INS: "Everyone is living and breathing CS right now"
Following a tumultuous year thanks to border and travel restrictions, the Australian side is in Sweden ahead of the Challengers Stage.
Renegades have been quietly dominating their domestic circuit since the start of the pandemic in 2020. In 2021, the Aussies managed to travel for some international exposure for events such as IEM Katowice and Cologne as well as Pro League Season 13 but notably missed out on Season 14 amid travel restrictions.
While their results at these events meets the expectations of a side who predominantly plays in Australia, a 13-16th place finish at IEM Cologne with wins over OG and MIBR suggests they may be able take some upset victories in the Challengers stage.
This year has been tough for the squad who saw their in-game leader Christopher "dexter" Nong depart the lineup in February, with Joshua "INS" Potter having to take over the responsibilities in addition to Alistair "aliStair" Johnston becoming the primary AWP player for the team over Simon "Sico" Williams.
HLTV.org spoke with INS about the lead up to the Major and what they have been doing to catch up to an international standard of play. The 23-year-old also shared his thoughts on the teams in the Challengers stage and the added benefits their coach David "Kingfisher" Kingsford brings to the side.
Given the team has been to Europe and back a couple of times now, does it take long to get back into good habits for playing and practicing? Do the poor conditions in Australia make this difficult to stay on top of?
I'd say the main thing we do to assure we're on the right track as soon as possible is give ourselves a day or so before we get into practice. Adjusting to a flipped timezone is pretty hard and having to scrim against some of the best teams in the world with jet lag is not beneficial for anyone. Australian practice of course is going to make it difficult to adjust to the level of competition here, so you can't really be too hard on yourself for the first few days while adapting to this level again.
Looking at the Challengers stage, there are some big teams like Heroic, Astralis and FaZe. Where do Renegades sit in all this and do you fancy your chances of getting into the Legends stage?
There are definitely some huge names in the Challengers stage that we'll have to face, but it's really difficult to compare yourself to teams that have been at the top end of the game for so long. it's just an added pressure that's not necessary. We're confident and back ourselves. I believe as long as we play the Counter-Strike we know we have in us, we can make it to the Legends stage.
In Australia, it's clear no team has the potential you guys have. What can we expect to see from the Renegades and have you been working on anything in particular in the lead up thus far?
Our main goal of this bootcamp is to adjust to the new nade dropping meta in Europe and get ourselves on a good enough level individually, as it's been quite a while since we've played over here. We're slowly developing our game so it isn’t as one-dimensional and I'm still developing and learning how to IGL. You pick up on things a lot faster when you’re practicing against some of the best teams in the world.
In terms of preparation for other squads, have you and Kingfisher been doing anything specific, are there too many teams to cover, or are you going to only focus on your style and strategy?
We are mainly focusing on our own style and strategy, David has been working really hard on bringing new theory and adjusting our playstyle to the European meta. He helps me a lot individually, by taking most of the workload of finding new things and bringing them each day. As for preparation, we usually prepare for each team that we match up against when we find out who we're versing. But during the bootcamp it's all about us.
What are the goals you have for the event and what is the minimum Renegades have to achieve for you to be satisfied?
As long as we play the CS I know we can play and perform to the level we're capable of, I will be satisfied. Everyone is living and breathing CS right now and we’ll be doing our best to compete at the highest level we possibly can.
Are you disappointed to have to forfeit ESEA Premier, where you could have secured a spot at Pro League? How confident are you that you can still make it there through the EPL conference?
Yeah, we're definitely disappointed that we had to forfeit Premier, but sometimes that's just how it goes. Our main priority was just getting a good bootcamp in Europe and preparing for the Major in the best possible way, which meant missing out on finishing Premier. We're still very confident we can make it through the EPL conference, and that will be our main focus after the Major.
Renegades' campaign in the PGL Major Stockholm's first stage kicks off on October 26, with the Australian side set to match up against one of the surprise teams of IEM Fall Europe, Movistar Riders, in the first round.