team, which had several well-experienced players in its midst.
After the Cloud9 League of Legends team found ample success in the North American LCS and the organization decided to expand their franchise into other eSports, the Cloud9 team managed to win the inaugural Heroes of the Storm World Championship in 2015.
At the beginning of February 2014, Cloud9 managed to acquire the Speed Gaming roster, which consisted of Johan “pieliedie” Åström, Pittner Armand aka “bOne7,” Jacky Mao aka “EternaLEnVy”, Kurtis Ling aka “Aui_2000,” and Weh Sing Yuen aka “SingSing.” This roster went on to compete at the 2014 The International and finished with an 8-7 score during the group phase. In Phase 3, the team managed to defeat LGD Gaming. However, they eventually failed to hold against Team DK, which was a bad start to their Main Event. During the event, Cloud9 surprised everyone when they prevailed over past TI champions Natus Vincere with 2-1, and then lost to Vici Gaming with 2-1, placing in 5th-6th, earning over $650,000 in prize money. August 2014 saw SingSing leaving the team and being replaced by Adrian Trinks aka “FATA-“.
Early in 2015, pieliedie and Aui_2000 had been removed from the player roster, but remained part of the organization. Rasmus Filipsen and Johan Sundstein aka “BigDaddyN0tail” took their places in the team. During May 2015, it was announced by the Valve Corporation that Cloud9 would be one of the ten teams that would be directly invited to the 2015 The International. The Cloud9 Dota 2 team managed to only finish between 9th and 12th place at the 2015 The International, having to share the $221,155 prize money with 3 other teams. This became one of the reasons the Cloud9 organization dropped its Dota 2 team.
In September, Cloud9 picked up the Team Dark Horse roster and registered Loomdum as one of the team’s subs. By mid-November 2015 the team had to dismiss Ritsu from its roster. The team had issue finding a fitting replacement for Ritsu, which, coupled with the less than stellar job at the Frankfurt Major that had quite an impact on the team’s stability and overall morale, lead to what followed shortly after that. At the end of the month it was announced that the Cloud9 Dota 2 team was officially disbanded, following the switch of roster founder and captain, Theeban “1437” Siva, to Digital Chaos.
In Juanuary 2017, after more than a year, Cloud9 announced the return of its Dota 2 team. The organization informed the public that the new roster would not consist of former players, since most of them had moved on to play for other teams. Instead, they signed the disbanded Imperial Dota 2 roster, which included Danish Bears players Jon “13abyKnight” Anderson, Marcus “Ace” Hoelgaard, Danny “NoiA” Morch Junget, Christopher “Ryze” Borregaard Winther, and Mikki Morch Junget aka “HeStEjoE-RoTTen.” This new roster had previously established themselves as a strong force in the game, taking 4th place at DreamLeague Season 6 and winning the WESG 2016 Europe & CIS Finals. Eventually, team failed to qualify in The Boston Major 2016 Europe Qualifiers, coming in at 5th-10th place.
Cloud9 CEO, Jack Etienne, stated Dota 2 was still considered the leading eSports franchise for the team, and that Cloud9 looked forward to compete in the important eSports titles of the year. The signing of the Imperial roster meant a departure from the experienced and established players Cloud9 had featured back in 2014 and 2015, and a new, young and talented team that had already proven themselves with a strong season in DreamLeague.
But as good as it all looked on paper with the new roster and the same goals, on May 13, 2017, the players Ace, BabyKnight, HeStEJoE-RoTTeN, NoiA, and Ryze decided to leave the roster, and Cloud9 had to again disband the team, which came only a mere 4 months after it was reanimated from the dead.
Cloud9 still continues to compete in several eSports titles, but as of now, the Dota 2 team has been put on indefinite hold, waiting for a new team to be formed. No one knows if the organization will try to put together a new team of either young or experienced players, but we can assume that they will try and come back to compete in the tournaments as before.