LDLC and Complexity are not bad teams, but they are fragile. Both sides have earned their namesakes through big single tournament results; LDLC, at IEM Chicago; Complexity, at the FACEIT London Major. While these two events come months apart, the manner in which they both earned their victories is the same. They both found momentum by capitalizing on the energy of big upsets and compounding upon it like a snowball. They played far greater than the sum of their parts, but in a way that seemed unique to the moment.
LDLC and Complexity at their peaks looked cohesive, confident, and effective with their own more structured styles of play. Their over-performances didn’t come from a solitary star as much as it did the unified rise of a group in-the-moment.
Dreamhack Winter 2018 was not that moment. It was the return to the mean and reality for both teams. For LDLC, it hinted at the underlying reality that they may be a decent, but not great lower tiered European side. For Complexity, it validated a similar narrative of returning to reality which has backgrounded their performances post-major. X6tence Galaxy was the upset side who managed to break the brittle structures of both LDLC and Col.
X6tence’s attendance in Jonkjoping in the first place was a surprise. In the online EU qualifier, they managed to upset LDLC and Fragsters to make it to the grand finals where they faced the controversial Syman Gaming.
Syman is a CIS team who came from nowhere, beating Vitality, Space Soldiers and AGO – three of the favourites to qualify – in order to face x6tence. They have an almost unknown Uzbekistan/Azerbaijan/Kazakhstan/Russian mix which has never before or after beaten top thirty teams. Many viewers made allegations that Syman players were cheating, and had bans on third party matchmaking services. While this is unconfirmed, definitely, x6tence had much of the top competition in the online qualifier removed. They were able to beat Syman in the grand finals and qualify for the LAN.
“It wasn't our goal as much is it was our dream to qualify for Dreamhack Open Winter here in Sweden” said BARBARR in an interview. As such, x6tence played their games with a “we aren’t scared to lose mentality” because they felt fully accomplished for having attended the event in the first place. Without fear of losing, they faced teams who definitely were as much in LDLC and Complexity.
X6tence not only broke and shattered mentality, but beat and pummelled both sides individually into the ground. They played loose and fast, taking duels relentlessly and constantly shining brightly in the most important moments. Their rifling star Plospki outlined this in an interview after their victory against Complexity saying “I'm a young guy with a lot of aim, I play pretty aggressively, actually. I'm confident in my aim so I just take duels and I know that I can win them. I would say I open up rounds.”
Usually though, teams capable of knocking around the bottom end of the top 15 aren’t sides so easily overwhelmed by – while definitely talented – an overall, inexperienced side like x6tence. X6tence boast some of the hottest talents on the rise in Sweden, but they aren’t some Fnatic or NiP esq upset side. They have firepower in their youthful riflers and AWPer, a veteran, resourceful caller in BARBARR, but hardly the nerve or depth to grind back into a series.
Complexity and LDLC weren’t victims to a magnificent team finally realizing itself. Instead, they had their over-reliance on intangibles like confidence, and energy exposed. They had done to them by x6tence what they did to teams at IEM Chicago and the FACEIT Major. This can be seen in an interview amanek did after LDLC’s loss to x6tence. When asked about why his team lost, the Frenchman said that “The team, we don't play as a unit. At IEM Chicago, we play as a unit. At this event it was more individual.” He further went on to say that “I don't know, we got so much energy at IEM Chicago, at this event, every much except for the last map… we don't have any energy at all. It was… I don't even know what to say. We failed.”
Failed they did. But it wasn’t a failure of capturing the “energy” of the moment, but rather, failing to have the contingencies in place to win a series in-lieu of it.
Dreamhack Winter 2018 was the return to reality for both Complexity and LDLC. Their hype train was derailed by another taking its place. Energy is a fickle mistress to bank a tournament run on. As I’m sure x6tence themselves will find out in the coming months. Undoubtedly though, the road to becoming a consistent top 15 team is not paved through moment-to-moment heroics, but rather the month long grind of a consistent system firing more often than it doesn’t.
Image via: Complexity Gaming