Malta-bound: Renegades “iron out mistakes” to get over Order in crucial EPL qualifier

The team has earned one of OCE's few 2021 international opportunities.

Oceanic Counter-Strike titans Renegades, fresh off their ESEA Premier victory over Vertex, took down ORDER 3–1 to book their spot at August’s ESL Pro League Season 14 in Malta.

The win wraps up both of Oceania’s EPL and IEM Cologne representative spots for Renegades, the latter of which begins next week.

Jordan “Hatz” Bajic was on fire across the four map final as he clocked up a +34 kill differential (93–59, 1.42 rating). His onslaught included an outstanding 29-kill effort on Dust 2, and as he remarked to Snowball Esports, it was all part of the plan.

“I think the veto was definitely what we wanted, even though we lost the coin flip,” said Hatz. “We all played really well and went through with our game plan. We still need to iron out some mistakes though and keep working for the future.”

RNG raised eyebrows when it was revealed that Joshua “INS” Potter would take over the captaincy role in the team. Likewise, the acquisition of Alistair “aliStair” Johnston — to have two class AWPers in the same team felt like overkill.

But as Hatz explains, there’s plenty of meaning behind the shuffle: “We all decided to have someone that knows how the team system works well lead, and [INS] fits that description,” he says.

RNG veteran Liam “malta” Schembri pushes the importance of patience in authority, and identifies INS as the ideal candidate for leadership.

“Swapping Josh to the in-game leadership role has been super good because he’s a pretty calm guy, which is exactly what this team needs in chaotic situations,” said Malta. “We’ve been working hard on helping him with mid round calling and making sure everyone has input based on the info they have in a round.”

Hatz also highlighted the importance of a dual sniper role in the ever-changing metagame of CS:GO. “We knew that we could have a potential swap between Sico and aliStair for AWPing, which we’ve decided to do recently. It’s made us a lot more stable and consistent.”

“We also all know [aliStair] very well, we think he brings a lot of impact and can win us rounds or games all by himself,” Hatz exclaimed.

“We knew it’d be tough to figure out team chemistry for a while, but it feels like we’ve stuck it out through the hard times and we’re working really well together now.”


The pressure was on Order from the outset; despite the best efforts of Declan “Vexite” Portelli (23-17, 1.50 rating) on Dust 2, RNG looked unstoppable on the opening map, winning 16-6 and threatening a grand final boil over.

However, Vexite’s form only improved into Vertigo.

A monster 36-kill effort, with assistance from Matthew “Valiance” Hartrick (21-20, 1.15 rating) and Karlo “USTILO” Pivac (21-22, 1.03 rating) saw Order strike back in a 16-13 nailbiter.

It would be as close as Order would come to the ESL Pro League spot. Captain INS (30-14, 1.80 rating) led his side to a 16-8 demolition on Mirage, before Sico (23-14, 1.39 rating) helped close out Inferno and the series 16-8 after a narrow one round lead at the half.

Renegades will soon fly out to Germany for their first offline event since February 2020. Odds are very much against the Oceanic squad, but that’s never fazed them before, and Malta believes preparation in Australia has still benefited their game.

“With the scheduling of this ESEA season and the Pro League qualifier we weren’t able to go a few weeks early to practice. But we’ll use the days we do have to learn as much as we can and prepare as best we can.

“I think we’ve been able to practice the basics very well here in Australia; teams have improved a lot over the last year or two, so it’s possible to get good practice here.”

It will only be a short stint for the roster in Europe, given the international player break will occur after the conclusion of IEM Cologne.

“We will have about five or six days before our first game and then after that it depends on how far we go in the tournament,” says Hatz. “We will be trying to get back home as soon as possible since we will be having two weeks of our player break sitting in a hotel room.”

Renegades take to the server against French squad Team Vitality at IEM Cologne’s Play-In, starting Tuesday, July 6 at 9.30pm AEST, live on Twitch.

Nicholas Taifalos
Nicholas Taifalos
Nicholas "Taffy" Taifalos got his start publishing the escapades of some of Australia's pioneers in Counter-Strike and Dota overseas. Now, he turns his eye to events closer to home, from grassroots projects to the height of Oceanic competition and everything in-between. He still hopes for the day Dota makes a glorious return to the pinnacle of OCE esports.



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