Order flipped the upper bracket script to defeat rivals Avant Gaming in the ESL Pro League Season 12 Oceania qualifier and punch their ticket to September’s main event. It’s a victory that Alistair “aliStair” Johnston believes “really shows Order’s quality.”
There was plenty on the line in the latest Counter-Strike Oceania qualifier in June, especially considering the global lockdown has shaken tournament structures around the world. After weeks of playing more contained events like ESL One’s Road to Rio, Order was chomping at the bit to play a “must-win battle” with “so much on the line.”
At least, that’s what aliStair told Snowball Esports after the Melbourne squad edged Avant Gaming 3–1 in the ESL Pro League qualifier final. It was sweet revenge for Order — both in terms of the bracket itself, and their last four defeats at the hands of their regional rivals — and proof Order “have what it takes” to show up in the biggest moments.
“With these kind of tournaments, with so much on the line, it’s do-or-die, about as simple as that,” aliStair said. “With Rickeh and USTILO, two of the biggest stars to have ever come out of Australia, we knew we had it in us to perform under that pressure.”
The pressure hit boiling point in the upper bracket final too. Order and Avant came face to face for the first time in the event, and despite picking up a one-map lead with a tight 19–15 win on Train, the Melbourne squad were pipped 12–16, 17–19.
Order had to watch as Avant stepped into the title-fight decider with a ‘default’ game in hand, while they had to clear the Chiefs hurdle waiting in the lower bracket. They did, overcoming a 19–17 overtime slog to close out the sweep on their own Train pick, 16–7. Order earned the chance to face Avant again, and this time they didn’t make the same mistakes.
Order’s veteran stars, Ricardo “Rickeh” Mulholland and Karlo “USTILO” Pivac, did play a big role in the eventual three-map sweep. Together they racked up a hefty 118 kills across Nuke, Mirage, and Train. In the end though, it was aliStair himself who grabbed the decider by the scruff and wrestled it under Order’s control. He ended as top fragger.
It was a team performance though, the 22-year-old told Snowball. Everyone knew how much was on the line — aliStair dubbed it “the biggest tournament in a long while” — and the team practice lifted accordingly. Order suspected it may come down to themselves against Avant because Renegades were already locked in for a EPL spot.
“Renegades weren’t there, so it made it easier for us to mentally prepare for it all. We just had to put our focus towards Avant, and prepare for whatever they could throw at us,” the Order AWPer said of “resetting” for the crunch-time bracket.
“We did a lot of focus on ourselves, but we knew Avant were at the end of the road. We had to make sure we were ready for that, and I think we did. It’s amazing to come away with the win when you know you’ve put in the practice, it feels really good.”
72 kills in 3 maps— ORDER (@ORDER_army) June 21, 2020
thank mr aliStair pic.twitter.com/shf6G8m88I
The road doesn’t end with the Avant victory though. aliStair and Order may be riding that high now, but all it does is open another, grander door: a chance to square off against the world’s best at the ESL Pro League Season 12 main event.
Two Australian teams had already booked their spots in the event. 100 Thieves were slotted into the tournament thanks to their partnership status. Renegades had earned their berth at the Season 10 finals, and had their Season 11 qualification carry over.
Unfortunately, the EPL event has yet to lock in any major details. Snowball can happily point to Wednesday, September 2 as the planned start date for the ESL-hosted event. There will be 24 teams at the tournament, split into four groups. Beyond that, there’s only a document full of question marks regarding the Pro Tour event. There’s not even a venue.
That hasn’t stopped aliStair and Order from celebrating their triumph by any means. The Melbourne organisation may not be popping the champagne until they have a few more details set in stone, but it’s a “huge victory for the team” nonetheless.
“I think this one is a really big one for us, especially in terms of confidence. This was going to be a big year for Order before everything [COVID-19 related] went down we really did have a feeling that we were building for something big,” aliStair said.
“After we had our spot at Rio sort of taken, and we had to requalify, then also our MDL spot taken from us, it feels so good to get a win. This is one of the biggest tournaments of the year too, and I think it’s going to go through, so we have faith in that.
“Getting into the Pro League event is going to be a real stepping point for our progression, and it can do nothing but make us improve the way we play. No matter what else happens, it’s just absolutely amazing to get it in the end. It feels so good.”