When they first made a splash over a decade ago, people hated them, derided them as a joke and expected them to fail. CompLexity ended up becoming an icon of North American Counter-Strike — and after 12 months of soul-searching, the organisation is making its return to the scene where it made its name.
Fans of eSports will be familiar with the name compLexity, if not for their past then for their recent efforts across a multitude of games, including their StarCraft 2 academy, their Call of Duty, Dota 2, Hearthstone and Heroes of Newerth players.
The team made waves over a decade ago when Jason Lake founded the organisation as a Counter-Strike team in 2003. It became notorious after former Team 3D member Sean "Bullseye" Morgan was lured out of retirement to join what was then a fairly mediocre roster.
Morgan's contract was rumoured to be over US$1000 a month more than what top players were earning at the time, with Lake also providing superannuation, health and dental care as well.
CompLexity's team underwent a substantial level of upheaval over the next year and ended up becoming one of the top teams in North America and the world, winning the Electronic Sports World Cup CS 1.6 tournament in 2005 and placing highly at multiple CPL events.
CompLexity's size and stature grew to the point where it became the Los Angeles franchise for the Championship Gaming Series events, a series of eSports tournaments that were broadcast on DirecTV in 2007 and 2008.
Understandably, compLexity has wanted to return to its roots for some time. They had a CS:GO roster last year, but Cloud9 scooped them up after the players' contracts expired.
"I've been interested in CS:GO's community for some time now and after I saw the amazing crowd at IEM Katowice first hand,I knew I had to get involved," Jack Etienne, Cloud9's owner, told HLTV.org at the time.
What's particularly intriguing about compLexity's return to the scene is the players involved — or specifically one player. Kory "SEMPHIS" Friesen jumped ship to C9 when his Complexity contract ran out and it's since been announced that he, along with the rest of the team that was formerly called Maximum Effort, will be resuming his place under Lake's guidance.
It's also worth noting because Friesen is the same player responsible for the infamous interview whereby he claimed his former Cloud9 team-mates — along with himself — were under the influence of Adderall during an ESL One event in Katowice, the same team-mates that had played for compLexity before.
"Our love for the franchise is what lead to compLexity’s formation and we’re humbled and honored to be a part of the game once again," Lake said on the team's website. "With the return of Matt 'Warden' Dickens to the compLexity family, expectations are high. Dedication, passion, time and patience will lead to big trophies. Bank on it."