CS:GO
(Featured image via Valve.)

Stunted Growth: Stewie2k, NA’s Golden Child

Feb 28, 2017
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(Featured image via Valve.)

In January of 2016, Cloud9 announced Jake “Stewie2k” Yip as the fifth member of their new roster. Fans were quick with with their backlash, and many thought the acquisition was incredibly underwhelming. It’s easy to understand why Cloud9 was criticized for picking up Stewie2k–he was a relative unknown with almost no experience on the professional circuit. The roster change was subject to even more scrutiny as rumors about Christopher “GeT_RiGhT” Alesund and Tarik “tarik” Celik potentially joining C9 were circulating. Who in their right mind would pass up these established stars to take a gamble on an unproven player like Stewie2k?

Despite the skepticism surrounding his debut, Stewie2k has since silenced many of his detractors and developed into a remarkable talent. “Youthful Stewart 2000,” as some fans have dubbed him, adapted unbelievably fast, quickly becoming of the best players in NA and serving as in-game leader for Cloud9. His largest accomplishment was leading Cloud9 to victory at ESL Pro League Season 4, the biggest tournament victory in the history of NA CS:GO.

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Since EPL S4, however, Stewie2k’s meteoric rise to stardom has slowed down dramatically. Cloud9 have declined since their historic win, and no longer seem to pose a threat on an international level. Stewie2k is still one of NA’s best, but he has plenty of room to grow.

Stewie2k as In-Game Leader

In 2016, Stewie2k took over as primary shot caller and in-game leader for Cloud9, a new and unfamiliar role for the young player. To the surprise of many, the role change worked spectacularly for Cloud9, and Stewie2k’s calling played a central part in their EPL S4 win.

As a caller, Stewie2k bases Cloud9’s tactics and strategy around his own individual ability, drawing on his own playmaking ability to open up the game for his teammates. This style of calling seemed to free up Timothy “autimatic” Ta who had a break out MVP performance during C9’s run at EPL S4.

While this style of calling worked for C9 for a time in 2016, it has since become ineffective. To be blunt, C9 simply don’t have the individual skill or talent to continue to play such a loose style. Their EPL S4 victory came in part due to overperformance from the team’s role players, and Cloud9 have not come close to replicating that performance ever since.

Stewie2k needs to grow as an in-game leader to become a better player. He still has a very naïve mentality when it comes to being the shot caller for the team. In 2016, he stated in interviews that C9 was strong on six out of seven maps, and this was the reason that Cloud9 perma-banned nuke. He also stated that he didn’t think C9 needed a coach, as the players were able to give feedback to one another. These comments are representative of Stewie2k’s inexperience, and in order for Cloud9 to find success down the line, the young captain will need to focus on building the strategic and tactical core of the team.

Leadership Role

Stewie2k is clearly the best player on C9 at this point, and works well with autimatic, but as their best player and shot caller, it’s important that he develops his leadership role and takes responsibility for the direction of the team.

Throughout 2016 and 2017, Mike “shroud” Grzesiek, Tyler “Skadoodle” Latham, and Jordan “n0thing” Gilbert have all taken their turn at underperforming. Skadoodle and shroud were essentially nonexistent for 2016, despite being the star players for the team in 2015. Experts and analytsts were calling for the removal of both or either players in 2016. Over the past couple of events, Skadoodle has improved his form with the AWP and has contributed, but shroud and n0thing still look like dead weight.

Stewie2k is praised by many for his hard work and dedication to winning. He clearly wants to win, but in order to do so it will take more than just his own skill. He must have players around him who can support him and contribute to victory. With Cloud9’s current roster, they aren’t relevant contenders. Without improved play from his teammates, it’s crucial that Stewie2k holds them accountable and be willing to demand players who are capable of performing up to the level he expects.

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Oscar Izquierdo
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Oscar is a writer and student from NYC currently working on his MA in English. Originally a Madden NFL enthusiast, he refined his taste and began following LoL in 2012. In 2014 he picked up CS:GO and has been covering the pro scene for both games ever since. When he isn’t writing or following professional e-sports he can be found feeding away in dynamic queue or matchmaking.
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