Cloud9 Blue drops shinobi from roster after First Strike flop

Fariha Bhatti • December 12, 21:50

Cloud9 Blue will be dropping its in-game-leader Josh shinobi Abastado after a disappointing performance in Valorant First Strike North America.

The North American organization bid farewell to its Valorant captain in a video montage featuring some of his better moments with the team. The player has confirmed that he is now seeking new opportunities. 

Cloud9 Blue has been one of the best teams in the region, which is well-established after strong performances in almost every notable tournament. Cloud9 was one of the first organizations to introduce a Valorant squad, and has been competitive with the likes of Team SoloMid, Sentinels, and 100 Thieves.

Unfortunately, Cloud9 couldn’t replicate this success in high-tier tournaments like First Strike. The team failed to qualify for the finals both in the UMG and NSG qualifiers. The shinobi-led roster placed 5th-8th in both tournaments which may have caused the organization to rethink the leadership in the team. 

shinobi became the team’s IGL during the latter half of 2020, months after his retirement from Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. His Counter-Strike experience as an IGL, coach, and analyst helped him established Cloud9 Blue as a serious contender.

His departure will put an end to his short professional journey with Tyson TenZ Ngo. The pair are known to be friends off the server, something 100 Thieves’ Joshua “steel” Nissan discussed in one of his streams where he noted that Cloud9 Blue has a strong bond. 

“So this is the thing with C9, they are friends. If they were to move, for example, shinobi then I bet TenZ would be like I don’t want to play anymore,” steel said. 

This is not the first roster change that Cloud9 has implemented. The organization recently dropped its Korean roster just four months since its formation.

Who is CSGO’s leaf? And will he join Cloud9 Blue?

The announcement of a new IGL and fifth player may be coming soon as Cloud9 is expected to play in the JBL Quantum Cup. According to the reports and a now-deleted stream of Mitch mitch Semago, Cloud9 is set to sign Chaos Esports’ Nathan “leaf” Orf to their Valorant roster. leaf helped Chaos Esports Club to a breakout 2020 that saw the team win a host of regional leagues and larger events including the North American events for IEM XV Beijing and DreamHack Winter.

In his stream, Cloud9’s Mitch accidentally revealed the player tab on discord where leaf’s name was listed. It’s hard to say if it’s the same leaf, but Choas Esports is set to release its CSGO roster laer this month and it seems as though the roster is set to dissolve. This could mean that leaf is following in the footsteps of other CSGO pros who shifted to Valorant.

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