Cloud9 return to Counter-Strike
Cloud9 have returned to CS:GO with the acquisition of Gambit's roster who have been playing under the Players banner for just over six weeks. This marks the North American organization's first lineup since their "Colossus" project was dissolved over a year ago due to a combination of lackluster results and financial constraints brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The team is currently ranked third-best in the world and is slated to participate in both the upcoming PGL Major in Antwerp next month alongside IEM Dallas 2022 from May 30th—June 5th which will have several top-ten teams in attendance. Moreover, the team hit their stride in 2021, seeing the trio of Dmitry "sh1ro" Sokolov, Sergey "Ax1Le" Rykhtorov, and Abay "HObbit" Khasenov all be ranked 4th, 5th, and 6th, respectively, in HLTV's Top 20 ranking of 2021. For context, the last Cloud9 player to boast a Top 20 performance was Timothy "autimatic" Ta back in 2018.
In an interview with Kevin Hitt of the Sports Business Journal, Cloud9 CEO Jack Etienne spoke about how the relocation of the squad is currently underway, although it's still yet to be seen how the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine could affect future visas for Russian nationals should the conflict continue.
This new iteration of Cloud9 sees Vladislav "nafany" Gorshkov and company find a new home after playing under the neutral "Players" tag throughout both ESL Pro League Season 15 and Group B of the PGL Major Antwerp Europe RMR. This was a result of the Gambit organization being banned from competing in events run by ESL, BLAST, and PGL following Russia's invasion of Ukraine back in February. Notably, Gambit are owned by Russia's largest mobile telecoms network, MTS, whose beneficial owner is Vladimir Yevtushenkov, an individual reportedly close to President Putin.
Meanwhile, a report released yesterday by escore states that, according to Vitalii "v1lat" Nikolaevich, the Gambit organization is set to part ways with both its Fortnite and Dota 2 rosters, leaving just VALORANT and Apex Legends as the two remaining titles Gambit will be competing in.
Cloud9 have struggled to replicate the success seen when Jake "Stewie2K" Yip and co. lifted the ELEAGUE Boston Major trophy back in 2018. With a lineup as promising as this one, it's hoped that Cloud9 can once again challenge for trophies and possibly take home the organization's second Major championship.
Cloud9 return to CS:GO with the following lineup:
Vladislav "nafany" Gorshkov
Sergey "Ax1Le" Rykhtorov
Timofey "interz" Yakushin
Dmitry "sh1ro" Sokolov
Abay "HObbit" Khasenov
Konstantin "groove" Pikiner (Coach)
Ivan "F_1N" Kochugov (Analyst)
Alexander "sweety10" Shcherbakov (Manager)
The brand new Cloud9 roster have recently qualified for the Legends stage of the upcoming PGL Antwerp Major which is set to begin May 9th.