Gratisfaction on early Cologne exit: "We didn't play as confidently as before, we weren't as decisive"
Sean "Gratisfaction" Kaiwai gave us an interview ahead of Renegades' participation at BLAST Pro Series Los Angeles, going over the team's disappointing result at ESL One Cologne and their journey to get back on track.
We spoke to their AWPer, who had been the one to suffer visa issues while Renegades played without him on and off, to find out what went wrong in Germany and where they are in their journey to get back to their former level ahead of the Los Angeles event.
Going back to jks' interview before Cologne, one of the things he said was that he didn't really see why you wouldn't be able to return to your former level. Obviously, that didn't work out in Cologne, so what do you think happened there? Why didn't it click?
I'm not sure, maybe we got into our own heads or something and we just weren't playing well as a team together, which we had before, we had had good synergy, we just didn't have that in Cologne. We're just basically trying to work on that.
What about confidence-wise, was that a problem at all?
Yeah, I think that's part of the getting in our own heads kind of thing. We didn't play as confidently as we would have before, we didn't make decisive decisions as opposed to Katowice, where mid-round we would do individual decisions that would change the course of a round and won us the round. In Cologne, we were kind of stagnant and letting stuff coming to us and happen instead of taking charge of rounds.
Was it perhaps a little bit too early in Cologne for you? Did you feel in practice that you were still missing something to come back to that level?
I think in practice we definitely weren't where we had been before all the visa issues and stuff. I think it was kind of obvious, but we are on track to getting back to where we were, I think we just need more time together.
First of all, how was that period of uncertainty around the visas for you, and how has it been coming back to the team?
Being out of the team was obviously really lame. Being back home, watching the team compete without me and not getting the best results, as well, was kind of sad because I couldn't be there to help or anything. Obviously, it felt really bad. Coming back to it, I was obviously pretty rusty, that was also a really bad feeling, jumping straight back into Dallas. It was probably one of my worst tournaments ever just because I had no practice coming up to it, it wasn't good. We still placed top eight, but we could have done better if we hadn't had that big break as a team.
How did that change for you in Cologne, individually, did you feel a bit more up to your normal level?
Definitely not. I think I made a lot of mistakes, especially in the first game, our opening match versus FaZe, I repeeked a lot of dumb angles that I wouldn't usually do and I probably lost a lot of rounds there that I would say basically lost us the game in general. The next series I was more focused and playing better.
How are you feeling ahead of BLAST, where the level of teams is somewhat all over the place with some of the world's best but also a completely new lineup and now MIBR coming in with a stand-in. How confident are you that you will be able to put in a good result this time?
I would say more confident with this competition than in Cologne, it was really stacked there. I think we should have a deeper run, but we definitely need more practice at this point to become that top-five team.
With that in mind, what would you be satisfied with?
Playoffs at least. Grand final would be nice, but I don't want to jinx it or put any expectations on myself, just focus on the process.