Breaking down the breakdown between TenZ and Cloud9

By William Davis


Oct 29, 2019

Reading time: 3 min

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is meant to be a fun game, even at its highest levels of play. But some recent drama at Cloud9 has made clear that no matter how fun CS:GO may be, the high stakes can make it difficult for top players to get along.

For fans, it’s a little easier. Playing casual games can be relaxing, there are opportuntiies for opening cases on platforms like this one to win some amazing skins, and fans can even earn some cash by betting on their favorite teams. But what isn’t fun is when your favorite players leave their teams, and you know you won’t get the chance to see them in the same light again.

This was the situation for Tyson “TenZ” Ngo, who was recently benched by Cloud9 and has been replaced by Yassine “Subroza” Taoufik on trial. After the news was shared through Twitter, many fans of the player were disappointed, although this doesn’t mean TenZ’s career is over. 

But what exactly happened to marr the bond between TenZ and his teammates?

An announcement on Twitter saying that TenZ and Cloud9 were parting ways was the first fans had heard of any discord. The announcement came after the team fell out of ESL Pro League Season 10 despite expectations that the team could do better.

While TenZ was still part of the team, Cloud9 managed to take fourth place at BLAST Pro Series Los Angeles. This reasonable result boosted the fans’ expectations and confidence in the team. Afterward, they went to Helsinki, Finland, where they took part in the Arctic Invitational. There, they lost to FURIA, and this seemed to trigger a new downwards spiral for the squad.

Why was TenZ sent to the Cloud9 bench?

Cloud9 coach James “JamezIRL” Macaulay made the announcement regarding the reason for TenZ’s move. Apparently, there was a difference in style between TenZ and the rest of the team’s members, and this conflict was dragging the whole team down. 

JameZIRL would compliment TenZ’s playing style and future potential, although he still just doesn’t think the style is right for what Cloud9 is looking for. The team’s coach was frank in his assessment, making it clear that TenZ’s stylistic separate from the rest of his teammates was something that could not, and would not, be overcome.

JamezIRL was also the one to announce Subroza joining the team, as well as announcing their participation in BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen and ECS. Apparently, Subroza was chosen because of his personality fit, along with his experience and in-game skills. 

The fans weren’t initially pleased with the team’s decision, as many believe that TenZ is a highly skilled young player who has further room to grow. According to many of those fans, some more time working in an organized team setting could’ve done wonders for TenZ’s attitude. Others think Cloud9 is simply looking for yet another solution to the team’s ongoing performance issues.

TenZ’s reaction to the situation was more difficult to understand, however. The young player seemed to place the blame on the “system” at Cloud9, complaining about it publicly. This drew the ire of fellow pro and a former major champion with Cloud9, Jacky “Stewie2k” Yip, who flatly denied TenZ’s excuses and turned the blame back towards the 18-year-old.

While this was almost inarguably a bad look for TenZ, it’s more than that another example of the interpersonal difficulties that can face young players as they attempt to navigate the sometimes treacherous professional waters. TenZ may have meant well, but it would seem that his lack of professionalism has ruffled some of his fellow pros.

Luckily for TenZ, this doesn’t necessarily mark the end of his career. There will likely be more opportunities for him in the future, though it’s up to him whether those turn out any better than did his stay on the Cloud9 roster.

For Cloud9, the search to recapture the CS:GO team’s former glory continues.


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