valens: “I challenge our new players to succeed where our previous rosters couldn’t”

We talked to Cloud9’s Head of Data Science, Soham "⁠valens⁠" Chowdhury, who unveiled the organization’s new roster on their live stream, "The 9s."

Cloud9 have overhauled their roster bringing in four new players, Damian "⁠daps⁠" Steele, Oscar "⁠mixwell⁠" Cañellas, Kenneth "⁠koosta⁠" Suen, and Tyson "⁠TenZ⁠" Ngo, as well as a new head coach, James "⁠JamezIRL⁠" Macaulay. The new members of the team will join Timothy "⁠autimatic⁠" Ta and valens as Cloud9 will try to get back to winning ways after several roster moves that didn’t end up working ended in two disappointing losses to lesser teams in the StarLadder Major’s Americas Minor Closed Qualifier.

valens believes this team will be more well-rounded than it was this past year

In the interview, valens talks about assembling a new lineup, what happened with the old lineups and why it was impossible for Cloud9 to build a competitive roster, why the need for a complete rebuild, and what the team’s short, mid, and long term goals are moving forward, among other topics.

How did this lineup come together? What was the selection process for the players that are being signed?

After our disappointing run during the minor qualifiers, we had a couple of options. We could either wait until after the major ended to see what kind of options we would have or we could try to rebuild now completely from scratch. We chose the latter and started with the IGL. Once we had daps, we discussed what kind of style he would like to play and looked for players that were available to make that a reality.

Having had some roster turmoil during the past year, what are the expectations for this new lineup? How much of a long term project is this?

This is the first time in the last 16 months or so that we weren’t bound by having a trio/roster for a Major event and to keep optimizing for a recipe that clearly wasn’t working. What we needed was a complete rebuild. Slotting in 1 or 2 players to recreate our 2017-2018 form wasn’t working, even though we had a lot of gifted players over that time period. Expectations are to be better today than we were yesterday. There is no guessing game here-- we have metrics in place to ensure we are consistently improving, win or lose. The rest will follow.

It seemed like RUSH was on his way to becoming a franchise player, but was finally left out of the new roster. What went into making that decision?

Being a franchise player requires the desire to keep improving in the face of all adversity. The desire then needs to be put into action-- this is difficult, but it is meant to be. RUSH has the capacity to do this, like he has done countless times before in his career. I felt he has been missing some of that and I hope this lights a fire under him to come back to top tier play with a vengeance.

There were several months of uncertainty with Cloud9 making a lot of roster moves, and several rosters that didn’t pan out. What led to the team not being able to find its footing?

There were several unfortunate circumstances that we couldn’t control that led to inconsistency in our roster (tarik and stewie leaving, Golden becoming sick, flusha taking a break, skadoodle retiring etc.) What we could control was our mentality going into a new team, and knowing that we wouldn’t be able to be the same type of team as in 2017-2018. We made a lot of progress in developing a more consistent playstyle with the help of Tim, myself and Golden. The caveat, though, is that learning a new style with players that are not used to it while also being thrust into playing top-tier events constantly is a recipe for mediocrity. Only a handful of players can take on those challenges, maintain a strong mindset, and persevere.

Are you happy to be getting a fresh start with several changes?

Yes and no. I am happy that we are now more well-rounded CS players than we were last year, but I am unhappy that we weren’t able to execute it when it mattered most. I challenge our new players to succeed where our previous rosters couldn’t-- I know you can do it.

Moving forward, it seems there are certain roles that will be filled with experienced players. daps taking the lead, autimatic as a star player, mixwell AWPing… Is having solid role players like that something that was missing in some of the past iterations of the team?

The biggest thing that hurt us as a team was Tim taking on the awping role out of necessity. It is a testament to his process and skill that he was able to become insane at it in just a few months. The main issue, however, is that trying to replace Tim with another rifler who has a similar skillset is almost impossible.

The roster includes a young up-and-coming talent in TenZ, could you tell me a little bit about him and why he was included in the lineup?

He was included in the lineup because he can obliterate people. The rest is where we will help him get better. I have a lot of faith in him because he has a great attitude .

JamezIRL will be the coach, can you tell us a little bit about that? What will be your role in the team?

James is one of the hardest working people I know. His work ethic, organization skills, and eye for detail are all great qualities to have in a leadership figure. He will be thrust into the head coach role with our full support. I will still be very active during practice and reviews, and also supporting the team from a data-driven perspective.

You’re scheduled to play at BLAST Pro Series Los Angeles, which is quite soon. Will the team prepare in any special way ahead of that event? Will there be a bootcamp?

Cloud9, and specifically Jack [Etienne], has done a great job building an environment that allows players and staff to focus completely on CS. We will all be working together in person, getting to know each other both in and out of the game.

What do you expect to gain from that event?

LAN experience: specifically in the areas of making communication better and striving to play matches the way we practice.

You have some free time after BLAST Pro Series Los Angeles, as your next scheduled event will be the next ESL Pro League. Have you already planned how you will use your time before the start of the upcoming season?

Besides a player break to allow players to spend time with friends and family, we will be actively practicing together to find our own style.

What will be the goals for the team in the short/mid/long term?

Short term: just play the game and mold our style around our natural strengths; be better today than we were yesterday.
Medium term: consciously improve on closing the gap between matches and practice.
Long term: deepen our map pool, make our utility usage more efficient, keep our individual play up, and enjoy each other’s company

United States Kenneth 'koosta' Suen
Kenneth 'koosta' Suen
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.06
Maps played:
922
KPR:
0.72
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.12
Spain Oscar 'mixwell' Cañellas
Oscar 'mixwell' Cañellas
Age:
24
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.09
Maps played:
840
KPR:
0.75
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.13
United States Soham 'valens' Chowdhury
Soham 'valens' Chowdhury
Age:
30
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.76
Maps played:
186
KPR:
0.50
DPR:
0.70
APR:
0.15
Canada Tyson 'TenZ' Ngo
Tyson 'TenZ' Ngo
Age:
19
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.10
Maps played:
401
KPR:
0.76
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.14
Canada Damian 'daps' Steele
Damian 'daps' Steele
Age:
27
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.87
Maps played:
1012
KPR:
0.58
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.15
United States James 'JamezIRL' Macaulay
James 'JamezIRL' Macaulay
Age:
31
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.87
Maps played:
71
KPR:
0.60
DPR:
0.72
APR:
0.13
United States Timothy 'autimatic' Ta
Timothy 'autimatic' Ta
Age:
23
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.08
Maps played:
1093
KPR:
0.75
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.13
#1
 | 
North America Whataburger
Honestly this roster looks great. Excited to see what they can accomplish (maybe beating someone at blast finally 👀)
2019-07-03 04:54
#24
adreN | 
Switzerland 2022
Imagine getting #1 but nobody responds to you
2019-07-03 05:09
#58
 | 
India MihirX27
Hold on a second....
2019-07-03 09:31
bruh this roster is another version of privious tier8 shit. c9 should stop collecting old and shit players. mixwell? koosta? daps? lol im pretty sure they'll announce another roster 3month later.
2019-07-08 04:39
mixwell is great, autimatic, too. idk about daps but he's the igl so its ok to just let him do and see. rest should get replaced with better and more skilled players if they can't deliver results.
2019-07-08 19:53
Daps is a good Igl. And i agree with you. Autimatic is great and mixwell is a good player also. Not sure about the other two. Lets see if tenz and koosta can step up, but i think koosta is the weakest one on this rooster
2019-07-09 13:50
*roosta
2019-07-11 23:55
Well I mean it IS an interview....... Kinda boring
2019-07-03 14:11
#99
adreN | 
Switzerland 2022
I guess it's xxxhoshi and meistr0's fault that #2 has so many responses lol
2019-07-03 20:19
You just responded mr tiananmen square
2019-07-03 21:04
No it doesn't aha
2019-07-03 05:18
#57
 | 
United States XWarPumaX
im just excited to see mixwell playing on a tier 1 team again
2019-07-03 09:31
#67
 | 
United Kingdom foolio
tier1? -.^
2019-07-03 10:53
#91
 | 
Spain Pollete
This roster will be top 2 NA, thats tier 1 team 4sure
2019-07-03 14:19
#92
 | 
United Kingdom foolio
thats a no from me dawg.
2019-07-03 14:27
#93
 | 
Spain Pollete
Okey dog
2019-07-03 14:27
#90
 | 
South Africa @FyreCS
Koosta biggest wtf tho
2019-07-03 14:15
#2
 | 
North America ZachS721
THIS NEW ROSTER IS THE SHIT!
2019-07-03 04:57
#9
 | 
Albania JonZherka
I think you meant 'is'
2019-07-03 04:53
is the shit. That does sound better
2019-07-03 04:55
#13
 | 
North America ZachS721
Ok I fix
2019-07-03 04:56
#22
adreN | 
Switzerland 2022
Good job
2019-07-03 05:09
#15
 | 
Albania JonZherka
'this new roster is shit'
2019-07-03 04:57
0/8
2019-07-03 04:58
Kinda funny how NA people are freaking out about this roster lmfao. No WARDELL Trashy Koosta Only positive about this roster is TenZ, Auti & Daps + mixwell
2019-07-03 05:01
4/5 players
2019-07-03 05:09
Yes
2019-07-03 05:12
#25
 | 
United States xxxhoshi
twitter.com/JoshNissan/status/1146160147.. basically summarized you in a nutshell
2019-07-03 05:11
Nope. Koosta is not a good player. As i said earlier to you as well i belive (lol) is that i am not talking about stats. Instantly when you say something about a player on HLTV: "yOu aRE OnLy LoOkInG aT sTAts". lol
2019-07-03 05:15
#28
 | 
United States xxxhoshi
explain to me why koosta is not a good player then. i would love to hear your reasoning mr. expert analyst
2019-07-03 05:16
Ok. Koosta will be used as the main AWPer i assume, which i dont understand. Instead of just coughing up a OK price for up & coming talent such as WARDELL they sign Koosta, one of the most washed up players just a year isch ago that had multiple chances in CLG, Liquid etc etc. Never called myself an "expert". Heard of OPINION before? lol
2019-07-03 05:23
#34
 | 
United States xxxhoshi
well your opinion doesn't make sense. surprise surprise buddy, a team full of star players almost never works out (for example, faze). koosta's job isn't to be the star player. his job is to be a flex player who can fill almost any role and won't complain. according to steel, one of his FORMER TEAMMATES, he also helped with the mid round calls / play coordination. he can literally bring so much to this team lmao
2019-07-03 05:29
+1
2019-07-03 07:09
+1 , also to the guy saying he’d be a bad AWPer, he’s not bad, but mixwell and Auti would both be considered before he would. Most likely Koosta gonna be the flexible player, lurking and helping daps call the shots. Koosta is a smart player
2019-07-03 12:35
+1, even the C9 major winning roster wasn't full of superstars
2019-07-05 23:41
well actually...
2019-07-08 19:55
There’s a difference between star and shit. Theres a lot in the middle. Koosta being shit doesnt mean they had to buy a star. (Not saying koosta is shit, i don’t know him that well to have an opinion). But maybe they could have chosen a better awper
2019-07-09 13:56
#132
 | 
United States xxxhoshi
...... mixwell primary awp auti second awp????
2019-07-09 13:59
#43
 | 
Finland xvm
Mixwell is Awping, read the interview you b0t
2019-07-03 06:38
#50
 | 
Israel TimeDani
koosta will not be used as the main awp you have a star awper called mixwell to do that and koosta is a well rounded player so next time have a good base for your opinion
2019-07-03 07:57
Mixwell awp btw
2019-07-03 08:26
Depends dude. Hes like Koosta, Rifler / 2nd AWPer lol
2019-07-03 10:22
It is confirmed mix well will be the main awp
2019-07-03 13:29
Ok. But, as i said above, both Mix & Koosta are more like 2nd AWPers, kinda like SIXER is.
2019-07-03 13:47
#84
 | 
United States WilsonDS
The interview literally says mixwell will awp
2019-07-03 13:48
U cant read huh? I said "Hes like Koosta, Rifler / 2nd AWPer lol" They are not primary AWPers, thats what i said
2019-07-03 13:57
nice selfown. be nice, even though this team may achieve nothing. but they are all good players or they wouldnt be pros. not godlike or very good but still good. enough to compete at least!
2019-07-03 09:50
#125
 | 
Indonesia Weaverino
Theyre playing as team right? not only Koosta playing 1v5.. so lets see how it goes..
2019-07-06 23:11
#109
 | 
United States Fitzy0
They already had mixwell for Awp and koosta rifles better than Wardell
2019-07-04 18:35
KEK
2019-07-03 04:59
#3
 | 
United States famousguy
koosta not good
2019-07-03 04:50
#6
 | 
United States Frotha
Koosta underrated
2019-07-03 04:52
#7
 | 
North America ZachS721
FaZe down.
2019-07-03 04:52
#71
 | 
Romania Kubassafe
+1
2019-07-03 11:28
ok edwardius richtofe
2019-07-03 08:57
#4
kennyS | 
Mongolia Kiazz
jD
2019-07-03 04:50
Ya know, I’m gonna have to agree with you on that one
2019-07-03 05:20
I am excited to see this roster in action.
2019-07-03 04:50
Me too
2019-07-03 09:12
Why did you pick TenZ? He was included in the lineup because he can obliterate people. Daps: ok TenZ, just go kill men)))
2019-07-03 04:52
Tenz: hey daps.. what role so you want me to play? Daps: idk just go kill Tenz: ok mens
2019-07-03 04:55
#33
 | 
Brazil SecondKS
Hulk smash!
2019-07-03 05:26
Best C9 strat
2019-07-03 06:02
#114
 | 
Brazil yalamix
+400 IQ play TenZ will be NA Zywoo
2019-07-05 01:23
-1 zywoo way better. Tenz is the NA Brollan
2019-07-05 11:17
Valen's is such a humble guy, he even commented on JamesIRL and why he would be good for the coach role. I cant wait to see what this roster has in store for us. Obviously on paper this roster is seen as a failure, as many have pointed koosta and TenZ being the questionable players. I just hope that this roster proves everyone wrong and shows up on lans, but only time will tell and we'll see if this roster will succeed.
2019-07-03 04:55
What's gonna be his role now?
2019-07-06 00:27
he's going to be working on cloud 9's analytics division I think
2019-07-06 03:29
Insane team let’s go
2019-07-03 04:57
#17
 | 
Portugal MoussanY
good roster #c9win
2019-07-03 04:58
#20
 | 
United States Spiegel
This will be a hit or miss if course but if they find a play style organically will work best for them
2019-07-03 05:08
You want to win 2 majors? LUL
2019-07-03 05:08
Winning a major isn’t going to happening bub
2019-07-03 05:21
Tenz could also emerge as a top talent, so at least they could make a run at a major.
2019-07-03 13:34
So I'm confused....is Mixwell awping or is Koosta awping? In the livestream it sounded like Koosta would be awping, but here they talk about Mixwell being an awper... Edit: in the livestream they said Mixwell would be playing more of a rifle role...does that mean Koosta is awping? Are they going out on a limb and trying make TenZ a god tier awper?
2019-07-03 05:56
Mixwell is awping
2019-07-03 06:22
For sure? Valens said on The 9's he would be playing rifle more than the awp when asked if he'd be taking it up
2019-07-03 06:26
Yea, I was watching the stream and Valens said that autimatic was gonna go back to rifling and Mixwell is gonna awp
2019-07-03 06:37
#110
 | 
North America Retinaz
Realistically, 3 of their players can awp
2019-07-04 19:22
#115
 | 
Brazil yalamix
4, with the exception of daps, really.
2019-07-05 01:24
I see them being a top 20 maybe top 15 team similar to where ghost was. Nothing incredible but a solid tier 2/1.5 team. They probably will still get invited to t1 tournaments as a fan favorite similar to NiP but will probably finish top8 at best asside from riding off the back of some insane individual form from Autimatic and maybe Tenz
2019-07-03 06:11
Winning a major? Win MDL first xaxaxax
2019-07-03 06:12
+1
2019-07-03 13:33
#45
 | 
Canada $t4Rboy
A dream come true. Both Cloud9 and Liquid are 1 Canadian away from Canada Flag representing. ;) Seeing both teams compete at the WESG 2019 Canada qualifiers live in Toronto would be interesting. C9 should have bought out WARDELL over signing mixwell. Lul With the new WESG lightened restrictions, only 3 members need to be of a nationality to compete on behalf of that country, now. Seeing Twistzz and NAF play for the US will suck, unfortunately.
2019-07-03 06:53
they can play for us x)
2019-07-03 07:10
where the guy?
2019-07-03 07:29
I challenge valens to cut down on the Coca Cola and cheese where other fatties died of heart attacks
2019-07-03 07:48
inb4 you actually die of heart attack bfore valens
2019-07-03 18:38
Nt valens
2019-07-03 20:08
lol what a quote....just fucking play good like ur supposed to bc ur getting paid tons of money to do so..
2019-07-03 08:16
head of data science?
2019-07-03 08:54
#59
 | 
India MihirX27
Valens wanted to be an analyst, not a coach. Hence, the position.
2019-07-03 09:35
soham 'valens' chowdary -is this guy Indian?
2019-07-03 10:55
#70
 | 
India MihirX27
Indian-American. Yes.
2019-07-03 11:23
For those of you talking shit about Koosta.. I'm just curious have you ever played with or against him? Cause if you have you wouldn't be calling him shit. Bots are going to talk the real ones already know. I suggest you bots get back on the grind then maybe you will have a chance to see if he really sucks or not. But I doubt you get that far. Just an addition. You want to win a major c9? I can help with that. -T.J.K
2019-07-03 09:31
+1
2019-07-03 10:56
What did he mean by this
2019-07-04 19:41
so back to back majors?
2019-07-03 09:47
they’ve got about a month in between blast and ESL to practice together
2019-07-03 12:27
Finally some good roster changes around my men auti, I see C9 will be back as tier1 team
2019-07-03 10:30
Depending on your definition of tiers, I thinking more tier 2 edging on tier 1
2019-07-03 13:37
if they will be decent then yes, but if they will manage to win against some tier1 teams then they can be called t1 team aswell
2019-07-03 14:06
#64
 | 
Europe Skraj
"Long term: deepen our map pool, make our utility usage more efficient, keep our individual play up, and enjoy each other’s company" So not to win events? Fuck me, sign me up if all a professional csgo player has to do is to be good at throwing nades and have an above average rating while being good friends with my teammates
2019-07-03 10:32
Maximum 4 months before they end up making another roster change
2019-07-03 10:46
3 awpers?... new meta incomming.... :P
2019-07-03 10:49
Hmm, poor cajunB. Moving to Usa and now having to move back all for nothing
2019-07-03 11:48
#75
 | 
Serbia smiley69
Lets goo
2019-07-03 13:07
why is valens still coach of c9? c9 are not shining for a long time. kick him pls/.
2019-07-03 13:16
Daps IGL Mixwell AWP auti Lucker Koosta and TenZ entry and trade. Sounds in a long term, a good team. But the titles won't come less than a year
2019-07-03 13:22
#107
 | 
Estonia RopzTop1
+1
2019-07-04 08:28
#82
 | 
Turkey CHAMPTZ
One of your older rosters won a major, please tell me what are you going to achieve they didn't?
2019-07-03 13:41
-koosta +ropz
2019-07-03 14:12
??? Why would ropz leave mousesports
2019-07-03 19:14
#105
 | 
Estonia RopzTop1
+1 i'm a c9 and a mouz fan, and this move makes no sense for either team
2019-07-04 08:27
why not=DDD
2019-07-12 18:16
#94
 | 
Lebanon Dogman69
valens actually the guy who should take responsibility for all the C9 shit in the last year and a half
2019-07-03 15:58
#106
 | 
Estonia RopzTop1
wb the CEO who spent the entire budget on FNS?
2019-07-04 08:27
#95
 | 
Asia mocity123
what? ez 4 tenz
2019-07-03 18:33
Koosta is big yikes, daps was hard carried by cerq and then brehze, very weird way to reset team IMO
2019-07-03 21:04
Just disband already... holy fuck c9 wont throw the towel in. This team sucks on paper and will not accomplish anything.
2019-07-03 23:24
Best team they've had since major
2019-07-04 19:42
I CHALLENGE OUR NEW PLAYERS TO SUCCEED WHERE OUR PREVIOUS ROSTERS COULDN’T Last years roster won a major, what the fuck does he want from this team then?
2019-07-04 02:48
#104
 | 
Estonia RopzTop1
...two majors?
2019-07-04 08:27
no shit
2019-07-04 16:14
Stewie left c9 because of valens faliure coaching I really hope he doesn’t ruin this roster’s journey
2019-07-04 19:45
nt yall won a fkn major with an old roster
2019-07-05 03:09
#118
 | 
Greenland Irie_99
noob coach
2019-07-05 15:17
Lol good luck with this one
2019-07-05 15:48
#120
 | 
Czech Republic PaYaB
maybe they should swap you aswell :)
2019-07-05 19:49
+1 bot Valens
2019-07-12 21:57
Head of Data Science? What's wrong with you people? ><
2019-07-06 02:25
think maybe having mix and koosta aint the best idea but i hope the best for them
2019-07-07 06:33
How about Cloud9 getting a new coach instead,imo Koosta sucks
2019-07-10 19:32
He is not tje coach anymore
2019-07-12 12:00
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