blameF: "It's hard to fit so many skilled players into a team; people want to be the best and show how good they are"
Complexity traveled to London off the back of two unsuccessful qualifiers for the Europe Minor, leaving the team with just one more chance to qualify for the event as they will not take part in this weekend's open bracket. The European roster has been handed a baptism of fire in terms of LAN action as it will take on Astralis in BLAST Premier's 'Group of Death', which also features Vitality and Natus Vincere.
In an interview with in-game leader blameF, we discussed some of the struggles the team has experienced, both in the context of the squad and individually. We also quizzed the former Heroic player on his own development and how his work ethic has changed since the Epsilon days.
The Complexity squad was finalised with the addition of k0nfig and poizon in November 2019. How is the process of incorporating these two into the team?
I think it has been hard in the sense that we have a lot of personalities and a lot of very skilled individual players that we had to fit into one play style and kind of find out how we like to run things. It's hard to fit so many skilled players into a team because we have a lot of people who really want to be the best and like to show how good they are. We have had to make some sacrifices to make sure that we function as a team, and I think that's one of our biggest problems right now.
We had a month-long bootcamp in Europe before we had a break, and then we came straight back to America and started playing officials. I'm not going to complain about how much time we had to practice, because we had quite a lot, I just don't think we got the maximum potential out of this bootcamp in Europe, and I think that kind of hurt us in that we haven't found ourselves yet.
From the standpoint of an in-game leader, how have you gone about wrangling the superstar potential into a functional squad?
I think it has been very hard, but also the players have been very nice to me in the sense that they also understand that we can't all be the best player on the team. For sure it's hard to fit oBo, blameF, k0nfig and poizon into the same team. It's very nice that RUSH is taking a lot of the leftover positions. He's doing a lot of the supporting and doing things that the rest of the team doesn't want to, so that has really helped me. I had to talk to the rest of the team and make sure that even though they might not play their favourite position, I still get the maximum out of them. We're working very hard individually with those people to watch demos and make sure that they know the different options they have in certain spots or make them more comfortable in any way we can.
At the start of the year, the team had disappointing results in online qualifiers for IEM Katowice, DreamHack Leipzig and the Europe Minor. What were some of the issues you ran into and what have you addressed as things to improve on?
I think the first three qualifiers we played in North America actually didn't go very well. We were kind of expecting to win all of them because we thought we were a better team than the rest of the participants. I think we've realised that we're still making a lot of mistakes, I would say mostly individually. We watched the game back as a team, and we instantly realised that we were throwing away a lot of easy rounds and we did a lot of stuff that we had already specifically gone through. We had already made it clear how we wanted to play those situations but we didn't quite follow that plan and it was disappointing for us, and we think we're way better than what we showed in those qualifiers. We only managed to qualify for one of the three tournaments, so that was a little bit annoying for us.
The biggest thing we got out of the bootcamp was how hard it actually is to make a completely new team with so many individually-skilled players. I think that was the biggest thing because halfway through it, we realised that we need to be able to think more as a team and stop thinking as individuals. We need to make the teamplay work in order to succeed. The individual level we have is fine, we're never going to struggle with firepower, but we're definitely going to struggle with teamwork because people don't put the team first.
One of the reasons Complexity decided to "build a juggernaut" was the previous iteration's poor results. I don't imagine the organisation will drop you off the back of short-term falters, considering the youth of the roster, but is there ever an added pressure with this in mind?
I think you can definitely say that there is some pressure on us from a lot of different sides. I don't think Complexity is in any way trying to put any pressure on us, they're very nice to us and tell us that we have a long time to build this team, but the pressure comes from the general public's expectations and also because of the "juggernaut" meme.
We handle it as a team, and a lot of times we just sit down, look each other in the eye and say: "We've got to do the best we can together, and if it doesn't work, it doesn't work", but we've got to do everything we can to make it work, and that's the end of the discussion. We're a team, we're going to take care of each other and we're going to have each others' back. The rest can talk and people can make fun of us, but in the end, I think we will be a top team once we get enough time to make sure that the teamplay actually functions.
In terms of the goals you've set for 2020, is there something specific you'd like to achieve?
I think if we're talking within the team, our expectation is to enter the top 10 this year. For me, personally, I would like to have some deep runs at big tournaments and maybe even get to the point where we don't have to qualify for too many of them, instead just getting invited. I think that this is a process for us, and we all need to realise that we're not going to be the best team in the world within a couple of months. It will actually take time, especially because of the lineup that we have with so many types of players from different nations. I think we all need to realise that and continue working hard no matter what happens or how many matches we lose that we should've won. No matter what, we should continue working hard as a team, that's it.
Complexity is your second international roster, after Epsilon. How does your current experience playing in a mixed roster stack up against the one you had previously?
I think it's so far apart that it's hard for me to compare, just because, even individually, I've changed so much. Epsilon was pretty much my first professional team, and when I look back, I didn't know much about the game back then. I think I have learned a lot in this team already, just from dealing with different personalities and play styles. I also learned a lot in Heroic, so I think it's a completely new blameF in this Complexity lineup than it was in Epsilon. Also, in Epsilon I was mostly focusing on fragging, whereas now I have to find out how to make the team work.
I think it's very hard to compare, but the biggest difference for me would probably be that I have a lot more respect about me now. I think the players actually care a lot about what I'm saying, and I'm dedicating a lot of time preparing for practice sessions, making sure that we have new stuff for pretty much every tournament and fixing our mistakes. I'm never going to leave anything unsaid, so if you have a problem I'm going to instantly take it up with the team. The work ethic is probably the biggest difference because in Epsilon you could lean back a little and just focus on yourself; it's not like that now. In order to be successful individually, I need to make this team work, that's my job as an in-game leader, not to shine.
The team is set to face Astralis in the second opening series of BLAST Premier. How are you going to approach the match-up?
I think it's important, first of all, that as a new team we also focus on our own game. If we were to go in and only try to counter them, I think we would fall flat really hard if that didn't work out. We need to be confident in the way we like to play because we know that we're really good in practice, and we've shown a lot of good results in practice. It's more about finding some small tricks that can make them question their own play.
I don't want to go into details, but we definitely have some hard counters, not only against the team, but also individuals. We have a lot of things to fall back on in case our game doesn't work out, and we have a lot of stuff we can abuse against their players.