Gratisfaction: "I cannot go to the States; there are a couple of competitions coming up that I cannot play"
As one of the top ten teams at IEM Sydney and with the fans at the event expecting them to do well, Renegades arrived back home with added pressure to perform. However, visa issues have hampered their practice, in one way or another, ever since the Major ended, and that was felt at the tournament.
Renegades were eliminated swiftly, only beating MVP PK and losing to NiP and mousesports, which saw them finishing 9-12th. In our exit interview with Gratisfaction, we heard that he still hasn't sorted out his visa for the United States, which will most likely see Renegades use a stand-in at ESL Pro League and cs_summit.
You have not been together for some time due to visa issues, so before IEM Sydney, when was the last time you sat down together and practiced?
Man... I guess it was in China, at StarLadder S7, we had a bit of practice there. And then we had a bit of a break because we had a lot of travel and tournament days. So some time during StarLadder was the last time.
Obviously, IEM Sydney is big for you, but at the same time, having in mind that practice had been pretty rough, even before Shanghai, staying in Poland... What were you thinking you could do here?
I think, despite a lack of good, quality practice, because in Toronto I had a high ping every night because the place I was staying at just doesn't have good routing or something. So despite the poor practice, we still thought we were going to make the finals or perhaps even win this event, just because we've been playing really well, and the teams here, we thought we could beat them quite easily. We were cocky... and it didn't pay off. [laughs]
You were actually in Canada, practicing from Toronto?
Yeah, we were just in an Airbnb, holed up, and we had a PC we hired up from INTZ, the Brazilian team, and were just practicing there and chilling for a bit.
What do you think went wrong at IEM Sydney?
I think it was a combination of things. I had a terrible travel day before I got here, I got flights canceled and stuff, ended up being like 55 hours of travel, got here the day we were playing so I was super jetlagged. And then I guess just expectations, that put a lot of pressure on everyone because we were here for friends and family and everyone wanted to do well for them. I think it just toppled on us.
Before you joined Renegades they were never a top 10 team, never really in the position to win tournaments. Is that something you are learning to deal with now?
I don't think that when we are looking to win competitions that it changes our outlook on the game, I thought IEM Sydney was just different because of all the other factors, family, friends and stuff, not wanting to let any of them down. That probably just compounded the feeling of pressure that we usually get and made it a little worse.
The issues that you had, and now this tournament not going that well, did it take away from your chance to build on the Major and StarSeries hype? Is that a frustrating thing for you right now?
Obviously there is going to be people who are going to see it as we fluked the Major, but I think this was just a one-off and we will be back on track as soon as I get my visa.
So what is the plan going forward?
Obviously to get the visa. [laughs] I can't go to the States basically so there are a couple of competitions coming up that I cannot play, like the second ESL Pro League group stage, so we'll have a sub. And then we have cs_summit, I won't be able to play that, so we will need a sub there, and then DreamHack Dallas... And some other competitions are coming...
Why do you even have an issue when liazz doesn't have one?
Yeah, I don't know. I think it is just because I'm a New Zealander. Our applications were basically identical when we sent them in, his just went straight through and they requested additional information for my one, denied it, we tried to appeal it, and now it is in the process of them requesting additional information again. Which means it is probably going to denied, once more. And the only real difference is just that he is an Australian and I'm a New Zealander.
So what are you going to be doing, are you going to fly out to North America, stay somewhere there, stay in New Zealand, what is going to be viable for you?
I don't know at this point. I don't think I'm going to be going to Canada to practice because I'm not going to be playing any of the tournaments in America anyway, so it is kind of pointless for me to be there just practicing with them when they are going to be using someone else. And then after that, we will just probably bootcamp in Europe before the Major and ESL One Cologne, get back into the swing of things.
You touched on the team having to use a stand-in, they used smooya for the ESL Pro League groups, so is that the logical option?
Yeah, it is looking like he is the logical choice for EPL groups again, but we have to smooth that over with BIG, obviously, get that sorted. There is a lot of behind the scene stuff that you have to go through, but he is eligible to play with us. We just have to sort it out, if not, then find someone else, maybe reltuC again.
Is there anything you want to add before we end the interview?
I'll just say thanks to all the fans that have been supporting us despite our terrible showing here, obviously love you guys. And also - give me a visa, US. [laughs]