Cloud9 White have dominated Game Changers, but they have bigger goals
by Sage Datuin
After winning their fourth Game Changers event in a row earlier in April, Cloud9 White cemented themselves as the most dominant women’s VALORANT team in North America.
With constant changes to the meta in VALORANT, dominance for a sustained amount of time can be very challenging. Yet, for Cloud9 White, their dominance throughout Game Changers is one that has become an expected outcome no matter the changes to the meta. With strong communication and teamwork paired with top-tier mechanics, Cloud9 White continue to grow because of a goal that is much bigger than their Game Changers achievements.
Sticking together through tough moments
Cloud9 White remain one of the most dominant teams in the women’s scene, and the primary reason for how they have been able to grow is because of their commitment to each other.
“I feel like a big part of why our team is successful is because we have stayed together for so long,” Cloud9 White in-game leader Melanie “MeL” Capone said. “We built a really strong bond where we can be pretty honest with each other both in and out of the game.”
Originally under the name MAJKL, the five-person core got off to a slow start in VALORANT. However, the team worked through these challenges to win their first event in September 2020 at the FTW Summer Showdown. Shortly after this breakout tournament, they were signed by Cloud9.
Since then, C9 White have dominated the women’s VALORANT scene. Across four Game Changers events, Cloud9 White have dropped only one map to Shopify Rebellion during Game Changers Series III in October.
C9 White have loftier goals than what they have already achieved. They want other teams to continue growing alongside them, and for MeL, she believes this can be fixed if rosters stay together longer.
Photo credit: Nerd Street
“Maybe it’s easy for me because we have been winning, but even before we were winning, we stuck together for four months before our first major win at FTW Showdown.” MeL said. “Still, it doesn’t really make a lot of sense to me why these people are making roster changes immediately.”
MeL has noticed the progress being made beyond just mechanical improvements.
“I feel like we've really grown in like our mindset and tributary thinking to just focusing on ourselves to play clean,” MeL said.
Even with the meta changes in VALORANT, Cloud9 White continues to become a better team that can not only dominate a map, but make miraculous comebacks as well. Specifically, the biggest change has been centered on making each round team-focused.
“We really shifted our thought process to be centered around playing with each other and playing well. Then these 13-0 performances and zero maps dropped will naturally follow.” MeL said.
This renewed mentality is one that coach Jornen “MoonChopper” Nishiyama has taken note of and is proud of the progress the team has made.
“I am very happy about how we are communicating with each other, and how much we have grown since the last event,” MoonChopper said. “Even if we lose like a round or two, it doesn't feel like the end of the world because we know why we lost that round.”
This growth in mentality has helped C9 White become an even better version of themselves and has inched them closer to their long-term goals as a team.
What’s next for Cloud9 White?
With aspirations to eventually reach the higher tiers of VALORANT, Cloud9 White’s goals are much bigger than their own success in the Women’s VALORANT scene.
“We are always looking ahead and actually treat Game Changers more as a side thing,” Moonchopper said. “We are worried about teams that are so much better than us and it inspires us to keep catching up. We need to get as good as them and eventually beat them because I know we eventually can get there.”
Although C9 White have found success in Game Changers, that success has not translated to the VALORANT Champions Tour open qualifier events. Alongside the open qualifiers, Cloud9 White has competed in many Nerd Street Gamers open qualifiers but have yet to break into the top eight.
Photo credit: Nerd Street
Yet, it is these failures that drive Cloud9 White to become even better. MoonChopper sees this as proof that other women’s teams need to compete in more events outside of Game Changers.
“I think it just goes to show you need to play in these tournaments because then you just have this mindset that we are titans in this tournament,” Moonchopper said. “It’s like you need to play in these open tournaments and play against the real titans in NA and get stomped by them. We don’t want to be this unbeatable titan to other female teams because there are so many teams better than us.”
With lofty goals to eventually become a Tier 1 team in VALORANT, they know there is so much more work to put in to reach these goals. Still, these goals only drive Cloud9 White to become better, and in 2022, the team believes other women’s teams will begin to follow suit.
“I think we're actually going to be seeing like a lot more teams playing in that soon. I just have a good feeling about this Game Changers season.” MeL said.
After a successful year of Game Changers throughout 2021, Riot Games announced that they would improve upon the initial Game Changers structure. They announced an international Game Changers championship where top women’s teams from around the globe will compete against each other.
With more opportunities for teams to compete and grow, C9 White will look to continue growing as a team with hopes that they can take their regional dominance to the international level. For now, Cloud9 White will continue to compete in events to prepare for the the next round of VCT open qualifiers.
Meanwhile, the next Game Changers NA event will begin June 30 and run through July 11.
Lead photo credit: Cloud9