IGL'ing in CSGO usually comes with a serious dip in form. These players not only have to make the calls and organize the strategies that win their team's games, but they have to do so in the middle of rounds as well. Some players have been able to pull off the delicate balance of leadership and fragging, but one or the other usually suffers as the player tries to keep track of it all. Even CSGO's greatest IGLs, such as Astralis' Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander, have struggled to find a balance at times.
But in Cloud9's games at DH Winter, Alex has shown that he can be excellent at both roles.
C9's Alex shows that IGLs can lead and rack up the kills
To start, Alex posted an impressive 68 total kills over C9's two-map game against ENCE on December 1. That's an impressive statistic, even with the match's first map going into triple overtime. The IGL's 68 kills gave him the title of top fragger in the server.
Even though he slowed down on Nuke, Alex's ability to pop off against opponents while leading C9's new roster is a huge improvement from where it started. The roster's first games under Cloud9 during Flashpoint 2 saw the team drop out of the tournament after two straight losses against Virtus.pro and OG.
It wasn't the greatest start for a team who had nicknamed itself a "collossus" before shedding its previous roster and spending millions in buyouts and salaries for some of CSGO's top free agents. But as time has gone on, both Alex and the rest of C9 are starting to find their groove.
Who are the stars on Cloud9?
Beside's Alex's impressive run against ENCE the first, C9 continued to mop up the competition by thrashing Spirit, one of the CIS regions up-and-coming teams thanks to a 16-4 win on Dust 2. Alex even showed off that his previous run on Nuke against ENCE was just an off day, as he topped the charts against Spirit with a match-leading 1.38 rating and a 1.37 rating on Dust 2. If Alex continues to perform this well, there are great things in store for Cloud9.
The only C9 player left over from its previous roster, Ricky "floppy" Kemery is a dependable, stable rifler that has shown excellent clutch ability. As he becomes more familiar with the rest of his teammates and Alex's style of calling, floppy has the potential to be one of North America's next breakout talents.
Patrick "es3tag" Hansen is C9's other secret weapon. After a number of months with Astralis, es3tag seems to be settling in nicely under Alex and with the the rest of the Cloud9 roster. While he's had games where he leads the team in almost all statistical catagories, he's also had trouble at times. Most of that seems to stem from timings in relation to rotations and pushes, but those are things that come with time, especially with rosters that have limited experience playing with one another.
Finally, Özgür "woxic" Eker has continued his AWPing prowess after transferring to C9's new lineup from mousesports. While his aggressive playstyle often left him caught out on mousesports, woxic looks right at home on Cloud9 under Alex's watchful eye. Sometimes, he doesn't even need his signiture AWP to make an impact.
Why is it difficult to lead and get kills in CSGO?
There's more to leading a CSGO team than calling a strategy at the beginning of the round. With most tactics requiring a certain amount of utility and the ability to improvise on the fly, few players have managed to do well in both catagories at the same time.
But since Alex signed his contract with Cloud9, general manager Henry "HenryG" Greer and head coach Aleksandar "kassad" Trifunović seem to have found the secret formula for doing so. By surrounding Alex with young, hungry players that have good instincts and reactions, they've freed up Alex to not just lead C9's roster in strategy, but in performance as well.
Overall, players will have to see if both Alex and Cloud9 can keep up this impressive run on maps that aren't Nuke or Dust 2. But these early performances are great signs for fans of the North American team that hasn't seen much success since they brought home a CSGO Major trophy in 2018.
Alex's performances, as well as those from woxic, es3tag, and the UK's William "mezii" Merriman, have C9's chances of making an international run increasing with every win.