Known as one of the founding teams of North American Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Cloud9 was formed with its acquisition of fellow North American organization Complexity in 2014. The roster’s original players are household names to this day: Jordan "n0thing" Gilbert, in-game leader Sean "seang@res" Gares, Kory "SEMPHIS" Friesen, Spencer "Hiko" Martin, and Mike "shroud" Grzesiek.
After its transfer from Complexity, Cloud9’s new roster immediately defined itself as a wildcard after it found itself on the losing end of a 4-11 half against Titan at ESL One: Cologne 2014. Cloud9 eventually won the game after an impressive comeback, forcing overtime and clinching the victory.
The team’s performance in Cologne also spawned caster Anders Blume’s famous “Are you kidding me!” catchphrase. Rotating through mid doors towards CT spawn in C9’s matchup against Ninjas in Pyjamas, Hiko hit a 180-degree flick on GeT_RiGhT that happened so quickly that the frame where the shot connects is missing from the replay. C9 would eventually lose to NiP, but made a serious impression on the international stage with the Major quarterfinal appearance
By the summer of 2015, Cloud9 had added both Tyler “Skadoodle” Latham and Ryan “FREAKAZOiD” Abdir. Cloud9 showed its best form to date that summer.
The team beat Team EnVyUs and other top-10 teams in best-of-three contests while placing second in large international competitions including EPL Season 1, ESCW 2015, and FACEIT’s Stage 2 Finals. A popular tank-top meme stemmed from the roster’s tank-top jerseys and the general “bro” demeanor of the team. But at the end of 2015, Seang@res left the team for Echo Fox.
In response, Cloud9 made a move in January of 2016 that would set them on a roundabout course to snag North America its first CSGO Major trophy and groom one of the world’s most explosive players for greatness. It added pug star Jackie “Stewie2k” Yip to the roster despite some analyst and fan protests.
While most considered Stewie talented, few thought he would fit into the team that already featured Shroud, considered one of the best aimers in the world at the time, and Skadoodle, North America’s premier AWPer. In addition to Stewie, C9 also added former pro Andrew "Irukandji" Timmerman to the coaching position.
Columbus’ Major was next up, but Irukandji was unable to attend. Prior to the 2016 change, coaches were allowed to talk anytime they wanted, often serving as a sixth man and main IGL for teams during matches. The lack of Irukandji and C9’s lack of an IGL cost them. After a rough performance in Columbus where C9 stumbled in groups, fREAKAZOiD left C9 soon after.
The team then added Alec "Slemmy" White as its IGL. Despite performing well at small LANs and online tournaments, Slemmy requested to be benched from C9 just eight months later in December 2006.
Cloud9’s storyline prior to 2018 was its general regional dominance juxtaposed against the dark backdrop of its repeated international failures. Stewie’s addition, however, is now remembered as the catalyst for North America’s first Major win. In Slemmy’s place, Cloud9 added TSM’s Timothy “autimatic” Ta, forming a base from which Cloud9 would launch its Major run.
autimatic’s arrival had an immediate impact on Cloud9’s performance. After only three months with the team, autimatic helped C9 take home a first-place finish at the iBuyPower Invitational 2017. It was the first of ten trophies the team would win over that year.
In a shocking move, n0thing and Shroud were removed from the active roster after the PGL Krakow Major. With the move, none of the original Cloud9 roster was left with the team. Cloud9 would replace the two long-standing members with Tarik “tarik” Celek and Will “Rush” Weizerba and start a run to the end of 2017 by placing in the top-five in 11 out of 14 tournaments.
Cloud9’s crowning achievement came on home soil when the roster won North America’s first-ever Major trophy at the ELEAGUE Boston Major. After going down 0-2 in the group stage, Cloud9 reverse swept its way through groups. They bested Virtus.pro, Vega Squadron, and Astralis to make the playoffs.
The North Americans swept G2 2-0 in the quarterfinals and beat SK Gaming in a close 2-1 series in the semifinals to make it to the grand finals of the Major. They became the second North American team ever to do so after Team Liquid at ESL One Cologne 2016. Unlike Liquid, Cloud9’s unique combination of explosiveness, unpredictability, and a surprising IGL in tarik would power the team to a Major trophy after defeating FaZe Clan 2-1 in a match included an overtime thriller in the deciding game.
The Cloud9 roster that won NA’s first major wouldn't accomplish much more than that, with Stewie leaving to join MIBR three months later and tarik following him. Cloud9 would run through multiple lineups throughout the remainder of 2018 and in 2019, that included international stars like Robin "flusha" Rönnquist and Fabien "kioShiMa" Fiey.
Skadoodle retired a short time after C9’s major win, also contributing to a revolving door of stand-ins before Cloud9 sold a roster of players consisting of autimatic, Damien “daps” Steele and Kenneth “koosta” Suen to Gen.G to make up its inaugural CSGO roster.
In their place, Cloud9 signed an ATK roster that had recently made waves in the North American scene.