The organization has owned a North American challenger squad in the past, “The Walking Zed,” which it acquired in January. That team later went on to lose 1-3 to Evil Geniuses in the League Championship Series Summer Promotion Tournament.
“We are trying to build the best team to compete with current LCS teams,” Etienne said. “Right now I feel most challenger teams did it wrong. They were just trying to be the best challenger team. To make it, you need more. My current LCS squad had a 90 percent win rate vs LCS teams as a challenger team, and that’s what we’re aiming for.”
Etienne isn’t just talk. Sources with knowledge of the situation say Cloud9’s tryouts have been rigorous. The organization is currently trying out “upwards of 12 players” in a series of in-house scrimmages, mixing and matching players to see what combination is most effective. Two ranked 5 teams have been created, each with a fluctuating roster of tryout players.
Cloud9 coach Charlie Lipsie will assist with the team. The North American Challenger Series is set to begin in early 2015.