It’s still early in their tenure but signs are fantastic for AVANT Gaming’s rebuild in CS:GO, taking out both the Mountain Dew League Season 35 finals & Season 6 of the LetsPlayLive Pro League in as many days.
The departure of Peter ‘BL1TZ’ Athanasatos, and young gun Hugh ‘HUGHMUNGUS’ Anderson’s return to The Chiefs, had many questioning whether the project could return to their early 2020 successes.
But experience in the form of Chris ‘ofnu’ Hanley and a breath of fresh air with Paradox’s Reily ‘Versa’ Dundas has seen AVANT claim both premier leagues within 24 hours in a stunning resurgence, taking down both ORDER and Chiefs on their way to the trophies.
The Chiefs were looking to capitalise on their supreme 16-1 league record in the playoffs, setting the tone early with wins over RIOT and Paradox, while second seed AVANT (15-2) struggled against a threatening Ground Zero outfit.
A 2-1 win over GZ saw AVANT into the upper bracket semi-final but scheduling difficulties for third-seeded ORDER (14-3) resulted in a forfeit, meaning AVANT would meet the season’s top squad in the upper bracket final.
It was a tantalising matchup between the two top teams; ofnu & HUGHMUNGUS were both playing against their old lineups, but a Mirage masterclass from ofnu (2.26 HLTV rating, 25-6, 131.9 ADR) proved the difference in the 2-1 victory (16-14, 8-16, 16-2) — securing AVANT the upper bracket advantage in the grand final.
Following the scheduling forfeit, ORDER would go on to meet Chiefs in the consolidation final despite James ‘Roflko’ Lytras & VERTEX’s best efforts. It was a quick affair, with Karlo ‘USTILO’ Pivac (1.65 rating, 50-23, 102.5 ADR) leading ORDER to the grand final over Chiefs 2-0 (16-9, 16-5).
AVANT’s one map advantage from the upper bracket, followed by a 16-12 win on Inferno, threatened an early end to the evening’s best-of-five grand final, but ORDER weren’t done fighting.
Jireh ‘J1rah’ Youakim (1.70 rating, 30-13, 106.2 ADR) decimated AVANT on Dust 2, with ORDER coming out ahead 16-9, before an all-encompassing team effort saw the third seed tie up the series against the upper bracket winners 16-13.
Nothing could split the squads on the final map of Mirage, with each team trading their halves 8-7. Matthew ‘Valiance’ Hartrick & USTILO combined for 63 kills in the overtime match but ultimately it was AVANT, led by Jared ‘HaZR’ O’Bree (1.29 rating, 31-24, 88.6 ADR) who would hold on to survive the comeback 3-2, 19-15. In doing so, AVANT broke ORDER’s stranglehold over the Mountain Dew League in Oceania — the Melbourne-based outfit had claimed the previous three seasons of the MDL.
No more than 24 hours later, AVANT met Chiefs in the LPL Season 6 final. Both teams had locked in spots in the final in vastly different ways — Chiefs were flawless in their wins over Downfall Gaming & Paradox, while AVANT dropped their upper bracket final against Rooster.
Wins over Ground Zero 2-0 & Paradox 2-1 set up the rematch against a very different Rooster outfit, following the bans of select Rooster players by the ESIC for gambling & match fixing.
Disposing of Rooster 2-0 (16-7, 16-3), AVANT entered the grand final against Chiefs, who held a map advantage following their victories through the upper bracket. The Chiefs got right to work, establishing an early lead on CT before AVANT found their stride in the second half.
Chiefs rebounded to post five straight in the second half on the T side, locking in a 14-11 lead, but were unable to ultimately close out the opener as AVANT strung together five in a row, thanks in part to Mike ‘ap0c’ Aliferis (1.22 rating, 25-22, 86.8 ADR).
The 14-16 loss on Mirage stung for The Chiefs, but they weren’t letting the close loss faze them on Nuke — a solid eight rounds on T side without the pistol round set up an early lead.
But what Chiefs could do, Euan ‘sterling’ Moore (1.45 rating, 27-13, 92.5 ADR) & AVANT could do better — after dropping the first three, AVANT put on a clinical 9-1 scoreline on the T side to win 16-13 and threaten a boilover at 2-0.
It would take all thirty rounds in regulation on Dust 2 to decide the victor, and for a fleeting moment it seemed The Chiefs would force the fifth map as they stormed ahead on the CT side to lead 13-10. But a brilliant fight back from AVANT shut out any hopes of a Chiefs resurgence on Mirage as a reinvigorated AVANT outfit surged back to claim the map 16-14 and the series 3-1.
Just over a fortnight has passed for AVANT Gaming’s newest five, and with two titles bagged in such a short period of time, the question posed is whether the lineup can survive its biggest test — Oceania’s juggernaut Renegades — at the IEM Beijing-Haidan 2020 event on November 13.
Renegades, ORDER, AVANT & VERTEX will battle it out for the lion’s share of the $15,000 USD prize purse — be sure to stay up to date with the latest from Oceanic CS:GO with Here’s The Thing.