Nick J. November 11, 2020
Cloud9's international lineup will face its first real test in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive with a matchup against an improved Virtus.pro at FLASHPOINT 2.
The North American team has been much hyped since bringing on a new general manager in former player and caster Henry "HenryG" Greer, who in turn signed some of the best talent available in an effort to turn around Cloud9's run of middling performances. Fans will finally get a chance to see the new team in official action on November 12 against Virtus.pro, a team that is currently on a 12-1 run that includes wins over both Natus Vincere and forZe, two of the CIS region's top teams.
Cloud9 has yet to play an official game with its new lineup, but all eyes will be on its most high-profile acquisition, Patrick "es3tag" Hansen, as he transitions to C9. es3tag was a capable stand-in for Astralis over the course of several months and proved himself to be a deadly and precise rifler in many situations.
There's a difficulty in predicting an outright winner here, especially with no information regarding what maps C9's head coach Aleksandar "kassad" Trifunovic has prepared for his new squad. That said, a look at Virtus.pro's map pool as a whole is worth a quick look.
VP's win percentage over the past three months, per map
- Train: 6-0, 100%
- Dust 2: 15-4 78.9%
- Mirage: 7-2, 77.8%
- Inferno: 12-4, 75%
- Vertigo: 5-2, 71.4%
- Overpass: 4-2, 66.7%
Those are some downright scary win rates almost across the board, but there's a hole that Cloud9 could drive a truck through. Virtus.pro doesn't play Nuke, period. It's the team's permanent ban and its most avoided map, meaning that Cloud9 knows with some certainty what VP's first move will be. With that knowledge, C9 could steer the veto towards maps such as Mirage and Vertigo, where it could potentially exploit VP's trademark CIS playstyle with solid utility usage and its rosters all-around talent.
Cloud9 has chance to pull out FLASHPOINT win against VP
There's a real chance that C9 comes out of this match with a win because, despite VP's impressive stats, many of those wins have come against teams VP outclassed on talent alone. Against a C9 team that has had a month to hone its chemistry and with one another, VP's slow play style may not work against C9's aggressive lineup.
Speaking of lineups, es3tag isn't the only fragger the team has added since September. Özgür "woxic" Eker will fill C9's AWPing role, his playstyle matches VP's own Dzhami "Jame" Ali. Both teams have a ton of young talent on its rosters, and this could easily be one of the most explosive matches of FLASHPOINT 2.
According to WINNERS.bet, VP is currently favored in tomorrow's matchup with odds of 1.51 to Cloud9's 2.39, an aggressive lean towards VP thanks in part to the fact that there is no data from this version of Cloud9's roster. That's a little too skewed for our liking, especially considering the amount of time Cloud9 has had to prepare for FLASHPOINT and VP's readable style. Another solid take would be the over on Total Maps that is currently sitting at 2.15 (Over 2.5). There's a high likelihood that the teams could trade the first two maps in the series, taking it to a third-map to end the showdown.
Either way, aggregate odds from bookmakers almost all favor VP thanks to the lack of data on the Cloud9 lineup, and those are odds punters like to see. There's a decent chance that C9 comes away from this matchup with at a win, and an even greater chance that they at least take a map of Virtus.pro in a 2-1 loss.