For many Cloud 9 fans, yesterday marked the day that the American hopefuls were finally able to exorcise their demons and take home a significant title. What’s more important perhaps, is that they did it in style against arguably the world’s best team: SK Gaming – and on Brazilian soil to boot.
Despite their heroics, critics of Cloud 9 were quick to assess their ESL Pro League Season 4 Championship win as a one-off; however, Cloud 9 has exemplified the characteristics of a team that’s ready to play and stay at the top of global Counter-Strike.
In the playoff stages, Cloud9 exhibited shades of their past – echoing the form of their red-hot start to the season – they made quick work of OpTic Gaming and even took OpTic’s Cobblestone away from them with a devastating score of 16-2. The evident storyline that began to develop here was Timothy “autimatic” Ta’s star-calibre play that would see him take home the coveted MVP award from the event.
Mousesports have been quite the spectacle to watch as of late, with Chris “chrisJ” de Jong showing flashes of brilliance, most recently at ELeague. Unfortunately for Mousesports, Cloud9 were firing on all cylinders right out of the gate on this one and would take the series 2-0 once again.
For the second series in a row, Timothy “automatic” Ta would lead his team to triumph across the two maps played. Outshining star player Nikola “NiKo” Kovac was an incredible feat for Cloud 9’s latest acquisition, but Ta showed up when it mattered most for his team.
The Grand Finals would prove to be nothing short of a rollercoaster of an affair, with Overpass slipping from the grasps of Cloud9 as SK would make the comeback from a 13-2 deficit to take the map in overtime.
Analyst Janko “YNk” Paunović suggested that suffering a defeat of that magnitude would simply be too much to overcome for the American lineup, yet Cloud9 would prove him wrong by taking two commanding victories on both Mirage and Dust 2 to take the Championships from the Brazilians on home turf. The dynamic duo of Timothy “autimatic” Ta and Jake “Stewie2k” Yip would lead the team over the incredible skill and strategy of SK Gaming.
— Dustin Mouret (@dustmouret) 30 October 2016
After coldzera, f0rest and NEO getting MVPs, the last 3 events it’s been all about the new generation – s1mple, k0nfig & autimatic
— Petar Milovanovic (@Tgwri1s) 30 October 2016
Following the victory, this duo was quickly noticed by many observers in the scene. Comparisons were being drawn to the most recent victory by Dignitas at EPICENTER, where young guns Emil “Magiskb0Y” Reif and Kristian “k0nfig” Wienecke lead their team to stunning victories over Fnatic, Natus Vincere, and Virtus Pro.
Cloud9 have been through the trials and tribulations that any great team has had to go through, and this stand out performance shows that the development of their two star players, Stewie2k and Autimatic, is well underway and that the Cloud9 the world saw yesterday is here to stay.