Zfreek: '747 brings a good attitude towards the game and life in general'

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Thumbnail image courtesy of Helena Kristiansson / ESL

compLexity Gaming has had a rough start to 2017. The team placed third in both the StarLadder i-League StarSeries 3 and the Dota 2 Asia Championships 2017 American Qualifiers, missing out on qualification to the two biggest tournaments before The Kiev Major.

When asked about the start of the year, Zakari "Zfreek" Freedman does not mince words when describing his team's recent performance, calling it just, "Bad."

Zfreek is the longtime support for compLexity Gaming, having played on the team alongside his brother, Kyle "melonzz" Freedman, since 2014. With the Kiev Major qualifiers looming, Zfreek spoke to theScore esports about coL's performance and their recent roster moves.

compLexity ended 2016 by being eliminated in the first round of The Boston Major playoffs. What did the team do following the tournament?

Drink.

What are your thoughts on canceL leaving? How was he as a teammate?

He was a great teammate and a great guy, it just became apparent to both sides of the conversation over time that things would not work out in the long term.

Why choose 747 to replace canceL? Was he the first player on your minds or did you try out other players?

747 was the first person we tried out due to members of the team having past experience with him, and liking what he brought during his trial run decided to see how he would do as a long term member.

What does 747 bring to the team?

747 brings a good attitude towards the game and life in general. His gameplay is impactful nearly every game, and even if he makes a mistake it’s normally a mistake made from his expansive pub experience not working out in a more coordinated setting.

You and Kyle have played for coL since 2014. How difficult is it to adjust to new teammates? Has it become any easier?

Adjusting to new teammates never gets easier. Only the new players themselves change, some are easier and some are harder to adjust to.

Do you think North American Dota is more competitive now than it has been in the past?

This question is really up for interpretation. If you leave out teams that should have invites to LANs already (EG,DC) then the scene is just as strong as it has always been. There are the teams expected to finish in the top 3 of any qualifier exclusive to those two (NP,us,Onyx), and then an expansive list of ever changing rosters that will occasionally find a groove and take games or even a qualifier.

How is coL preparing for the Kiev Major qualifiers? Is there anything new or special that you are doing to practice this time around?

Practice has always been exactly what one would expect. Play pubs, watch Dota, talk about Dota, and then practice what you learned in scrims.

With Valve sticking with single-elimination for the Kiev Major, what are your thoughts on the format?

I’ve never minded one way or the other. My only gripe would be that single elimination makes groups only about seeding. It's a lot of Dota to play (and in the case of first seed win) to be in the same position as everyone else.

How have you adjusted to 7.00? Are there any changes that you would make to the current meta?

The competitive meta is in a good place where almost everything is playable, the pub meta on the other hand ... that’s a different story. Something about shrines has made people unwilling to ever “do things.”

Lastly, I noticed that the team went down to a Renaissance Festival recently. What was that experience like? Does the team get to unwind on trips like this regularly?

The ren fair was fun, it has a unique atmosphere where the people manning the stalls will openly insult you when you fail at their obscure and rigged game. That along with shops ranging from glassware with kiln on site to swords that are mock ups of ones from famous stories make it worth the trip. We haven’t had team trips for the purpose of fun very often, but it’s something we’re trying to do more now and in the future.

Preston Dozsa is a news editor for theScore esports whose journalism idol is Dino Ghiranze. You can follow him on Twitter.

747 joins compLexity Gaming

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Thumbnail image courtesy of Carlton Beener / ESL

Mid laner Eric "747" Dong will be formally joining compLexity Gaming through the upcoming Kiev Major, the team announced Wednesday . He will be replacing Antonio "canceL^^" Mihai, who announced his departure from the team on Feb. 16.

747 initially joined the roster as a temporary stand-in after canceL^^ parted ways with the team.

compLexity Gaming's roster is now as follows:

  • Kyle "melonzz" Freedman
  • Jaron "monkeys-forever" Clinton
  • David "Moo" Hull
  • Zakari "Zfreek" Freedman
  • Eric "747" Dong

Kristine "Vaalia" Hutter is a news editor for theScore esports. You can find her on Twitter.

canceL^^ steps down from compLexity Gaming's active roster

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Thumbnail image courtesy of theScore esports / compLexity Gaming

After just under six months with compLexity Gaming, Antonio "canceL^^" Mihai is stepping down from the team's active roster, citing performance issues.

"Unfortunately in the recent qualifiers I was not performing at a level that I expected of myself, and I felt I was holding the team back," canceL^^ said in a statement.

"As a result I decided to take some time to work on my play individually, rather than holding my team back. I am stepping down in the hopes that the team can find someone that is able to help them win, while I improve on my own. I would like to thank coL.Dota, compLexity, and the fans for the good times. I'm sorry to have disappointed this time, but I will keep working hard and I will not give up."

canceL^^ originally joined the team in September following the post-TI6 roster shuffle, having previously played for Kaipi in April.

In his time with coL, the team qualified for The Boston Major, but failed to advance past the first round of the playoffs. coL have struggled to qualify for tournaments, with their sole LAN appearance outside of the Major being at Northern Arena BEAT Invitational, where the team placed 7th-8th.

coL clarified that while the team will be trying out players to fill the spot left open by canceL^^, Eric "747" Dong will play with the team in their Elimination Mode 3 match against WanteD on Thursday.

Preston Dozsa is a news editor for theScore esports whose journalism idol is Dino Ghiranze. You can follow him on Twitter.

Green Bay Packers LB Blake Martinez reveals the 4 NFL players he would form a Dota 2 team with, how Dota has helped him with football

by 1d ago
Thumbnail image courtesy of Dylan Buell / Getty Images Sport / Getty

On any given Sunday, Blake Martinez can be found tackling ball carriers at the frozen tundra known as Lambeau Field. But in his spare time, the Stanford alumnus turned Green Bay Packers linebacker likes to kick back and relax by streaming Dota 2 matches for charity.

Related: Packers LB Blake Martinez: 'I want to speak to our president about sponsoring [an esports] team in the near future'

But Martinez's Dota fandom far exceeds loading into a couple of solo queue games a night. In fact, the young linebacker actively follows the competitive scene and, considering that he named the original No Diggity squad as his favorite professional team coupled with the fact that he participated in and helped cast MoonDuckTV's Kiev Major Qualifier Hub, he's far from a casual.

So naturally, when asked which four NFL players he would draft to his Dota 2 team, it came as no surprise that he picked the reigning Superbowl MVP, one of NFL's most fearsome defensive linemen and two of his Green Bay teammates to play alongside him.

"I would pick Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Mason Crosby, and Ndamukong Suh," he told theScore esports.

"Aaron would be our mid laner and shot caller of the game because of his smarts and skill! Also, he would pick up on Dota quickly. Tom would be the support (Position 4) because his vision is so good we would never get caught out and could make plays as Earth Spirit. Mason would be our position 5 support because he would be able to have a ton of time to strategize since all he does is kick at practice. And Suh would be our beefy offlaner/frontliner like Centaur and Axe that no one could get passed. EZ TI win."

Sure, Dota 2 and football are two very different games, but Martinez does think there are some similarities and even goes as far as to credit Dota with some of his growth as a leader.

"I think the ability to communicate and process a lot of information quickly is the two traits/skills that are extremely similar in both Dota and Football! I think Dota has helped me tremendously in just being a better leader for our defense," he said.

Touching on his rookie season, Martinez said he was encouraged by the way his year turned out — he notched 69 combined tackles to go along with one sack, one interception and four pass deflections — and looks to build on last season as he heads into his sophomore year.

"I think it went really well! It sucked to get injured near the end of the season but excited to grow from my rookie year! The way I want to grow is just seeing formations and plays quicker, stay healthy, get stronger and faster, and improve on the mistakes I made as a rookie and just grow from my experiences."

Daniel Rosen is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.

Sean Tepper is the Senior Supervising Editor at theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.

Conrad Janzen on Dota 2's top-heavy scene: 'I would just love to see more tier 2 support'

by 2d ago
Thumbnail image courtesy of Valve

Conrad Janzen, former Cloud9 player manager and current Twitch partnerships team member, has a few ideas.

Appearing on theScore esports Podcast Monday, Janzen spoke on everything from why he thinks The International’s prize pool will break its own record (again) this year, to how Valve can improve the Major system.

When asked about whether the prize pool for TI7 would exceed TI6’s massive $20.7 million purse, Janzen said the company behind Dota 2 would find a way to make it happen.

“If I had to bet on Valve, it’s always going to be more and they’re going to figure out some way to do it,” he said.

“Valve is going to figure out ways to steal money from my wallet every year in the best way possible,” he said. “They do a really good job of providing value and that’s the one thing I think Dota does a really good job compared to a lot of other free to play games as well as just games in general."

It's all about making the existing player base happy, he said.

“They provide a lot of value to their hardcore users, to their regular users and there’s always going to be somebody who’s willing to spend even more than I think I do.”

Janzen also commented on the Major system, saying that although it was overall beneficial to the Dota 2 scene, is isn’t not without its shortcomings.

“It is bad in some ways, I think it does hurt third parties,” he said.

“Obviously last year we saw Boston Major take precedence over DreamHack, and that was a very unfortunate case.” One solution, he said, would be to model things more closely on Counter-Strike’s tournament structure.

“Things I would like to see is maybe make the qualifiers more valuable, make them a LAN event very similar to CS:GO, right? Where you have all these teams coming in so it’s truly international,” he told theScore esports Podcast.

“What Valve is going to have to do in this case is take a step forward and be like, ‘This is an important part, we want to grow Dota as a whole.' So, very similar to the CS:GO system where they have a regional qualifier that mostly takes place online, and then they bring all those teams together to a major qualifying tournament,” he said.

Improving the Major structure would help showcase rising Dota talent that, at least right now, is getting lost in the shadows beyond the Majors' spotlight.

“I would just love to see more tier 2 support,” he said. “I think that’s the big thing we’re missing, is these up-and-coming stars are not getting as revealed as they used to be. In-house leagues, these sort of concepts, have disappeared," he said.

“To have a healthy, growing esport, you’re going to have to support those tier 2 players as well with smaller Cups, smaller tournaments.”

Colin McNeil is a supervising editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.

EPICENTER's second Dota 2 tournament announced for June 4-11

by 3d ago
Thumbnail image courtesy of EPICENTER

EPICENTER: Moscow returns with its second Dota 2 event, slated to take place June 4-11, the tournament organizer announced on Wednesday.

The event will see 10 teams compete for a $500,000 prize pool, with qualifiers being held in the European, CIS, North American and Chinese regions in a similar format to the first EPICENTER: Moscow event.

EPICENTER: Moscow's group stage will be held on June 4-7, while the playoffs will take place at the VTB Ice Palace on June 9-11.

The event will also host a cosplay tournament with approximately $3,500 on the line.

Further details are expected in the coming weeks, such as qualifier dates and invited teams.Team Liquid are an expected invite since they were the champions of the first EPICENTER event.

RELATED: Team Liquid defeat Newbee, win EPICENTER

While this is the third event dubbed EPICENTER: Moscow, this is only the second Dota 2 event, as the previous event was a CS:GO tournament. That was won by the former Team Diginitas roster now part of North.

Dennis "Tarmanydyn" Gonzales is a news editor for theScore esports who enjoys whiskey, D&D and first-picking Abaddon Slardar Clinkz Medusa Oracle a P90 my Souvenir Negev Discipline Priest Pharah. You can follow him on Twitter.

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