There were many international rivalries going on in 2014. No longer was it just a battle of NiP and VeryGames, but many more teams joined the fray. This was also the time when North American Counter-Strike was no joke, they were contenders. The 2 most prominent teams to come out from this region were Cloud9 (start of 2013 known as complexity) and iBuyPower. But who would be regarded as the better team?
Cloud9 vs iBuyPower: Majors
Back in 2014, there were 3 CS:GO Majors. Both iBuyPower and Cloud9 attended all of them and yet Cloud9 would show better results in these events. In the first major of the year, EMS One Katowice, Cloud9 (Complexity at the time) would go on to the playoffs. They would battle the number one team in the world, Ninjas in Pyjamas and would lose the quarterfinal match 2-1. As for iBuyPower, they would lose to bo1’s in the round robin stage two previous world champion Fnatic and Dignitas.
ESL One Cologne was the next stop for the CS:GO Majors. This event would have Cloud9 making an impressive run through the group stage. As the team was down 11-4 to the Frenchmen of Titan, Cloud9 pulled off an impressive comeback to overtime to win the match 22-18. In their next game, they’d go for another miraculous comeback, this time against the Danes of Dignitas. This was also the match with the infamous 4k from Hiko and Anders’ “Are you kidding me?” line. They’d finish the event 5th-8th, due to another loss to NiP 2-1. For IBP, it was yet another group stage. Big loses against Virtus.pro and Fnatic meant the team could not compete for a spot in the playoffs.
Dreamhack Winter 2014 was a bad event for both North American teams. IBuyPower underwent some significant changes, dropping long-time players steel and DaZeD. And the roster compelled relatively unknown quantities of NA players like desi and nitr0 to the mix. They’d have an early loss to Dignitas and an embarrassing game on Inferno, when IBP lead the game 13-2, to then lose it to Penta 16-13. Cloud9 would also have their first big exit in the major. They’d lose both of their matches 16-5 to Fnatic and Hellraisers.
Other International Events
Those were just the majors we mentioned, but there were other events going on. Whilst attending international events, both teams would also participate in local NA competitions. In the first half of the year, this is where iBuyPower would exceed. They’d go on to win SoCal Revival #2, Cevo Pro Season 4 and ESEA Invite Season 16. The latter one was an important victory for IBP as it also had European teams in the mix, with the likes of Na’vi, Virtus.Pro and NiP in competition.
The biggest breakthrough event for iBuyPower came in late October. Alongside Cloud9, the team attended Faceit League Season 2 Finals. It was comprised of top European talent, like LDLC, Fnatic and Dignitas in attendance. IBP had a difficult time going through the groups, but they finished just above Dignitas to a secure a semifinal appearance. The semifinal saw some great performances from the NA players. They were leading 12-3 on the ct side of Inferno and couldn’t close out the game in regulation. It took them an additional 19 rounds to win in order to claim the first map. The second map was Dust2 and again IBP had a stellar start and yet, it LDLC who almost brought it back. At the end of it, it was a 2-0 for IBP.
Next up, was the big challenge against Fnatic. In this all-out brawl, it was IBP, who got the ball rolling. Without breaking a sweat they dominated the Swedes on Dust2. However, Fnatic was able to retaliate and secured the last maps of the bo5.
The Pieces Of Each Roster
On first glance, both teams had players with very similar backgrounds and capabilities. The iBuyPower roster had their main IGL DaZeD whilst also having steel contributing in the calling duties. A similar situation was in the C9 team. There was the main caller Semphis whilst also having Sgares backing him up with shot calling.
As for firepower, both teams had talent on their side. For C9, the most notable name would be hiko. After Brax’s departure to IBP, they’d pick up another youngster in the scene – Shroud. Albeit, the early days for Shroud were difficult in this team, but he would be able to flourish under the leadership of sgares in summer of 2015.
As for swag, during his run in 2014, he thought to be the next big North American star. His rifles were truly amazing, not to mention his aim. Because he had already played in this environment for a longer period of time, he did have better success if you compare him to Shroud.