For the first time the Renegades find themselves in a qualifying match of the Major Challenger stage as early as this. 16-8 against CIS young guns AVANGAR and 16-13 over Swedish veterans NiP now see the boys just one best-of-three away from becoming 2019 Major Legends.
Standing in their way are ENCE Esports, the Finnish overlords of CS:GO and also fresh off two wins of their own. ENCE ended their 2018 with their first LAN wins at StarSeries & i-League Season 6 & Dreamhack Open Winter. Can the boys find their legendary status early or will the Finns keep them waiting?
RNG Last 3 Months: Played 47, 30-17 (16 vs. Top 20, 7-9)
ENCE Last 3 Months: Played 41, 31-10 (20 vs. Top 20, 16-4)
Head To Head: This will be the first match between the two teams.
Last Meeting: N/A
The Matchup: AZR vs. Allu. Both players tore up day one with vastly different play styles; Allu (1.22 rating, 22/39 AWP kills) of course on the AWP while AZR (1.52 rating [3rd @ event], +21 K/Diff [1st @ event] is very much on the AUG hype train, netting almost a third of his kills this event with the weapon. Both bring years of experience to the team and will be vital in the direction each team takes heading into this match. As the main caller, it’ll be how quickly AZR can pick apart the brick wall that can be ENCE’s CT, while Allu will be looking to assist Aleksib in exploiting the boys’ solo holds, much in the way AVANGAR focused upon the B site in their Train map against RNG.
RNG’s Key to Victory: Unpredictability. That T side against NiP had it all - late round executes (which RNG seem to have down to a T at this point), speedy mid control, fast boosts, patience for the CT aggression; you name it, RNG pulled it off. Communication looks to be at an all-time high right now in the RNG camp and it’s paying dividends, so it’s that communication and change-up that will be necessary to break the stoic, calculated ENCE that awaits the boys. On top of this, the map veto will be crucial - with ENCE decent on Nuke and RNG permabanning the map, we’ll likely be seeing Overpass picked from the Finns, meaning RNG will be pushed to the limit as early as map two.
ENCE’s Key to Victory: ENCE’s record in 2019 is astounding at 15-2 with only one series loss to Spaniards Movistar Riders in an online MDL match, and while 16-year-old superstar sergej’s 1.29 3-month rating is a big part of that, it’s the cohesion between all five players that will be key. All five on ENCE can contribute - in their 16-6 drubbing of G2 four players made it to 20 frags, with sergej and Aerial going at 100+ ADR. ENCE were pinned as outside chances at a 3-0 start at this stage, and if all five players show up to contribute, you can be sure we’ll be seeing them next week. Let’s just hope we’ll see them after they go 3-1.
Renegades vs. ENCE (Bo3)
Wednesday 13th Feb @ 1:20pm AEDT / 9:20am EST
Written by Nicholas “Taffy” Taifalos
@TaffyAU on Twitter