Complex carbs just break down slower - they still break down into sugar unless the carbs are coming from fiber and some sugar alcohols (some sugar alcohols - also called polyols are digested partially - so they can contain 0 to 3 g of digestible carbs, and apparently the digestion rate can vary among individuals so what I can digest and what you can digest may be different).
Fiber however is completely indigestible by humans so you CAN subtract the fiber carbs from the total carbs.
So technically the answer to your question is "neither of the above." The non-simple carbs are important, but the total carbs isn't the whole answer either, because you Do want to be eating a lot of high-fiber foods. Fiber is a carb, but it's an undigestible one.
So the really important number is fiber carbs subtracted from total carbs.
What Atkins and other low-carb diets call "net-carbs" but be warned this may not be the same as what is advertised as "net carbs" on low-carb food products (because many subtract more carbs than they really should).
So always do the math yourself - total carbs minus fiber carbs.
Some people do not digest sugar alcohols and can subtract those as well. The problem is knowing whether you can or can't digest them. You may have to do some experimenting if you want to include those in your diet (although the side effect of not digesting them well is gas and diarrhea - so it may be a darned if you do, darned if you don't endeavor. Either you CAN digest them and have to count the carbs, or you can't digest them, don't have to count the carbs, but end up in the bathroom all day).