Autumn believes Cloud9 could 'be the best team in the world' in 2022
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Cloud9 star Antony “vanity” Malaspina and coach Yoon Autumn Eu-teum didn’t know they’d be attending Champions when vanity first joined the organization in August. They hadn’t even qualified for the Last Chance Qualifier and they were far from making it to the final VALORANT tournament of the year. Yet, they were already looking beyond it.

“That’s the time [vanity] said that we should try to make our team a whole different team in 2022,” Autumn said through a translator after losing to Team Liquid. “But somehow we made it to the LCQ and got invited to [Champions] also. So I really feel good about us being here.”

Cloud9 are out at Champions

Cloud9 went through a gauntlet of matches at the Last Chance Qualifier, beating Version1, Gen.G, XSET, 100 Thieves and Rise in order to qualify for Champions. They performed well at Champions by taking out FULL SENSE and Vision Strikers. North America’s last chance at Champions glory ultimately fell to Team Liquid 2-0 in the quarterfinals. They, along with Envy and Sentinels, are headed back home long before the trophy is raised in Berlin.

“I’m sure we’re going to use this as a stepping stone and North American teams will come back stronger next year,” Autumn said, adding that the team’s core of players is still incredibly strong. “Please watch us next year and we’ll probably be the best team in the world.”

Cloud9
Cloud9 before heading to Berlin for Champions | Provided by Riot Games

Cloud9 went into their match against Team Liquid with confidence. They weren’t expected to take out Vision Strikers, so they weren’t worried about Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom outplaying them on every map.

“Liquid’s win condition relies on ScreaM’s carry potential,” Autumn said. “I personally thought it wasn’t working out for them because ScreaM was playing that well the game before us. However he popped off against us and we couldn’t stop him. That’s pretty much the reason we lost today.”

ScreaM topped the leaderboard for Team Liquid on both maps. He had a 26/18 K/D on Bind and a 24/15 K/D on Ascent. The former Counter-Strike professional popped off, despite believing he started the tournament off slow.

“I had a pretty slow start into this tournament, that’s why I decided to play Reyna today because I wanted to focus on my aim and, you know, kill everybody,” ScreaM said. “Other than that when I played Jett I had some bad moves and didn’t feel as comfortable […] I just feel that Reyna is made for me.”

Both maps were close, with Team Liquid pulling ahead on Bind 13-10. Cloud9 had a near comeback on Ascent where Autumn kept his team cool as the American squad put round after round together while Team Liquid were on match point. They eventually lost 13-11.

“The third map would have been really tough mentally,” ScreaM said, adding that he was happy the series didn’t go that far.

Cloud9 Blue at VCT North America LCQ
Cloud9 at the North America Last Chance Qualifier | Provided by Cloud9

North America is headed home at Champions

Europe has absolutely dominated at the inaugural VALORANT Champions tournament. Four of the six remaining teams left in contention are from the region including Acend, Team Liquid and FNATIC.

“I wouldn’t say Europe is too far ahead,” Cloud9 player Erick “Xeppaa” Bach said. Cloud9 players plan to have at least a month break for Christmas after they review the VOD of their loss to Team Liquid. The team is still proud of their run in 2021 despite not getting as far as they’d like.

“Everybody knew we had the talent and work ethic to make it this far and win this event. Sucks that I couldn’t perform as well as I could have,” Xeppaa said. “After picking up vanity and making it through the Last Chance Qualifier with a month of practice we had an incredible run at Champions.”

Tomorrow’s Champions quarterfinals action kicks off with X10 Crit and Gambit Esports at 12:00 pm ET.


Aron Garst looks at esports from a different point of view by tackling the ways games are molded and broken by players around the world. He covers Call of Duty, Fortnite, Super Smash Bros, and everything else for Upcomer. You can read his previous work at WIRED, Rolling Stone, ESPN and elsewhere. Rise up red sea.


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