The roster formerly known as Avant Gaming have added Benson “Liki” Liuila and James “SaVage” Savage on a trial basis, rounding out their roster in time for the start of ANZ Champs and ESEA Premier. Until now, Avant had a line-up of four players in addition to Andy “Noobster” Zhang who was playing with the squad prior to his ESIC ban.
Ex-Avant finally has a full squad of five again in CS:GO with the addition of Liki and SaVage ahead of ANZ Champs Season 12, which kicks off on March 8.
It comes after their temporary sub, Andy “Noobster” Zhang, was one of 35 Oceanic CS:GO pros banned by ESIC for adverse betting activity. Veteran Chris “ofnu” Hanley has also stepped down from the squad after joining in October 2020.
Liki joins the squad off the back of his time in Riot, where he played with the squad during the back end of their MDL Season 35 run. Prior to this, he spent a couple of months on Ground Zero before being released in September.
SaVage only recently turned 16, which is the required minimum age for some events such as ANZ Champs.
“Jared [Hazr] messaged me in October asking when I turned 16 and what is happening, so I let him know 16 in February and with Ofnu stepping down they decided to trial me,” he said.
“When Noobster got banned, it was a bit of a setback, I said we should get Benson (Liki) because I’ve played with him before on Downfall for an event and we had a good result.”
“I suggested him because he would fit the roles and he’s a really nice guy and good player as well.”
SaVage was making a name for himself on Downfall. While the team didn’t yield many results, strong personal performances from SaVage against teams such as Order and Chiefs helped make an impression on the rest of the scene.
The move comes in time for the roster to begin their campaign in Season 36 of ESEA Premier (formerly known as MDL), in addition to the upcoming ANZ Champs.
“We’re only been practicing for a week and half, so not very long. I am not feeling any pressure at all, I know I can play with these guys at this level,” SaVage said.
“In our first game of Premier, I wasn’t feeling any pressure because I know when we eventually come up against those bigger teams that we will do well and I will put in the work.”
In their opening game of ESEA Premier, they convincingly took the series against Animal Squad (2-0) on Mirage and Dust 2. In order to reach the playoffs, they must place top four in their group against the likes of Chiefs and Riot Gaming.
“I am slotting into Ofnu’s roles, and he’s obviously a very hard player to replace with his experience. I have been watching his demos and how he played with the other guys. I feel very comfortable, but in other teams I would play slightly different roles and usually go with the pack on T-side.”
“Hazr is sort of doing my old roles but I am happy to do whatever, I don’t care if I have 0 kills as long as we’re winning,” he said.
The win is the first step in ESEA Premier, but with Savage and Liki’s addition to the squad beginning with this win, it will be important for the squad to carry on the momentum.
“As a full team, I’ve discussed what the goals are and I think we’re all on the same page. Hazr, Apoc, and Sterling are all super hungry to get overseas and replicate some of their past success. I think we’re all confident that we can be the best and go overseas.”
Following the recent acquisition of Avant Gaming and their teams by the Dire Wolves organisation, this roster is expected to now play under the Dire Wolves organization.
“Earlier this month, Dire Wolves revealed its Apex Legends roster, and with the incorporation of AVANT, will now field a CS:GO roster for the first time.”