The waiting is over, CS2 is here, and 11 years after its release CS:GO’s era is officially over. The game has had some of the most memorable moments in esports, from the biggest chokes to the best clutches, CS:GO has had it all and now it’s time to look back at those moments. One of CS:GO’s greatest stories was the tale of NA’s first and only Major win, where Cloud9 had a miraculous underdog run that ended with them lifting the biggest trophy in Counter-Strike on their home turf.
Every North American fan remembers the moment and every FaZe fan dreads thinking about it. Cloud9 were down 15-11 on the final map, they forced the game to overtime and won. Whilst the run was incredible, many of the Cloud9 players have vanished from the CS:GO limelight. So over four and a half years later, where are those players now?
From going to VALORANT to becoming one of the world’s biggest streamers, the winners of the ELEAGUE Major 2018 have been busy in recent years. So without further ado, here are the stories of NA’s only CS:GO Major winners.
Tyler "Skadoodle" Latham was the longest-serving Cloud9 player heading into the ELEAGUE Major 2018. He joined the roster in 2015 and made an immediate impact, quickly cementing his legacy as one of the best AWPers in the region. He was also an essential part of Cloud9’s victory over FaZe in the final by top fragging and putting up a number of impressive plays.
Less than three months after the event Skadoodle decided to take a break from Counter-Strike, but this didn’t last more than two weeks as he returned to Cloud9. Then, after enduring six months of chaotic roster moves, he finally parted ways with the CS:GO team for good, deciding to pivot more toward streaming. As he left the team he was widely considered the greatest NA AWPer to ever touch the game at the time.
In June 2020, after attempting his hand at streaming, Skadoodle announced his return to a competitive career. However, it was not in CS:GO, but rather in VALORANT. It didn’t get off to the best start, joining the inactive roster of T1 just two months after joining, but after being reinstated to the starting lineup he competed up until the start of 2022. During this time he reunited with some old teammates, including Braxton "swag" Pierce, Keven "AZK" Larivière and even Timothy "autimatic" Ta, whom he won the Boston Major alongside.
Since then, the 30-year-old AWPer has gone back to streaming and content creation, even posting a YouTube video entitled “COUNTER-STRIKE 2. I’M BACK” five months ago.
Jacky "Stewie2K" Yip joined Cloud9 in 2016 which was a decision that was met with heavy criticism, but he established himself as one of the most effective aggressive riflers in Counter-Strike. The perspective of the “Smoke Criminal” changed rapidly, and he was quickly seen as a top prospect in North American Counter-Strike, so it was a shock to many when he decided to leave the U.S. and join the Brazilian side, SK Gaming. The move came shortly after the Major win and whilst bold, it did not cultivate the results that the side had wanted and less than a year later he returned to the NA scene, but this time on Team Liquid.
Stewie2K once again proved his worth, playing on the roster for three years and winning the Intel Grand Slam. This victory made him the first American player to ever win both a Major and an Intel Grand Slam. At the beginning of 2022, Stewie made the final move in his CS:GO career by joining EG and taking up the mantle of the IGL, where he was accompanied by his two former Cloud9 teammates autimatic and William "RUSH" Wierzba.
The roster did not have the same success as the two other North American projects that Stewie2K had been a part of and in July of that same year he transitioned into a streaming role for EG. Shortly after leaving Stewie2K was back in the headlines, but this time not for his skillful plays but claims that he had been unprofessional whilst playing for EG. The back-and-forth captured fans' attention for a week but died down after multiple streams and interviews.
Stewie2K left EG but continues to stream on Twitch, recently playing CS2 with other big NA names.
Timothy "autimatic" Ta had plenty of Counter-Strike experience before joining Cloud9, having a semi-professional career in Source before playing on Tempo Storm, Complexity and TSM. Tim has always been known as a reliable player with flashes of excellence, which made him a key part of Cloud9’s winning run in Boston. His reliability also secured him a place on Cloud9 for a long stint after the Major win, with him only leaving the organization when he was bought out by Gen.G in 2019, making him the final member of the Boston winning team to leave the organization.
After a year on Gen.G, autimatic followed in the footsteps of his former teammates and retired from CS:GO to pursue a career in VALORANT. He joined Skadoodle on T1 and competed until 2022 when he retired from VALORANT and reignited his CS:GO career.
Upon returning to CS:GO, he joined EG alongside RUSH and Stewie2k, but once again he was the last man standing. EG dropped Stewie2k and created a new project entitled, "Blueprint", which was made up of their main roster and two academy teams. He survived the rise and fall of EG’s "Blueprint" and now plays on their main roster alongside the former EG Black players.
Tarik "tarik" Celik was a crucial part of Cloud9’s success at the ELEAGUE Major 2018. After Stewie2K, tarik became the second player to leave Cloud9 for another team, following in Stewie’s footsteps and joining MIBR to replace Ricardo "boltz" Prass. The rifler spent half a year on the Brazilian roster before joining NRG, who would later become EG, and becoming the number one rated team in the world, according to HLTV. EG didn’t maintain its reign at the very top for long, making multiple changes which included bringing in Stewie2k.
In the early stages of 2021, tarik stepped away from EG’s active lineup and for the next eight months dedicated himself to his streaming career. Once his contract had ended with EG, he officially announced his retirement from the game. Now no longer competing, tarik has focused on his streaming career and has become a big streamer on Twitch. In August of 2022, he joined Sentinels as a content creator and now his VALORANT co-streams bring in hundreds of thousands of viewers.
As CS:GO comes to an end, tarik stands alone as the only North American player to win a Major MVP.
William "RUSH" Wierzba is the only player on this list to not have retired from CS:GO at any point. After the Major win, Cloud9 began to break apart with key members of the team leaving, which caused the organization to enter a phase of uncertainty. Cloud9 began to lose their identity as they brought in European imports and struggled to produce winning results. RUSH and autimatic were the only two Major winning players who survived this period of time, competing on middling teams that the organization produced. It took until late 2019 for RUSH to leave when he was eventually bought out by Complexity.
RUSH then spent the next two years on a Complexity side that was transitioning away from being an American team in an attempt to create an international superteam. The team experienced some highs such as a win at the BLAST Spring 2020 Europe Finals, but did not live up to the expectations that were set for them. RUSH was then benched and soon after became a free agent, with the roster blowing up just a few months later.
With experience on international teams under his belt, RUSH made a return to North American Counter-Strike by joining EG alongside two of his former teammates. The roster only lasted half a year with drama ensuing afterward, so EG moved towards a new project that they entitled "Blueprint." Shortly after the new project was announced, RUSH was moved to one of the academy teams, EG Black, to aid the younger players with his vast experience. He competed with the squad until they were promoted to the main team in June 2023, where RUSH was replaced by autimatic on the main team and remained as a substitute for a month.
RUSH is now a free agent and is looking for a team to compete with in CS2.
Soham "valens" Chowdhury was the brains behind Cloud9’s incredible run at the ELEAGUE Major in 2018 and is widely considered one of the best coaches in North American Counter-Strike history. After the win, valens transitioned between the roles of coach and data scientist twice before leaving Cloud9 to join EG in the latter role.
valens went on to spend two and a half years as a data analyst at EG until the organization unveiled their Blueprint project. He then transitioned into a Director of Athletics role, working alongside the other coaches of EG’s main team, EG Black, EG White and EG Gold. Soham still works for EG and during his time there has made one appearance on broadcast as a guest analyst for the Intel Extreme Masters Dallas 2023.