What Does “C9” Mean in Overwatch? How This Meme Came to Be

Updated: Apr 7, 2024
GlootBio Image

As an Overwatch player or fan, it doesn’t take long to come across the term “C9” in-game, during Overwatch eSports coverage, or being spammed in Twitch chat. Below, we explain what it means and the origin of this meme.

What Does “C9” Mean in Overwatch?

The term “C9” is used in Overwatch to describe a team losing a round because they fail to touch the objective point or payload as time expires. It’s named after the eSports organization Cloud9 after their Overwatch team made this mistake twice in a 2017 match.

When the term was first popularized, it was only used when a team made this error after winning a team fight or looking like they had a good chance to win. Over time, the term has more frequently been used to describe any time a team loses because they left the point/payload regardless of the likelihood of them winning the fight had they been on the objective.

Suggested: What Does “Diff” Mean in Overwatch 2

“C9” In Overwatch  Origins

The term originated in 2017 after Cloud9 made this mistake multiple times in an Overwatch Apex Season 2 match against Afreeca Freecs Blue. Cloud9 is one of the largest eSports organizations with teams in most major eSports. The team’s name is commonly abbreviated to “C9”.

In the best-of-five match against Afreeca Freecs Blue that led to the creation of this term, Cloud9 first failed to touch the point in the second round of map one at Lijiang Tower as Surefour and Mendo got two kills with a Graviton Surge and Pulse Bomb combo. This helped Afreeca Blue to win round 2 and eventually win the map.

On map 3, played at Volskaya Industries, all Cloud9 members left the point when DongHyun used DVA’s Self-Destruct ultimate in the center of the point. Cloud9 hid from the “DVA Bomb” and failed to retouch the point as time expired. Afreeca Blue went on to win the map 4 to 3.

While Cloud9 won map 2, they lost the best-of-five in 4 maps. Many viewers believed this was largely due to their mistake(s) that would eventually be known as “C9”.

Cloud9 went on to found the Overwatch League (OWL) team the London Spitfire. The London Spitfire won the inaugural OWL season in 2018. However, the team’s results went down hill from there, until the Overwatch League folded in 2024.


While the competitive scene and Overwatch itself have undergone drastic changes since the term “C9” was first used, the term has continued to be used widely. Unless Overwatch and similar games cease to exist, we don’t see the term going anywhere.

Read Next: What is MIT in Overwatch 2?