Road to redemption: Cloud9's return to Halo
Cloud9's return to Halo is not only a story of redemption for the organization, but a story of redemption for its players. Cloud9 recently picked up Renegades' former lineup of Tyler "Ninja" Blevins, Hamza "Commonly" Abbaali, Cameron "Victory X" Thorlakson, Zane "Penguin" Hearon, and coach Kory "Symbolic" Arruda, players who seemed to always be on the verge of catching fire and taking the scene by storm.
A brief overview
Ninja, well-known among the community for his propensity to make flashy highlight plays, has been playing Halo competitively since Halo 3, but his rise to prominence did not occur until Halo: Reach. He was a part of the Cloud9 lineup in 2014, and after a few stints on other teams, he's making a return to the lineup. Boasting an impressive record, Ninja has not placed out of the Top 8 since his finish at the Major League Gaming Winter Championships in 2012.
On the other hand, Halo veteran Victory X has been playing since 2005, and brings a different kind of utility to the newly minted roster: maturity and experience. He teamed up with Ninja throughout the entirety of Halo 5: Guardians and has been nothing but consistent all season.
Commonly was picked up after the Halo World Championships at the end of the season when Evil Geniuses announced that it would be releasing him. A gold medal winner at the X-Games in Aspen, Commonly will look to provide stability to a roster that is largely influenced by its emotions.
Penguin had the highest K/D (kill/death ratio) out of any player present at the HWC, and will aim to repeat his success at the Summer Finals.
Journey to the Summer Finals
Under its former organization Renegades, a different iteration of this roster performed at the Halo World Championships early this year in March. It made it through the group stage looking strong and it faced off against Team Allegiance in the first round of bracket play, amassing a 2-0 lead. But because of its tendency to play emotionally, the team was eliminated in a shocking reverse sweep.
The roster qualified for the inaugural Halo Pro League after placing second in its group at the qualifiers held in Burbank, CA. The team started off with a promising 2-0 record by taking down Enigma 6 and Team Allegiance, then went through a rough patch in the middle of the season. It was later revealed that Commonly, one of the new additions to the roster, was fasting through those weeks, which had a negative effect on his performance. Luckily, Commonly and the rest of the team bounced back in Week 6 with another 2-0 performance, then had a nightmare final week that nearly cost it a trip to the Summer Finals.
In the final weeks of the HCS Pro league, in a manner eerily similar to its performance at the Halo World Championships, the team lost the games that mattered the most. It went 0-2 in Week 7 and left its fate in the hands of Evil Geniuses and Counter Logic Gaming. Luckily, CLG swept EG, and in doing so, secured the fourth seed in the Summer Finals for the team.
Cloud9 now faces the daunting task of playing CLG, one of the best teams in the world, in the first round of the Summer Finals and will attempt to get the bitter taste of defeat out of its mouth from the last major tournament the roster attended.