Despite only being around two years old, Overwatch esports has a rich history: be it the double-hero meta back in the day or the stopwatch vs time bank era, Overwatch started off with some unique moments that veterans of the game know well. However, out of all of these, only one has stood the test of time: the C9.
If you’ve watched the Overwatch League (OWL) within the past few weeks, you’ll have noticed the “C9 LUL” spam every so often. It’s a highly memed and often used term in Twitch chat, a sign that a team has done something embarrassing that shouldn’t have happened in the first place.
— Jack Etienne (@JackEtienne) January 23, 2018
For those unaware, “C9” refers to a team not staying on an objective and losing the round/control of an objective due when the team could have easily contested the point/payload/etc to stay in the game. Most C9’s generally lead to the loss of a match or a map, though some teams manage to recover from it. There have been a few C9’s throughout OWL’s young history, but none will ever be as famous as the original.
What made this special – and why the event was named for Cloud 9 – wasn’t because Cloud 9 did it once – they did it twice, in a row. To make things worse, they could have easily have won the fights the C9 event occurred in. Though the second round was a bit more complex due to Donghyun’s Graviton and Mano’s boop onto Mendo as he scrambled to get back to the point, the biggest issue was that Mendo over-extended to be sucked into the Graviton in the first place. It was that type of over-extension that allows for C9’s to occur and the meme spammed in Twitch chat for minutes after the event.
Regardless of reasons, the C9 meme has evolved into something far beyond that game: it’s an inside joke for those in the scene, a highly referenced event within the community that is universal in terminology. In time, we’ll likely see more OWL-specific terms show up, but you can definitely count the C9 as the earliest one of its kind.