After three straight runner-up spots at the event, the Detroit Renegades CS:GO team have finally tasted offline victory, defeating the Chinese supersquad TyLoo 2-1 at the PGL Asia Minor in Beijing.
The win marks the first offline event victory for the organisation's venture into CS:GO, and could not come at a better time for the team as they use the success to catapult their confidence heading into the all-important major qualification season in late June.
As predicted, the event's competition was fiercer than it has even been in the region. A spurt of investment and experience has seen the rise of multiple squads easily capable of reaching the top spot and moving through to the next round in the leadup to the Krakow Major Qualifier. For the Renegades though, the event meant much more to win; while top two guarantees a spot at the qualifier, obtaining the organisation's first crown became the motivation.
Day One: Rough Renegades Recover
Friday saw the Renegades begin their account against Middle Eastern qualifier Team Spotnet, and while the Lebanese and Jordanian squad showed resolve and skill beyond their years in the scene, the RNG boys were just too good for them on Cobblestone, taking the map comfortably 16-3.
The winner's match for Group A against Chinese challengers Flash Gaming could not have been any different from each team's first match. The Renegades began well but Flash fought back with intent, wanting to prove that they were beyond capable to challenge TyLoo for the top spot in China. The Renegades were caught massively off-guard, with all strategies meeting a brick wall that was Flash's CT hold. The team, led by former TyLoo coach QiFang 'Karsa' Su, dismantled the Renegades and sent them into the decider match for the group.
Signature fought off a brave Spotnet, and in what was looking like one of the upsets of recent history, took the first map against RNG. However, they remained calm, and off the back of a great performance by the ever-consistent Justin "jks" Savage, the Renegades claimed Nuke as map two, then Overpass as map three to scrape through in second spot in Group A.
Day Two: Like New
RNG needed to forget their slip-ups in the day one group stage, but against a TyLoo squad that stomped through Group B, it would need a monumental performance both individually for each player, and as a team. Cue Noah "Nifty" Francis. Only recently switching to the in-game leader & caller role from Nemanja "nexa" Isakovic, the recently acquired American AWPer absolutely stunned the players and viewers alike with some incredible recovery rounds - a one-versus-five ace, straight into a four-kill round back-to-back. Combining with Karlo "USTILO" Pivac on Cache, Nifty and the Renegades recovered from a map down to defeat Group B and event frontrunners TyLoo 2-1 and book a winner's bracket final.
There they met the unlikeliest of opposition in Team Immunity. The Australian and New Zealand squad overcame Flash in quite the upset themselves, and were not going to let their chances slip against anyone. Taking Train comfortably, the Renegades got complacent on their home map of Nuke, and off the back of Kiwi AWPer Sean "Gratisfaction" Kaiwai Immunity levelled the scores and took it to a third, Mirage. However, the recent practice and development of Mirage by the Renegades boys in the North American scene trumped that of Immunity, with Aaron "AZR" Ward coming alive to qualify RNG for the Major Qualifiers.
Day Three: The Pièce De Résistance
Qualifying for the major is and always will be the aim of the Renegades CS:GO core. Personally though, with a number of offline qualifiers going against them and another silver medal at an offline event in 2016 at Dreamhack Winter, the Renegades were craving an offline victory. With the major qualification progression guaranteed, RNG looked to the remainder of the loser's bracket to determine who they would fight against in the final for the event.
As if it were scripted, their opposition would be TyLoo. The Chinese have always had the upper hand on the Australian core, meeting twice in a row at minor finals and always one-upping the RNG players in the final, regardless of major qualification.
TyLoo's newest member Hansel 'BnTeT' Ferdinand was looking to continue TyLoo's streak of dominance over the Renegades organisation. The Indonesian import looked deadly as he with long-time member Hui 'DD' Wu denied Renegades the opportunity to set the pace in map one.
Twice in two days, the Renegades would have to come from a map down to defeat TyLoo, and with it all to play for it was Nifty again, sparking the beginnings of the comeback with another standout performance on Cache. Mixing comfortable AWP play with shocking & incredible shots, coupled with a much tighter hold over middle saw RNG come out on top on Cache forcing Cobblestone.
And what a map Cobblestone was. Backwards and forwards the rounds went - the Renegades got out ahead only to drop to inferior weaponry, but strike immediately back only to misstep again in the following. TyLoo began to outplay the Renegades midway through the first, gathering what began to look like an insurmountable lead in the second. However, thanks to USTILO's gamesense and some incredible B site holds from Nifty and Nexa, RNG began the road back. 12-6 down, they levelled it up, then pulled ahead. Suddenly, the win was in sight. TyLoo, to their credit, held on themselves though and forced overtime.
What better man to have control overtime than jks. The Australian had a stand-out event with Nifty but, at the moment the Renegades needed him the most, he arrived. The Renegades pulled ahead in overtime, then despite dropping one, fought off an ever-present TyLoo force to win it 19-17, a map that will be remembered for ages to come by fans and players alike. The Renegades claim the PGL Asia Minor 2-1 over TyLoo, and stand amongst the best in the region in the history of CS:GO.
They've done it. The Renegades have the win they've been searching seemingly forever for. And while focus must be on the future events and tribulations they are yet to face, you can be damn sure they'll be celebrating this victory for a long time yet.
Yeah the boys.
Written by Nicholas "Taffy" Taifalos