The legacy of CS:GO is deeply ingrained in the company Cloud9. It has participated in 11 of the 17 Majors sponsored by Valve and, in a miraculous run on Boston’s home turf, has even won a Major. The brand has been connected to North American Counter-Strike since the company bought the Complexity roster in 2014.
IEM Rio Major Goals
Cloud9 may yet be too late for IEM Rio. The team’s success at IEM Dallas was a good first step, but the demons that caused them to falter in Stockholm, Antwerp, and Cologne remain. It’s not like they only have a remote chance, though. They are placed fourth on our power rankings and fifth overall. They have sh1ro and Ax1Le, two of the finest players in the world, and Hobbit has won a Major before.
Nafany is under a lot of criticism because, following IEM Cologne, he openly acknowledged that he “ruined this tournament for [his] squad.” “It is obviously difficult to play when you have an opening fragger who isn’t getting opening frags. Additionally, I did not perform well this tournament as a game leader “He went on. His individual unreliability is well known, and because of his excessive aggression, Cloud9 is forced to recover from 4v5 battles more frequently than they would want.
His calling approach has also drawn criticism. Despite having the poorest flash assists in the top ten this year, Cloud9 has a style that centers on systematically gaining map control. There is a significant stylistic difference between nafany and FaZe, the finest LAN team in the world. Finn #karrigan Andersen’s calling has a level of unpredictability and tempo that nafany cannot yet replicate.
Is There Hope?
However, Cloud9 has as much firepower as any squad in the world when Nafany is in top form. He only needs to get in condition for this particular competition in order to win in Rio; he does not need to permanently fix his inconsistent play.
With only a few best-of-three matches remaining, Cloud9 has a good chance of defeating FaZe, as they did in Dallas, if they can timing a purple patch right.
Nafany is very clear about his strategy: “We don’t want any result other than a win.” There is internal pressure in addition to exterior pressure. Repeating their top-four finish from Stockholm might be seen as a success from the outside.
But within the group, a loss at any point may be interpreted as the reemergence of their “onliner” label, their mentality abandoning them once more when they need it most.
A victory in Rio would definitely put a stop to that story. Whether it is fair or not, if they accept anything less, Cloud9’s internet success might haunt them well into 2023.