Rory ‘dephh’ Jackson was shipped to North America from the United Kingdom by compLexity Gaming on the sixth of February, 2016, at a time when importing players to North America was very much in the conversation after Liquid took the leap with S1mple.
For compLexity, dephh represented everything about their brand at the time. He was a gamble, and was a cheap player who could potentially contribute more than his price tag would have suggested. At a time when venture capital investment hadn’t quite hit its stride, dephh was everything that a middling North American team could do – go for low-priced gambles and hope to luck out, or accept surviving in the domestic scene.
Esports grew, and with it compLexity. In November 2017, compLexity managed to get a sizable investment from the Dallas Cowboys, and started to scale up operations spectacularly. Luckily for dephh and the rest of the team, this didn’t extend to wholesale roster overhauls just quite yet.
Eventually, the team managed to scrape through into the top 8 London Major, with a numerically underwhelming performance from dephh. Regardless, the team looked solid and prepared to finally take the strides that people had been waiting for since ages. With almost guaranteed major appearances for the next two iterations, compLexity looked ready to rumble.
Unfortunately, compLexity went into a downwards spiral, with players eventually lamenting on the lack of proper dedication after what was to them the peek of their careers. Event after event, their performance grew poorer and poorer, and with that sharp drop, so did dephh’s statistics. Despite being invited to tier two tournaments where he was theoretically facing weaker opponents, his performance in the team was evidently subpar at best.
The team ended up releasing the coach, and benching both Bradley ‘ANDROID’ Fodor and Jaccob ‘yay’ Whiteaker. Somehow, dephh got away untouched. It was time for compLexity to make a statement, and pull out their cheque book. They ended up purchasing Ricky “Rickeh” Mulholland, once considered a solid player and secondary AWPer in CLG, but had gone by the wayside in his path to glory and making a bid to acquire former major champion, Tarik “tarik” Celik. With barely any time left till the roster lock deadline, they ended up signing a ringer as their fifth who would be leaving the team after the major.
CompLexity’s sole goal in the upcoming Katowice Major will be to win at least one game, allowing them to keep their major spot as long as they maintain at least three of their current players. That restriction, means that after they get a permanent fifth, then they have the chance to make one more cut, and go for a full roster overhaul.
That’s where dephh has to start to sweat, because he’s the main man on the chopping block right now. All the negotiations will be to replace him. But at the same time, the question comes up, why dephh? Given his performance – never breaking the 1.00 rating mark save for one Dreamhack Open at a recent LAN event – shouldn’t he have been cut before someone like Android, who had been touted as one of the more stable players compLexity had in their core? While the obvious reason is roles, there are reasons for that might go beyond the game…
Dephh’s contract, assuming it was a two-year contract which wasn’t resigned (due to lack of announcements stating so), runs out this year in February. The perfect time to severe ties without having to pay off extra salary, or pay any severance that might be in the contract. There’s no need to cut him before the major itself if your sole reason for playing the tournament is keep yourself out of minor territory for the next major.
In comparison, Android was signed in May of 2016. With the amount of time left on his contract, it’s ample time for compLexity to look for bidders who are willing to pay a buyout for the player. His excellent reputation combined with the length of his contract, mean that compLexity are more likely to find a buyer and get some return on an asset that’s largely run its course.
While dephh’s stock is already way down, Android is a salvageable asset. However, recent performances in the past six months have shown a steady decline in his performance, having gone all the way down to an average of a 0.94 rating on LAN – completely unacceptable for a player who is supposed to be a more prominent figure on the scoreboard. Should he perform poorly at the major after the removal of his ‘inadequate teammates’, it’s incredibly unlikely that compLexity is able to get a chance to sell him off for the next season.
Yet this still doesn’t answer the question, why replace dephh?
Making a Championship Contender
The fact of the matter is, compLexity isn’t even competitive at a level where their funding should allow them to be. Roster moves are vital and for dephh, the unfortunate reality is that there’s no-one else you can take out of the roster. Ignoring Rickeh who was just recently signed, you’re left with Peter “stanislaw” Jarguz and Shahzeb “ShahZaM” Khan.
Stanislaw is still one of the only native North American classical ingame leaders. It’s still undoubted that there’s almost no-one who can domestically rival him when it comes to the traditional role of an ingame leader. Coupled with that, he’s got the ability to put up the important numbers as a very competent clutch player. Then you throw on his name value, where players are still likely to want to play with him, despite all the controversies he’s been through in the past, he’s an incredibly asset to have. If compLexity want to get someone like Tarik, they’re going to need Stan on their side.
The one exception to Stan’s near guaranteed presence, is if compLexity manage to get a holy hand grenade of a bid in to acquire Karrigan.
Shahzam? This is barely even a question. As of now, the only AWPer who would be hands down a better shot than Shahzam in good form is Wardell, who has indicated in the past that he’s not willing to move out of Ghost Gaming. Beyond that, he’s always been a player who has shown that he has incredibly high highs and can take control of a game at any level if he’s activated. He’s the best joker card you can have if you want a shot at being an upset contender for championships without looking towards European talent.
With his current performance, it’s basically a given that dephh can be released. However, this could be something much bigger for him.
Dephh’s Golden Opportunity
We’ve historically repeatedly seen support players figure out a way to elevate themselves and keep themselves relevant on rosters despite slumps. Most famous would be Taco and Xyp9x, who were both able to bring themselves back up and change their game in a way where they could find out how to be incredibly valuable for their team.
This doesn’t even have to extend only to once-legendary players. On a smaller and more local scale, Fugly has done the same on NRG Esports. Where Fugly was once being declared to be the forever-weak-link, he was able to redeem himself by being an incredibly vital key to NRG’s success. Admittedly, a lot of that could be attributed to his current roster, but the potential for change is showcased there, keeping in mind that you realize your role in the system.
There’s no reason that dephh can’t do the same, and this is the perfect time to do it.
With his contract finishing, dephh will soon be a free agent. There is an absolute drought of good support players in North America. He’s already guaranteed a spot at the biggest stage of Counter-Strike the world has to offer. He’s already in Europe, bootcamping away with his team against fantastic scrim partners. No longer is he a stranger to the environment of majors and big tournaments. If dephh can prove calm under pressure, and can show that he’s still one of the best players in America, then either he has amazing negotiation power for the renewal of his contract, or the pick of the litter when it comes to which team he wants to join.
Not just that, but as a player from the UK, dephh has the ability to go back to Europe if he desires to do so. After two years in America, it’s completely understandable if he wants to go back, and with a solid performance here, that’s all you need to actually get your name into the eyes of the European teams.
CompLexity’s attempt at entering the big leagues will be the tipping point of dephh’s career. This is where we seem him turn into a diamond, or we see him crushed away as coal dust.
Note: Some of the contract lengths stated in this column are assumptions and educated guesses made on the part of the author on the basis of when different reports were announced. By no means is this a factual report, it’s more of a speculative piece on the inner workings of compLexity.