The Renegades CS:GO team aren’t quite done in Poland as they clutched out their fourth straight Asia Minor last week, locking them in for a spot at the big dance - the IEM Katowice Major.
Starting in February, RNG returns to Katowice at the ESL Arena to battle it out in what is shaping to be CS:GO’s most prestigious and competitive event yet. It wasn’t the easiest road to the Challenger Stage even with sworn rivals TyLoo already awaiting RNG in the next round.
“[Qualifying] feels good, definitely. We still have a lot more to achieve. I think the same thing happened [against Vici] - we were playing slow, communication was very low and we were playing passive. After the first map we just had to take a step back and reset, and we did well.” - Aaron “AZR” Ward
Justin “jks” Savage picked right up where he left off from Odense at the ESL Pro League finals, netting a 1.22 event rating (3rd overall) and finishing +35 in kill differential (5th at event). Joakim “jkaem” Myrbostad also starred for RNG with a 1.19 rating (5th) while Jay “liazz” Tregillgas quietly contributed the highest recorded event KAST (rounds with a kill, assist, survived or traded) at 77.3%. Sean “Gratisfaction” Kaiwai also impressed with 78 AWP kills (3rd), despite playing fewer maps than his competition.
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RNG made it through the group stage without dropping a map, but compatriots Grayhound put up one hell of a fight in the group winner’s match. RNG held a one round lead heading into their T half and despite numerous economy breaks, the boys held on to the win thanks to a couple of late-map clutches including an AZR 1v4 post-plant and a jks 1v1 round 4k to eventually win out 16-14.
If his 1v4 wasn’t enough on Cache, AZR completely popped off on Mirage - a huge 34-kill effort across both halves gave RNG an opportunity to close out the series early at 15-10, but GH’s resilience was outstanding and forced overtime with five straight rounds. RNG adjusted and focused in the overtime rounds to hang onto the 2-0 sweep with the 19-17 win to top Group A.
A very slow start on Mirage against Chinese squad Vici threatened to knock the Renegades down into the lower bracket of the Minor for the first time but RNG woke up and bounced back hard on Inferno; a stellar 14-1 half headed by liazz, AZR & jkaem was shortly converted, before a similar demolition followed on Train as RNG booked their upper bracket final spot 2-1.
They would face Grayhound once more, who had now proved themselves as a true threat to RNG’s record streak of Minor victories. Opting into RNG’s Inferno GH blasted the boys off the map in the opener 16-6, but much like the previous series against Vici it was just a matter of waking up.
Jks & jkaem took control and this time locked out GH on Mirage 16-11, giving nothing back to the ‘Hounds and nothing to build upon to attempt a similar comeback as in the group winner’s match, forcing Cache as the decider.
Nullified against his previous team across the event, Gratisfaction unleashed terror upon GH on Cache as RNG looked very much awake on the CT side; GH managed just five bomb plants as the boys stomped out to a 12-3 lead. Again, GH’s resilience shone as they would save 8 RNG match points, but the lead was far too much to reign in - the boys running out four-straight Minor champions 16-13.
RNG resume their run through the Major on February 13th as they attempt to break the Major Challenger Stage for the first time.
Written by Nicholas “Taffy” Taifalos
@TaffyAU on Twitter