IEM Katowice Major - Challenger Stage Recap

Posted by Detroit Renegades on

The Renegades CS:GO team have pulled off the seemingly impossible in Katowice as they trampled over their Challenger peers to claim a top seed in the Legends stage for the first time in the organisation’s history.

“It feels good. I’ve been in this situation a lot of times where we haven’t qualified for the top 16, so it means the world right now.” - Aaron ‘AZR’ Ward

Finishing the event 3-0 and defeating fellow Legend qualifiers AVANGAR, Ninjas in Pyjamas & ENCE, the boys finally cracked the seven-straight Challenger curse to progress into the top 16 of a CS:GO major and will be turning the heads of the returning Legends in preparation for the next stage, starting this Wednesday.

“It’s a big relief off our shoulders, and qualifying 3-0 gives us a lot more time to rest and prepare for the next stage, so it’s really good right now. We were just focusing on our own game, nothing more than that - did what we practiced, and just focusing on that.” - Aleksandar ‘kassad’ Trifunović

The three week bootcamp paid off in spades as all five of the Renegades recorded positive ratings across their four maps, but none more so than the two veterans in the line-up who had been waiting the longest to taste the Legends stage.

Aaron ‘AZR’ Ward & Justin ‘jks’ Savage both recorded a monstrous 1.24 rating, with both cracking the 1.50+ at least once in their three series played. Jks continued his impressively consistent form of recent with a 81.2% opening duel success rate (1st at event) while AZR dominated in the 2 best-of-one’s with over 100 damage per round recorded against AVANGAR and NiP.

Joakim “jkaem” Myrbostad (1.09 rating, +7 K/Diff, 48/106 multikill rounds) once again proved the rock of the lineup in the middle, but it was the new boys who really took off. Sean ‘Gratisfaction’ Kaiwai (1.19 rating, +17 K/Diff, 44/75 AWP kills) went nuclear, particularly on Mirage against ENCE, while Jay ‘Liazz’ Tregillgas (1.14 rating, +11 K/Diff, 79.2% KAST [3rd at event]) recorded his best event under RNG with his 1.55 rated match on Nuke against ENCE truly a sight to behold.

After disposing of AVANGAR on Train 16-8 and NiP on Mirage 16-13 RNG faced a true test in Finland’s ENCE. Touted as one of the favourites to finish 3-0 and progress on day two, the Finns wasted no time during the veto to exploit RNG’s ‘weakness’ in map selection, opting for Nuke - a map RNG hadn’t played in over a year.

It was a trap.

Jks and Liazz turned up the heat on the CT side with both having double digit kills in the opening seven rounds. Tight retakes, smart pistol forcebuy wins & huge clutch rounds from jks and Liazz kept ENCE’s economy and round count low, even for the T side - RNG would find themselves ahead 11-4 heading onto the T side.

Another pistol round win all but sealed the opening match, with RNG needing 8 rounds to close out Nuke 16-7 in their ‘debut’ on the map. To Mirage, and while jks was at his scintillating best as usual, it was Gratisfaction carving a path through the ENCE CT side.

Despite losing both pistols RNG looked far superior particularly on T, with perfect strategy execution and an almost round-by-round change in takes bamboozling ENCE’s CT defence. On CT Gratisfaction went crazy, helping RNG to overcome a three-round deficit at 10-13 to change up the momentum. A later 1v3 clutch kept the map swinging to the boys with the win coming in the final round after a fantastic connector-to-A split and an insane opening shot from Grat to close out the map & series 16-14.

The Renegades return to the action on Wednesday morning for the IEM Katowice Legends stage. A single win guarantees RNG a spot at the next Major Challenger stage, while three wins will see RNG crack the top 8 of a major and progress to Spodek to play for USD$1 million.


Written by Nicholas “Taffy” Taifalos

@TaffyAU on Twitter