Alberto “Crumbz” Rengifo, the team’s jungler, inherited the captaincy for Dignitas heading into the 2015 season. With William “Scarra” Le moving to Counter Logic Gaming and Michael “Imaqtpie” Santana retiring, the last vestiges of the Rock Solid team Dignitas picked up in September 2011 were finally gone. Rengifo, a smart player renowned for his ability to analyze the game was well as jungle at a high level, was supposed to lead the team into its next era.
But it was supposed to be a winning era.
After two weeks, Dignitas is sitting at 1-3, last place in the standings. Of course, that’s tied with Team Coast and Cloud9, and you don’t see Hai Lam or Matt “Impaler” Taylor leaving their teams. So what happened with Dignitas and Rengifo?
They got crushed in week two, a sign of underlying problems with the team. Dignitas mustered a meager total of six kills against 26 deaths in the two matches. They never stood a chance against Winterfox, one of the most one-sided games of the season, and Gravity Gaming methodically played out a slow victory punctuated by Rengifo himself pulling off a play that fits on a blooper reel—hiding in a bush to land a Lee Sin kick engage and giving away his own death. The error was emblematic of Dignitas’ struggles as a team and for Rengifo’s own struggles as a player in that squad. For the season, Rengifo has a 1/15/10 KDA line, a dismal 0.733 KDA.
Rengifo relinquished his position as a player and captain on Dignitas in a video on the team’s website, citing issues with his leadership and his teammate’s confidence in it as the primary drivers for his decision.
“Today I’m stepping down from the Dignitas roster,” an uncharacteristically morose Rengifo began. “When I signed on this split it was as captain and that came with a lot more responsibility in the game as well as outside. As a captain you have to be able to lead your team and they have to be able to follow. I was not the best leader. I did not get much following.”
The style that Rengifo wanted to play, one focused on maintaining vision control, seemed at odds with the one favored by his team, he said. That led to problems in-game and an inability for Rengifo to influence the team as captain.
Rengifo noted that Dignitas’ lack of a coach, “one unified voice” who could settle decisions on play style, made it hard for the team to function in an environment where different parties wanted to play the game definitely.
He listed vision as a “weak point” for the team. “We’re just not able to provide good vision control to make intelligent plays. That’s the way I see it. I’m sure they see it differently,” Rengifo said, noting that Gambit Gaming won IEM Cologne with a no-ward style.
“I feel like I tried. I’d listen. I tried to do things. I did not feel the same effort on the return,” Rengifo said. “Maybe they didn’t feel it from me and that was the whole problem, but it’s already too late. I’ve made my decision.
“You’re playing with someone who is supposed to be your captain but you don’t trust him and he’s not really your friend and vice versa towards them.”
With no trust left between captain and teammates, Rengifo knew it was time to move on.
During the video the jungler talks about “they” and “them” but never mentions specific teammates as the ones struggling with his leadership, leaving it open to interpretation. Many fans lay blame on Danny “Shiphtur” Le, the Dignitas mid laner who also struggled to mesh with jungler Joshua “NintendudeX” Atkins last year on Team Coast. The quiet mid laner has a reputation for being difficult to work with, one not dispelled by any of his former teammates.
It likely didn’t help that Dignitas imported two Korean players, Yeong-jin “Gamsu” Noh and Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in. The language barrier likely made it harder for Rengifo to do his job. Plus, in an interview with the Daily Dot after Dignitas’ victory against Team Coast in week one, Rengifo revealed he had no input in the process used to scout and recruit said players. With no say in the play style and chemistry of the team built around him, Rengifo’s reign as captain was perhaps doomed from the start.
As for the jungler’s future, he’s currently considering competing on an amateur team in an attempt to continue his career but says he’s open to more “lucrative” options. One option might be behind the analyst desk, where during the Riot World Championships he earned praise as a prophet for his spot-on match predictions.
Dignitas, on the other hand, will be searching for a jungler. Rami “Inori” Charagh, the jungler for challenger team Roar, is currently listed a substitute for Dignitas, likely making him the first call to replace Rengifo for now. Another option might be Andrew “Azingy” Zamarripa, who served as a Dignitas substitute through 2014 but was remove from the backup roster last month. At the moment, though, Dignitas has not yet revealed its plans.
The team has a tough schedule ahead, with a match against Team SoloMid (3-1) on Saturday followed by a game with Team Liquid (2-2) on Sunday.