TI 7 profile: Infamous, the trailblazers

Dota 2 Andreea “divushka” Esanu

This was the first year when Valve made a clear statement when they decided to create individual region qualifiers for the South American scene. Before the Kiev Major, the SA teams always competed in the NA qualifiers, most of the times with a huge server lag disadvantage. Things changed for better this year, and TI 7 is the first-ever International to have a full Peruvian squad representing the South American region at the most anticipated Dota 2 tournament.

Viva la Peru!

When the TI7 SA regional qualifiers begun, many were expecting the Brazilians from SG e-sports to claim the one spot available, mainly because they won the Kiev Major SA qualifiers and in the main event they eliminated Team Secret and gave a heart attack to all Evil Geniuses fans. However, the SA scene surely has more than one team capable of big upsets and just like SG e-sports, Infamous have been around for a while.

The International 2017 does mark the debut of a Peruvian team in Seattle, but Infamous’ qualification at the TI also marks another milestone. Back in 2015, when the first-ever Dota 2 Major was played, a small Peruvian team came from NA open qualifiers and against all odds they went all the way into the main event second round of the lower bracket matches. Their name was Team Unknown and with the $45,000 winnings from a 9th/12th finish they went back home and built the base of what Infamous is in the present days. They did all the baby steps possible and they lost many people on the very long and winding road from Peru to Seattle. Some fell victims to a hideous match fixing scandal in 2016, some didn’t agree or didn’t believe in Infamous’ way of doing things, some came and went only at opportunistic times, but through all the madness that SA scene can be, only the two founding members of Infamous stood together.

Joe Ccasani, manager of Team Unknown back in 2015, now CEO of Infamous, and Christian 'Accel' Cruz made a gentleman's agreement if you want, back in November 2015, that they will do everything possible to be first who will take the Peruvian flag to The International. And eighteen months later here they are, Infamous qualifies to TI 7, Accel is the only SA player to have ever participated in two Valve events and Joe can be regarded as the most successful SA manager and CEO.

With Infamous’ small moment of glory, after the SA qualifiers, Joe decided to step back from all his positions , and he will not be present in Seattle to watch his team at the biggest esports event, as he himself declared to us, "my job here as a manager and CEO is done". Infamous landed in Seattle with a new manager, Christian Roque, a team coach and five players who have very little experience together but who have the potential to deliver some upsets.

In the past year, a dozen of players were switched in the Infamous line-up, until the winning formula was found.

Infamous roster from position 1 to 5:

Peru Benjamin 'Benjaz' Lanaos
Peru  Enzo 'Timado' Gianoli
Peru Renato 'Kingteka' Garcia
Peru Farith 'Matthew' Puente
Peru Christian 'Accel' Cruz
Argentina Mariano 'Papita' Caneda (coach)

There were controversial, and at times, depressing shuffles for Infamous, but the five who qualified are a tight unit. They clicked together almost instantly, they complement each other’s play style and more importantly they learnt to trust each other and follow their in game leader, Kingteka, also known in the SA scene as Karateka for a few obvious reasons. He is young, (turned 20 this year) and as most of the Peruvian people, he is extremely passionate. He is not afraid to yell his heart out in a teamfight, but he is also not shy to flame his teammates after a failed gank or teamfight. His temper is reflected in his playstyle. He’s one very aggressive off-laner on heroes like Batrider, Legion Commander or even Sand King, which seems to be his favorites and most successful in the 7.06 patch. He is obsessed to get his farm fast, be it by bullying an entire trilane if the opposite heroes combo allows it or even by abandoning the lane now and then to clear a few jungle stacks that most of the times he’s making for himself. This way he frees the supports to roam around the map with Timado, the mid-laner, and ensure their carry a successful laning stage.

Timado, Infamous’ mid-laner, and Benjazz, the carry, are two very opposite characters. While Timado is part of the young guard, at his 16 years old, Infamous being his second real team, Benjazz is South America’s true veteran and his relationship with the mid youngster, and the in game synergy between them is seen by the Peruvian fans as similar to EG’s Fear-Suma1L one. Timado is restless and the tempo dictator for Infamous, on highly mobile heroes like Queen of Pain, which is both his most played hero in the 7.06 patch and his most successful at the same time with an 87.50% winrate (7 wins, 1 loss).  

Usually their target is to hit the mid game stage with key items on their cores, items that can give the upper hand in a 15-20 minutes five man Dota. They often draft combos that can escalate quickly, Timado's QoP and Puck or Kingteka’s Blink Dagger dependent heroes are most of the times paired  with a  Benjazz Lifestealer for the infest combo or with an Ursa who, properly babysited in the first 10 minutes of the game, can become a real pain quite fast.

Wins or losses, the Infamous games are nothing but entertaining to watch, and despite them not being the definition of consistency, on the contrary, we could say, they do have a real chance to at least repeat the Frankfurt Major performance. For them, it’s not the likes of Evil Geniuses, Team Secret or Team Liquid that are the biggest threats in the group stage but only their capability to keep composed under stress. It will be a very demanding run from them in the group stage, but their passion can carry them to the big stage of The International 2017. If they let go of all the nerves and embrace the underdog tag, Infamous and their long time support Accel can wave the Peruvian flag in the main event, just like they did at the first-ever Dota 2 Major, and that would be a spectacular story to write about.

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Andreea “divushka” Esanu

I can resist anything but temptations... Follow me @DivDota


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