This year has already brought about big changes for one of Cloud9’s VALORANT teams, Cloud9 Blue. From shocking changes and now an extra member added onto the roster, the new Cloud9 Blue roster has a lot of work to do in order to make these changes seamless.
The lineup changes all began after Cloud9 announced they were parting with Josh “Shinobi” Abastado on Dec 11. The change was sparked by the team’s failure to qualify for the First Strike North America tournament, caused by an unexpected upset by Renegades in the first qualifier and then another loss to T1 in the second qualifier.
About a month later on Jan 12, Tyson “Tenz” Ngo announced his personal decision to step down from Cloud9 Blue and take a break from the professional scene, “Stepping down from the team is a personal choice of mine… I’m just going to be doing content creation [until the pandemic] is up,” he stated in his announcement video.
His move to content creation, although personal, is hard to separate from Shinobi’s departure from the team. After all, it was Tenz who reached out to Shinobi (after their relationship with their CS:GO history) to make the switch to VALORANT for Cloud9 Blue.
When Shinobi’s departure was announced, rumors started to spread regarding the context of the departure and even went as far as putting blame on Tenz for Shinobi’s removal from the Cloud9 Blue roster. False news about the departure combined with out of context comments on the T1 loss created a story that put Tenz at fault for the roster change.
Tenz immediately took to Twitter to clear up rumors of bad blood between him and Shinobi:
It is interesting though that a month after this lineup change, Tenz decided to take a step back from the competitive scene as well.
Welcoming leaf and xeta
Cloud9 Blue were left with the task of replacing two great members of the competitive VALORANT scene. On Jan 21, Cloud 9 announced the addition of Nathan “leaf” Orf to their roster. Leaving behind a short stay within the CS:GO scene, leaf’s results with the Chaos Esports Club was enough to convince Cloud9 Blue that he would be a good addition to their lineup and even a player who could make up for TenZ’s departure in fragging power.
Not long after leaf’s addition to the team, on Jan. 26 Cloud 9 Blue announced the switch to add Son “xeta” Seon-ho to the team. xeta is a South Korean player who was on Cloud 9’s Korean roster previously and even before then, was a CS:GO player with MVP PK (Team MVP) and TYLOO. He played with C9 Blue in the NSG Winter Championship, where they placed fifth overall. Even with xeta playing on 200 ping in Korea, the team felt that his skills were able to shine through and that he would be a good fifth member to round out the roster.
Adding a Sixth Member
On Feb 5, Cloud 9 Blue announced that Michael “poiz” Possis would be added as a sixth player to Cloud 9 Blue’s roster. Unlike many of the current players on the roster that came from CS:GO, poiz played Overwatch before switching to VALORANT. He has not been in the professional VALORANT scene before, he was enjoying ranked casually before leaderboards came out and had his account “DOINKMACHINE97” at rank 2. Eventually, poiz surpassed Tenz in rank and claimed the number one spot, causing him to gain notability. It was then that Cloud 9 Blue decided to reach out to him and try him out with the rest of the team. An interesting decision for the team seeing as though it is commonly believed that ranked gameplay is not reflective of how one works in a team environment, but he will be someone to keep an eye on as he begins his career with Cloud9 Blue.
Seemingly coming full circle, poiz who mains Jett, mentioned that he “watched Tenz a lot and learned a lot about Jett from him.” He will be playing Jett for Cloud9 in lieu of Tenz’s departure from the competitive scene.
All eyes will be on this new lineup as the year continues. Hopefully with a fresh roster, Cloud9 Blue will be able to score some new victories under their belt.
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