One, two, five rosters changes? How many players a team could possibly need to rotate in a competitive season to find the right formula to qualify for The International? How about 20?
Infamous is the only team going into The International 2019 after literally having tried and tested 15 players, only to sign a full new roster a week ahead of the regional qualifiers for the biggest tournament of the year. A bit more than two years have passed since South America received their own regional qualifiers and have been regarded as a standalone region in all Valve sanctioned tournaments, yet roster stability is still the biggest problem in that corner of the Dota 2 scene.
From all regions, South America had one of the most eventful seasons; dramas kept the headlines almost every DPC tournament and while Infamous got to play in one Minor and two Majors this year, according to the official Valve DPC rankings, they still finished the season with only 66 points. That’s only because of their absurd number of shuffles which constantly deleted chunks of hard-earned points. Starting with September 2018, when they put together a line-up for the 2018-2019 DPC season, every month they swapped at least one player. They tried so many options that at the end of November 2018, even Jacky “EternaLEnVy” Mao joined them trying to qualify for the Bucharest Minor under the Infamous banner. It didn’t work out and as soon as the qualifiers were over, Infamous were back to a full SA roster.
With several players from other regions playing in South America this year, Infamous tried to replicate what looked like a successful formula for other organizations and, despite qualifying for the DreamLeague Season 11 Major with a full SA team, they actually made a roster change before flying to the tournament, bringing in Mason “mason” Venne to take over the carry duties.
Mason’s arrival with only a few days before the tournament didn’t bring any miraculous improvement, Infamous finished 9-12th in Sweden and as soon as they got eliminated, Mason was out from the roster.
Following his departure, the organization continued to look for talent somewhere else than South America and managed to bring together four Europeans. From March to May they signed Oliver “oliver” Lepko, Malthe “Biver” Winther, Dominik “Black^” Reitmeier and Mikki Mørch “HesteJoe-Rotten” Junget, but kept their Argentinian captain Mariano “Papita” Caneda. In fact, Papita was the longest standing member of Infamous, his time with the organization clocking a bit more than two years. Unfortunately, his commitment didn’t bring him a spot at TI this year. After EPICENTER Major, Black^ was kicked from the team and the rest of the players didn’t seem to have a clear idea of what was about to come when Infamous dropped the roster entirely to sign the SA stack of the moment. While all big organization in the SA scene, the likes of paiN, Thunder Predator and SG e-sports, were already preparing for bootcamps targeting the TI9 qualifiers, Infamous waved goodbye to their players and signed Team Anvorgesa.
Infamous roster for TI9:
- Hector Antonio “K1” Rodriguez
- Jean Pierre “Chris Luck” Gonzales
- Adrian “Wisper” Dobles
- Elvis “Scofield” De la Cruz Peña
- Steven “StingeR” Vargas
Those who followed the competitive closely this year might notice that even the Anvorgesa roster isn’t exactly the same as the one that participated in the last Minor on the Pro Circuit. Diego “Jericho” Rivera was replaced by Scofield upon signing with Infamous. The final roster that took the spoils in the South American region qualifiers will have on the 15 of August when TI9 will start, exactly 45 days of practice time together. They are the most recent formed roster, which can be both a curse and a blessing.
Infamous’ biggest advantage is that nobody really knows what to expect from them, apart from what they played in the regional qualifiers and perhaps a few scrims in Shanghai a few days before the tournament commences. In the TI9 qualifiers, they only showed that they are fond of the infest bomb straight forward combo and the Silencer, which they play either as a support or in the hands of their offlaner, Wisper. In under three weeks, we will find out what else they’ve been working on in the little time they had at their disposal to prepare for the biggest event of the year.
Infamous is the only hope of South American fans at The International 2019 and all five players on the roster will be this year at their very first TI experience. They have the biggest challenge of their careers ahead of them and except for Stinger who got to play on Chinese soil before, none of his team members have ever had the chance to get a feel for what it’s like to compete against Chinese teams on their home ground. Their only experiences with the region were the brief meetings with EHOME during the OGA Dota PIT Minor and the SL ImbaTV Season 2 Minor, followed by their encounter against team Sirius, which were also present in Kiev at the last Minor of the season. Although none of these two Chinese teams made it to TI9, both defeated some of the Infamous players in the aforementioned tournaments, EHOME eliminating Majestic Esports from Dota PIT Minor and Team Sirius eliminating Team Anvorgesa from the SL ImbaTV Minor. So, Infamous goes to Shanghai, China for TI9 with a negative record versus the Chinese teams. If they will be able to turn their losses into some kind of lessons, only time will tell.
In less than three weeks we will get the chance to see if Infamous, from their position of ultimate underdog, have the strength to mess the plans of the bigger teams or if they will crumble under the immense pressure that The International can put on most inexperienced players.