The Cloud9 we knew two months ago is no longer the same Cloud9 competing right now at ELEAGUE CS:GO Premiere 2017.
Their transformation started on August 15 when the Cloud9 management announced that Jordan "n0thing" Gilbert and Michael "shroud" Grzesiek will be replaced by Will "RUSH" Wierzba and Tarik "tarik" Celik in their line-up. That day marked the start of a new era for the North American squad.
Even though n0thing and shroud are well-respected players in the entire Counter-Strike scene, both of them knew that their move from the active roster to the bench will be beneficial for the team. Shroud wanted to be a full-time streamer, while n0thing, according to Stewie2k, has been thinking of voluntarily benching himself.
The addition of RUSH and tarik to Cloud9 improves the team a lot. Stewie2k can now focus on playing his own game as he admits that tarik taking the shot calling made him feel grateful. The pressure of leading his teammates while being a consistent rifler at the same time is finally off his shoulders.
Meanwhile, RUSH revealed that having a dedicated AWPer in Tyler "Skadoodle" Latham also makes him feel great. He never really got a dedicated sniper in his time with OpTic Gaming, since mixwell always disliked handling the AWP.
Changing the line-up of a team basically transforms it to a brand-new one. Cloud9 is now operating under a new system with never-before-seen strategies, and it's paying off for them so far at ELEAGUE CS:GO Premiere 2017. They are set against FaZe Clan for the semi-finals, after sweeping G2 Esports in the quarterfinals.
RUSH Image © HLTV.org
In an interview with HLTV, RUSH stated that beating Astralis will be easier than beating G2 because "a team like Astralis is more structured and honest in their play."
He even recognized how G2 and FaZe's similarity in playstyle make them a hard team to beat, "they are really high on the individual skill spectrum and as we're growing as a team, these types of teams give us trouble."
If ever Cloud9 wins against Astralis, FaZe Clan will be the only team blocking their path to glory. However, it will be a great challenge since Cloud9 got utterly destroyed the last time they met at ESL One New York 2017.
As bad Cloud9 may look against FaZe, the tarik-led squad's win against G2 Esports at Cobblestone is a good sign for them. Considering Cloud9's bad history on the map coupled with careless errors during eco rounds, the North American squad still managed to outshoot G2 Esports on one of their best maps.
Their match against G2 Esports would have been a helpful preview if ever Cloud9 eventually ended up meeting FaZe at the grand finals. With RUSH knowing how similar G2 and FaZe's playstyle are, Cloud9 will already know which of their areas needs improving.
Once Cloud9 is done with Astralis, they will be two or three maps away from their first victory as a new squad.