Complexity's Year in Review

The Dallas-based organization endured a turbulent time in 2022 with inconsistent results, albeit with some brief flashes of brilliance.

Following the dissolution of the "Juggernaut" lineup toward the end of 2021, Jason Lake's organization returned to its North American roots. The composition of the lineup was made from the core of Extra Salt, while also signing Paytyn "junior" Johnson from FURIA and Michael "Grim" Wince from Liquid. The ceiling looked to be a high one for this youthful team, with every player brought on board having a point to prove upon the creation of the squad.

During his time in FURIA, junior struggled as a result of the communication with his Brazilian teammates, with English being their second language. Grim's Liquid tenure was a rocky one, with poor results and evident tension as Jake "Stewie2k" Yip openly criticized his young teammate. Complexity however, offered him a fresh start as a potential star player. Extra Salt had just begun to really turn heads toward the end of 2021. The star-rifling duo of Justin "FaNg" Coakley and Ricky "floppy" Kemery being guided in a well-oiled system by South African IGL Johnny "JT" Theodosiou, resulted in Extra Salt finishing 2021 at #21 in the world.

Complexity kicked off 2022 by heading into the belly of the beast, facing off against the world number #2 Gambit at Funspark ULTI 2021 Finals. Beating the CIS team on their map pick of Inferno showed promise, but this potential could not be replicated as they lost the series and were swiftly eliminated by ECSTATIC in the following round. The North American trifecta of Liquid, Evil Geniuses, and Complexity would all finish last place at BLAST Spring Groups, with JT's side having to wait a bit longer for their first series win.

A first series win would arrive in the following event, ESL Challenger February, against ORDER. This victory was quickly followed up by beating French side HEET before their momentum was halted by the fifth-best team in the world at the time, leaving Complexity with a respectable 3rd-4th place finish. Qualification to the PGL Major Antwerp Americas RMR followed, beating out Liquid in a BO1 to claim some regional bragging rights in the process.

junior's struggle with form resulted in his dismissal

Unfortunately, regional bragging rights would be the only silver lining for Complexity at ESL Pro League Season 15. A single BO3 win over Evil Geniuses would be their only series win in the group, being eliminated in a disappointing fashion overall. The North Americans bounced back later on in April by qualifying for the first Major for 4 out of the 5 players on the lineup, as well as IEM Dallas.

Following the positive results in qualifying for the Major and IEM Dallas, we would begin to see a severe downturn in form from junior. With just a single map win over Mongolian team IHC, Complexity was eliminated from the Challengers stage of PGL Major in Antwerp with a 1-3 record. The 21-year-old AWPer struggled immensely as junior posted the second-worst rating for that phase with a dismal 0.71. From the IHC BO1 as far as the IEM Cologne play-in which concluded the season, Complexity lost ten straight series with the only Astrix in this period being they won via forfeit versus Movistar Riders at Roobet Cup 2022.

Although everyone on the team struggled during this time, the spotlight shined on junior's poor performances. As the aggressive AWPer he was heralded to be, his underperformances were the focus of many. With Complexity needing a new spark, they began their search for a new AWPer after removing junior from the lineup following a disappointing IEM Cologne play-in exit. Complexity would not delay in filling the void left by junior, picking up their new AWPer Håkon "hallzerk" Fjærli from Dignitas on the same day as junior's official removal.

The hallzerk era of Complexity began in standard fashion, qualifying for the IEM Rio Major RMR from the NA open qualifier. NAVI awaited at BLAST Fall Groups for the Norwegian's first taste of European competition alongside his new NA brothers. A shock BO1 win over the second-ranked team in the world looked to be a false dawn as Complexity would fail to win another map and be eliminated in last place.

Missing out on IEM Rio resulted in heartbreak for the young team

ESL Pro League Season 16 would provide the greatest achievement of 2022 for Complexity and give the best account of just how high the ceiling can be for the young team. Beating out European sides Astralis, ENCE, and HEET, Grim's phenomenal performances would send Complexity to the playoffs to square off with defending EPL champions and world number one, FaZe. In one of the most exhilarating series of the year, Grim put in a star-making performance as Complexity took the Major champions to the brink. Failing to close out a 14-11 on Inferno would prove to be their downfall, however, this run would shoot them up to their highest world ranking at number 17 while also putting the scene on notice that this team can cause problems when on form.

Despite their solid run against top-tier competition at EPL, the proverb that "the bigger they are, the harder they fall" would ring true at the IEM Rio Americas RMR. Complexity was faced with their biggest disappointment of the season in Stockholm, missing out on the second Major of the year. Starting out 2-0 after comfortable wins over ATK and Pain, Complexity would miss out on the chance to go to Rio after losing tight series' against Liquid, 00Nation, and Imperial.

Failure at the RMR would result in a disappointing run for Complexity to conclude the season. Falling at the first hurdle against Sharks at BLAST Fall Showdown meant they would not make an appearance at BLAST Fall Finals, with a group stage exit at Elisa Masters Espoo concluding their year on an international stage. Back in NA, victory in back-to-back Cash Cups was followed by a semifinal exit at the hands of Nouns in CCT North America Series 2, bringing Complexity's 2022 to an end.

Overall, 2022 has been a long and bumpy ride for Complexity. The highest of highs, such as qualifying for the PGL Major and making playoffs at EPL Season 16, was followed by the lowest of lows. The low points of missing out on the IEM Rio Major and their dismal losing streak are sure to have given this young group a lot of heartbreak, but also granted them some valuable experience. With the 2023 season kicking off soon, the potential for Complexity to build off their first year together is there.

Grim will be hoping to build on his strong 2022 form in 2023

Grim has thrown off the shackles from Liquid, looking like a legitimate star player at times and having one of the biggest LAN improvements of any player in 2022. hallzerk has provided far more stability with the AWP since his arrival, while floppy and FaNg have both progressed steadily in the rifling department. The South African duo of JT and coach Tiaan "T.c" Coertzen have implemented their system over the course of 2022, now we have to wait and see how it will be innovated upon in 2023. We will have to wait until Complexity take to the server for the first time in 2023 at the IEM Katowice Play-In at the end of this month.

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