AZR: "If we didn't have [visa] issues I'm pretty confident we would still be a top-five team"

Following Renegades' victory over fnatic, Aaron "AZR" Ward spoke on the team's rough patch, having Sean "Gratisfaction" Kaiwai back on board, Owen "smooya" Butterfield's stint and their results in Dallas.

Renegades have been through a rough patch following their showing at IEM Sydney, in that Gratisfaction has not been able to play alongside his teammates due to visa issues. Luckily, the 23-year-old was able to procure it in time for Dallas, where the team currently stands to qualify for playoffs, depending on the outcome of their group B lower bracket finals series against G2, taking place this evening.

Had visa issues not affected the team, AZR thinks Renegades would have maintained a top 5 position

In an interview with AZR we touched on how the team was impacted by the visa issues, their run with smooya, how Gratisfaction's visa issues were resolved and broke down their first two performances at DreamHack Masters Dallas.

Renegades have been through a lot over the course of the year, in that you had a great showing at the Major and Shanghai, Sydney followed with bad form, and immediately after, visa issues for Gratisfaction prevented the team from performing at 100%. Talk me over how this situation impacted you overall as a team.

We'll start with Sydney - that was us just choking, that's pretty much it. We were feeling pretty confident heading into the event, but wanting to get that spot to play in front of the crowd - we fell under the pressure. After that, heading into our next tournaments, we obviously had the P1 visa issues with Sean [Gratisfaction]. He got denied twice or thrice, apparently, they needed more information - like what more information could you give, the guy's real... you know?

I guess it stunted our growth for a little bit because we couldn't properly practice with our five. Then we had a stand-in, Owen [smooya], for a little bit. It was different - Owen coming into our team, it was a different dynamic that he brings compared to Sean, so I guess it fucked with our vibes a little bit in regards to teamwork and stuff along those lines. All in all, it stunted our growth as a team for sure.

In a universe where all of these issues were non-existent - where would Renegades stand as of today?

I think our results would have been a lot more consistent. The way we were heading after the Major was quite good. I could honestly still see us as a top-five team. It has slowed down now because of the issues, but we haven't practiced with Sean for so long now, too. Learning new strats, him not being there, then us having to show him - the chemistry, in general, has just stopped us a lot. If we didn't have those issues I'm pretty confident we would still be a top-five team right now.

You mentioned having smooya as a stand-in on the team - talk to me about his stint with Renegades.

To start off, he's a hilarious guy (laughs). He doesn't shut up, that's one thing - he just talks and talks and talks. He doesn't think, and whatever comes out of his mouth is just instant. He and Sean are different players, I feel like. With Owen, I guess he was a very aggressive player, but the massive difference between Sean and him is the teamwork, it just wasn't there to the potential. Owen would forget a lot of strats and stuff like that, so we just fucked up a lot of things, but he was fun to be around for sure. He had happy vibes.

We're here in Dallas, Gratisfaction made it through with the visa. Initially, it was announced that he would miss the event - how did it all work out in the end?

Initially, we thought he wouldn't be here for the whole three weeks, so he would miss Pro League, cs_summit and miss this tournament, but I guess they sped up the process, or something like that, and a week ago we found out that he could play again. He got the P1 and it came in something like a day. The process was very sped up, so we got him over as soon as possible so we could start playing as a team again.

Gratisfaction is getting into the swing of things after some time away from the squad

Let's get into your matches in Dallas - the initial match against G2 saw a 17-19 loss. It was apparent that both teams experienced pretty significant issues on the T side of Train.

In general, I think on the gun rounds we played better. We made a lot of mistakes, like losing pistol rounds in 2v4s. We lost advantageous situations quite a bit that game, I think maybe because it was the first game with Sean back, so not the most comfortable at the time. They played some good CS - they were looking sharp, looking better than what I've seen in the past. Honestly, it was just a close game. Like you said, it was the T side that was scruffy from both sides, to be honest.

Did you identify any mistakes you're looking to fix post-match?

It was more so just fixing the little mistakes that we made, like miscommunication, missed smokes and stuff like that. Making sure we're all on the same page and everyone knows what we're doing, because it felt like when something was called, people had to ask to fix it up. It's about making sure everyone's on the same page.

The series against Isurus saw you guys 2-1 the Argentinian squad. The maps you secured were comprehensive victories, but Dust2 saw some struggle, and the opponents walked away with it. What didn't go your way?

From memory, they came out really aggressive, and I don't think we were expecting that. They really got in our face - they shut us down quite a bit, initially, we were down 4-0. After, we were able to pull some rounds together by changing the pace, speeding it up a little by getting aggressive, and getting in their face. We brought it back to 7-8.

In that game we lost both pistols, so that was rough for us also. Heading into the second half, that's where we made most mistakes. I think we lost two or three glock rounds from them just coming out of Catwalk and killing us - that was pretty rough, and to be honest, we shouldn't lose those rounds. They played pretty good, I feel like there was some random stuff that was happening. I remember Justin [jks] saying that some guy ran into B with a CZ by himself, killing him and taking B. Then we couldn't retake because we were disadvantaged with the numbers, so we just saved. I think they caught us off guard, and I think the eco rounds were the main thing.

Considering you were caught off guard, do you feel the preparation was somewhat off against the underdogs?

Heading into that game we just made the same preparation we do with everyone else - we talk about what we're going to do, where they're playing and what they do in general. I think it was just that our mentality heading into the game wasn't fully there, I feel like. We weren't fully focused because we don't usually lose rounds. Most teams, 99% of teams, should not lose those rounds against glocks. It was just a mistake on our behalf.

Australia Aaron 'AZR' Ward
Aaron 'AZR' Ward
Age:
27
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.00
Maps played:
851
KPR:
0.70
DPR:
0.69
APR:
0.14
New Zealand Sean 'Gratisfaction' Kaiwai
Sean 'Gratisfaction' Kaiwai
Age:
23
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.07
Maps played:
655
KPR:
0.70
DPR:
0.61
APR:
0.12
United Kingdom Owen 'smooya' Butterfield
Owen 'smooya' Butterfield
Age:
20
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.15
Maps played:
452
KPR:
0.78
DPR:
0.65
APR:
0.10
i agree
2019-05-31 01:16
#2
smooya | 
Austria shaakeh 
nt
2019-05-31 01:16
#5
 | 
Netherlands NELK 
Expected From shakooh
2019-05-31 01:16
#4
 | 
Netherlands NELK 
F1
2019-05-31 01:16
#6
 | 
Germany Deutschland! 
i dont
2019-05-31 01:17
#9
 | 
Sweden Unluko 
Me too
2019-05-31 01:17
#3
Twistzz | 
Singapore 3st 
2bad
2019-05-31 01:16
LUL
2019-05-31 01:17
#8
PAINT | 
United States _BoBRoss_ 
ok
2019-05-31 01:17
OMEAGALUL
2019-05-31 01:17
#11
 | 
Brazil lusketa 
yeah, you only need a thing called RESPONSABILITY
2019-05-31 01:20
#22
 | 
Australia Chereska 
They weren’t late for their visa dumbass, it got denied
2019-05-31 01:27
#26
 | 
Denmark baccster 
Responsibility*
2019-05-31 01:30
This is the dumbest thing I've read this whole week
2019-05-31 16:21
#12
 | 
Australia slozbloke 
THE BOYS
2019-05-31 01:21
Someone should tell Mr.AZR that they werent TOP 5 team in the first place...
2019-05-31 01:21
#16
s1mple | 
Russia KupcaH 
lmao
2019-05-31 01:22
+1
2019-05-31 01:23
+1
2019-05-31 01:27
#27
 | 
Australia c0meatm3_Bro 
who was ahead of them at the time? they where consistently beating Faze they where beating MIBR they where beating NIP they where beating vitality they where beating Ence (higher rank then them) Fnatic where shit and didnt even make it out of major playoffs they where performing better then NRG so if they where doing better then all the teams from 5th now to 11th (where they are now) doesn't that make them the 5th best team in the world at that point? they where 5th on the hltv rankings
2019-05-31 01:30
They were on the ranking
2019-05-31 01:31
#48
 | 
Australia browymate 
They were top 5 on hltv for a brief period, and had the ability to beat most teams in the top 10, so I would say that they were probably a top 5 team for a bit there.
2019-05-31 02:10
They were though
2019-05-31 02:35
#70
 | 
Spain JasonRacism 
You retarded mate?
2019-05-31 08:15
NT.. aussie
2019-05-31 17:45
just stop Jason.....
2019-05-31 20:39
They shoulda kept God Smooya
2019-05-31 01:21
Kapp
2019-05-31 01:22
sure buddy i just can t really remember when was renegades top 5 ever what is he talking about best place they got was katwoice play offs in wich they got destroyed by freacking mibr 2:0
2019-05-31 01:26
#31
 | 
Australia c0meatm3_Bro 
after starseries they where 5th on hltv, and they made the semi's there and beat mibr 2-0
2019-05-31 01:35
#19
HUNDEN | 
United States DervGuy 
Are Visa issues cause by oversight from the player or the country? Not really sure who would be at fault.
2019-05-31 01:27
#23
 | 
Australia Chereska 
Your country is at fault
2019-05-31 01:28
#25
HUNDEN | 
United States DervGuy 
Doesn't answer my question but thanks :)
2019-05-31 01:28
It is your countries fault
2019-05-31 01:31
#33
HUNDEN | 
United States DervGuy 
But shouldn't the player be aware of those ahead of time? Why is it always so sudden? Plus, Grat was able to come to Dallas.
2019-05-31 01:35
#29
n0thing | 
Finland no_man 
but it did. the issue is americas stupid policies.
2019-05-31 01:31
#32
HUNDEN | 
United States DervGuy 
But shouldn't the player be aware of those ahead of time? Why is it always so sudden? Plus, Grat was able to come to Dallas.
2019-05-31 01:35
#36
n0thing | 
Finland no_man 
i dont know the details or even what goes into applying for a visa, but the first application was denied cause he apparently wasnt "known" enough
2019-05-31 01:38
#37
HUNDEN | 
United States DervGuy 
Oh you're right I forgot about that completely, my bad.
2019-05-31 01:40
#35
 | 
Australia c0meatm3_Bro 
in this case the Visa wasn't late they just rejected it a few times for whatever reason, needing more proof that hes a pro cs player i guess as P1 visa's are for athletes (or people playing games professionally) so they wanted more info. not the persons fault just sounds like someone not doing there job properly at immigration.
2019-05-31 01:37
#38
HUNDEN | 
United States DervGuy 
Thanks for the info man
2019-05-31 01:41
Gabriel "excuses" Toledo
2019-05-31 01:27
#24
 | 
Mexico BasicN1ga 
if AUG never existed renegades wouldnt even be top20 team get outta here boi
2019-05-31 01:28
#39
dupreeh | 
Indonesia Ugha 
"If AUG never existed" Lmao its been there since 1.6, acting like its just get added to the game last year. Only noob who stuck with m4 and ak.
2019-05-31 01:44
#67
 | 
Mexico BasicN1ga 
i only use aug now but ok
2019-05-31 07:48
#34
 | 
Cyprus aazk 
renegades top-5? my gosh
2019-05-31 01:35
Top5? LMAO, overestimate yourself too much is a bad thing, don't you know?
2019-05-31 01:44
Its the mustache
2019-05-31 01:54
Would've, could've, should've, but you are not. /closed
2019-05-31 01:59
#46
s1mple | 
Europe Sam2k 
xaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxa
2019-05-31 02:01
top5? megaLUL
2019-05-31 02:06
#69
 | 
Spain JasonRacism 
They were
2019-05-31 08:14
#49
 | 
Denmark potatomato 
yeah , dont think so dawg
2019-05-31 02:13
#83
jks | 
Australia PineAU 
They were top 5 for a while, destroying most teams in top10. They even took a solid map off astralis, and the only reason they have dropped is due to the visa issue that happened. Totally fucked with their groove.
2019-06-01 13:45
#50
 | 
Netherlands gelm1r 
they would be definitely be above shit teams like nip , fnatic and nrg for sure those teams are garbage
2019-05-31 02:15
#52
 | 
India Vik_csgodota2 
+1.. Renegades beat Fnatic and he think that they cud be top 5 lol.
2019-05-31 02:32
Every one thinks he is a top 5 team. But why the fuck none of them have a S1mple in the team?
2019-05-31 02:22
#56
zet | 
Switzerland MRKNUSPER 
what?
2019-05-31 02:41
yep that is right. How can you say you are a top 5 team if you have no s1mple in the team?
2019-05-31 11:28
#74
zet | 
Switzerland MRKNUSPER 
makes no sense
2019-05-31 11:28
Ofc. They are shit players compared to the goat . Shit players can't be top 5
2019-05-31 12:35
#77
zet | 
Switzerland MRKNUSPER 
that sounds like the reasoning of a retard
2019-05-31 13:21
you were never and won't be top5 team OMEGALUL
2019-05-31 02:39
#60
 | 
Australia TotalEclipse 
Ranked #5, beating everybody outside of top 5 quite consistently. Not top 5? OMEGALUL.
2019-05-31 03:25
#68
 | 
Spain JasonRacism 
They were
2019-05-31 08:14
Guys, they were a top 5 team at a point. They got fucked over by VISA problems.
2019-05-31 02:40
That Australian government still not recognising you guys as real athletes?... Smh
2019-05-31 02:46
Thinking pretty big when they aren't even close yet, fuckin twat.
2019-05-31 02:47
#59
 | 
Australia TotalEclipse 
Considering they were ranked #5 before IEM Sydney and were consistently beating everybody outside of the top 5, it's not exactly a bold statement.
2019-05-31 03:24
#61
 | 
Bulgaria No_1One 
ok
2019-05-31 05:50
if valve removed aug you would be that bot that you used to be.
2019-05-31 05:56
LoL should have got 2/0ed by fnatic and losing to gay2
2019-05-31 06:01
#64
shox | 
France Zyw0o1v9 
Bullshit
2019-05-31 06:14
same top5 as nrg in turok's thoughts XDDDDDDDDDDDD
2019-05-31 06:39
#71
Jame | 
Israel uffiez 
lmfao imagine blaming something as mundane as visa issues for being garbage, all the players on this team have stupidly huge egos
2019-05-31 09:41
No. You be a better team if you didn’t always lose to ecos/force buys, alway get caught out with your knives out, weren’t so indivisible with strats, and have better comms because I swear renegades lose rounds to the stupidest mistakes or when enemies are able to just walk around the Defense and flank....
2019-05-31 10:49
#75
 | 
United Kingdom KainZ 
When in doubt blame smooya LUL
2019-05-31 12:03
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