Berlin Bottom Eight: What It Means Moving Forward - Part 2
The conclusion of the New Challengers Stage of the Berlin Major saw eight teams move on to the New Legends stage of the event while the other eight were left in the dust. With their respective performances, some teams will look to rebuild and others can keep their heads held high. The first part of this series can be found here.
Definitely a disappointing result for the members of HellRaisers, as the firepower this squad has seemed to be more than enough on paper to grant them passage into the next stage of the event, however, this was simply not the case. Statistically, only Tomáš “oskar” Šťastný managed to stay afloat, just barely breaking even with a 1.00 HLTV rating, giving his best efforts against Vitality in their elimination best-of-three, even while proving inconsistent otherwise.
All in all, the team looked very incohesive in the server with most of their game plans falling short due to a lack of coordination or just simply not finding the kills necessary to close out the rounds. We saw them running blindly into a meat grinder of rifles on multiple occasions, with the team's average time spent blind sitting at 1.91 seconds per round which is a considerable amount of time in comparison to those who moved on.
It's already been announced that HellRaisers would be benching their entire roster, and this may be for the best. It was obvious that this mix of players wasn’t clicking well enough and the players may be better off finding a team where they fit in more comfortably. Yet, if I had the choice of which players to keep I would certainly retain a grasp on ISSA and oskar, as both of those players at their peaks are some of the world’s best. Surrounded with the right pieces HellRaisers could have become a contender for top 10 once more but it looks the players will go their seperate ways.
Things boded well for this Complexity team heading into the major, as the feedback regarding their bootcamp raised expectations for the primarily North American squad. In an interview conducted by HLTV.org, Shahzheb “ShahZaM” Khan went on record saying, "So far this bootcamp has been the most productive one I've had with Complexity".
Still getting used to the LAN environment as well as international competition was the young Owen “oBo” Schlatter. He was nowhere to be seen in the server outside of their best-of-three win over TYLOO in round 3.
A tweet from Complexity CEO Jason Lake detailed his dismay with the team and their performance in Berlin, where he expressed his desire to “build a juggernaut”. His willingness to go through yet another roster overhaul after just shifting Rory “dephh” Jackson into the in-game leader position and slotting Jamie “keita” Hall into the coaching role shows very little hope for this current roster moving forward.
In addition to this, a TwitLonger from the team's resident Australian Ricky “Rickeh” Mulholland also goes in-depth about the role deficiency in the team, as Rick's willingness to sacrifice due to the lack of a solid entry-fragging identity within the team damaged his mental state as a player and seemingly led to inconsistencies across the board.
Another player who has failed to live up to potential in the last few years is Hunter “SicK” Mims. His issues lie beyond a lack of skill, as we have been made witness to his raw talent many times before, but, instead, the absence of a role that he effectively fits into. It may be that he needs to be less of a star fragger in the teams that he is put in and become more supportive. A player like Philip “aizy” Aistrup provides North far more than simply killing players, with his ability to fill in gaps and play between the cracks that the actual stars of the team leave. If he is going to continue to develop as a player then maybe it's time that he learns to take a more backseat role in his teams, as his style of crosshair placement and overall movement seems to make more of a role-playing rifler.
Holding onto oBo, ShahZaM, and SicK would be ideal for Complexity while attempting to scope out a more comfortable leader and entry-capable rifler from North America or elsewhere if need be. Names that come to mind for the role of leader include Aleksi “Aleksib” Virolainen, the recently benched Nathan “NBK-” Schmitt, or even a familiar name to the Complexity organization, Pujan “FNS” Mehta. Many may not rate FNS too highly, however, he has been touted as a leader who tends to bring more structure to a team than most others in the region, not to mention that he has brought out some of the best in SicK when they had played together under Team Solomid back in 2016.
Regarding an entry fragger, ISSAA from HellRaisers may be an option worth looking into. eUnited's own Kaleb “moose” Jayne would also be an interesting pickup for this role, as his name has been talked about around the scene for quite some time now and he has a level of skill that could definitely bring some life to Complexity.
Yet another roster change to transpire during the production of this article, TYLOO has moved YuanZhang “Attacker” Sheng to the bench in favor of the relatively unknown Chinese name Zhenghao “Danking” Lv. The team had faced the New Legends qualifying teams G2 and NRG in rounds one and two, which most would have anticipated a loss from anyway, but a crushing defeat to the 1-3 team of compLexity in the third round was less than ideal.
With WingHei “Freeman” Cheung joining this past June and Danking's arrival, TYLOO could just be in need of time to adjust to their new roster and see how it develops over time. There's not much to note on the individual player performances, seeing as every player sank below a 1.00 rating other than Freeman. With that being said, a 0-3 exit at this stage of the Major is more than a disappointment for the hopes most had for Chinese Counter-Strike and its fans who are certainly in hope of a speedy recovery.
Last but not least is INTZ who has just lost their captain and head honcho in the fragging department Vito “kNgV-” Giuseppe to MIBR. We have seen glimmers of hope from the likes of Marcelo “chelo” Cespedes and Alexandre “xand” Zizi, but lesser showings from both Lucas “DeStiNy” Bullo and Gustavo “yel” Knittel have proved a detriment to the team.
Without their heaviest hitter, things are looking bleak for the INTZ roster heading into the upcoming season of CS, as there aren't many players that can fit the role they desire that would be willing to join it seems. Their one salvation may be Luminosity's benched AWP player Henrique “HEN1” Lopes, although I feel the best option for one or both of chelo and xand would be to seek a place in Luminosity itself with the vacant spot HEN1 has left.