I'm devastated by the Cloud9 loss. Their mental game needs an overhaul
It's so painful for me to see Cloud9 out of PGL Major Antwerp 2022. It's probably wrong to call them weak-willed — 14:16 against NiP could have easily been turned into 16:14, and against Imperial, the team was twice a step away from winning Overpass — but I have no other words. The fan inside me groans in despair: why did Cloud9 fail again at the crucial moment?
Time for a quick rewind: ESL Pro League Season 13, the champions of IEM Katowice lose the grand final to Heroic. Everyone remembers the last round of that match: Kasper "сadiaN" Möller did The Clutch.
The same month, I talked with Vladislav "nafany" Gorshkov and Konstantin "groove" Pikiner. Both spoke in the same manner: The Clutch is an unfortunate mistake that will not happen again. The nerves have taken over the mind, but the team learned from this situation.
Specifically, in this situation, I messed up quite a lot, made a super mistake. And groove dressed me down a lot. I deserved that. But on the other hand, I'll remember this clutch for the rest of my life — I will never allow this to happen again.
Gambit continued winning tournaments, but the transition to LAN led to a decrease in results. However, the guys were still the only threat to NAVI at the Stockholm Major. And I believed more than anyone that Sweden would be a triumph not for s1mple, but nafany.
The semi-finals turned into a nightmare for me: NAVI won 2:0 — Overpass (16:8) and Mirage (16:3). And if you just look at interviews with the players, you will see that Gambit lost the match before it even started — by emotions and mood.
I don't have any emotions. Literally zero. 3rd-4th place in the first Major looks like a good result. But, as I said, I had zero emotions this day, even on stage.
The guys must feel the atmosphere of LAN. We are all gamers, everyone knows each other. Later it will be easier for them to play on LAN. We'll visit some events, talk to s1mple. They need to understand that he is an ordinary dude just like them.
Gambit could take revenge in BLAST Premier World Final 2021. They even won the first map but gave up. Nafany and his teammates didn't look overwhelmed playing against the Major champions on the first two maps, but on the third one, NAVI was only one team on the server again. No surprise that after the game sh1ro frustratedly stated: "I played like shit".
This year Gambit were ready to fix everything and take over the top-1. The guys started training on January 10 — before everyone else from the tier-1 scene. At IEM Katowice 2022, the guys cheerfully answered journalists' questions and prepared to defend the title, but then February 24 happened.
Two days later, FaZe Clan smashed the team in the quarterfinals. When entering the stage, some of the fans even tried to boo Gambit, and during the game, the director snatched close-ups of the guys: there was an emptiness in their eyes.
But when we played against NAVI on Major, everyone in the crowd was yelling at us. It was hard for me personally. I don't know how to focus when external factors interfere. There was just a big crowd with everyone yelling, NAVI are killing me — everyone is yelling even more, Boombl4 stabbing nafany, crowd going crazy. That was very hard.
Sh1ro remembered Major right before facing FaZe at Katowice. It seemed to me that "external factors" still affects the team a lot.
Now let's switch to the main news from the end of April to the decisive matches in the Legends Stage: Cloud9 acquire the roster, fans find the “Z” symbol on sh1ro's sticker, Hobbit (the most experienced player of the squad) is accused of match-fixing.
At the Major, the guys somehow forgot to remove their permaban in a match against FaZe and played Nuke for the first time since 2019. Finally, Imperial beat Cloud9 16:3 on the third map. Roster, which, most likely, shows its Last Dance just destroyed top-4 of the world.
Why am I writing this? Nerves are the weakest part of this squad
Somehow forget about your permaban, get scared of the crowd of rival fans, and missclick in the clutch — the players have collected all possible missteps in less than half a year. But is it really a coincidence?
Any uncomfortable situation, any pressure from the outside — and the roster turns from Ferrari/RedBull into a dad's Fiat.
The sniper who was supposed to outclass s1mple and zywOo fails to hit 9 shots out of 10.
The captain who charges teammates with emotions burns out like a match.
And the only rifler with green stats barely got in the top-15 of all Legends Stage players with +3 K/D difference.
Four players in the squad are not even 22 years old. Couldn't handle the pressure in Antwerp? There are more Majors ahead. But there is one thing that separates CS Legends from mediocrity — the ability not to repeat the same mistakes again and again.