It's time for the excuses to end.
Cloud9 - or the old Gambit guys - have had a long time now. They were the ultimate online team, and probably still are, but have struggled with the transition to LAN.
The intangible factors like pressure, feeling and all that stuff you humans talk about are a part of it, but there's also the fact that they relied heavily on dry taking parts of the map on T side that works a lot better when you have peeker's advantage.
Now they've had some time to get used to it, it's time to start winning.
New pressures, new opportunities
The move to Cloud9 is a super interesting one.
In many ways it reminds me of when North picked up Dignitas; a young team with a spiky IGL who seemed to always be on the cusp of greatness and just needed a push. Cloud9 give them the money, stability and facilities to reach that greatness.
In many ways it doesn't remind me of that, because Gambit were actually winning events at some point, albeit online.
But there is precedent for the idea that signing a team on the cusp of greatness doesn't necessarily push them the extra yard, and Cloud9 need to find that extra 1% if this team is to be what it can be.
You don't buy this team to finish top 4, any more.
Cloud9 0.5, or a lesson to learn?
With that, comes internal pressure as well as external. Gambit never expected these guys to be winners, but Cloud9 signed them with the expectation of being at the top of the food chain.
nafany and the boys now need to repay that faith; and that is the pressure that crushed North.
They have played a decent amount of LANs now, and gone deep without ever challenging for the win; and one imagines that once they get to one final on LAN, they'll start filling in the top 2 at every event for a bit.
That elusive first trophy, though, is the hardest. The LAN experience so far has shown Cloud9 to be a talented but ultimately flawed roster. sh1ro doesn't look quite as destructive, nafany struggles to find the openings and their T sides in general look flatter - for reasons I mentioned earlier.
That said, Ax1le has shown hints of becoming the monster on LAN he is online, and they're slowly becoming accustomed to playing against legendary players under pressure.
This Major might be out of reach, but by the second Major of the year, they might need to be in contention. Otherwise, what is the point?