AZR: "Some parts of our game weren't gelling well with NAF"
Aaron "AZR" Ward talked to HLTV.org about the departure of NAF, adding jkaem and their tournament so far.
Renegades kicked off the event with two losses, being on the edge of elimination after facing G2 and Liquid. The Australian team then recovered, defeating fnatic 2-0 after being 11-0 down on the first map, and now picked up their second win by taking down TYLOO.
I want to start with the Major qualifier, coming into it you were in good form, you won StarSeries Shanghai before that, had some good results. After it didn't go well, what was the feeling in the team?
Yeah, the Major qualifier didn't go as expected, we really thought that we were going to qualify, we were feeling really confident coming in after having such a hot streak at the end of 2017. But yeah, losing 2-3 and not qualifying was pretty depressing to be honest. Yeah the mood wasn't that great and obviously, after, Keith (NAF) wanted to join another team and that is all good. But we will see how things go.
Tell me about that, NAF going to Liquid. Obviously, not the first player to be picked off by Liquid from any team, but how was dealing with that, was it a big blow to you guys?
I don't think it was the hugest blow, I think what Keith brought to us was a lot of firepower, but other than that, I think it was mutual on both ends. I think some parts of our game weren't gelling well with Keith and vice versa, so I think we were both pretty happy with the outcome in the end.
You brought in jkaem, how did that happen, why him? It seemed like a bit of a weird pickup when it happened...
Yeah, so pretty much we were just thinking who to get, we were going through names, a lot of names, from Asia, Australia, wherever pretty much. And jkaem popped up, we messaged him one day and asked if he can come play with us. He was like "Yup!" and the next day he was on a plane, and it's been pretty good so far.
You announced him, as far as I know, as a stand-in, not as a trial player. Does that mean you already have someone in mind that you plan to pick up later?
Yeah, I think we have a few names that we plan to go for in the future, but for now, it's just a stand-in/trial for jkaem. We will just see where we go, we have a few things to go over I guess.
So far he has been playing pretty well, it kind of reminds me at least of when you had atter as a stand-in at DreamHack Masters Las Vegas. Is there anything you special you do when you have a player like this coming in the team with not that much practice, is there something about how you set him up?
Nothing crazy, we just slid him in some of NAF's spots pretty much. And him coming to America, we didn't have much practice at all to be honest, we were playing a lot of officials every day, and then we flew here, fight jetlag and then we had more officials. So we've had a bit of a tough time getting our practice down. I mean, after the Liquid game I think we just went back to the practice rooms and we had to iron out everything pretty much. So nothing to crazy, just practicing.
As you just mentioned, the first two games were losses. How was the feeling after losing those games, was it a big hit for you guys?
G2 was a rough game, we lost 16-8 and 16-2, it was our first game on LAN with jkaem so our teamwork wasn't the greatest. That is definitely what we had to go over. And versing Liquid, I think we had an ok game, we won one map, one was close and the last game was pretty one-sided to them. But there was a lot of stuff we still had not gone over with jkaem which I think affected us a little bit, with our CT setups and stuff like that. But nothing too much.
After that, you had the elimination game against fnatic and you were 11-0 down I think, so tell me what happened at that point?
At the beginning of that map we made quite a few mistakes in some of ours strats, like losing the bomb on the last player coming into the site and then we couldn't retrieve it for a minute or something like that. Coming back from 11-0 we made a huge comeback which is really good, the 11-0 to 12-3 half and then winning 16-14, we kept the communication high, which was really good, we were getting pretty loud and everyone had the confidence to bring it back, so yeah, it was good.
Can you give me a short rundown of the match against TyLoo, how did it go?
First map was Mirage and we started out T-side. I mean, there was a lot of scrappy rounds to begin with, anti-eco wins back and forth, but we ended up winning the battle and breaking their money and then we just went from there. So Mirage was pretty straightforward from us. On Cobble the same thing happened pretty much, we lost the pistol, the first three rounds, but I think we won the next 11 or so in the row. On the CT side we couldn't hold them off pretty much, it got a little bit shaky towards the end, but we knew we were getting it done.