The later stages of 2015 and the first half of 2016 were a strange time for Cloud9. Between November 2015 – August 2016, Cloud9 went through a few roster and management changes. They were as follows:
November 24 2015 – Sean “sgares” Gares steps down from Cloud9.
January 11 2016 – Jake “Stewie2k” Yip is announced as Cloud9’s new player.
March 24 2016 – Andrew “Irukandji” Timmerman is recruited as a trial coach.
April 12 2016 – Cloud9 announced that Ryan “fREAKAZOID” Abadir is no longer apart of the starting line up, and that Eric” adreN” Hoag will be playing for the team, on loan from Team Liquid.
April 23 2016 – Cloud9 announce Alec “Slemmy” White as their new player and in-game leader.
July 26 2016 – Tres “stunna” Saranthus and Andrew “Irukandji” Timmerman leave their respective positions as manager and coach.
August 17 2016 – Cloud9 announce that Alec “Slemmy” White will be stepping down from the starting roster and will be replaced by Timothy “autimatic” Ta.
Cloud9, over the past 10 months have gone through 7 changes to their starting roster and the people influencing their team. Out of the 7 changes, 5 changes were made to the starting line up directly. Out of the five changes that were made, two of them really stand out.
They are the addition(s) of Jake “Stewie2k” Yip and Timothy “autimatic” Ta to the Cloud9 line up.
The rise of “Stewie2k” and “autimatic” is something of legends – picking two young players, whom are obviously very talented, and then actually putting them in a top team. By having these two on Cloud9, they were allowed to refine, sharpen and develop their skills as players and evolve into a phenomenal duo that would eventually be the driving force in leading Cloud9 to their first ever international championship (for CS:GO) – the ESL Pro League Season 4 Finals.
Going in chronological order, let’s take a look at Cloud9’s first young addition:
The evolution of Jake “Stewie2k” Yip:
When Cloud9 announced the signing of Jake “Stewie2k” Yip, he was filling big shoes. With the then recent departure of Sean “sgares” Gares, many were questioning why Cloud9 opted to go for “Stewie2k” instead of someone more established and had an in-game leading brain.
There were, of course, contrasting reactions to Stewie2k’s addition to the roster:
Many people disagreed with the Stewie2k pickup when it was first announced. A player that was relatively inexperienced on LAN being brought up to a top tier North American team.
Many people thought it was super high risk, and were afraid that the reward wouldn’t suffice, as you may/may not have seen from the various reactions back when the announcement was made.
Jason “Moses” O’Toole said that Cloud9 made a similar move like this back in 2014 with Mike “Shroud” Grzesiek – he was picked up because they liked his decision making and his individual skill. North American Counter-Strike fans should be familiar with “Shroud”‘s individual skill. The talent that “Shroud” possesses was crucial for that team. Cloud9 looked to do the same with “Stewie2k”. Another individually talented player that had yet to be refined. By picking up a player so young, Cloud9 may have seen the opportunity to develop a player young, kill off his bad habits and develop him into an incredible player that has the potential to be a phenom.
Good things take time, and with Stewie they took time. He had shown glimmers of hope throughout the first four months of his tenure on the roster, but after the departure of Ryan “fREAKAZOID” Abadir and the arrival of Alec “Slemmy” White, Cloud9 finally had the brains to back up their brawn. With Jordan “n0thing” Gilbert finally relieved of the in-game leader role, things seemed to be settling down for Cloud9.
Then came TBS’ ELEAGUE Season 1 – Stewie2k’s breakout event.
Breaking down Stewie2k’s performance throughout this tournament from a statistical point of view, it seemed like Stewie2k was performing well, and gradually improving throughout the course of the event against their national and international opposition.
In their first ELEAGUE match, against Liquid, Stewie2k went 19/2/18, with 80.7 ADR and a 0.99 HLTV rating. 11/19 of the frags were headshots. In their second game against Team Liquid, Stewie stepped up phenomenally on Cache, going 29/27 (4.14 K/D). Stewie racked up a 150.4 ADR with a 2.55 HLTV rating. Whilst many would have argued that it was against national competition, these personal results for Stewie were fantastic. With Cloud9 coming up with a lacklustre performance at the MLG Columbus 2016 major, this was a huge step – for both individual and team.
With Cloud9’s second ELEAGUE match being against major champions Luminosity Gaming, many would have expected a slightly lesser performance from Cloud9 overall, let alone Stewie2k. Considering the score of the match up (16:7), Stewie’s stats weren’t bad at all against the major champions, racking up 14/19 on the scoreboard, with a 63.3 ADR and a 0.85 rating. The story was somewhat similar in their second match up against Luminosity, on Train, where Cloud9 lost 16:10. However, Stewie continued to show why Cloud9 picked him up, pulling together a 18/20 score against the major champions, with an 81.5 ADR and a 0.88 rating.
Coming up against Renegades on Train, Stewie was getting a taste of Counter-Strike from all over the world – North America, Brazil and Australia. In this match up Stewie2k went 20/14 with an 80.9 ADR and a 1.25 rating. In this match Cloud9 lost but Stewie’s stats were relatively consistent and in this match on Cobblestone Stewie once again posted phenomenal statistics on the board. In their various matches against Renegades in ELEAGUE, Stewie continually posted up good statistics, particularly in that match going 27/20, with a 111.1 ADR and a 1.35 rating.
Note: I threw together the Renegades matches all in one because I lost track of my tabs. Sorry.
Again, in ELEAGUE, against Luminosity, Stewie posted up great stats. with a score of 24/19, 95.9 ADR and a 1.29 rating. This match, Stewie underperformed slightly with 21/27, 75.3 ADR and an 0.85 rating. Match three against LG was definitely a personal standout for me watching Stewie2k play. 24/19, 109.7 ADR and a 1.32 rating, placing higher than LG on the ratings board (barring FalleN) , bringing in the highest ADR score out of everyone involved in the game and the only one on Cloud9 to have a positive K/D difference.
Later on in ELEAGUE, Stewie and co. came up against Na’Vi. Posting 20/28, 76.6 ADR and a 0.70 rating in the first match, Stewie looked to improve on his performance against a very strong Na’Vi side in the second and third maps. With Cloud9 winning this map, the whole Cloud9 side performed well, but the standouts were Shroud and Stewie, in terms of K/D, ADR and rating. Of course, the focus here is Stewie, so his stats were 24/14, 104.7 ADR and a 1.44 rating. The third and final map of the series saw Stewie pull out 17/17 K/D, 52.8 ADR and a 0.98 rating.
The logic behind this choice:
- MLG Columbus was a very poor tournament for Cloud9, going home early (group stage early)
- Luminosity, Cloud9, Liquid and Tempo Storm were the four top tier participants at DH Austin – anything less than a top 4 finish would’ve been a disappointment
- Despite Stewie performing well against Fnatic, Cloud9 were still sent home early after this loss to Fnatic and a BO3 loss to Liquid.
- By this time Stewie had been able to play in two decently sized LAN tournaments (DH Austin, MLG Columbus and the ESL Pro League Season 3 finals). This meant he might’ve been able to gauge an idea of what he was up against internationally.
- Stewie had more game time – he was able to play more Counter-Strike now that Slemmy was settled into the team and calling, people were comfortable etc (longer tournament life generally allows a player to show off more)
Due to these factors, it seemed to me that Stewie finally felt comfortable with his team, and with someone who was used to in-game leading now doing so, it seems like Stewie began to flourish once comfortable under Slemmy’s leadership, and it felt like ELEAGUE was the place where that comfort started to settle in. We did see glimmers of the Stewie2k factor, but ELEAGUE was where it was consistent. ELEAGUE was where Stewie really was the x-factor and Cloud9 were able to win. In these tournaments prior, Cloud9 might have been losing but Stewie was performing, and often when a team loses, they’re generally criticized as opposed to looking for some positives to take away – when a team starts winning, you tend to notice individual standouts, and at ELEAGUE, Stewie stood out whether win or lose, which is why for me it was his stand-out tournament that kicked him into gear.
It showed, it felt like the first bit of ELEAGUE games (excluding vs. Na’Vi because that was later) that Stewie was more confident. Against this team, against mousesports, against TyLoo, against EnvyUS and finally against G2 eSports, Stewie was the standout performer at the ESL Cologne Qualifier for Cloud9. He posted up high K/D + ADR against Empire (27-22, 110.2 ADR), against Mousesports (21-23, 80.0 ADR), 17-22 w/ 80.5 ADR against TyLoo, 30-21, 114.0 ADR vs. EnvyUS and 23-21, 111.4 ADR vs. G2.
The reasoning behind using ELEAGUE as a turning point is justified further by the following:
- At MLG Columbus, Stewie’s average ADR was 64.3 (after 2 games)
- At Dreamhack Austin, his average ADR was 83.82 (after 2 BO1 and 2 BO3)
- At the ESL Pro League Season 3 Finals, his ADR average was 86.6 (after 1 BO1 and 1 BO3)
- Then comes ELEAGUE, and his average ADR w/o the Na’Vi game (because it happened AFTER Cologne Qualifiers and ECS) was 89.06
- His average ADR at the ESL One Cologne 2016 Qualifiers was 99.22
Stewie had played more games at ELEAGUE than any of the other prior tournaments. ELEAGUE was the tournament where games were consistent due to Cloud9’s tenure in the tournament and one would expect stats to even out in a tournament that long but Stewie’s stayed considerably high, and then shot up when they played the qualifiers for Cologne.
Then with Cloud9’s early elimination at ECS his ADR average fell to about 77. Of course, ADR isn’t the only measure of success in a player’s game, but it’s one that I used to benchmark his rise in the ELEAGUE competition especially, since that was a longer tournament in terms of games played. His improvement, which was shown at the major qualifiers and even at ECS shows that ELEAGUE was the point where Stewie established himself as a name to be feared amongst international competitors. He played much better as time went on against opponents, and considering, aside from MLG Columbus, ELEAGUE and the Major Qualifiers were international tournaments, Stewie flourished wonderfully against his opponents under Slemmy.
By this time, it felt like Stewie had matured as a player after being around teammates that had been in the competitive scene at the highest level for quite some time, and despite Slemmy’s late arrival, his in game leadership seemed to have helped Stewie develop into an even better player.
Statistics like ADR, FPR and so forth only tell so much of the story of Stewie’s development. The rest was told in his online and offline gameplay and decision making. Stewie was able to rifle and pick up the AWP, which made him an extremely versatile player.
Stewie’s rise, statistically and visually is one of the most phenomenal things to happen to North American Counter-Strike. It seemed like he was the player that could do almost everything.
It seemed like, with just a bit of guidance, time around experienced players and playtime at LAN tournaments with national and international talent, especially international talent, Stewie was able to develop and shape into North America’s strongest and most talented player. He is a quick learner looking to improve and has the right mindset for the game. His rise has been phenomenal. He was a diamond amongst a bunch of rocks and after joining Cloud9, he was refined and formed into a shiny, strong diamond, and has been arguably the biggest force in the Cloud9 squad recently.
Practice makes perfect, and Stewie has been able to utilize the resources at Cloud9 to develop into a refined player and has released the potential that Cloud9 initially saw in him.
Stewie had started as someone people looked to simply as a “pug star”, to now being North America’s best talent.
After ELEAGUE, there were no offline tournaments until Northern Arena, Toronto.
Slemmy had left and Cloud9 needed to fill a hole in their roster once again….
Who did they pick?
The Arrival of Timothy “autimatic” Ta
autimatic has been in the pro scene for quite some time now, most notably with teams like Denial eSports, Nihilum Gaming, Tempo Storm, compLexity Gaming, Team SoloMid and now Cloud9.
Autimatic has achieved some high placed accolades throughout his CS career, including a 2nd placed finish at Northern Arena 2015 with coL, 3rd in the North American minor for Cologne with TSM and a top 4 finish at ECS Season 1 with TSM as well.
A career of what looked like many averages turned into something phenomenal the moment he set foot into the Cloud9 house. A 2nd place finish at the Northern Arena LAN in Toronto, a top four finish at the Starladder i-League StarSeries S2, a 2nd place finish at Dreamhack Bucharest and most recently a first place finish at the ESL Pro League Season 4 Finals, hosted in Brazil.
Could it simply be the fact that he finally has a strong core of teammates around him?
It’s a high probability. The refined Jake “Stewie2k” Yip, you also have the likes of Tyler “Skadoodle” Latham, Jordan “n0thing” Gilbert and Mike “shroud” Grzesiek. On paper, and recently on LAN, this team has been performing at a high level consistently.
Stewie has been playing well, n0thing has been playing well, shroud has shown signs of recovering his old form in a lot of instances and as soon as autimatic came into this line up he started to play really well too.
Looking to Northern Arena – his first LAN playing vs. ACE, Rogue, CLG, Heroic and Immortals. Against ACE, autimatic didn’t really have to do much, going 11-8 with 62.4 ADR. Against Rogue, more work was put in by autimatic, going 17-16 with 75.8 ADR. Against CLG in a bo3, he went 40-23 with 94.8 ADR, against Heroic he had the score of 59-45 in a best of three match up, with 93.5 ADR and finally against Immortals, he posted up numbers like 60-55 with 78.1 ADR.
Autimatic had a 1.13 average rating at Northern Arena, with an ADR average of 80.92 ADR. Autimatic’s statistics and gameplay were good at this event, but fans and analysts alike were looking to overseas events to judge his place on Cloud9.
So, he went overseas with his team.
Cloud9 were due to participate in the Starladder offline tournament and were placed in a group with nV, VG. Cyberzen and VP.
Against VG. Cyberzen, autimatic went 20-10, with a 92.3 ADR value and a rating of 1.50. Against EnvyUS, he put up a score of 15-16, with an ADR of 75.8 and a rating of 1.06. Against Flipside in a best of three, autimatic went 50-44, 72.4 ADR and a 1.05 rating. Cloud9 crashed out to eventual winners NIP 2-0 in a best of three – autimatic’s stats were as follows: 34-37, 81.6 ADR, 0.91 rating
autimatic’s average ADR and rating: 80.5 ADR, 1.13 average rating.
Moving onto Dreamhack Bucharest, another European tournament where autimatic under par considering his performance in the last two offline tournaments.
vs. Flipside, autimatic went 14-13, with 79.4 ADR and a 1.02 rating. vs. FaZe, autimatic went 14-19, with 56.2 ADR and a 0.75 rating. vs. EnvyUS, autimatic posted up 62-46, 84.3 ADR and a 1.25 rating. Against Virtus.Pro, autimatic boasted a 35-41, 73.9 ADR and a rating of 0.87.
An average of 73.45 ADR and a rating average of 0.97
Still a sound tournament for autimatic, an exceptional one for Cloud9.
Then came something not many people expected until after the group stage.
In the Pro League Finals:
vs. FaZe – 24/21, 72.4 ADR, 1.18 rating
vs. NRG – 20/17, 89.1 ADR, 1.16 rating
vs. SK – 10/17, 69.1 ADR, 0.72 rating
vs. NIP – 29/13, 118.2 ADR, 1.76 rating
vs. Dignitas – 19/20, 76.6 ADR, 1.04 rating
vs. Optic – BO3 – 46/22, 101.9 ADR, 1.54 rating
vs. mouz – BO3 – 42/29, 84.0 ADR, 1.38 rating
vs. SK – BO3 – 70/50, 90.8 ADR, 1.33 rating
Averages: 87.65 ADR, 1.26 rating
Performance average? Insane. .
autimatic was arguably Cloud9’s most influential player throughout the duration of this offline tournament, which lead the organization and team alike to their first CS:GO international championship victory, $200,000 in prize money and earned autimatic the HLTV MVP award for his outstanding performance in the series.
autimatic’s story is much more simple than Stewie’s – a professional player in teams where his potential could not be unleashed finally gets into a team that knows he’s talented, puts him in the right position with a strong team around him and finally he’s able to perform at the level he’s been wanting to perform at for some time. It’s just amazing how quickly autimatic settled into Cloud9 and made an impact with this team. He seems to be playing with a lot more confidence and it showed in his performances, especially the Pro League Season 4 finals, where the best teams from South America (who compete in North America), North America and Europe come to participate in an offline tournament.
autimatic’s ascension to being one of the best players in North America was a rapid one, and like Stewie, has the right mindset for the game – practice & hard work that pays off.
Cloud9’s recent success seems to have come with the addition of autimatic under Stewie2k’s in-game leadership. They are both performing at a high level since being on the same team. We’ve already looked at autimatic’s statistics when he plays with Stewie, so let’s look at some of Stewie’s statistics with autimatic on the team.
- vs. ACE – 15/10, 62.2 ADR, 1.16 rating
- vs. Rogue – 24/16, 102.4 ADR, 1.30 rating
- vs. CLG – BO3 – 47/22, 102.4 ADR, 1.61 rating
- vs. Heroic – BO3 – 55/47, 86.0 ADR, 1.20 rating
- vs. Immortals – BO3, 58/68, 79.5 ADR, 0.92 rating
- Average ADR and rating – 86.5 ADR, 1.24 rating
SL i-League StarSeries Season 2 Finals
- vs. EnvyUS – 21/15, 82.1 ADR, 1.40 rating
- vs. VG Cyberzen – 23/11, 119.3 ADR, 1.73 rating
- vs. Flipside – BO3 – 51/46, 85.9 ADR, 1.05 rating
- vs. NIP – BO3 – 26/38, 75.4 ADR, 0.71 rating
- Average ADR and rating – 90.67 ADR, 1.22 rating
- vs. Flipside – 20/11, 108.2 ADR, 1.41 rating
- vs. FaZe – 24/14, 99.5 ADR, 1.47 rating
- vs. EnvyUS – BO3 – 55/53, 82.4 ADR, 1.06 rating
- vs. Virtus.Pro – BO3 – 26/42, 60.7 ADR, 0.68 rating
- Average ADR and rating – 87.7 ADR, rating 1.2
ESL Pro League Season 4 Finals
- vs. FaZe – 23/19, 95.1 ADR, 1.06 rating
- vs. NRG – 19/16, 76.5 ADR, 1.09 rating
- vs. SK – 8/20, 30.3 ADR, 0.40 rating
- vs. NIP – 20/17, 97.5 ADR, 1.09 rating
- vs. Dignitas – 24/17, 90.1 ADR, 1.21 rating
- vs. Optic – BO3 – 40/26, 84.9 ADR, 1.38 rating
- vs. mouz – BO3 – 34/32, 72.1 ADR, 0.97 rating
- vs. SK – BO3 – 60/50, 81.4 ADR, 1.13 rating
- Average ADR and rating – 78.5 ADR, 1.04 rating
Stewie2k with Autimatic on the team has been performing consistently well throughout the last few of their international tournaments. With autimatic coming into the team, it could be that he fits right in with Stewie’s calling style and that Stewie knows how to utilize a player like autimatic well, or it’s just the environment that he’s in with Cloud9, or both. Stewie was already performing well before Autimatic came into the side, but with his arrival, it feels like Stewie’s game has gone one step further than what it was when Slemmy was on the squad.
As a spectator, you can see it in their gameplay – a newfound level of confidence by being with each other on the same team is something to behold. Watching these two play is really interesting and nice to see, because you can tell that they are hard workers and dedicated to improving themselves and improving the team based on how many hours they put into playing and practising.
Regardless, it has been a phenomenal developmental story for both Stewie2k and Autimatic.
For Stewie2k, evolving from a so called “pug star” to one of the best players in North America, a dynamic player who can play most roles on a team, most places on any map, someone who’s AWP is as good as their rifle and now in-game leading for the best North American team – all at the age of 18.
As for autimatic, someone who had potential, but never had the environment or teammates to help him release it. The Cloud9 roster knew autimatic had the skill and potential, a lot of players in the professional scene knew he had the potential, and he himself must’ve known he had the potential to become a fragging monster. He’s on a team, surrounded by good players and wham – he’s performing like he’s been on the team for a year +.
These two also are able to bring the best out of their teammates – particularly n0thing and shroud.
It’s fantastic to see Stewie2k and Autimatic be refined, polished, sharpened and constantly improving everyday to try to solidify themselves as two of North America’s best talents, and solidify Cloud9’s position as North America’s top team.
Kudos Cloud9, on picking up these two diamonds in the rough.