Cloud9 back on top after IEM Dallas win

Aditya Chaudhuri Aditya Chaudhuri

North American esports organisation Cloud9 returned to the summit of the CS:GO circuit following their win at IEM Dallas 2022.

One of North America’s most successful teams and the only North American team to have won a Major, Cloud9 had been inactive since 2021, but in April 2022, the organisation acquired Gambit Esports’ roster following the ban on Russian teams, which saw the team compete under the Cloud9 banner. 

The win in Dallas is Cloud9’s first victory since their iconic win in Boston four years ago, putting the North American CS:GO scene right back on the map.

Coming into IEM Dallas, Cloud9 were far from the favourites to win the trophy after poor outings at IEM Katowice, ESL Pro League Season 15 and the Antwerp Major this year. The likes of FaZe Clan, Ence and G2 were tipped to take the trophy home, but in the end, Cloud9 managed to overcome all the odds to take home their first LAN trophy with the new roster in front of their home crowd. 

The roster, boasting one of the strongest online teams during the COVID pandemic, has struggled to find their feet in the LAN era, but with the win in Dallas they are slowly beginning to look like that unstoppable force they were during the online era. 

Cloud9 didn’t have the strongest of starts to the tournament, having gone down 0-2 to FURIA, but once they reached the Playoffs, they were unstoppable and showed their never-give-up spirit which they are known for. They first won 2-0 against their fellow North American team Liquid and then came back from being 0-1 down against FaZe Clan in the quarterfinals to upset the favourites and recent Major winners to head to the semi-finals. In the final four stage, Cloud9 again had to make a comeback after going 0-1 down against BIG, but once they managed to overturn the deficit there was no stopping the American team. Backed by stellar performances by their veteran rifler Abay ‘HObbit‘ Khasenov and Sergey ‘Ax1Le‘ Rykhtorov, Cloud9 set up a final date with European team ENCE, who had been stellar throughout the tournament. Playing with a stand-in after their star player Lotan ‘Spinx‘ Giladi couldn’t make it to the tournament, ENCE had legendary former Virtus.Pro player Janusz ‘Snax‘ Pogorzelski standing in. ENCE had swept FaZe Clan and G2 to reach the semi-finals, where they faced Brazilian team FURIA. Snax showcased why he is one of the game’s greats, rolling back the years with stellar performance map after map to help ENCE reach the finals.

The best-of-five final at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas kicked off with ENCE’s pick of Mirage. ENCE had a strong start on their CT side, going 6-1 with Pavel ‘Maden‘ Boškovi? putting up strong numbers. Supported by Snax, Maden helped ENCE end the first half on Mirage with a 10-5 lead. The fortunes changed, though, once Cloud9 got on the CT side, after converting the pistol, Cloud9 took the following four rounds to tie the match 10-10. Cloud9 had a stellar defence with their main AWPer Dmitry ‘sh1ro‘ Sokolov, Ax1Le and HObbit all standing up when it was needed most. Veteran HObbit reminded everyone why he is still one of the best in the business when it comes to the rifle role as he produced back-to-back multi-kills to secure map point and the map itself, with Cloud9 making a strong comeback on their defence to take ENCE’s map pick of Mirage 16-12 and go 1-0 up in the final.

The next map was Cloud9’s pick of Overpass. Starting on the T side, Cloud9 were unstoppable, with sh1ro, Ax1Le and HObbit stepping up once again to help the American team finish the first half on their map pick, 10-5. Although ENCE tried to mount a comeback, it was Cloud9’s in-game leader Vladislav ‘?nafany?’ Gorshkov who stepped up not only with his calling but also with crucial multi-kills to help Cloud9 take the map 16-11. The third map was ENCE’s pick of Ancient, and the majority Polish roster knew that there was no scope for error. Cloud9 were just one map away from securing the win in Dallas, and if ENCE wanted to stay in the fight, they needed to win two back-to-back maps. Cloud9, though, weren’t going to give ENCE even the slightest chance of a comeback. The American team absolutely dominated ENCE on Ancient and it was nafany leading from the front once again with sh1ro stepping up as well, showing the world why he is one of the best AWPers in the professional scene currently. The dominant showing on their CT start saw Cloud9 end the first half 12-3. It was a clean sweep on their T side as they took the remaining four rounds to secure their first ever  LAN trophy win. 

For his incredible performance throughout the tournament, Ax1Le was awarded the MVP of the tournament award, with the rifler ending the tournament with a rating of 1.32. 

A team filled with majority Russian players was incredibly supported at Dallas, and Cloud9’s IGL made sure he acknowledged that.

Speaking after their win, nafany stated:

Honestly, I probably don’t understand it yet. I have a lot of different emotions, but we just really needed this win and I’m happy that we did it.

I’m really at home. A lot of people support us and it means a lot to us.

Cloud9’s most experienced player and the only one amongst the five who had won a previous LAN trophy, HObbit, commented:

I told you guys, we are going to win some LAN tournaments, we are going to win a lot of tournaments in the future.

We are going to bring a lot of tournaments to Cloud9.

For the CS:GO fans around the world, following IEM Dallas, up next is the BLAST Premier Spring Final, which will see the likes of FaZe Clan, Natus Vincere and Vitality fight amongst each other between June 15 to June 19, 2022. 

Following the BLAST Premier Spring Final, the next big tournament will be IEM Cologne, which will be held in the German country from July 7 to July 17, 2022. 

Cloud9 back on top after IEM Dallas win
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Aditya Chaudhuri

Aditya Chaudhuri

Hailing from the City of Joy, the things that bring me joy are cricket, a good non-tilt CS:GO session, F1 and movies.

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