IEM Cologne now is less than a week away. LAN is finally back for the world’s premier FPS esport. Although pomp and circumstance are upon the landscape, drastic changes in the rankings could be on the horizon. Today’s discussion will revolve around two specific teams in the play-ins that will benefit from the LAN transition and two rosters that would rather do without the shift in play.
Potential Winner: Complexity
The debut for the supposed Juggernaut came in spectacular fashion. The BLAST Spring Series 2020 placed Complexity in the group of death alongside Natus Vincere, Vitality, and Astralis. There they not only made it out of the groups in a surprisingly dominant fashion but also carried their LAN energy throughout the Spring Season and took home the trophy.
Times have been tough for international rosters and Complexity is no exception. Struggling to play in the same environment and finding extreme cohesion issues, returning to LAN seems like the perfect way to nab the elusive intangibles these teams lack. The international roster showcased what global talent can create on a global stage and will be much better off competing side by side come time for Cologne.
Potential Loser: Team Spirit
The bold gameplay of Team Spirit allowed for a splash onto the international online space. A deep run at Katowice and competitive fights in other international tournaments proved that yet another CIS squad belonged in the upper echelons of Counter-Strike. But with the nature of their very proactive playstyle, their gameplay will be at the mercy of their aim.
This method can effectively brute force into rounds, but usually cannot mean well in the long term. A foundation of a consistent map pool, depth in the strategic playbook, and development in their younger stars is extremely important on the biggest stages. Abdul “degster” Gasanov has not had the most exceptional play in recent memory and will have to return to form in the most unlikely situation.
Spirit have achieved great things in the online era. How will things fare when the spotlight cannot be shied away from any longer?
Potential Winner: Vitality
Vitality’s comfort on the LAN stage was silently dangerous. The veterans, Richard “Shox” Papillon and Dan “apEX” Madesclaire, find their footing alongside one another. Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut struck fear into the hearts of his enemies with his calculated game sense and stunning aim. This core now has the potential to rub off on the budding stars of Vitality.
Kevin “misutaaa” Rabier has grown considerably during his time in the squad and has become an absolute revelation. Jayson “Kyojin” Nguyen Van also has shown spots of brilliance in his short development period with the roster. The Frenchmen are in pole position to return to their former stardom in the rankings and it all starts at Cologne. A grizzled core paired with hungry fraggers leaves a dangerous potential for greatness around the horizon.
Potential Loser: Renegades
Time and time again the Asian and Oceanic regions have struggled during international events. Constantly having to play online seasons among their lesser opponents in order to qualify for the more important LAN events left many dominant domestic teams from becoming true international contenders. Renegades became the number one team who lived up to that idea.
The Australian lineup of the Renegades remain completely dominant in Oceania. Constantly winning domestic title after title, it looked as though the roster had what it took when they moved to Europe temporarily. Many of the tricks that the Aussies had were factors that were already considered by their European adversaries and the team continuously was punished.
Now although the team is considered much better than they actually are, the return to LAN play will force the region back into an improving territory. Having to push the boundaries of the organization that the former IGL Aaron “AZR” Ward led, the Renegades have a lot of catching up to do and will come out worse for wear when the dust settles.
“From Our Haus to Yours”