Fame or Infamy?: South American squad Infamous looks to carry the torch for an entire region as it stands as the lone SA representative at TI9
With the conclusion of the second even Dota 2 Pro Circuit campaign, the attention of the Dota 2 world now shifts to the game’s biggest and most prestigious of stages: The International. The 2018-2019 Pro Circuit season set the stage, but now the time has come for 18 of the world’s best teams to take their shot at earning immortality as they look to cement their place in Dota 2 history with a victorious run at The International 2019 in Shanghai, China. For the first time in its history, TI moves away from the western world into the waiting arms of the Chinese scene, with TI9 set to be hosted in the Mercedes-Benz Arena as the venue will transform into the crucible from which one squad will emerge with the Aegis of Champions in hand. With the even itself fast approaching, this series will serve to highlight each of the 18 participating squads that will be making their way to Shanghai in the hopes of becoming TI9 Champion. Each post will focus upon a specific team in the field for this event, with a small overview of the organization’s history, a review of its 2018-2019 season, a run down of the members of its roster, keys to success entering TI9, and expectations for the squad at the event itself. Whether one is a newcomer to the pro scene or an avid Pro Circuit spectator, these posts will hopefully serve as a useful source of information or a refresher course on the teams that will be battling it out in Shanghai in August. With that in mind, we’ll take a look at the lone South American representative in Shanghai, and the winner of the TI9 South America Qualfiier: Infamous.
Region: South America
Pro Circuit Rank: 23rd (135.9 Pro Circuit Points)
Qualification Method: TI9 South America Qualifier 1st Place
2018-2019 Pro Circuit Event Appearances: 3 (1 Top 4 finish)
2018-2019 Season Notable Achievements:
Pro Circuit Majors:
9th-12th – DreamLeague Season 11 Major
13th-16th – EPICENTER Major
Pro Circuit Minors:
4th – DreamLeague Season 10
Pro Circuit Qualifiers:
1st – DreamLeague Season 10 South America Qualifier
2nd – The Bucharest Minor South America Qualifier
2nd – DreamLeague Season 11 South America Qualifier
2nd – EPICENTER Major 2019 South America Closed Qualifier
3rd – MDL Disneyland Paris Major South America Closed Qualifier
5th-6th – The Kuala Lumpur Major South America Qualifier
5th-6th – The Chongqing Major South America Qualifier
5th-8th – OGA Dota PIT Minor 2019 South America Qualifier
Non-Pro Circuit Events:
3rd – WSOE 6: Dota 2 – Serenity’s Destiny
1st – Liga Pro Gaming Season 4
1st – WePlay! Dota 2 Tug of War: Dire America
2nd – Liga Pro Gaming Season 5
2nd – Liga Pro Gaming Summer Madness
3rd – Liga Pro Gaming Season 3
5th-6th – Qi Invitational America
8th – King’s Cup 2: North America
Infamous comes into TI9 with one of the longer histories within the South American region, but even that history is fairly short considering the fact that South America has only been considered its own region in the Dota 2 world for a few years now. The organization was founded in Devember of 2015 with the signing of the Team Unknown roster that had qualified for The Frankfurt 2015 Major just a month earlier. The squad got off to a somewhat rocky start though, posting some inconsistent results across 2016 while dealing with a couple of changes to its roster. By the end of the year though, the squad appeared to have righted the ship, with Infamous closing out 2016 with 10 straight Top 4 finishes in regional events and qualifiers.
The start of 2017 would bring another round of roster changes to the squad though, as the team parted ways with 5 different players over the first 2 months of the season. IN March, the organization announced a new roster, with returning players Benjaz and Accel joined by Timado, Sword, and Matthew. The new squad got off to a solid start, posting Top 4 finishes in 5 of its first 7 appearances and winning the first ever South America Qualifier for TI to earn a place at TI7 and become the first South American squad to ever attend TI. Unfortunately, Infamous ended up finishing in the 13th-16th place position at TI7, and the team’s roster fell apart soon after. In September of 2017, the squad announced a new roster for the 2017-2018 season, with Accel being joined by the quartet of Kotaro Hayama, LeoStyle-, Papita, and StingeR, though LeoStyle- would be replaced by Scofield just 2 weeks in to the season.
The team’s new roster quickly established itself as one of the leading teams in South American, claiming Top 4 finishes in 12 of its 14 regional appearances in the 2017 section of the season and attending a pair of Minors and a Major during that period as well. The 2018 section of the season began in auspicious fashion as well, with the squad claiming Top 4 finishes in 6 of its first 9 appearances and claiming the first Top 4 finish by a South American squad on the Pro Circuit level with a 3rd-4th place performance at the GESC: Indonesia Dota2 Minor. Just days after that event though, the team would make a change to its roster, with Scofield being replaced by Matthew. The team closed out the season in relatively strong fashion with an dditional 2 Major appearances, but failed to qualify for TI8 itself with a 4th-5th place showing in the regional qualifier. In the aftermath of TI8, the organization parted ways with a trio of its players, leaving Infamous to rebuild its roster for the upcoming 2018-2019 season.
Season in Review
In September of 2018, Infamous revealed its new roster for the 2018-2019 Pro Circuit season, with Papita and Matthew being joined by the trio of Timado, Wisper, and MoOz. The team got off to a relatively strong start to the season, earning Top 4 finishes in 3 of its first 5 regional appearances and earning a 4th place finish at the DreamLeague Season 10 Minor. Just days after the Minor though, the squad announced that Scofield would be replacing Matthew in the team’s lineup, only for Scofield and Wipser to be replaced by the duo of EternaLEnVy and Sneyking at the end of the month. Despite the changes to its roster, Infamous still managed to matinain some momentum over the final months of the year, claiming Top 4 finishes in 4 of its final 4 regional appearances, including a 1st place run in Liga Pro Gaming Season 4. By the end of the year though, the squad was once again dealing with changes to its roster, as the duo of EternaLEnVy and Sneyking left the organization after just 1 month with the team.
In January, Infamous registered Wu and Robo-Z to complete its new lineup, with the new roster claiming back to back 2nd place finishes in the DreamLeague Season 11 South America Qualifier and Liga Pro Gaming Summer Madness. Before the squad could actually play at the Major though, it went through another change to its roster, as Robo-Z was replaced by Mason. Following a 9th-12th place finish at the DreamLeague Season 11 Major, both Mason and Wu were removed from the team, with the European duo of Biver and oliver coming in to replace them. The roster changes carried over into the next month as well, with MoOz and Timado also parting ways with the organization, leading to their replacement by Black^ and Benjaz. However, Benjaz would leave the team just 1 week after joining, with Danish Offlaner HesteJoe-Rotten being brough in to replace him. Throughout all of this roster drama, the squad continued to perform admirably in its home region, claiming Top 4 finishes in 4 of its final 6 regional appearances and qualifying for the EPICENTER Major. After a 13th-16th place performance at the Major itself though, the squad officially disbanded at the end of June, only to return in July with the signing of the Team Anvorgesa roster. Said roster managed to put together a 14-3 record in the TI9 South America Qualifier to earn itself a place on the TI stage in Shanghai.
Hector Antonio “K1” Rodriguez (Carry)
Season averages (Pro Circuit events and Closed Qualifiers only): 7.47 kills, 8.94 assists, 2.59 deaths per game (17 matches)
K1 comes into TI9 as a player that has not been playing at the professional level for all that long, with his career having begun in September of 2017 as a member of Gorillaz-Pride. After 10 months with the squad and only scattered amounts of success, he spent most of 2018 as a free agent playing as a temporary player for squads within the South American region. In April of 2019, he appeared again as a member of the Pacific eSPorts lineup, qualifying for the OGA Dota PIT Minor 2019 before being signed along with his teammates by Majestic Esports. After a 4th place performance at the Minor itself, the majority of the lineup left the organization, forming the Team Anvorgesa lineup that would be signed by Infamous after another 4th place finish at the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor Season 2. Unlike many of the other Carry players in the current scene, K1 has not been afraid to pick up a mix of hard-farming and early fighting heroes, with his most played heroes for Infamous including the likes of Lifestealer, Wraith King, Alchemist, Chaos Knight, Slark, Juggernaut, Terrorblade, and Sven. With 7.47 kills and 8.94 assists on just 2.59 deaths across 17 matches with Infamous, K1 has proven himself to be a very capable player against regional opponents. His kill per game average is the twentieth among all players at TI9, while his death per game average is the fourth lowest. Of course, those averages likely have something to do with his low number of matches played for Infamous coming into this event, and it will be interesting to see if K1 can maintain those impressive numbers in the face of international opposition.
Jean Pierre “Chris Luck” Gonzales (Mid)
Season averages (Pro Circuit events and Closed Qualifiers only): 9.00 kills, 10.24 assists, 3.88 deaths per game (17 matches)
Chris Luck comes into TI9 as a player with very little experience at the professional level, as he his career began just over a year ago back in 2018. His first experience with a professional team came in March of 2018 as a member of Gorillaz-Pride, where he would remain for the first year of his career while winning the joinDOTA League Season 14 America and claiming Top 4 finishes in Liga Pro Gaming Season 4 and 5. In April of 2019, he appeared as a member of Pacific eSports, remaining with the team through its transition to Majestic Esports, Team Anvorgesa, and now Infamous. In his relatively short time as a member of Infamous, Chris Luck has preferred a mix of maneuverable heroes and high damage dealers, with the likes of Queen of Pain, Monkey King, Shadow Fiend, Outworld Devourer, and Ember Spirit featuring in his most played. The Midlaner has been able to produce some incredible results across his 17 matches played for the squad, averaging 9 kills and 10.24 assists on just 3.88 deaths per game. That 9 kill per game average is third among all players at TI9, though it is likely that said average will go down a bit once the team gets more than 17 official matches under its belt. Until then though, Chris Luck stands among elite company in terms of his production, as he is 1 of just 7 Midlaners to be averaging 10 assists per game with their current team coming into TI9. If he can come even close to those averages on the TI stage in Shanghai, then Infamous has the potential to be a fairly formidable squad in the field for this event.
Adrian “Wisper” Cespedes Dobles (Offlane)
Season averages (Pro Circuit events and Closed Qualifiers only): 7.28 kills, 11.26 assists, 5.31 deaths per game (58 matches)
Wisper is another relatively inexperienced talent to be making his debut on the TI stage in Shanghai, as the Bolivian Offlaner has less than 2 years of professional experience under his belt. His career began in 2017 as a member of SAGE Networkt, but by June of 2018 he had been picked up by Infamous to play on its youth squad, Infamous Young. Over the next few months, Wipser would spend time on both of the organization’s rosters, helping the main Infamous lineup claim its 4th place finish at the DreamLeague Season 10 Minor. After leaving the Infamous organization in January of 2019 though, Wipser reappeared as a member of Pacific eSports in April, remaining with the squad through its transition to Majestic Esports and Team Anvorgesa while helping the team earn 4th place finishes at the OGA Dota PIT Minor 2019 and the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor Season 2. Across his 2 stints with Infamous in this 2018-2019 season, Wipser has preferred a mix of aggressive playmakers and high damage cores. For the first of those styles, heroes like Tiny, Batrider, Pangolier, and Brewmaster have featured prominently, while the second style has emphasized the likes of Pugna, Ura, Clinkz, and Tinker. With averages of 7.35 kills and 11.22 assists on 5.45 deaths per game, his versatility has proven to be incredible valuable for the squad, with that assist average being the highest among all Offlaners at TI9. Between Wisper’s versatility and aggression at the Offlane position, he should serve as a valuable and formidable weapon for this Infamous roster on the TI stage in Shanghai.
Elvis “Scofield” De la Cruz Peña (Support)
Season averages (Pro Circuit events and Closed Qualifiers only): 2.22 kills, 14.08 assists, 7.73 deaths per game (37 matches)
Scofield comes into TI9 as one of the more experienced players in the South American region, having been playing at a professional level for around 4 years now. His career began back in 2015 with squads like Artyk Gaming and Slayers of Gods, though by 2016 he would find his way to Not Today, staying with the squad for the majority of the year. 2017 would see Scofield bounce between a number of squads, spending time with Infamous.Black, Union Gaming, Mad Kings, and Infamous Young before closing out the year on the main Infamous roster. After spending the first 3 months of 2018 with Infamous, Scofield found himself on the move once again, joining the roster of Thunder Predator in April. While the team was able to put together a stolid string of results in the South American region, Thunder Predator could not reach the international level or the Pro Circuit stage during his time with the squad. Scofield closed out 2018 with the Infamous organization, helping the squad earn a 4th place finish at the DreamLeague Season 10 Minor. With the start of 2019 though, he would change roster once again, joining the Playmakers Esports roster that would go on to become Team Odd/Demolition Boys. In April, he returned to Thunder Predator, but would remain with the squad for just 2 months before returning to Infamous for its TI9 Qualifier run. As the team’s Position 4 Support, Scofield has focused on heroes with heavy amounts of lock down, with his most played heroes featuring Rubick, Nyx Assassin, and Tiny. Though he has found himself dying at a relatively high rate with 7.73 deaths per game, he has also succeeded in setting his teammates up for success with 14.08 assists per game. That average is the eighth highest among all players at TI9, with Scofield sitting among elite company at his position in terms of his ability to find and create opportunities for his squad. If Infamous is going to have any chance of putting together a strong showing at TI9, then it will need to continue to rely on Scofield to find and exploit openings for the rest of the lineup.
Steven “StingeR” Vargas (Support)
Season averages (Pro Circuit events and Closed Qualifiers only): 3.18 kills, 14.24 assists, 6.65 deaths per game (17 matches)
Like fellow Support Scofield, StingeR stands as one of the more experienced members of this Infamous lineup. His career began in 2015 as a member of Not Today, with the Support remaining with the squad through its transitions to Sector V, and Elite Wolves. In January of 2016, StingeR joined the roster of Infamous, helping the turn the squad into one of the leading teams in South America over a period of around 13 months with the organization. In February of 2017, StingeR left Infamous to join a reformed Not Today, though that squad would later go on to become Elite Wolves in March only to end up signing with Infamous in September of 2017, bringing StingeR back to the organization for the 2017-2018 season. Said season saw StingeR attend 4 Majors and 4 Minors with the squad, earning the South American region’s first Top 4 finish on the Pro Circuit stage with a 3rd-4th place run at the GESC: Indonesia Dota2 Minor. After failing to qualify for TI8 though, StingeR left Infamous again, moving to the roster of Braxstone for the start of the 2018-2019 season. He would remain with the Braxstone lineup for 3 months before transitioning to Playmakers Esports with his teammates, but in January of 2019 he left the team. After a period of relative inactivity, StingeR joined the roster of Team Anvorgesa in May, eventually returning to the Infamous organization once again when it signed the Team Anvorgesa roster in June. While fellow Support Scofield has preferred a more aggressive style of play, StingeR has focused more on defensive, team fight oriented heroes like Oracle, Ancient Apparition, Jakiro, Silencer, and Grimstroke. Though his style has often ended up being sacrificial in nature, with StingeR averaging 6.65 deaths per game, he has also managed to produce some impressive results for the rest of his squad. His average of 14.24 assists per game is the seventh highest average among all players at TI9. Like many of his teammates though, those high averages may have to do with the fact that StingeR has played just 17 matches for Infamous coming into TI9. Even if that average is almost guaranteed to go down on the TI stage, StingeR has proven himself to be more than capable of playing his role in the overall game plan for this Infamous roster.
Keys to Success at TI9
Coming into this event, the term “success” has a number different meanings depending on which team one is discussing. Obviously, the ultimate measure of success for any of the squads attending this event would be to walk away from Shanghai with the Aegis of Champions in hand and the title of TI9 Champion. Considering the fact that only 1 of the 18 participants at TI9 will be able to do that though, and also considering that not all of these teams are regarded as being on an equal footing in terms of skill and experience, a “TI Champions or bust” mentality won’t fit for every squad in the field. With that in mind, this section is not a “do these things and win TI” sort of list in terms of keys to success. Instead, success in this section will be marked in a team’s ability to play its best level of Dota and put itself in the best possible position to push as far up the event standings as it reasonably can.
Let K1 and Chris Luck carry the team
For many of the squads in the field for TI9, success comes down to the play of its Carry/Mid duo, and this current Infamous roster does not appear to deviate much from that trend. The pair of K1 and Chris Luck come into this event averaging a combined 16.47 kills per game, with that average being the highest among any Carry/Mid duo in the field for TI9. Of course, much of that success likely stems from the fact that the pair have played just 17 games each for Infamous, with all of those matches coming against regional rivals in the recent TI9 South America Qualifier. However, what is important here isn’t necessarily the numbers themselves, but their impact on the team’s overall strategy coming into this event. Even if the duo’s averages come back down at TI9, the fact will remain that Infamous appears to be a squad that is led from the front, and the pair of K1 and Chris Luck are going to bear a rather large portion of the responsibility for putting this squad in a position to find success in Shanghai. With both players showing a propensity for picking up high damage, team fight dominant cores, the hope is that Infamous will have a reliable source of kills and damage from at least one of its cores across its matches in at TI9. Should one or both of K1 and Chris Luck end up encountering difficulties on the TI stage, then it seems like the squad will be hard pressed to have one of its other members step up and put together comparable contributions to the team.
Rely on the Support duo of create opportunities
While Infamous will need to rely upon the Carry/Mid duo of K1 and Chris Luck to find success at TI9, that pair will not be forced to carry the squad by their own efforts alone. Part of the key to setting up that duo for success in Shanghai will be the play of the team’s Support duo of Scofield and StingeR, as they will bear the biggest responsibility for creating opportunities for the team to get out and establish control in their matches. The Support duo comes into TI9 averaging a combined 28.32 assists per game, with that average being the fourth most among any Support duo in the field for the event. The squad have proven themselves to be incredibly capable of finding and exploiting openings and weaknesses in their opponents, but that task is likely to become much more difficult as Infamous faces off against some of the elite teams in the Dota 2 world in Shanghai. That being said, the duo of Scofield and StingeR really can’t afford to see their production drop off on the TI stage, as the opportunities that they manage to create will be absolutely vital to the rest of the team’s ability to control the pace of play and keep themselves even with or ahead of their opponents. As much as it will come down to the play of the team’s cores to win matches, the team will have to place just as much trust and responsibility in the hands of its Supports to create the kind of favorable situations that will allow those core players to thrive on the TI stage.
Expectations at TI9
Infamous comes into TI9 as the sole representative of the South American region, and thus will carry the hopes and aspirations of the entire region on its back as it makes its way to Shanghai. The squad struggled to keep a roster intact throughout the entirety of this 2018-2019 campaign, and the organization’s solution to this problem appears to have been to simply wait until the regular season was over to sign an already completed roster. In all honesty, that plan appears to have worked out fairly well for the organization, as its new roster and the former Team Anvorgesa comes into this event with a strong mix of regional veterans and younger, less experienced talent. The question for this squad is whether or not it will be able to turn strong play within its home region into comparable results on the international level at the biggest event in the Dota 2 world.
Considering the fact that the current iteration of the Infamous roster hasn’t been with the organization for all that long, it’s hard to tell exactly how this squad stacks up with its competition at the moment. However, the squad did make a few impressive appearances under the Team Anvorgesa name, stringing together some solid regional appearances while claiming a 4th place finish on the Pro Circuit stage at the StarLadder ImbaTV Dota 2 Minor Season 2. It should be noted though, that the team played just a single series against a fellow TI9 participant in that event, with that lone match up being a 0-2 loss to Ninjas in Pyjamas. So the team essentially comes into TI9 with little to no experience on the international level or against the other participants at this event, which makes it incredibly difficult to have any real sense of confidence in the squad’s ability to contend with the top squads in the Dota 2 world.
With that in mind, Infamous comes into this event with some of the lowest expectations of all the participating teams at TI9. The team does have some regional veterans on its roster, but the fact remains that the South American region remains the weakest in the Dota 2 world, and the extensive experience of its veteran leaders isn’t likely to help much against some of the elite teams in the game at the highest pressure event in most of these players’ careers. That isn’t to say that everything is “doom and gloom” for this squad, as its relatively low expectations leave a lot of room for a pleasant surprise if the squad can pull off a Cinderella run in Shanghai. We’ve seen flashes of this team’s skill and potential between its time with both Infamous and Team Anvorgesa, and it’s certainly not impossible for the squad to pull together and muster a surge on the international level to shock the Dota 2 world at TI9. However, such a performance would truly come as a shock, and until we see that kind of miraculous run from the South American squad with our own eyes, don’t expect Infamous to push out of the bottom sections of the event standings in Shanghai.