Making magic the Sico way: OCE’s best must prove themselves worthy of the title at EPL

14-46.

While it has without a doubt been a rebuild year for Oceanic Counter-Strike, the region has so far recorded 60 maps overseas, but at a dismal 23% win rate.

Unfortunately, most losses came with almost immediate elimination from the tournament for said OCE rep, leaving little for the team to take away from the event.

“14-46? We’ve got to blame Encore for that, right?” joked Order in-game leader Simon “Sico” Williams to Snowball Esports.

“Just kidding,” he laughed.

He may be right, but Order, formerly Renegades before the team’s acquisition last fortnight, haven’t done much better with their opportunities overseas.

The squad opened 2022 with the IEM Katowice Play-In. An overtime best-of-one loss to OG, and a 0-2 demolition at the hands of Entropiq put Order’s Polish venture to a quick end.

Dropping to Mongolian squad IHC at the APAC RMR, The Boys held off Tyloo to book their tickets to the PGL Antwerp Major — where they would exit unceremoniously without a win.

One must ask, then — why, just days away from the biggest event in the calendar, would you want to make as drastic of a change as swapping the captaincy, as the squad did in Belgium?

“I believe Josh [INS] was just not enjoying the role much at all, and it was burning him out a little bit,” explains Sico.

“It’s definitely the toughest role in the game and the most mentally draining.”

“We also fundamentally have struggled on our T sides due to lack of initiative and lesser communication when defaulting. T sides are actually really difficult in this current meta.

“Josh approached me asking to do it; I just stepped up to the plate.”

With limited time before the big show, Sico hadn’t had time to implement anything new into the now-Order repertoire.

“There were maybe like three or so days which made it super difficult to implement changes,” said Sico.

“We had two tournaments we had to play right at home before the Major which took up most of our time.

Yeah.

Jay “Liazz” Tregillgas on whether a shift of roles in the squad has revitalised his game.

“As far as our playstyle, we’re mostly working on trying to improve our T side fundamentals — our communication, initiative and utility — and give more direction so everyone is more comfortable in what they are doing. On top of that, having your classic set rounds to use when appropriate.”

While their international results haven’t been stellar, their home record remains all but perfect.

Outside of a loss to Aftershock in the IEM Dallas qualifiers, Order remain firmly on top of the region, with their ESL ANZ Champs victory in May coming with just the one map lost across the entire season.

“Scrimming overseas is vastly different, the majority of our learning [in Australia] would occur in team theory sessions.” explains Sico.

“[When overseas] you get to thoroughly practise everything you’ve theorised and build on top of it as you get punished for mistakes, something which typically won’t happen in Australia.”

“Overall with scrimming in Europe, the quality and quantity are greatly increased as more teams here play full time as an occupation. As with everything, a positive attitude is crucial — especially in a full time close proximity environment like bootcamps.”

When scrimming at home, not to sound cocky or anything, but we’re the best and it often feels like there’s little to learn from other teams.

Simon “Sico” Williams on practice at home, compared to when abroad in Europe.

Liam “malta” Schembri, in an interview with Snowball Esports, mentioned that the Order squad was the ‘ultimate gatekeepers to international events’, and that Oceanic squads do their best to counter Order — even if it means at the cost of their own game.

Sico for the most part agrees, but with more and more international opportunities popping up, it’s becoming a little less of an issue.

“Yeah, I basically share the same view. Gatekeeping international qualifiers while still the case isn’t as hardcore anymore,” said Sico.

“I mean, in this Conference alone, we have three OCE teams, at the RMR we had two — overall there are way more international tournaments which our teams are able to compete in.

“It still does mostly feel as though the culture in AU is for other teams to beat us, especially in more recent times where we’ve had to play single elimination qualifiers, like the APAC RMR qualifier.

“As for us countering back, we mainly focus on improving ourselves which we’ve always found to be the best natural counter.”

At Katowice, it was Jay “Liazz” Tregillgas’ first event returning to the roster; at the Major, it was a shift in leadership. For EPL this week, the squad enter following another major change behind the scenes — their organisation.

After calling Renegades home for a little over two and a half years, the team link up with Order — a move that came somewhat out of the blue for Sico.

“It was quite sudden,” he recalls.

“As a player and new to the captaincy role, my focus has mostly been on the game and operations within the game.

“From my understanding there was quite a bit happening behind the scenes; however, I entrusted my teammates and management to work in my best interests to get it all done in time for this tournament.”

It’s a homecoming of sorts for all five of the roster, who called Order home at some point throughout their careers.

It’s also a massive boon to the team to have the organisation and it’s respective resources based out of their home city of Melbourne, as opposed to Renegades’ international operations out of the U.S.

“Unfortunately with my time in Renegades, I never actually got the opportunity to meet any of the staff/owners in person due to mostly COVID and a lack of North American tournaments.

“Because Order operates in the same city as I and some of the boys live in, it’s been a night and day difference.

“Same time zones, cultures and country — along with their facility only being 15 minutes away from home — makes for a more innate relationship which is definitely reminiscent of my time in Grayhound & Order.”

From a mental standpoint, Order have had their work cut out for them over the past couple of months. With lacklustre T sides, they’ve had to work maps back from the brink of defeat on CT — but the squad’s mental fortitude has been at times astounding.

At the APAC RMR, Order found themselves down 13-2 to Tyloo’s CT side on Vertigo.

With a spot at the Major on the line, The Boys pushed the Chinese squad all the way to overtime with an incredible 12-0 run of their own. Order would take the map in double overtime to secure their spot at the Major.

It’s not the first time we’ve seen such comebacks from this Order squad, but despite a demeanour on camera, Sico assures their emotions are kept in check.

“We’re actually a pretty relaxed team,” he says.

“The culture in our team isn’t crazy emotional –it’s about having a good time and laughing, really chilled.

“Sometimes it can get a little hectic and heated, but come gameday, as long as we’re feeling prepared and not jetlagged, it’ll be a good game.”

In a twist of fate, Order will take on Encore to open the EPL Conference on Thursday night — one of whom will be just a single best-of-three away from the Pro League group stages.

Encore and this Order squad haven’t crossed paths since the APAC RMR, where Order struggled little in their 2-0 sweep.

“Despite them being a domestic competitor, we don’t actually play them often. The last time we matched up against them was at the APAC RMR — albeit they were jet-lagged from a last minute invite — where it felt more or less the same as playing them back home in past online AU tournaments.”

“In saying that, all the time they’re spending in Europe will only be beneficial for them.

“I’m looking forward to the match up, for sure.”


Order. Encore.

The two go head-to-head on Thursday night, 8:30pm AEST, with the winner taking on either Endpoint or Heet for a shot at Pro League groups.

Keep up to date with the EPL Conference via our ultimate coverage hub.

PhotographyPGL | ORDER
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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