No events

Cloud9 Sweep ENCE to Claim IEM Dallas Title

Zakaria Almughrabi

IEM Dallas has come to a conclusion. The Grand Finals between Cloud9 and ENCE has ended in a one-sided affair, as Cloud9 demolished ENCE 3-0. This victory marks the first LAN title for the ex-Gambit Esports squad, and their first trophy under the blue and white.

Cloud9 IEM Dallas

Cloud9 has won IEM Dallas, their first LAN title as a roster and first trophy under the C9 banner. (Image Credit ESL)

Shaken Early, Bouncing Back

Cloud9’s IEM Dallas run began with a quick 16-6 over Team Liquid in the best-of-one. Their second test would be a much more difficult one. FURIA Esports were by far the favorites to take first seed in Group B, and they showed off that strength against Cloud9. The Brazilians stole C9’s Vertigo pick 16-9 before closing out the series on Mirage 16-13.

Now in the lower bracket, Cloud9 had to win out to qualify for the IEM Dallas playoffs. Their next match was against a Ninjas in Pyjamas squad without their in-game leader Hampus “hampus” Poser. Despite their own Vertigo pick coming down to the wire, C9 managed to take it 19-16. They then easily dispelled NiP on Overpass to secure the match victory.

The final matchup of Group B was between Cloud9 and Team Liquid to determine who earned the last playoff spot. Just like in their first matchup in round one, Cloud9 came out the gate swinging to take an easy 16-5 victory. Map two was slightly closer, but Liquid was no match for Cloud9 on Vertigo once again. With another 2-0 under their belt, Cloud9 moved on to the playoffs.

Finally Besting FaZe Clan

Due to their third seed finish, Cloud9 were gifted the hardest matchup of the playoffs by far. Facing them down were the newly crowned PGL Antwerp Major champions and number one team in the world, FaZe Clan. Cloud9 had not beaten FaZe once in 2022, and were even eliminated by them at IEM Katowice and ESL Pro League S15.

However, the story would be different this time. Despite a rough 16-14 loss on their Overpass pick, C9 would come roaring back on FaZe’s Inferno. The tiebreaker on Mirage went to halftime neck and neck. After an early T side streak by FaZe, C9 were down 8-13. Needing to put together a solid defense, Cloud9 shut FaZe down. Eight straight round wins brought C9 to 16, ending the match in their favor 2-1.

Shutting Down BIG

Cloud9’s semifinal match was against a surprisingly strong BIG. The German team earned this spot by besting FURIA in the Group Stage and were certainly a threat. BIG showed this by taking C9’s Overpass 16-14 and going up 1-0. Once again down a map, Cloud9 pulled it back on their opponents Dust2 pick in a convincing 16-9.

In a tiebreaker once again, Cloud9 went into overdrive on Ancient. They started out with a suffocating 12-3 CT side. Morale shattered, BIG could do nothing as Cloud9 won the next four rounds quickly to finish the 16-3 and claim a spot in the IEM Dallas Grand Finals.

Cloud9 Clean Up

The final team standing in Cloud9’s way of their first ever LAN trophy was ENCE. Despite having a stand-in in Janusz “Snax” Pogorzelski, ENCE had been phenomenal at IEM Dallas, only dropping a single map to FaZe Clan on the way here. This match was shaping up to be a competitive one the whole way though.

Mirage was ENCE’s first map pick in the best-of-five. Things started off as expected, with ENCE putting up a strong CT performance to earn a 10-5 halftime lead. Cloud9 would be fighting from a solid deficit on their own defense if they wanted to at least tie things up. They did one better, shutting the door on all of ENCE’s aggression from minute one. Cloud9 won 11 of 13 rounds in the second half, pulling Mirage overwhelmingly in their favor to take the 16-12 map one victory.

Next up was C9’s Overpass, a pick that betrayed them in both the FaZe Clan and BIG matches in the days prior. There would be no mistake this time however, as Cloud9 had this one on lock. They played their best T side of the entire tournament, every player clocking in at a 1.23 rating or higher. A 10-5 lead at the half was the result. ENCE tried to get back into the game on their own offense, but were shut down once again. A 16-11 victory put Cloud9 on championship point.

Last up was Ancient, ENCE’s pick and final chance to get back into the game. Cloud9 selected CT side, and for good reason. C9 were firing on all cylinders during what turned into a victory lap. ENCE only managed to take three measly rounds on their T side and looked as good as done. A second-round pistol win for C9 was the nail in the coffin. The 16-3 demolition confirmed a 3-0 sweep and the IEM Dallas trophy for Cloud9.

This was a very important win for Cloud9. While under Gambit Esports, this roster won many online titles in the COVID era during their come up in 2021. However, once the LAN scene resumed, they struggled to get that far in any top-tier tournaments. With the conflict between Russia and Ukraine causing ESL to ban Gambit as an organization, this roster was without a home.

Since Cloud9 picked them up in late April, they’ve competed in two tournaments under the banner. Now that they’ve won one, and a LAN no less, they can put to bed some of the doubt that crept up around the team over the past year. Make no mistake, Cloud9 is just getting started.