William “RUSH” Wierzba and Tarik “tarik” Celik have joined Cloud9’s Counter-Strike team to replace Jordan “n0thing” Gilbert and Michael “shroud” Grzesiek, who will be benched, the organization announced Tuesday.
“It’s been a thrill watching RUSH and tarik develop into the players they’ve become,” Cloud9 CEO Jack Etienne said in a statement. “We’re no strangers to what they bring to the game, and I’m really looking forward to what this roster is going to accomplish.”
RUSH and tarik will come over from OpTic Gaming, the ELEAGUE Season 2 champions who struggled to regain that form since Peter “stanislaw” Jarguz left for Team Liquid in January. The team has tried multiple players in stanislaw’s place but have not been able to replicate the success it had in late 2016. Most recently, OpTic failed to qualify for last month’s PGL Krakow Major.
“It’s a huge day for me as I say farewell to my long-time team OpTic, and start my new adventure on C9,” RUSH said in a statement. “I really believe this will be a world-contending roster and I hope you, the fans, believe this as well.”
N0thing and shroud joined Cloud9 together in August 2014 and became respected veterans within the North American scene. Cloud9 has been the most successful NA team this year and is coming off a runner-up finish at ESL One Cologne and barely missing the playoffs of the Major. Still, a change was deemed necessary.
“I’m super excited to be a part of the Cloud9 organization,” tarik said. “I know that I have always been on the other side but I hope that the fans will welcome me in open arms. Summer is just getting started.”
Cloud9 will compete in the ESL One New York closed qualifier this weekend with the two new players, and Braxton “swag” Pierce will also stand in for Timothy “autimatic” Ta. Cloud9 will also compete in the ESL Pro League Season 6, which begins this weekend. The roster lock was extended until Thursday night, largely so moves like this one could be completed in time.
Cover photo by Helena Kristiansson/ESL, eslgaming.com