Many have debated the practicality of teams in Hearthstone eSports, based on its solitary nature of competing, it's a fair argument.
However, Cloud 9 are intent on proving that notion wrong and have once again strutted back into the limelight. With a somewhat subdued close to 2014 after players Kolento and Strifecro failed to impress at the Hearthstone World Championships, 2015 looks to be a return to form for the organisation.
Cong ‘StrifeCro’ Shu may not be the most popular streamer or player in the Hearthstone scene, but his aptitude and skill is a force to be reckoned with. Competing in recently founded Team Archon’s tournament, Pinnacle II, Shu went on an incredible winning streak, defeating popular streamers such as Jeffrey ‘Trump’ Shih and Adrian ‘Lifecoach’ Koy.
Speaking of win-streaks, Strifecro then went on to set what is believed to be the largest run of wins on the ranked ladder in Hearthstone history, 33 consecutive victories with the exact same deck! Shu’s Paladin deck has since become a mainstay, both in ranked as well as in tournament settings, to pose the way for a developing meta-game.
Undoubtedly the greatest innovator in the Hearthstone scene, Aleksandr ‘Kolento’ Malsh, is responsible for the introduction and refinement of many popular ladder and tournament decks including Ramp Druid and Miracle Rogue.
However, living up to the title of the world’s greatest Hearthstone player seemed to take its toll on Aleksandr towards the end of 2014 and the release of the first expansion, Goblins vs Gnomes. Following on from his win at Dreamhack Winter, Aleksandr managed only one professional win prior to the recent Kinguin tournament.
Going in under some sceptical criticism many believed Kolento to have fallen off the radar but went on to prove the exact opposite, winning every single match to take home the title for himself, even beating the Hearthstone World Champion, James ‘Firebat’ Kostesich, exacting some revenge for Kolento’s disappointing 2014 finish.
Practicing together has shown how teams can pay off in the world of Hearthstone eSports, in the past organisations such as Tempo Storm and Team Liquid have dedicated signifcant time to partners working alongside each other when deckbuilding.
What’s for sure however, is that Cloud 9 are here to stay in Hearthstone and the rest of the pack is chasing to catch up to their calibre of player. 2015 is shaping up to be great year as Hearthstone gets caught with its head in the clouds...
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