Cloud9 attempt to build another successful iteration of their roster as Robin ‘Flusha’ Ronquist arrives after being recently benched by Fnatic.
North America has staked its claim in the Counter-Strike scene in recent times. Cloud9 won the ELEAGUE Major on home soil while Liquid have emerged as potent competitors to the likes of Astralis, Natus Vincere, Faze Clan and others.
The FACEIT London Major saw the revival of a former North American powerhouse, with complexity going all the way to the Playoffs, securing Legends status and at the minimum, a Group Stage appearance at the ensuing Major.
Liquid also performed admirably, with a semi-final finish. But, there has always been a special connection between North American fans and Cloud9. From the days of Spencer ‘Hiko’ Martin and Jordan ‘n0thing’ Gilbert to the Major-winning team consisting of Jake ‘Stewie2k’ Yip and Tarik ‘tarik’ Celik, Cloud9 stars have always endeared themselves to the fans.
Cloud9 crashed out in the Swiss stage of the FACEIT London Major. Although, it was something we all expected, with Jack Etienne putting together a temporary lineup to represent the organization at the Major.
The organization struggled to replace Stewie within the roster. Tarik’s departure has left a hole too big to plug. Martin ‘STYKO’ Styk performed admirably at the Major. But, his trial period has ended and Cloud9 have decided against making the move permanent.
Maikil ‘GOLDEN’ Selim is a player I am confident will have a positive impact on Cloud9. I have always been a proponent of the idea that the organization needed infusion of new ideas from Europe. GOLDEN will bring in just that. From his days on Fnatic, we have seen that his ideas take time to formulate and adapt.
Once the players feel comfortable within the setup though, the success is there for all to see.
The Flusha experiment
Cloud9 have decided to bring in Flusha from fnatic. The Swede was benched recently by the legendary organization, who are looking for fresh ideas as well. Now, Flusha is a storied personnel within the Counter-Strike scene.
Not only has he been one of the most consistent players at LAN events over the last couple of years, the 25-year-old is a three time Major winner. He will add to the mental aspect of the game with Cloud9. One thing to note though, is whether his arrival is ideal and where he fits into the setup.
In theory, Flusha could be the Tarik replacement in terms of roles. Granted, the Swede cannot be a secondary AWPer. But, his ability to lurk and penchant of coming in clutch in dire situations is something the current iteration was missing.
Additionally, Flusha has played under GOLDEN for a while and can help the others ease into the IGL’s system. This could be compared to Football, wherein a manager brings in a player who has formerly played under him to ease the system transition; the latest example being Maurizio Sarri signing Jorginho at Chelsea.
While not much can be extracted from player’s words when signing for a new organization, a particular section from Flusha is interesting.
Getting to play with hungry players that want to achieve what I once achieved is a big motivator, because I am not done yet.
This could highlight a potential lack of motivation or hunger within the current Fnatic lineup. Whatever it might be, the ‘I am not done yet part’ is what Cloud9 hopes to take advantage of. Flusha’s addition is a step in the right direction.
Inherent roster problems
Is Flusha’s addition enough for Cloud9’s revival? I think we all know the answer to this. The problem lies deeper than the departure of Stewie and Tarik. Perhaps, a more direct answer would be the need for a more consistent AWPer.
IEM Katowice 2018 was the last time Stewie and Tarik played together for Cloud9. Post Katowice, Tyler ‘Skadoodle’ Latham has been off-pace. The AWPer posted just four 1.00+ ratings compared to five on the other end of the spectrum.
Skadoodle seems to be struggling to emulate his Major form, wherein he posted a 1.15 average rating, something he hasn’t topped. The 25-year-old even stepped down from the roster before receding his decision.
It is clear to see that Skadoodle has not been himself on the server lately. Cloud9 will need a more dominant AWPer going forward. The 25-year-old will be given a few chances with the current iteration.
There is a growing feeling among everyone though, that Skadoodle needs a replacement. There have been rumours linking Cloud9 with a move for NRG sensation Tsvetelin ‘Cerq’ Dimitrov. It will be interesting to see who Cloud9 will attempt to bring in. But, relieving Skadoodle of his duties should be on Jack Etienne’s agenda.
REVIVAL – The first step
Cloud9 are heading in the right direction in adding Flusha to their roster. Their decision to back GOLDEN to lead the organization’s re-emergence within the scene is also a well-thought one. As aforementioned, Flusha’s arrival will aid GOLDEN’s tactics.
Unlike Pujan ‘FNS’ Mehta though, GOLDEN should be given time to infuse his tactics and ideologies within the setup and the rest of the players.
The next step is obviously either finding Skadoodle’s comfort zone or replacing the 25-year-old Major winner. Jack Etienne is finally going about the roster changes the proper way.
Cloud9 came crashing down to Earth after their ELEAGUE Major triumph. Slowly but surely, we are beginning to see the organization piece together another potential winning formula.
The Cloud9 revival has been initiated.
Featured picture courtesy – HLTV