Cloud9 are a powerful esports organisation whose history is full of great and dramatic moments. In games like League of Legends and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, everyone has heard of C9. If you go back a few years, this org also had a Dota 2 team.
In CS:GO, C9’s biggest success came in 2018, when their team won the ELeague Major. In the same year, the club’s LoL team finished 3rd – 4th at Worlds. In Dota 2, one of the best years for Cloud9 was 2014. That’s when they finished 5th – 6th at The International.
Because of their successes and their community-focused ethos, Cloud9 have gathered a lot of fans. Their Twitter account is followed by 1.2 million people, some of whom have likely placed at least one bet on one of their teams. Pretty soon, those who are interested in fiat or crypto esports betting will be able to bet on their Valorant team too. Because C9 is building a formidable roster to compete in this esport in 2023 as a Valorant Champions Tour partner team.
Valorant is an excellent choice. As an esport, it’s still in its relatively early stages but the game itself is played by around 15 million people, even though it’s only been around for two and a half years.
When Valorant was launched, numerous pro players from other FPS games, such as CS:GO and Overwatch, decided to change their careers and start anew in this game developed by one of the most well-known companies in esports, Riot Games.
Riot’s success with League of Legends has allowed them to fund a large-scale operation and develop a top FPS game. Furthermore, its esports ecosystems have allowed people to chase their dreams of becoming a pro gamer.
Now Riot is establishing sustainable Valorant partner leagues all around the globe, the same way it did for League of Legends, giving games like CS:GO and Overwatch will have a serious rival.
With so much going on in Valorant, it’s not a big surprise that some of the biggest esports organizations have already entered this esport. The growth potential for the near future is there.
In 2022, the game’s world championship, called Valorant Champions, had 525,000 viewers on average. The air time of the tournament was 115 hours and the grand final, at its peak, was watched by 1.5 million people.
These numbers are significantly better than those of CS:GO’s IEM Cologne 2022, a $1 million tournament that featured the best teams in the world. The number of average viewers for that event was 276,000, with a peak of 1.25 million.
Since Cloud9 already have a team in CS:GO, it made sense for them to enter Valorant too. And that’s what they did in 2020.
Cloud9’s potential in Valorant
Cloud9 are clearly interested in building a formidable Valorant roster because they have already announced the signing of one of the best Valorant players in the world, Jaccob “yay” Whiteaker. The deal was announced on October 17th. The rest of the roster is not bad either, but we might see some roster changes early next year.
Along with yay, two other players joined C9: Jordan “Zellsis” Montemurro and Mateja “qpert” Mijovic. The first of these players has already demonstrated great abilities while competing for Version1. The other remains to be tested in high-tier tournaments. He is nearly 20 years old and comes from Serbia.
In 2021, Cloud9 had a couple of significant results in Valorant. They finished 1st in the VTC 2021 North America Last Chance Qualifier and then 5th – 8th at Valorant Champions 2021.
In 2022, Cloud9 weren’t up there. The team took 3rd place at VTC 2022 North America Stage 1 Challengers. Normally, from a team of Cloud9’s caliber, you would expect at least a participation at the two Masters events and at the world championship.
The decision to sign yay from Optic despite the massive price tag was probably influenced by the need to make something happen. This esport has great potential but the rewards are mostly reserved for the top teams. As in other esports, if you can’t qualify for the big events, it’s not always worth it.
Cloud9 have had epic exits before. They quit Dota 2 and CS:GO for instance, not long after reaching the top. In Valorant, the opportunity is great but it still must be seized. And that seems to be one of C9’s main objectives for 2023.
Who is yay?
Yay is a 24-year-old North American player who used to play for OpTic Gaming, one of the best competitors in Valorant. He managed to play in the grand final of a few Masters and even won some of them. He also played in the grand final of Valorant Champions 2022, where his team lost against Loud (1-3).
If there is one player who can help Cloud9 succeed in Valorant, it’s definitely him. Of course, this is a team game and nobody wins solo, but when you have a formidable competitor on the roster, he can influence the rest of the squad too.
Valorant is won largely through clever tactics and superior strategy. And it certainly helps to have a good strategist and tactician on your team, who can also communicate well and share his thoughts with the other players.
Fortunately for C9, they will have several months at their disposal to find a success formula because the current Valorant season has pretty much ended. The next big tournaments, the Valorant partner leagues, will start mid-February next year.