Image: Ubisoft/Kirill Bashkirov
After missing two Six Major events in a row, Spacestation Gaming opted to drop Alexander "Skys" Magor from the roster on Jul. 16. In his place, the team has trialled Lorenzo "Dexter" Albeira, an upcoming Brazilian tier-two player, at the ongoing Gamers8 tournament in Saudi Arabia.
With his debut game on the team now completed against South Korea’s DWG KIA, here’s what we’ve learnt about where Dexter may fit into the roster and how the team dynamics looked to have changed since the end of Stage 2.
Starting on the attack, it’s useful to see what gap in the team was left open for Dexter to fill. Obviously, we have to look at what the team does, not necessarily what they mean to do as we don’t have an insight into the team’s game preparations.
During SSG’s more successful tournament’s with this lineup. Skys primarily played a hard support role. However, Dylan "Bosco" Bosco took this role up in recent times, and Skys moved to a flexible position, playing operators such as Lion.
Similarly, recent years have seen a pretty big change in who’s taking those opening engagements on the attack. Despite Matthew "Hotancold" Stevens’s success in this area at the end of the 2021 season, Alec "Fultz" Fultz and Nathanial "Rampy" Duvall have gone back to this position as they previously played here during their SI 2020 title run.
The entry positions have changed once again now as Dexter locked in Finka immediately each round for the first two maps, before moving to Iana on Bank. This is obviously unsurprising, as putting a young gunner on Lion or Thatcher would put his skills somewhat to waste.
Unlike other teams, Dexter was usually sent off without drone support (particularly on Chalet) and he also roamed on the opposite side of the map to the rest of the team to less than stellar results. By the time Bank came around, Dexter was kept much closer to the team. Here, Fultz was off on his own more often.
This meant that at the beginning, the duo of Fultz and Rampy remained working together even without Finka to use as Fultz replaced Skys’ more flexible role. By the end of the game, Rampy ended with the most opening kills in the game, while primarily playing on Sledge. Bosco and Hotancold remained in their more supportive roles.
In effect, Dexter has picked up Fultz’s role while Fultz has slipped into Skys’ old position. This is quite a change for Fultz, as he has been on entry longer than anyone else on SSG. Considering he ended the game with the worst kill differential on his team, this is probably a role that will take time to get used to.
Team plans are harder to deduce on the defence as they heavily rely on the site being defended. SSG also only played Chalet once recently, while this was the first time they played on Theme Park in a professional game since October 2020.
Nevertheless, Dexter’s addition clearly caused some waves on Chalet, as he played primarily Wamai while Bosco and Hotancold sat on Jager. This is odd, as these two operators have been very consistently played by Rampy over the last year.
On this map, Rampy was instead playing a range of operators, including Oryx, Melusi, Mute, and Smoke, as he moved into Skys’ more flexible role. To simplify it on Chalet, Rampy replaced Skys, and Dexter has replaced Rampy.
After losing five rounds in a row on their defensive half, Theme Park saw them revert back to what they knew. Rampy played Wamai when needed, while Dexter was on Alibi and Melusi.
Finally, Bank is a map with which SSG does have a history, but they opted not to play it in Stage 2. Since then, they clearly have mixed up their play style; for instance, Hotancold became the team’s Castle player rather than Bosco. Amidst all these changes, Dexter was put on Azami.
For obvious reasons, it’s possible that these roles don’t stick around until the beginning of Stage 3 in September as they work further to fit their new fifth into their roster and work with the upcoming Singaporean operator.
This was just a single game and Dexter’s very first match against a tier-one or global opponent, so how Dexter or the team generally performed is not too important.
Nevertheless, for those interested, Dexter had a mixed performance with kill and death counts of 1-11 on Chalet, 13-6 on Theme Park, and 12-7 on Bank, totalling 26-24.
Chalet saw SSG lose five rounds in a row on the defence as DWG beat them 7-5. Over on Theme Park, Dexter notably won a 1v1 clutch on the attack on their way to a 7-5 win. Finally, Bank decided the game in SSG’s favour with a 7-4 scoreline, which included another 1v1 clutch from Dexter.
Whether Dexter becomes a permanent member of the team or not, this does show the role that SSG is looking to fill in and how the team may operate come Stage 3.