In the shadow of Renegades, CS:GO players in Australia have made no shortage of attempts to escape the suffocating canopy of regional play. The ill-fated Winterfox lineup crafted from the best of the rest at home attempted a North American campaign in the back-end of 2016 but failed to yield results. In contrast, Rickeh has managed to move laterally across North American soil since being replaced by atter on Renegades, having relative success on both CLG and Rogue line-ups throughout 2017 and 2018. When paired with the ventures of Grayhound, ORDER, and Tainted Minds abroad, there has been no doubting the individual ability latent in the Australian scene and the willingness for this talent to take risks internationally.
But even in-spite of definite talent, plane tickets and vastly increased resources at-home, an Australian line-up has largely failed to replicate that same big impact Vox Eminor made back in the day. The lack of international consistency from domestic sides has only been paired with equally disappointing attempts from the poster-boys themselves. Since their playoff appearance at IEM Sydney 2018, Renegades have also failed to post any significant result, managing to only post a Bo3 win over Tyloo at the minor and scattered online qualifier results to bolster their otherwise scarce resume.
With promise, but no solidified direction or international platform at home, and a fledgling, fractured Renegades at the helm, the stage has been set for a move. Nifty has left the Australian core, joining the Envy backed NA line-up featuring Semphis as the IGL and veterans Cutler and jdm64 in-tail. Jkaem in-tandem has been benched, leaving the seemingly immortal Australian core in-tact and two vacant spots. With turbulence at home and a big regional shuffle underway, both gratisfaction, AWPer for Grayhound, and liazz, long-hailed domestic superstar of ORDER, has filled the space on Renegades.
The current Renegades roster is essentially, - Nifty, - jkaem, +Gratisfaction, +liazz
This move represents the first time since 2016 Renegades has boasted a full ANZ line-up. Importantly, this comes after they’ve extensively tried many European and American options. From Nexa, to Jazwalkings, to Jkaem, Renegades have looked everywhere but back-home in 2017 and 2018 to fix their underperformances. In this time, the scene has rapidly evolved, and the hallmark characteristics of their top players also.
In contrast to yam and rickeh, Gratisfaction is an AWPer who defines himself as Australia’s best by tight positioning, punishing consistency and a refusal to give opportunities to the enemy. His former side Grayhound were able to make so much headway as Australia’s best by making the least mistakes in the server and being relentless with their ability to deny space and punish the looser structures of Australian sides. Interestingly, gratisfaction posts the highest flashbangs thrown on his team on LAN with malta, hinting at his underlying supportive role despite wielding the AWP. This stat is also achieved with still having the highest overall and entry rating as well. He mightn’t have the most ridiculous highlight clips and be a spotlight stealing AWPer, but he makes up for this elsewhere. This will be a big change for Renegades away from Nifty’s style of play-making AWPing and flashy entries. They will instead be looking to Grat for consistency, glue-like positioning and wherewithal against other top snipers.
Liazz, on the other hand, will very likely take the bulk of the attention in this Renegades roster. He is infamous for boasting the highest overall hltv rating as an Australian player with a 1.21 rating overall. He has widely been considered a top five, and at times, the best player in Australia since he rose to prominence on Athletico in 2016. Liazz closes rounds like no one else in the region. His clutching ability, calmness under pressure and site-play on CT-side is the bedrock by which his sides have built their results from. He is given resources to perform as the focal point of his teams and does so with terrifying consistency. Liazz’s last sub 1.0 rated event on Australian soil was in August of 2016. Rumours be believed, he’s been a target for many international moves but none big enough to warrant leaving the comfort of domestic play. He is, by all accounts, the player to watch at home and will be the measuring stick for how this new-look Renegades performs.
Liazz will be a hopeful firepower upgrade for Renegades, filling the superstar void at the back of their rifling core on T-side. With USTILO and AZR as entries, jks as the round-closer and gratisfaction the more stable, trading AWPer, liazz will likely sit in the middle and be the swing player who can potentially bring a round back from the edge. He’s proven himself in this spot with countless different Australian rosters, but Renegades is a different beast.
This move, as a result, represents a huge moment for both Australian CS and Renegades. For the scene back home, gratisfaction and liazz are two of the most promising potential names to be scraped from the top and made use of in the mothership of Renegades. For Renegades, this is their return to a comfort zone while their stock value plummets to an all-time low internationally.
Renegades don’t have the hype around them to attract large free agents found in the wake of the roster shuffle. They do, however, have the ability to source the best of their derived regional peers. The growth and evolution of Australian CS has managed to catch the regression and fracturing of Renegades at a strange point of parity. Whether or not the likes of liazz and grat can turn the side around remains to be seen. For Renegades still have to answer the question of leadership, lacking an IGL, and also a coach. Should they implement a bootleg system, start loosening up their T-sides as a result, and activate Liazz we may, at the very least, see a Renegades capable of upsets.
While this may not be the best version of Renegades, or the one that fans want, given where they sit right now, it’s the best we might be able to hope for.