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Cloud9 Just Made Esports History

While female players like Geguri, formerly of professional Overwatch team the Shanghai Dragons, have marked the exception, the esports scene has long been dominated by men. Women who try to establish a foothold in the industry often get bullied out of their respective gaming communities. Cloud9 White, a new Cloud9 offshoot announced on Oct. 25, seeks to change that and has made history as Valorant's first all female team.


As revealed by Cloud9 via tweet, the Cloud9 White roster features Alexis "alexis" Guarrasi, Annie "AnnieDro" Roberts, Jasmine "Jazzyk1ns" Manankil, Melanie "meL" Capone, and "katsumi." They have joined Cloud9's two established Valorant teams: Valorant Blue and Valorant Korea. Alongside the announcement, a video introduced the players by highlighting Valorant gameplay clips from each team member.

Cloud9 has esports teams for a variety of titles, including Fortnite, League of Legends, and Hearthstone. According to GamesBeat, it's been making important strides towards proper representation and inclusivity in esports. In May, Cloud9 collaborated with Kaiser Permanente to advocate for mental health awareness among U.S. gamers. Kristen Salvatore, Cloud9 senior marketing VP, said in an interview that moves like this will initiate a greater focus on mental wellness and inclusion within video game culture. 


"At Cloud9, we have a track record of seeking out players and staff who everyone else has underestimated," stated Salvatore. "If we see that you're being overlooked, we're going to make sure that we put the time and attention and support into helping you develop your raw talent."

Cloud9 White member meL supported this sentiment in the team's announcement trailer, saying, "I feel like female empowerment and like equality and like just supporting marginalized communities is part of their culture." She was encouraged after realizing her first point of contact with Cloud9 was "a woman in a position of power."

Cloud9's newest roster has some shared history. They were originally named MAJKL, and their first tournament was the Counter Logic Gaming Blitz Open Cup. After that, the group participated in the Valorant Ignition series, which played a major part in Cloud9 picking up the team. They took first place. "We knew we were prepared," said alexis regarding the competition. "We knew we would win. After we won, we weren't really shocked. It just kind of proved to us that we were ready to compete at an even higher level."

Cloud9 White did not have a long wait before competing under the Cloud9 banner. Fans can watch their debut today, Oct. 26, during Riot's First Strike Tournament qualifiers.