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Rocket League Season 8 Previews: Cloud9

Cloud9 Rocket League

No news is good news.

Cloud9 are the longest standing roster in Rocket League and with good reason. At this point, and really ever since the team formed back in 2017, anything but a top four finish is surprising for the boys in blue. Few teams have stood up to their attacking menace in the two years since they’ve formed.

There are a lot of gold boxes on their Liquipedia results page. They won DreamHack: Dallas just six months after winning the World Championship in Season 6. Their arrival in NA drove the region’s top heavy nature because NRG and G2 have had to make huge roster moves to keep pace.

Meanwhile Cloud9 keep running it back with the same group and keep winning deep into tournaments. Their offensive style is no secret. Cloud9 use a lot of boost, make wide rotations and use their mechanical brilliance to open up space for passes.

It’s a formula the entire Rocket League world has taken note of. So the question is, as always, who stands in Cloud9’s way?

Season 7 Results: 3rd place in NA (4-3, 12-14). Beat Spacestation and G2 but lost to NRG in Regional Championship. Won Group D of World Championship and beat PSG in quarterfinals. Lost to Vitality in the semi-final.

Off-season Movement: None.

Off-season Performance: 9th-12th DreamHack: Valencia Closed Qualifier, 1st DreamHack: Dallas, 5-8th DreamHack: Valencia, 4th Rocket League Summit 1, 5-8th DreamHack: Montreal

Team Stats: 2.22 GPG (2nd), 1.63 APG (3rd), 4.52 SAPG (6th), 1.89 GAPG (4th)

Team MVP: Jesus “Gimmick” Parra

Realistic Team Goal: Win the World Championship.

Background and Team History

Cloud9 are fairly good at Rocket League. The only true contenders to the Dignitas dynasty and the only team other than Dignitas to win a DreamHack and a World Championship. They never dip out of tournaments early and can pretty effortlessly cruise through League Play.

Mariano “Squishy” Arruda, Jesus “Gimmick” Parra and Kyle “Torment” Storer have the highest attainable level of chemistry. That mutual understanding allows Gimmick to tornado spin his way all over the field. Torment locks down the midfield and buys time in the back and Squishy capitalizes on the space they create.

Their dynamic is well defined and undeniably effective. It’s hard to imagine them finishing outside the top three in NA, let alone missing LAN. They’re too talented to be knocked off the pedestal, and even as the teams around them have improved, they’ve maintained their high level of play.

Cloud9 Rocket League
Courtesy of Todd Gutierrez for DreamHack

 

The regular season doesn’t really matter much for them. They can sleepwalk through League Play and still finish third in the region. All that matters for them is how they perform at LANs, and even in live environments they’re insane.

In a sense, their success as a team points to how fun Rocket League is. Even after countless hours, hundreds of filthy double taps and weeks of time spent in comms together, Cloud9 continue to play and enjoy Rocket League.

If these guys can’t get bored of this game, then maybe no one can. The skill ceiling continues to rise largely because these keep elevating their play and mastering new mechanics. They play beautiful Rocket League that never gets old.

Will the rigor of professional esports ever catch up to them? How long can they withstand the 40 hour weeks and never ending string of scrims?

Maybe forever.

Best Case:

Cloud9 seem like they’re not bored of Rocket League, but they might be over League Play at this point. In Season 6 they lost a random series to Ronin “PrimeThunder” D’Auria and FlyQuest. Season 7 saw Spacestation pick up a 3-1 win over the reigning World Champions.

Those losses didn’t matter in the long term, but it would be incredible to see Cloud9 go on a Season 7-NRG style run. There’s a chance that Gimmick, Squishy and Torment play at their best form and just crush everyone on their way to another World Championship.

Another World Championship would put them back in the conversation for the greatest Rocket League team ever. At this point they’re not playing for money or recognition, they’re playing for the sake of legacy.

When Rocket League is the biggest esport in the world 10 years from now (obvious tongue in cheek statement) people will talk about Cloud9 winning their ninth World Championship. Cloud9 are working to write themselves into esports lore as one of the most unstoppable teams ever. 

They can win every single tournament they suit up for. Sometimes they’re in unstoppable form, other times they have an off day and lose in the semis. How many other teams can have that said about them?

No team has a higher floor than C9. There are very few teams that can stand in C9’s way when they’re at their worst, and perhaps only two (NRG/Vitality) that can beat them at their best.

Cloud9 Rocket League
Photo Credit: Stephanie ”Vexanie” Lindgren

Obviously they could be more consistent and win everything they touch. The final day of LANs comes down to such minuscule margins that seven different teams have won the last seven LANs. No one has been able to win consistently of late.

Asking Cloud9 to be even more consistent would be asking them to turn into robots, and that joke is tired. Catching fire at a LAN happens once a career for a lot of players. Cloud9 have done it twice in the past seven months.

C9 could absolutely come out and have a perfect League Play. They could win the Regional Championship (something they haven’t done since Season 4), and wreck everyone in the World Championship. They’re capable of the most dominant Rocket League season ever.

Stay focused, stay innovative and pop off during LAN. That’s all C9 need to do to win it all.

Worst Case:

Everyone feel free to bet their mortgage on Cloud9 making the World Championship. Heck, it might be worth putting your life savings on them making the semi-finals of worlds. Death, taxes and Cloud9 making top four at the World Championship.

At this point there are so many incredible Rocket League teams that winning back to back LANs is near impossible. Even still, there seems like a pretty clear top tier of teams emerging heading into Season 8.

Cloud9, G2, Reciprocity, NRG and Renault Vitality are a cut above the competition in large sample size environments. This feels like the UEFA Champions League where six teams are good enough to win the tournament, but some have to fall along the way to crowning a champion.

It’s pretty incredible that C9 have maintained the same level of play for so long as a team. They’ve never even had to consider kicking someone. They’ve never had to change their style or confront an ugly loss at LAN. How long can they avoid the reach of the evolving meta?

Probably for at least another couple of seasons. These players are getting older and their reaction speeds will inevitably slow down, but for the next few seasons they’ll contend for the top of the league. Torment and Gimmick are still 19 years-old. Squishy turns 19 in November. Alexandre “Kaydop” Courant is 21. They’ve got plenty of time.

Cloud9 Rocket League
Pretty cool Rocket League coach, Fireburner – Photo Credit: Stephanie ”Vexanie” Lindgren

Maybe Squishy switching to Dominus is worth mentioning. Probably not though. They added Jayson “Fireburner” Nunez as coach. That’s pretty cool.

 

Cloud9 missing LAN would be the biggest upset in Rocket League history. The evolution of the meta and infusion of new talent may be starting to creep up on them, but the new faces have a ways to go. Cloud9’s natural ability is hard to dethrone. They’ll either run into a buzz saw team on an impossible run to the Grand Final, or they’ll be the buzz saw running through everyone on the way to another World Championship.

Of the five teams listed in the top tier, Cloud9 may be a hair behind NRG and Vitality. It’s really a toss up between Reciprocity and G2 for the spot behind C9. They deserve the respect.

 

Featured image courtesy of Stephanie “Vexanie” Lindgren for DreamHack.

Follow me on Twitter: @connorssanders.

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