jks: "We need playtime and official matches to see where we're at"
Renegades faced MIBR in the first round of matches, and after losing were sent to the lower bracket, where they fell to one of the most surprising teams at the tournament, the French-Belgian side LDLC.
In the interview, jks touches upon Renegades' last results, including their run at IEM Chicago, not being able to have Aleksandar "kassad" Trifunović with them, the chemistry in the team after the new signings, and what is to come for the team in a month full of travels.
Let's start off with your run here in Chicago. You lost to MIBR and then had to face LDLC, a team that have proven to be much better than what people expected. How are you feeling after the losses?
It was obviously really disappointing. We had a pretty good online season in both ESL Pro League and ECS, I'd say. We're qualified for both, so we had kind of high expectations. We wanted to make it out of groups, that was the main goal, but it's our second tournament with the new team, and we didn't have kassad with us. I think it's really important to have him in the team right now because AZR is new to in-game leading and he's used to kassad giving information. We don't have the same ideas that he has, and he can see everyone's screen and stuff like that. He's also very experienced and has a lot of tactical knowledge, but at the same time, I do think we underperformed. Me, personally, I had a bad event and let my team down in that regard, but I think we were all kind of a little below what we could actually be. LDLC made it to the quarter-finals, so they're obviously a good team, but we couldn't really counter them because we didn't know what to expect. That really showed on Mirage, where we couldn't adjust to what they were doing.
Not having ever played LDLC before, do you think that made kassad not being here hurt you even more?
He was preparing for us online and sending us the information, but it's very different than him being here and giving us the information live, and being able to take tactical timeouts so he can tell us what to adjust, which is what we need now as a new team. He did what he could from his home, in Serbia, but it was up to us to adapt mid-game and we weren't able to do that on CT side on Mirage. They kept doing A executes and for some reason we just couldn't kill them. I think we had a couple of rounds in which we dinked like three of them and then got reset. It was the same story against MIBR. We win an important CT round, and then the really important round after that we'd lose and get our money reset. It happened like twice in both games and was a bit frustrating. That was the main reason I think we dropped the ball in both matches. It definitely didn't help that kassad wasn't here.
As you said, it's your second event with the team after a quarter-final run at StarSeries Season 6. You only got to play two matches here, but can you somewhat gage where you're at as a team and how you're advancing?
Yeah, for sure, it's really sad and disappointing that we got a bad result, we were expecting much more, but I think it's good going into the Minor, ECS, and ESL Pro League Finals, that we made the mistakes here and can look at them and fix them for these upcoming events.
Because we had such a good online season and a pretty good result at StarSeries, it boosted our confidence, but after the tournament here it's back down to a realistic level. We know where we're at as a team, we're a new team and we have a lot of things to fix, but we just have to do what we need to do to fix them. We know how well we can play, with the two new guys, who are getting some new experiences, and I think it'll fix itself over time if we keep working at it.
Talking about the new guys getting experience, how are they adapting to this level? Are they comfortable, or do they need to get some more experience?
As far as chemistry goes, both in and out of the game, I think we all get along really well. The vibe on the team is really good right now. It's just the differences of them coming from another scene. We've been in NA, and jkaem in EU and NA, so it's just going to take a little while for us to get on the same page, but on a personal level, it's going really well and I think that's really important for the team so we can get along in-game as well. I think that's the most important aspect because you need cohesion in the game, and getting used to the little things like callouts, communication, what we expect from them and so on. They're also putting a lot of time and effort in, they're really keen on getting better than what they already are and I think it's going really well.
And now you'll have to travel back to Australia for the Minor qualifier, right?
Yeah, back home, then ECS in the US, then we'll bootcamp in Europe, play the ESL Pro League Finals, and then we'll go back home again. We'll be on the road for the whole month.
Are you excited, or do you think it's going to be a bit rough?
It's always fun for me, personally, when we do these long road trips. I really enjoy it, just getting out of the house, going from tournament to tournament, having a bootcamp... I think it's a cool experience. The online games are important, but I think everyone can agree that they're not the most fun thing in the world. It's nice for us to get out of the house and go to some events back-to-back. At the same time, you get less preparation and practice time, but I think for us, being a new team, what we need is playtime and official matches to see where we're at and what our mistakes are so we can figure them out and fix them. I think we're all pretty excited to travel. Well, going to events, not the plane trips and so on. Some people on the team aren't very good with jetlag, but we're excited. I think that will be the maximum we can do, though, all of the back-and-forth trips.
Well, you'll get a well-deserved break after...
Exactly, we'll have a nice break to look forward to when we're done!