Redemption for Glory
August has arrived, and with it the 2019 StarLadder Major. In three weeks the 16 Challengers will descend upon Berlin’s Verti Music Hall, battling for a coveted spot in the Legends Stage and a direct invite to the Spring 2020 Major, yet for the first time something will be missing from this Challenger Stage.
Could it be Major Legends Renegades?
It’s a welcome feeling for the squad who bypassed the Challenger Stage for the first time with a miraculous 9-3 map run at the IEM Katowice Major to lock in this Legends Stage spot back in February. Joining teams like Astralis, Team Liquid and MIBR, the boys hit the Katowice stage hard and while they went down in the quarter-finals their three-week effort in Poland locked them in as serious contenders.
It was a supposed beginning of a reign of glory for the team, who immediately proved the Major performance was no fluke with a top four finish at StarLadder i-League Season 7, cracking the global top five in the process.
However, things took a turn for the worse following their runs in Katowice and Kiev. Hopes for a homecoming stage appearance at IEM Sydney turned sour with a second day elimination in groups, before Sean ‘Gratisfaction’ Kaiwai encountered visa issues forcing RNG to employ Cutler and Smooya as temporary stand-ins for ESL Pro League & cs_summit.
While the team wouldn’t let Grat’s absence excuse them from their performances at these events, there is no doubt it left its mark and the damage was done - the Renegades’ growth was stunted with group stage exits at both events.
Grat returned to the lineup for DreamHack Masters Dallas, but a key to their success in February/April was preparation & practice - two things they were deprived of leading into a busy mid-year. Unfortunately, despite brave performances & tough draws at Dallas, ESL One Cologne, BLAST Pro Los Angeles & IEM Chicago, the boys couldn’t get going.
“I think that we're still doing pretty well talking about the mistakes we're doing and things that are upsetting other people in the team, how we can improve ourselves. Even though it looks bad on the outside, it's not that bad on the inside. We want to have a really good showing at [the StarLadder Major] and from there, we'll see what happens.” - Justin ‘jks’ Savage, HLTV
Despite these troubles as a team, there are still positive signs for the Renegades. Justin ‘jks’ Savage continues to impress individually on LAN for RNG - currently 12th in 2019 on LAN with a 1.17 rating on HLTV (+261 K/Diff), with Joakim ‘jkaem’ Myrbostad (21st @ 1.11 rating, +35 K/Diff) not far behind. Jay ‘Liazz’ Tregillgas (0.97 LAN rating, 23.6% support rounds [1st worldwide, top 30]) took up the mantle during Grat’s absence and is steadily improving as time progresses.
After a short break the team will reconvene in Europe to prepare for their Berlin campaign. They have the unique advantage of preparing & spectating their opponents from the Challenger Stage ahead of their Legends run - all of which will be crucial if they plan to back up their Katowice form.
One win and they’re guaranteed a spot at the Spring 2020 Major Challenger Stage at the minimum, but next major would be far from their minds as three wins here gets them to the Mercedes Benz Arena, and another shot at championship glory.
The StarLadder Berlin Major begins August 23, more information can be found on the event’s Liquipedia page or HLTV event page. For RNG, the Legends stage begins August 28. Catch all the action live on StarLadder’s Twitch channel, and stay tuned to the Renegades on Twitter for updates, news and more!
Written by Nicholas “Taffy” Taifalos
@TaffyAU on Twitter