The FACEIT Asia Minor Recap: Three Straight
A shaky day one and an early loss had the Renegades just one best-of-three loss away from elimination but the boys turned it around spectacularly to claim victory at Twickenham Stadium in the London Asia Minor Championship and book their return tickets for the FACEIT London Major in September.
Justin “jks” Savage lived up to his name across the entirety of the tournament, taking out the event MVP by a grand margin - averaging a 1.37 rating, jks finished the event with a 92ADR and a monstrous +110 K/D differential, 34 kills ahead of next-best Renegade Joakim “jkaem” Myrbostad. Noah “Nifty” Francis overcame illness across the event to post a solid 97 AWP kills (2nd to TyLoo’s xccurate), while Karlo “USTILO” Pivac landed 52 opening kills in a stat that the Renegades dominated - all five players posting more opening kills than any other attendee.
The Minor victory marks three-straight Asia Minor crowns for the Renegades but it certainly wasn’t looking anything close to the first place result after a shaky day one. Winning the opening best-of-one against B.O.O.T-dream[S]cape with relative easy RNG faced SCARZ Absolute in a map for the playoffs.
Letting Dust 2 through, a map that the Renegades were yet to taste defeat on, SCARZ Absolute surprised with a strong opening T half that at one point looked like a blowout - the Japanese minnows at one point put on five straight to lead 6-3 after the lost pistol. The Renegades would go on to drop their own T side despite what seemed like a solid recovery. Down 13-8 RNG put on seven of the next eight but SCARZ held on to win the last two rounds in regulation. Nifty in his post-event interview with jks and HLTV’s Milan “Striker” Švejda said he and the team knew what they were facing, but still struggled to keep up with the young SCARZ.
“We came into the event pretty confident, we know that we had rehearsed all of the things that we've gone over the three weeks prior a lot. So, again, we were very confident. I think we were just surprised a little bit by SCARZ. We lost and we knew we were going to have to make the lower bracket run and it was going to be a little bit more difficult, more of a chance of getting an upset. I don't know, we just lost. There's nothing crazy that happened, we still did what we practiced. We pretty much knew how they were going to play, we're aware of how the Asian teams function, but even though we knew what was coming we still got beat by it. Sometimes it just happens that way.” - Noah “Nifty” Francis
The boys breezed through the loser’s best-of-three rematch against B.O.O.T-dream[S]cape to survive the group stage but the loss to the Japanese meant a playoffs meeting against TyLoo a match early. At the time at 14-13 RNG led the rivalry but coming off a very clean group stage TyLoo capitalised on the wounds opened by SCARZ, coming from 13-4 down to beat RNG on their own map on Train.
“The first time we played TyLoo - we knew what they do, we play them all the time, but I'm not sure why they kind of caught us off-guard this time. Sometimes they run through smokes, they catch us off-guard, there are some rounds where they jump through smokes and they headshot us jumping and sh*t like that (laughs), some unlucky stuff happened to us, but also the way they play is that they do a lot of fakes and I think if we're not in our zone and comfortable, it catches us off-guard quite a lot.” - Justin “jks” Savage
RNG survived Inferno in overtime to force Cache as the third map but TyLoo stepped up another gear, posting a massive 10-1 T side to leave RNG stranded in the lower bracket, just one best-of-three away from elimination from the Major season at the first hurdle.
Awaiting them was a SCARZ Absolute rematch, but this time over three maps RNG had the advantage in map depth and after a brutal 16-2 win on Inferno the series looked all but wrapped. SCARZ weren’t finished though, and while RNG’s Mirage had been on the weaker side of recent they surprised many with their second map win over the Australian core 16-11.
“We played scared. Knowing how they played we kind of just outsmarted ourselves. We just didn't play like ourselves and then we just lost the map.” - Justin “jks” Savage
The following Cache map 3 was as close as it got despite the scoreline suggesting otherwise - a 16-7 win eliminating SCARZ and booking a major qualifying final against Australian compatriots Tainted Minds. TM had some strong wins of their own but had lost to TyLoo twice to find themselves fighting for their lives in the loser final, and would need to overcome RNG to become just the third Oceanic core to represent the region at a major behind Renegades (ex-Vox Eminor) and Team Immunity.
RNG were out for blood on day five; now finally accustomed with the event they went to town on TM on Train, ensuring that no comeback would be possible this time closing the match at 16-9 with jkaem and USTILO dropping 23 kills each.
TM had picked a historically weak Overpass for the Renegades, but RNG put on a clinic. Jkaem once again led the stats, with him and jks combining for 42 kills in a dominating 16-3 win, including a 10-1 finish to their CT side.
“I feel like there were a few times where they outsmarted themselves in that series as well and kind of overthought some things. I don't think any of the Australian teams that compete at the top of Australia, none of them are bad, they're just inexperienced. Even though a few of them attend major LANs, they're just not getting the constant playtime. They can only do so much.” - Noah “Nifty” Francis
The TM win secured the major spot for the Renegades but the Minor still needed a winner, and the once-more anticipated TyLoo rematch was booked. For the first time though, RNG had had to make it through the lower bracket and TyLoo, who were yet to drop a map to any other team in attendance, were looking by far the favourite.
Channeling their confidence from the match against TM the Renegades came out swinging hard on Train. Winning the T side with some spectacular entries from USTILO, RNG looked far more lethal with the AK and with some more dynamic play on CT, there would be no 11-round comeback for TyLoo. Jkaem once again continued his stellar day five form to put RNG in the box seat to win the Minor.
Despite an average event from Nifty, he brought some of the IEM Sydney dazzle with the AWP when it was needed on Inferno, with almost all 9 of his 21 AWP kills coming from a combination of A site and B banana AWPing positions. Jkaem completed a 4-map streak as top of the scoreboard as TyLoo’s T side hit the impenetrable wall that was RNG’s CT side - managing just four bomb plants and just three rounds on their T side.
RNG took their time given their huge lead as, after leading 12-3, won their 5th pistol round from 6 to all but lock in the Minor victory. TyLoo took 5 of their own rounds on CT but the lead was too far now - RNG locking their top-seed for the Major Challenger stage with the huge 16-8 win over TyLoo.
The Chinese squad will join RNG for September’s FACEIT London Major, but until then it’s a month or so break for the boys - the first they’ve been home since Christmas.
“We're going to have roughly for weeks of actual break time, so, obviously, we all want to be playing as much CS as we can but still have our break. As soon as we come back from the break we want to do a bootcamp in Denmark again, probably, right before the Major and then go straight into the Major and try to see what we can do.” - Noah “Nifty” Francis
Written by Nicholas “Taffy” Taifalos
All stats courtesy of HLTV & Liquipedia