Doge House Hearthstone to Join Cloud9 HyperX

By John Nomis | | Read more

Cloud9 HyperX is very excited to announce that Doge House will be joining as our C9 Hearthstone team. Doge House featured some of the world’s strongest Hearthstone players coming from the US, Poland, Germany and the Ukraine. With this highly talented team, Cloud9 Hearthstone is poised to have the top worldwide players in the fastest growing competitive game in 2014.

Joining Cloud9 Hearthstone are the following:
Marcin “Gnimsh” Filipowicz - Poland
Cong “StrifeCro” Shu - US
Rumay “Hafu” Wang - US
Aleksandr “Kolento” Malsh - Ukraine (Formerly Team Managrind, joining us July 1st, 2014)
Jan “ek0p” Palys - Germany

Unfortunately Doge House teammate Artosis will not be joining Cloud9 Hearthstone right now. The team remains very close with him and looks forward to his many future successes in the ever growing Hearthstone scene.

“Being on a professional team was always one of my dreams. When we created Doge House, we always knew that it was just a matter of time till we join a serious organization.” said Marcin “Gnimsh” Filipowicz, Team Captain of Cloud9 Hearthstone. “We were building our brand, but it's hard being on your own. Cloud9 gives us an opportunity to focus on playing the game we love and improve at it.”

What really drew Cloud9’s attention was that all the players had incredibly strong backgrounds in TCGs, competitive gaming, and more. Gnimsh, the team’s captain, was a WoW TCG professional along with the original Hearthstone villain, ek0p. Hafu has had a number of competitive wins in WoW 3v3 and StrifeCro used to be a top-tier StarCraft 2 competitor. Lastly, Kolento has been the most consistent top Hearthstone ladder player in EU.

“Hearthstone has been growing exponentially and it wasn’t easy finding the right group of players to pick up.” said Jack Etienne, Owner and General Manager of Cloud9 HyperX. “After talking with Gnimsh and his team, it was clear that him and his Hearthstone team would be a perfect fit for Cloud9.”

“Personally I'm super excited about the future with Cloud9. Hearthstone is growing with every day and there is so many tournaments that provide exposure and great challenge.” added Marcin Filipowicz. “I'm also very happy about the direction where Blizzard is taking the game in regards to esports and I'm sure that only good things will happen with so much positive energy coming from all of those involved.”

Cloud9 is thrilled to have such an exceptional Hearthstone team on our roster and will do everything possible to ensure the team’s future success.

For more news and announcements from Cloud9 HyperX, follow us on twitter at @cloud9gg and Facebook at http://facebook.com/cloud9gg.

 

Meteos on the state of the NA LCS

By John Nomis | | Read more

NA LCS week 5 wrapped up with Cloud9 tied with TSM at 7/5. Despite some great games, the teams score is sitting well below their usual dominance over the North American scene. A huge number of roster swaps and the addition of support staff on many NA teams has raised the competitive level of the region.

Although analysts predicted unchanged Cloud9 roster would sweep the early season while region adapted to their changes, the team has had a rocky start. I spoke with Meteos regarding the teams performance and his impressions of the other teams.

Did All Stars affect your ability to prepare for the first week of summer split?

Meteos: Not having Hai affected our ability to prepare for the summer split. having to play with another mid laner changes the team chemistry and then going back changes it further. Trying to take time off to see family between All Stars and the summer split cut into our practice time as well which has lead to us under performing.

Did the changes in play caused by the 4.7 patch influence this at all?

Meteos: I don’t think this specific patch affected our performance. The game is constantly changing, we just haven't practiced enough to keep up with it.

Did any teams stand out right away as having adapted in particular?

Meteos: Dig and LMQ looked really good the first week.

Your first match against TSM was fairly methodical. Do you think TSM was also still a bit uncomfortable with the new roster?

Meteos: Possibly. I think the biggest factor in the first C9 vs TSM game was the preparation. I think we prepared better than they did, on top of having the blue side advantage which gave us a better draft for the match

What's your impression of Amazing as a jungler?

Meteos: Amazing looks good, he has really good mechanics and plays all of the meta junglers.

Despite having quite possibly the most major roster change, Dignitas came out gates at a full sprint while many other teams are still building synergy. What do you think has allowed them to show up so strong?

Meteos: They're good players with a good supporting staff on the team. They've been practicing a lot in solo queue which has given them really strong mechanics. They usually get an advantage early game which they use to snowball into mid and late game.

One of the main criticisms of their roster shift was that it wouldn't necessarily improve the team strategically. Do you think they have changed on that front?

Meteos: Dignitas quite possibly has the strongest supporting staff this season, including a coach, several analysts, and a life coach so the players can focus on the game. I think that a devoted supporting staff can really improve a team.

Cloud9 and CLG have now faced off twice. Both teams are known for being the most  strategic teams in the NA LCS, but both games between you two ended up becoming huge bloodbaths with a lot of aggressive flashes and fights. Can you think of any reason the games play out this way?

Meteos: I think games between C9 and CLG turn into blood baths because both of our teams like playing aggressively and we go for fights and plays when we’re behind even if it’s risky.

Although Curse has had a rough run so far, many of their games  have been extremely close. Do you think there are any deciding factors preventing them from getting more victories?

Meteos: Curse looks like a good team but it seems like random stuff goes wrong in their LCS matches. Not sure if there’s any one thing prevents them from getting more wins.

Despite their losses, Curse manages to draw out many of their games and keep matches extremely close but Cloud9 was able to close out their match in under 30 minutes. Do you think you did anything differently or did everything just go right?

Meteos: Our game versus Curse went really well from the beginning. We got 3 early kills and were able to snowball the game by taking their objectives and having full vision control of the map. It’s almost impossible for a team to come back from that deficit unless we mess up.

LMQ has been performing very well and developed an early lead on Cloud9 in both you matches. In the first match, however, Cloud9 managed to come back from the early deficit. What was the situation in that match?

Meteos: LMQ outplayed us really hard early game and were able to get a huge gold lead early in the game from dragon, turrets, and first blood. They invested a lot of gold into vision control so we had to play really carefully and do our best to farm up while conceding control of the map. We picked some good fights and managed to get back into the game and ultimately, I think, it came down to us out scaling them with our picks and having a good team comp against them, even if our picks weren't good in lane.

What is your impression of their style compared to other Chinese teams such as WE and OMG?

Meteos: I find it hard to compare styles between teams. In my opinion it just seems like every team does their best to win without really worrying about style. Most teams play meta champions, try to win lanes, and then snowball their early game advantages into vision control and go from there. LMQ is pretty aggressive compared to most other teams that we play.

With talent acquisition like Altec and, more recently, Helios on EG, is it possible to tell if it is a good pick up right away or is it hard to say without time?

Meteos: Like most roster changes, only time will tell how it works out. There are a lot of factors that go beneath the surface with players rather  than just their skill in the game such as their commitment to improvement, their ego, their communication skills, and their synergy with each other.

Thanks for answering my questions. Any shout outs you would like to add?

Meteos: Sure, I’d like to thank our sponsors. HyperX, Logitech, Alienware, Lol-Class, NEEDforSEAT, Homejoy, sideqik, and the Airforce Reserve.

Air Force Reserve sponsors League of Legends gaming team, Cloud9

By John Nomis | | Read more

Air Force Reserve sponsors League of Legends gaming team, Cloud9

The Air Force Reserve is happy to announce its partnership with Cloud9, the professional online gaming team, and their quest for the title in the League of Legends Championship Series.

“The Air Force Reserve is very excited to start this adventure with Cloud9.” said Colonel Christopher Nick, Commander, Air Force Reserve Command Recruiting Service.

Through this partnership, the Air Force Reserve is the first military branch to directly sponsor a professional gaming team and establish a dialogue with the United States e-sports community.

“Cloud9 is proud to be partnered with The Air Force Reserve,” said Jack Etienne, Owner and Team Manager of Cloud9. “This is a tremendous opportunity for Cloud9 and we're looking forward to building a long relationship with an organization that values teamwork and dedication as much as we do.”

“As the cyberspace mission continues to grow in the Air Force Reserve, we continuously search for new Citizen Airmen with various skillsets such as those possessed by online gamers,” Nick said.

Cloud9, founded in 2013, has grown to be a leading global eSports organization focused on supporting the foremost talented competitive gamers in the world’s most popular video games.

League of Legends is a multiplayer online battle arena game (MOBA) and the world’s most-played PC game with over 67 million monthly players.

To learn more about Cloud9, the Air Force Reserve and League of Legends, go to:
Cloud9 Website: http://www.cloud9.gg
Air Force Reserve Website: http://afreserve.com/
League of Legends Website: http://www.leagueoflegends.com/

Spring Split and Beyond

By John Nomis | | Read more

Despite Cloud 9’s success in Summer split of Season 3, their play style was the subject of a great deal of criticism from their peers and analysts regarding their early game and weak lanes. With Spring split of Season 4 came a transformation in Cloud 9’s play. The team emphasized early aggression, stating they wished to take control of their own destiny rather than letting the win come to them with superior strategy.

Such a dramatic shift brought predictions of a less successful split from the team, but playoffs came and went with Cloud 9 coming in only one game under their Season 3 25/3 Summer record. I spoke with Hai about Cloud 9’s mindset for the season, their shift in strategy, and the team’s performance coming out of the Spring Split.

How has the environment in the LCS changed in season 4? Does it feel more competitive than last season?

Hai: When we joined the LCS, every team had pretty bad practice regimes and it showed because we dominated them. We did things differently from every other team, even our pick/ban strategy was new. When we brought all those things into the LCS, the teams had to adapt and change otherwise they'd continue to get dumpstered.

This last split, you could see the other teams doing what we started. Bringing their own notebooks, planning out pick/bans more in-depth, changing how they prioritize champion select and how they practice. Bringing in analysts and playing more solo que.

So with all that being done, teams have become much better.

How did this regiment develop? Was it just what worked best for Cloud 9 or did you have any influences?

Hai: As far as practice goes, we were the only team that highly valued Solo Q as good practice. We loved playing it so that came naturally. For picks and bans, Lemon more or less started that a while back. So things kind of just came natural to us.

Cloud 9 repeated its 3 game shutout of TSM in the playoffs. Do you feel like the games were closer this split?

Hai: I don't really remember how much harder/easier the games were, I would like to say they were definitely harder though.

In the 4.5 meta 4v0 lanes were very common and favored teams with the greatest map movements, which is something Cloud 9 is known for and to which TSM was having trouble adapting. All 3 matches against TSM, however, were standard lane matchups, which is TSM’s comfort zone. Can you comment on the decision behind this strategy?

Hai: In the games against TSM, we were Blue for ⅔ of the matches. If a 4v0 is going to happen it is initiated by the red side team. For our red game, we did a poor invade which locked us into the 2v2 situation.

Members of Cloud 9 answered most questions regarding their expectations of a repeat of the season 3 25/3 score by saying they believed with was partially luck and unlikely to happen again. Was this due to the other teams stepping up their practice?

Hai: As every other team became stronger, we did as well. I don't think any team should ever go into a split thinking they will be so dominant. We just happened to be able to play better than our opponents this time again and got a similar score, albeit each game was much harder.

Another big subject for Cloud 9 this split has been earlier aggression. How do you feel about the teams progress over the course of the split?

Hai: I think we became much better at being more aggressive early game. Last split we didn't have a need to be aggressive early as we could be passive and just win. As the meta changed and the world showed us the flaws of that play style, we adapted. Meteos has become an amazing early game jungler now and our lanes have vastly improved over this split.

A common criticism of Cloud 9 during Season 3 was weak individual lanes, but Spring has shown all of Cloud 9’s lanes stepping up their game. Has laning or personal play also been a focus of improvement?

Hai: People always criticized our individual laning, but that was due to low pressure from jungler while we were playing too aggressive without having pressure. So, while we weren't bad laners, we were just dumb laners. We've become much smarter since then.

One of the main criticisms of you personally has been your limited champion pool. It looks like you took great pains to expand your pick diversity this season. The rest of the team has also been making a wider variety of picks. Was this also an emphasis or just a result or your teams adaptation?

Hai: At worlds I did not play two of the popular champions at the time, Orianna and Ahri. That came to hurt me as we banned it every game. Granted, we didn't have to ban them so it was a poor pick/ban plan from us as well but it didn't help that I didn't play them. So once again, I haven't made a giant effort to make my champion pool bigger, we just became smarter with priority of champions and picks/bans.

Do you think picking in meta or avoiding having a single player getting banned has been more important this season?

Hai: Picking in meta is more important.

Do you have new goals prepared for the Summer split?

Hai: I have a goal of hitting Rank 1 in challenger lol but it's pretty far away, as far as the actual LCS I want to avoid relegation first and foremost, worrying about worlds can come after that.

Any shoutouts to our fans or sponsors?

Hai: I want to thank our sponsors, HyperX, Logitech, Alienware, Lol-Class, NEEDforSEAT, Homejoy, and sideqik. Thanks everyone for the support, please cheer for us at All Stars and the next split!

A new challenger approaches...

By John Nomis | | Read more
Cloud 9 HyperX is proud to announce that the top ranked SSBM player Joseph “Mango” Marquez will be headlining it’s Super Smash Brothers roster. With Cloud 9’s strong lineup of world-class players, the team’s leadership feels extremely confident that Super Smash Brothers will join the ranks of other top competitive titles in 2014.

All-Stars Bound

By John Nomis | | Read more

The absolute best of a professional teams ability is their performance on the world stage. Cloud 9 has had a unique international career in the short time they have been a professional team. After 4 international events, Cloud 9 has played 4 other international teams and boasts an even match record outside of North America.

After a dominating Spring season, Cloud 9 now looks to compete with the best teams each region has to offer. To find out more about what All Stars means to the team, I spoke with LemonNation about the value of international experience, Cloud 9's past performance on the world stage, and their preparations for All Stars.

Lets start off with a general question. What is the value of international experience to a team?

LemonNation: International experience gives us first hand experience into how teams around the world are adapting to the current meta. It gives us the best opportunity to stay at the very top of the current meta.

Are scrims with teams from other nations similarly valuable?

LemonNation: Yes it certainly is, for the same reasons. We are hoping to scrim SKT and OMG a lot.

With that in mind, do you think seeding first going into Season 3 worlds may have been disadvantageous?

LemonNation: I would say that not going through group stages gave less experience.

What were your expectations going into IEM Katowice?

LemonNation: We did not have strong expectations. Especially after the weaker Chinese team dominated in group A the first day we heavily expected to lose in groups.

How do you think the teams performance measured against your expectations?

LemonNation: We fared much much better than I expected.

Did Cloud 9’s matches at IEM influence the teams future play?

LemonNation: Yes they certainly did. Without going into specifics too much, we learned how the teams we play against valued champions on that patch and it certainly had an impact on our valuation. Seeing what worked and what didn't work against such.

Among the teams participating are Fnatic, with whom Cloud 9 has something of a rivalry, and SK Telecom T1 K who were the Season 3 World Champions. Both teams, however, have had very rocky season. How do you feel about these match ups?

LemonNation: Fnatic is coming off an extremely strong end to their season, and I expect will be playing extremely well. Even though SKT is not at their top performance, I still expect them to be the strongest team at All Stars.

Do you have overall expectations for the event?

LemonNation: We will see how scrims go with our sub mid laner, but I expect it to be an extremely tough transition without Hai. He is certainly the most important person to our overall play, as he is our primary shot caller.

Beyond working on developing synergy with Link, will the team be doing anything in particular to prepare for international play?

LemonNation: We will be scrimming against international teams and learning as much as possible once we travel to Paris. Besides that we treat every game the same.

Given what you know about the other regions, do you think any regions have an advantage in the 4.6 patch going into Paris?

LemonNation: As a general statement on patches: I believe every region has a somewhat equal opportunity on adapting to the current patch correctly. I don't believe that a regions natural play style makes too much of an impact on being strong on certain patches, it's more about just being able to adapt correctly. Given all that, there are slight things that could benefit certain teams more than others such as the Kassadin buffs in 4.6 likely helping out Fnatic, or to a smaller degree the rumble buffs helping us out.

As a region, NA's past record internationally has been fairly poor. Do you think that this is changing?

LemonNation: It is hard to say, but if it is changing positively I think it will take a long transition. I don't think the US will be taking any 1st places anytime soon, but I think slow improvement is likely.

Is there anything in particular that will need to change in the NA region for us to improve?

LemonNation: The creation of a stable amateur scene, such as their exists in Korea would likely have the biggest impact of anything I can think of. I think professional video games will naturally become more accepted and popular in the US, and this will also have a very positive impact on the number of skilled players entering the NA scene. But that is a very slow and long process.

Best of luck at All Stars. Thank you for your time, Lemon. We would also like to thank our sponsors, Logitech, Alienware, Lol-Class, NEEDforSEAT, Homejoy, sideqik, and, of course, HyperX!

Counter Logic Gaming and Cloud9 HyperX Link Up for All Stars

By John Nomis | | Read more

Counter Logic Gaming and Cloud9 HyperX Link Up for All Stars

Next week in Paris, Riot Games will host their second annual League of Legends All-Stars event. As the winners of the 2014 LCS North American Spring Split, Cloud 9 HyperX will be attending to represent NA as they do battle against Fnatic (EU), SKT T1 K (KR), OMG (CN), and TPA (SEA) for regional bragging rights and a $50,000 winner-take-all 1st place prize.

Unfortunately, earlier this week Cloud 9 HyperX mid laner Hai “Hai” Lam suffered a spontaneous collapsed lung which left him hospitalized. While Hai is recovering well, his current condition prevents him from traveling to Paris for the event. Considering this, Cloud 9 HyperX and Counter Logic Gaming have come to terms on a trade agreement which will move CLG’s (now former) mid lane player, Austin “Link” Shin to the C9 HyperX starting roster for the event. The trade conditions will also see Link return to the CLG roster on May 20th, three days before the start of the NA LCS Summer Split. These conditions fall within Riot’s existing LCS guidelines and have already been approved.

“When we heard the news about Hai, the team was deeply concerned for his well-being,” said Kelby May, General Manager of Counter Logic Gaming. “It was also unfortunate that we would not be able to see C9 HyperX perform at their best after the immense amount of practice we know they have put in for the upcoming tournament. I reached out to Jack immediately to see if there was anything CLG could do to help, and fortunately in working with Riot we were able to find a way to provide support for C9 HyperX as they look to represent the growing strength of the North American region.”

“We were devastated by the news that Hai wouldn’t be able to travel to Paris as it’s been our goal all year to be a part of All-Stars and play against some of the best teams in the world,” said Jack Etienne, Owner and General Manager of Cloud 9 HyperX. “We’re extremely thankful to CLG who reached out to offer Link in our time of need and to Riot who worked hard to process this trade quickly so we could start scrimming immediately.”

Link has already moved into the Cloud 9 HyperX house in Santa Monica where the team is practicing daily in preparation for All-Stars.

Thank you again to CLG for trading Link to us for this event! You can catch all of the action starting next Thursday, May 8th, from Paris, France at lolesports.com and live on twitch.tv.

Quick Pro Tip: Duo Lane spacing - with MeyeA

By John Nomis | | Read more
Join M eye A on this Quick Pro Tips feature. Players often mis-position themselves while laning so I'll explain how to position yourself while laning. We'll go over auto-attack zones, focus and correctly trading.

DotA 2 has arrived

By John Nomis | | Read more
We are proud to announce that the DotA 2 team formerly known as Speed Gaming has joined the Cloud 9 HyperX family! Formed in September 2013 under the RattleSnake organization and renamed to Speed Gaming shortly after, this talented team is already well established in the DotA 2 scene. 

Catching up with C9 HyperX

By John Nomis | | Read more
aZooRe had the opportunity to speak with a few members of Cloud 9 HyperX and owner Jack Etienne about the recent changes brought from Season 4 and additions to the Cloud 9 family.