They were already legends, this just makes it official.
The Renegades CS:GO team defeated ENCE, FaZe Clan & Vitality to progress at the IEM Katowice Major and thus have reached a milestone of accomplishment in CS:GO - to compete at the Champions Stage of a Major.
“It’s pretty crazy, I definitely didn’t expect to make it this far in my first major,” Sean ‘Gratisfaction’ Kaiwai said in his post-match interview with HLTV shortly after the boys’ final win over French side Vitality. “It still feels like I’m dreaming.”
Even in defeat the boys kept themselves in every game, with undoubtedly the highlight their comeback overtime win against defending champions Astralis. “I think [the Mirage win against Astralis] was probably my most favourite game played in my entire career just because we brought it back from a 12-3 deficit and beat the best team in the world.”
For Aaron ‘AZR’ Ward & Justin ‘jks’ Savage this moment has been over five years in the making. Joining RNG in June 2015 the two have remained together through thick and thin, and following his qualification to the Champions Stage AZR was taken aback with emotion.
“Back then [under VOX Eminor] when it was just me, Chad [SPUNJ], SnypeR, Havoc and topguN and everyone was working still - no one was professional. From then to now, to finally make it to Legends, it feels amazing.
“I’m just feeling a lot of emotions right now. It’s a dream come true, I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. Feels great.”
Jay ‘Liazz’ Tregillgas and Joakim ‘jkaem’ Myrbostad contributed heavily across the eight maps in the Legends stage with AZR and Grat but there was no one stopping jks, who has now posted a 1.10+ rating across the last six events. His 1.15 rated Legends stage (+31 K/Diff, 79 ADR, 56.2% headshots) included two monstrous performances against Vitality (22-9, 1.76 on Dust 2 & 31-16, 1.60 on Inferno) to help see the boys make history.
The boys had it all; cohesion, teamwork, resilience, tactics & the mental fortitude that when combined with perfect fundamental Counter-Strike resulted in this meteoric rise to the top 8 of the Major, thanks in part to coach Aleksandar ‘kassad’ Trifunovic and his preparation with the team - last week’s wins marked the team’s sixth week in Katowice including a three-week boot camp.
Narrow wins over ENCE & FaZe, who would also join the Renegades in the top 8, meant another shot at 3-0 but they would have to play from behind against the world number one squad Astralis. Out to a 12-3 lead at the half and 14-5 shortly after, it appeared RNG’s undefeated streak would end to the Danes on Mirage.
But the boys rallied to win 10 straight rounds on their CT half, then four in overtime to shock the world champions. It was only for a moment, as Astralis were simply too good on Nuke & Inferno, but the Renegades had shown the world champs could bleed.
A dominating 16-5 win on Dust 2 against French squad Vitality set RNG up for a 2-0 qualification match, but the French fought hard to claim Cache 16-11 and force Inferno. An 8-7 lead was looking shaky for the boys but on the T side they absolutely blew Vitality off the map - taking the opening 6 rounds without trouble.
Vitality fought hard to keep themselves alive but a Gratisfaction 3k 1v1 clutch gave RNG the 4 map points - of which they’d only need one.
The top 8 finish guarantees RNG an invitation to the Legends stage of the StarLadder Berlin Major, set to take place in late August, but focus remains on Katowice as the boys look to push even further on the Spodek Arena stage against Brazilian team MIBR. A win would likely mean a rematch against Astralis for a shot at the grand final, USD$500,000 and the title of world champions.
One match at a time.
Renegades vs. MIBR - IEM Katowice Major Quarter-Final | Friday March 1
Spodek Arena, Katowice | Mar 2 2:00am AEDT / Mar 1 10:00am EDT
Written by Nicholas “Taffy” Taifalos
@TaffyAU on Twitter