AZR: Comfortable with Nifty calling
With the Asia Minor around the corner, we reached out to Aaron "AZR" Ward to hear about Renegades' preparation for the event and how they are dealing with the loss of Yaman "yam" Ergenekon.
This time around, the competition seems to be tougher than ever. Alongside TYLOO, vying for a spot at the Major Qualifier will be another Chinese team in Flash, a strong Australian side in Immunity and potential upset teams such as TheMongolz.
In a pre-event interview, Aaron "AZR" Ward touched on the calling situation, preparation, goals for the tournament and the opposition they will face at the Minor.
After IEM Sydney, which you attended shortly after assembling your current roster, your team stated that you will be focusing on and preparing for the Asia Minor. What did you do in the last couple of weeks, what did you focus on?
In the last weeks, we have been mainly practicing without our coach calling/talking each round and trying to follow the Valve ruleset. We have also expanded our map pool as previously we didn’t have a lot of time to get all the maps to the standard we wanted.
Are you satisfied with the improvements you've made since IEM Sydney?
Yes, but there is still a long way to go. Losing Yam meant we had to basically start from scratch. Living together in a house is speeding up the process but there is still a lot of work to be done.
One of the biggest question marks for your side was how will nexa cope with the IGL duties on his shoulders. How has he been dealing with the added pressure and the responsibility of the role so far?
We have been experimenting in this area a bit lately and currently, we feel the most comfortable with Nifty calling as he is a native English speaker and can get the words out faster. Without kassad being able to talk each round was a major contributing factor and for now, this is the direction we are going with.
In our interview, nexa mentioned that he thinks FaZe's style would suit your team. Is that something the team agrees on, are you trying to play a FaZe-like style of CS now?
We do watch a lot of Faze demos but it's really just because they are a top side and not specific to their style. They have such strong fire power sometimes they can make the rounds work with individual talent so we try to watch a variety of top teams.
You'll face teams from a bunch of different regions at this event. Did you try to prepare for them and watch their demos, and if so, how hard was it?
We always try to do some preparation, but it can be tricky as there is not always a large volume of demos or information on some of the teams in attendance. I think we will just play to our own strengths and that should be enough to get us the win.
With two teams going through to the Major Qualifier, where did you set your goals for this tournament? Will you be disappointed with "just" a top two finish?
We are always disappointed with coming second each time. We are confident we can take this win and move onto the Major Qualifier.
I think it's safe to presume that you expect your team to take one of the Major Qualifier spots, but what team do you think will take the other one—and why?
I think it will be between Tyloo and Flash. Both teams are quite new so it’s hard to see which one is stronger at the moment.
What is your take on Asian teams building multinational rosters, like the one you have? Do you believe TyLoo, for example, are stronger now than they were at the previous Minor?
It’s too early to tell, BnTet seems like a strong fragger but with DD taking over the calling it might impact his game like it did for Fancy1. The communication probably won’t be as strong as the old full Chinese lineups so it will be interesting to see what their teamwork is like.
What is your take on the state of Australian CS:GO at the moment? We've seen different Australian lineups going overseas and having varying levels of success, Chiefs outperforming you at IEM Sydney... How do you compare the scene now to what it was when you left to play in North America?
The scene is definitely a lot stronger than when we left. It seems like Immunity, Chiefs and Tainted Minds can trade wins on any given day. There is starting to be more opportunities to travel overseas for these teams which are helping with the motivation and dedication but the scene still has a long way to go to catch up to NA or EU.