Khan’s release has long been rumored. The sniping specialist joined the team in December following the loss of Spencer “Hiko” Martin, and neither Khan nor the team have been able to produce good results since the addition.
Khan made his name in Global Offensive primarily as a member of Lunatik and Denial Esports, effectively wielding the AWP with a style that was both flashy and effective. But he wasn’t able to translate that success to his time with Cloud9, and was frank about his struggles in his official statement.
“Obviously things didn’t go as planned and the results these last couple months were lackluster,” Khan said.
The bigger surprise is the release of Friesen, who has been a core member of the team for nearly a year. Friesen wasn’t called out by fans for his performance as often as Khan. But the organization expressed clear dissatisfaction with his performance in detailing the reasoning behind the change.
The changes leave Cloud9 with three active players: Jordan “n0thing” Gilbert, Sean Gares, and Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek. Gilbert and Grzesiek were widely expected to be retained in the case of Cloud9 making changes. Gares would appear to be joining them as the team seeks to rebuild itself into the contending team it once was.
The decision comes on the heels of what might have been the squad’s worst result since joining the Cloud9 organization, a last-place finish at the ESEA global finals that included a shocking upset that saw them eliminated in a sweep by domestic opponent Nihilum Gaming.
The team performed nearly as badly at the prior ESEA final event in December, and exited during the group stage at each of the past two Counter-Strike majors. Curiously, the move comes shortly after the reported benching of Counter Logic Gaming’s Peter “ptr” Gurney. But with the North American Counter-Strike scene seeming to be in a time of transition, it’s no surprise given the lack of positive results that Cloud9 would choose to make a change now.
Image via Cloud9/Facebook