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.

Meet Charlie, the new analyst for both Cloud 9 LoL teams

By John Nomis | | Read more
Hi, my name is Charlie Lipsie and I'm the analyst for Cloud 9 NA and Cloud 9 EU. I was born in Shanghai and moved to Pittsburgh at the age of 9. As a freshman electrical engineering major at Penn State University, I was introduced to StarCraft 2, and I have loved eSports ever since. I began playing League of Legends around the time of Diana’s release. I began to get serious (and studious) about LoL when I started following the Korean professional scene during OGN Champions Winter.

Alienware and Cloud 9 Join Forces

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Alienware_Cloud 9 Announcement FBtwitter.png

Press Release:

Today, we're excited to announce a partnership between Alienware and Cloud 9. This collaboration brings together the world’s top Gaming PC manufacturer, North America’s #1 rated League of Legends team and Europe’s #1 rated SMITE team.  This partnership will ensure that our players have the best performing PC’s as they progress through next season.

“I'm thrilled to be working with Alienware. They’re the proven leader in the Gaming PC industry with unbeatable performance and rock solid stability. We’ve been impressed for years with the quality of their products and proud to team up with them.”

– Jack Etienne, Cloud 9 Owner and General Manager

“Alienware has actively supported e-sports for over a decade. We are excited to be partnering with Cloud 9 as they have proven to be a top-tier e-sports organization.”

- Lenard Swain, Alienware Partner Management

About Alienware

Build a custom gaming PC at Alienware. Alienware manufactures the world's best high-performance PC gaming laptop and desktop computers. Alienware desktops and laptops come in a variety of cool designs and customizable lightning.

About Cloud 9

Cloud 9 is a professional multi gaming organization based in Los Angeles, California. They are home to the North American #1 rated League of Legends team and Europe’s #1 rated SMITE team.