Renegades CS:GO Claims Starladder Title in Shanghai
The Detroit Renegades have come away from their Asian tour with two trophies after stunning Virtus Pro 2-0 in the grand final of the Starladder i-League Invitational.
Just last week the Renegades secured the all-important ELEAGUE Boston Major Qualifier spot in Seoul, defending the region with a win against Chinese squad TyLoo. This event marks the third offline victory for RNG and comes at the right time as teams prepare for the mid-season and the upcoming major in early 2018.
Keith "NAF" Markovic has truly eased into his role in the team, finishing the event with a 1.29 rating across the eleven maps played and earning the Starladder MVP Medal for best player at the tournament. That being said, it truly was a team effort - Noah "Nifty" Francis' maturity as the team's in-game leader has improved leaps and bounds, Aaron "AZR" Ward & Karlo "USTILO" Pivac have found consistency in fragging power and Justin "jks" Savage is ever a threat both in offence and defence.
After a narrow 2-0 win against a surprisingly experienced HAVU Gaming the Renegades faced Virtus Pro for a semifinals berth. There it was different scenes to today's final win as the Poles brought the world-class ability and skill they showed at EPICENTER recently to send RNG into the group decider match against Flash Gaming.
At the Asian Minor Flash went the distance against the Renegades, going all 30 rounds in regulation. The Renegades were eager though, wanting nothing more than a second international title in two weeks. Led first by USTILO, then by jks, the Renegades dismantled the Chinese opposition 16-9, 16-6 and locked in the semi-final series against Hellraisers.
Initially it looked like trouble for RNG; Hellraisers skipped to a 10-5 lead, then 13-7 before the boys kicked into gear. Fighting for survival in the event, RNG stepped up as a unit as together pulled the lead back to nought, then went ahead for the first time at 14-13. Hellraisers broke back to draw it up, but the damage was done and RNG closed out the first map in regulation at 16-14.
There was plenty more in the series to come, as Hellraisers struck right back on Overpass with a comeback of their own on the CT half, forcing a third map on Mirage. A high-pressure match with an equally challenging opponent was the expectation - a 12-3 CT half from the Renegades was the reality. A massive team effort saw RNG in a commanding position off the back of a 24-kill performance by NAF, and despite HR's efforts to recover the Renegades closed the map and series 16-8.
VP's win over Heroic meant a rematch, and this time Renegades avoided Cobblestone and opted for Mirage. It was a big decision to make - to leave the map to the end of the veto, a map that Renegades have favoured all season - but it paid off in spades. Brilliant strategy from both Nifty and team coach Aleksandr "kassad" Trifunovic kept VP's economy in tatters. RNG took Mirage 16-8 and looked to Train for the championship.
A strong start and some sublime AWPing from Nifty saw RNG ahead 5-1 before an absolutely bonkers one-versus-three from USTILO reset VP - easily the play of the tournament. VP looked to find a way back into the match at 7-4 but RNG weren't having it finishing 10-5 ahead. A pistol round win followed, and AZR's control of popdog and e-box had the championship dream looking possible.
VP held on as best they could, but at 13-10 RNG broke back again and this time weren't letting the match out of their sights. 16-10, 2-0 and a moment to remember for both players and fans alike as the Renegades team held the trophy aloft, the second time in as many weeks.
Back to North America for RNG, with both online leagues for ESL Pro League and ECS Season 4 to qualify for as well as next week's offline iBuyPower Masters event in Santa Ana, California. Regardless of qualification for the online league finals, these two massive wins will alert both North America and Europe alike.
We're not just here to play - we're here to win.
Written by Nicholas "Taffy" Taifalos