AZR chatted with us about the two new signings Renegades made, Jay "liazz" Tregillgas and Sean "Gratisfaction" Kaiwai, his new role as the team's in-game leader, bringing Aleksandar "kassad" Trifunović back, the matches his team played at StarSeries so far, and what he hopes the team will be able to get out of the tournament in Ukraine.
Let's begin with roster changes. Tell me a bit about the thought process behind bringing them on?
It was after our Major results, our lineup had gotten pretty stale and we weren't getting the results we wanted, so we just needed to change stuff up. Nifty didn't want to lead or AWP anymore, so he went to EnVy, and we needed to change it up a bit more, so USTILO was also gone. We looked towards Oceanic players, Gratisfaction and liazz, who are solid players in their roles, so it was a no-brainer at the time. I think the biggest change is me in-game leading now because I've never done it before.
Tell me a bit about that transition into in-game leading, what are the challenges you're facing and what are you learning?
The transition isn't so bad right now, I've always been a secondary leader if I see some weaknesses in the team or stuff like that. I think the biggest change for me now is focusing on leading and trying to frag at the same time. In general, it's just completely different, so I just need to keep focusing on it, on in-game leading, instead of just being an individual player.
We saw kassad come back to the team, tell me under what circumstances he's back, if it's for one event, and the relationship you're now having with him as the team's IGL.
Bringing kassad back is a permanent thing, he's with us now. I wanted it because I've worked well with him in the past, and as the in-game leader he and I see the game very similarly, so it was a no-brainer. Having him is definitely going to help me a lot, it's going to relieve a lot of stress and he's helping me a lot with stuff that sometimes I don't see.
Going back to bringing Gratisfaction and liazz, what was it that made you look back to Oceania and bring them on? Was it a back to the roots thing?
Originally, we looked at some European players and some Oceanic players. We didn't really look at America at all. As you said, it was more about going back to our roots and seeing some of these Aussies that are coming up and haven't had the chance to play these events, and to show Australia still has some really good talent. Taking in these two keen players has made the other people in the team hungry, especially myself, like seeing how I end pracc. at like 11 at night and they keep playing FPL until 5 in the morning. It's just good to see these youngsters keen to frag and play well.
Why not maybe bring in an in-game leader, somebody with experience that would allow you to not have to fill that role? Is that something you talked about?
Originally, we did think about that, but we couldn't really find anyone we wanted. In the end, it just came down to me doing it. I was a little bit worried about it in the beginning because I've never done it before, but since I've been a secondary leader in the past, be it under yam, SPUNJ, or Nifty, it has literally just been about me manning up and doing it for the team.
Historically, Renegades and TYLOO were the two Asian teams at the top, but yesterday CyberZen came out nowhere and beat you guys. Did you expect that at all?
It definitely wasn't expected. Maybe because it was our first LAN match together, we put a little bit of pressure on ourselves, and without making excuses, jet lag was having an effect on us. It wasn't really expected, they surprised us with a few things, but you always get that with the Asian teams that will just be running at you through all these smokes and stuff like that, but they played well and we just weren't good enough yesterday. That's what it came down to.
Today you got back on track, 1-1, you had a good CT start on Mirage against compLexity. Run me through the gameplan you had.
kassad and I had a gameplan. We played them earlier in the week in Pro League, so we definitely know how they play. Heading into the match it was more about playing our own game and not worrying so much about what they're going to do. If we just played comfortable and doing our thing we were going to be fine, other than that nothing really crazy or technical.
First LAN, new roster. What are the goals you set? It doesn't have to be finishing in a certain place, more what you want to take away from this tournament.
I think mainly, as a team, it's just an experience, especially for the new guys, just getting more of that LAN experience in as well us getting more chemistry as a team. Also, using this as practice for the future. Coming into the tournament I want to make playoffs, no doubt in my mind, that's the goal, but we're taking it easy because we're still new and we're still going to learn things about each other. We're going to take it as it comes and just play some CS.