FEATURE

Hatz on looking ahead to 2021: “We’re pumped to play against the top teams in the world again”

Jordan “Hatz” Bajic talks about his transition into the squad, Renegades’ recent hot streak, and how the 2020 season has panned out in Australia.

The Renegades have dominated Oceanic Counter-Strike in 2020. They’ve claimed every regional title since being grounded back home. However, according to Jordan “Hatz” Bajic, they hope that they can make their mark in 2021 when global competition returns.

Renegades are the force to be reckoned with in Oceanic Counter-Strike. They’ve just wrapped up their seventh consecutive title, decimating their contemporaries in Order, Avant and Chiefs at every turn. No team has managed to prevent the utter domination of Australia’s top squad.

Their most recent championship win comes off a flawless run in the ESL Pro League Season 12 Finals, culminating in a clean sweep against Order who crumbled in the finals.

Bajic was added to the squad in January in place of Ollie “Dickstacy” Tierney, kicking off with the Renegades at Dreamhack Open Leipzig and IEM Katowice.

The contrast of talent and skill between Renegades and the other top performing squads in Australia is shown no better than through the trophy cabinet of the Renegades boys.

Bajic has now been with the squad for 10 months as the 2020 season comes to a close. While international opportunities have dried up since February, Hatz looks back at 2020 as a successful year.

“The first half of the year especially was a bit weird. Coming from Order, the transition into a new role and adapting to the playstyle of Renegades was a challenge. Adding to that, the era of being online has been unique, but overall I’d say the year has gone well,” he said.

His move to Renegades was made easier by the fact Hatz was reuniting with former Order teammates Simon “Sico” Williams and Josh “INS” Potter.

“The transition has been made easier with these boys on the team, especially with Josh [INS] who was only on the team for six months or so before we linked back up. Josh and I have excellent synergy and know each other very well.”

The Renegades also managed to secure a new coach for the team in July in Torbjørn “mithR” Nyborg, who was added on a trial basis in the months leading up to the official signing. Despite coaching the team from the opposite side of the globe, MithR has played a significant role in the ongoing success of the squad.

“In the early stages of looking for a coach, we had our eyes on Stuart “sonic” Rayner, but he wasn’t able to commit to overseas travel at the time and that fell through,” Hatz admitted. 

“We did find MithR in the end, who after the trial we ended up keeping. He’s been excellent in pushing us to improve and constantly developing our tactical side of play.”

“MithR will always comment on issues he identifies with our defaults and strategies so we can have a discussion and put forward ideas as well as anti-strats. It’s been important for us so that we can keep improving and optimising the way we play our game.”

While 2020 has been turbulent for many teams across the globe, Australia is faced with a unique problem in how few teams there are present in competition. With international travel and LAN play ruled out for the foreseeable future, it’s likely Renegades will continue to reign supreme against the other Oceanic squads.

“Being able to go overseas enables teams and players to grow, and not being able to do this has really hindered the scene this year. Order, Avant and Chiefs are all playing good Counter-Strike however.

“The difference between our teams is that we have more international play under our belt, as well as the practice that comes with being in regions such as Europe.”

Hatz also has praise for his former team, Order. They’ve been the ones predominantly making it to the finals to duke it out with Renegades, and with a few more opportunities, could make a splash on the international stage.

“Order are playing very well, and when they’re on form are difficult to face. I think they should keep at it and not stop what they’re doing.”

While being home has its benefits, there’s plenty of struggles when it comes to competing.  Before looking at internet and tournament infrastructure, the ability to practice as a team and scrim opposition is difficult.

“Because we’re playing the same three or four teams over and over, you want to avoid scrims against them to keep your strategies safe, but the opposition you do end up playing in practice is of a lower calibre,” Hatz admitted. 

“It can be incredibly frustrating when teams are not looking for scrims or they’re tied up with matches in MDL and LPL. Overall it’s been tough, and staying motivated is challenging.”

With IEM Beijing-Haidian and DreamHack Masters Winter coming up, the Renegades will be looking to turn a seven into a nine for their championship win streak.

“We’re set on winning these last two events for the year, but after that our focus will be on rest and getting a good break from the game in the lead up to 2021. We want to be rested, but also fully pumped to travel and play against the top teams in the world again.”


You can follow Hatz and Renegades on Twitter.

PhotographyESL, DreamHack
ProducerJosh Swift
Ash Whyte
Ash 'Shhlee' Whyte is all about Counter-Strike and its stories. While he did look at playing League of Legends at some point, he soon opted to specailise in CS after being told Shyvana top was apparently not 'viable' and that Bronze was not a 'good' rank.