– Francesco Puglisi
The International 2016 starts in a few days in Seattle, where the best 16 teams in the world are going to battle it out for the highest prize pool in the history of eSports, slightly more than US$18.5 million. To put things into perspective, the Super Bowl dishes out a meagre $8.5M and the baseball World Series $8M, while the Wimbledon tennis tournament allocated around $11M for the men’s single in 2016. The only sport events that top TI6 in terms of prize pool money are the FIFA Champions League, the Football World Cup and the Football European Cup. Not too shabby for a bunch of guys mashing a keyboard!
This series of articles is going to guide you through the event, analysing each of the participating teams and the meta of the current game patch in use for the tournament. So let’s start with the teams that are going to take part in the wildcard tournament, a mini-event in which the four third-qualified teams in every region play to secure first and second place, starting the 2nd of August. Not making it into the first two spots means going home without even entering the main stage of TI.
Today’s spotlight is focused on the North American team compLexity Gaming (coL).
compLexity is one of the most established North American eSports organisation, with teams competing in CS:GO, Call of Duty, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, Starcraft II and HoN. They acquired their Dota 2 team in 2011 and they competed in The International 2012, placing 9th-12th. This was their roster at the time:
Lacking team cohesion and demoralised by the underwhelming lack of positive results, the team disbanded shortly after TI2.
compLexity came back to the Dota 2 pro scene at the end of 2014 and by May 2015 a new team was born:
Apart from Zyzz, all of the new players were professional HoN players. The new roster managed to win the TI American qualifiers pretty swiftly and went on to TI5 with a lot of confidence. The captain, Swindlemelonzz, often said during interviews that his team was incredibly hard working and that he had no doubt that they’ll do great at TI. The team under performed and once again only made it to the 9th-12th place. In the roster shuffle after The International Fly and MoonMeander moved to their current team, OG, while Zyzz moved to Leviathan. The two remaining members, the brothers Swindlemelonzz and Zfreek, rebuilt their team from the ground up, acquiring new players and sculpting a new team philosophy and attitude that focuses on not running from problems and working hard to solve them.
The current roster
Rasmus “Chessie” Blomdin
The Swede was considered one of the best HoN players before his switch to Dota 2. He only played for compLexity and always plays the carry role for his team. The only exception is when they manage to get Invoker in their drafts, as the hero is one of Chessie’s best with a solid 67% win rate. His other signature heroes are Lone Druid (61% win rate), Nature Prophet (64% win rate) and Juggernaut (56% win rate). He has been criticised for having a limited hero pool, and that can be attributed for his being relatively new to Dota 2 compared to other players, which is a reason for concern going into a long tournament like The International. The one thing that Chessie has going for him is his consistency on the heroes he is comfortable with. He finds his farm even when his lane is contested, he has great mechanical skills and always itemises correctly depending on which heroes he’s facing.
Linus “Limmp” Blomdin
As you might have noted from the surname, Limmp and Chessie are brothers. He started his career in Dota 2 playing for compLexity for a short spell in 2014, moving to Ninjas in Pyjamas at the beginning of 2015 and playing for them since November of last year, after which he came back to coL. Linus is one of the most technically skilled mid players at the moment and he plays with a consistency that many players envy. He is one of the few players that still successfully plays Puck even now that the hero has an abysmal win rate. His Templar Assassin is scary, with a win rate over 73%, and his plays on Queen of Pain have often single-handedly won matches for his team. While Limmp and his brother have the solidity of their playstyle in common, they have a quite different hero pool: Limmp plays a ton of different heroes and banning against him can be very difficult. He can play both the tempo-controller and the farming-damage dealing mid styles, and his versatility, together with his mechanical skills make Limmp one of the most reliable midlaners in the world.
Kyle “Swindlemelonzz” Freedman
Swindle is often criticised for his huge ego and what most consider unfounded overconfidence, especially considering compLexity’s latest underwhelming results. In his defence, Kyle always says that the source of his confidence is his team strong work attitude, their dedication to practicing and giving 110% to the game. He is not the flashy offlaner that many of the top teams have in their ranks, but he always manages to get his items and levels even when against the hardest of trilanes. Dark Seer is definitely his signature hero, but he also plays a mean Beastmaster. Slardar is one of his most played heroes, but his win rate on it has been decreasing lately and he is moving away from it in the current patch. Swindle tends to be quite greedy in terms of farming, and he often takes risks with his positioning to be more farm-efficient. His style, which is reflected in his team play style, is more farm oriented in the early stages of the game and focused on big five-men teamfights in the late game. Kyle initiations are always on point and his bad games are rare and far apart.
Zakari “Zfreek” Freedman
The quiet one of the Freedman brothers is one of the most efficient position 4 support players in the western scene. Many teams first phase ban Earth Spirit against coL in order to avoid having their midlaner heavily harassed by the roaming Zfreek. Roaming heroes like Mirana and Bounty Hunter are his forte, especially in this roaming-heavy meta, but he also plays junglers like Chen and Enigma with great results. He certainly is one of compLexity’s most versatile players and we can surely expect some pocket strats gravitating around Zakari.
Simon “Handsken” Haag
Handsken played with Limmp throughout his Dota 2 career. They were together in the Ninjas in Pyjamas roster and moved together to compLexity when NiP disbanded. He always played the support position, the four when playing for NiP and the hard five at coL, which is fairly common for support players. His hero pool is quite deep: he can perform on sustain heroes like Wisp, Oracle and Dazzle while still being dangerous on ganking heroes like Lion and Disruptor. Simon shares one of compLexity’s distinctive traits: no flashy plays and a lot of consistency. He rounds up the American team line up with his selfless approach to the game.
compLexity is not looking great at the moment, and many think they might not even make it through the Wildcard tournament. The team remained together despite the many disheartening results achieved in the last year: not qualified for the Frankfurt Major, 5th-6th at the Shanghai Major, 5th-6th at the ESL One Manila, 9th-12th at the Manila Major, 5th-6th at the ESL One Frankfurt and 7th-8th at the Starladder Series Season 2. An early elimination at TI6, either in the Wildcard tournament or in the first stage, would be a very hard delusion for the team, who might finally decide to part ways. We can’t count coL out yet though: the team has been surely preparing really hard for the event and they will be giving all they have in order to make it to the top. We’ll know if that pays off soon enough.
Stay tuned for more about the TI6 teams. Next episode – Escape Gaming