A rampaging Renegades outfit claimed their fifth national title in a row last weekend, taking out AVANT Gaming 3-0 (1-0 advantage, 16-10, 16-13) to win the ESL One Cologne 2020 Oceania trophy, and further establish themselves as the team to beat in the region.
Only AVANT sniper Euan ‘sterling’ Moore (1.28 rating, +62 Kill Difference, 130 AWP kills) managed to feature in the top five on HLTV’s statistics leaderboard as the DreamHack Open Summer champions showed no signs of slipping up following the season restart.
Joshua ‘INS’ Potter (1.39 rating, +48 K/Diff, 93 avg. damage/round) dominated the stats sheet, and joined teammate and Renegades captain Chris ‘dexter’ Nong (1.29 rating, +32 K/Diff) as the top rated Oceanic player for 2020 thus far. Jordan ‘Hatz’ Bajic (1.37 rating, +42 K/Diff) had his highest-rated event since joining the American-owned organisation in January.
Due to global travel restrictions and the coronavirus pandemic, the ESL One Cologne tournament was replaced by several regional events, includingESL One Cologne Oceania, with Renegades needing just six maps to take it out. RNG will join Evil Geniuses, Heroic and TYLOO in ‘lifting’ the Cologne trophy, as well as claiming the $10,000 USD prize purse on offer.
The true rivalry came in the form of the next two finishers in AVANT and ORDER; ORDER led the 2020 matchup 23-22 in map wins but AVANT had the form advantage, taking out the loser bracket final at DreamHack Summer 2-0 over the ORDER outfit.
ORDER drew first blood in the opening match 2-1 (16-6, 7-16, 16-13) with Alistair ‘aliStair’ Johnson and Karlo ‘USTILO’ Pivac combing for 111 kills in the three-mapper, knocking AVANT into the lower bracket with fourth-finishing Chiefs Esports Club.
It was an event to forget for the Chiefs lineup, who needed to utilise Alec ‘Noisia’ Gulabovski following the departure of Hugh ‘HUGHMUNGUS’ Anderson to AVANT last month. Out in straight sets to Renegades (1-16, 4-16) and AVANT (11-16, 10-16), the lineup should be seeing Declan ‘vexite’ Portelli take to the server very soon following his coming of competition age.
AVANT’s win over Chiefs set up the lower bracket final rematch against ORDER after their upper bracket loss to Renegades, and they were out for revenge early with an all-but-flawless Dust 2 T side to lead the series with a 16-11 win.
ORDER had taken Nuke comfortably in the opening series, and once again were in a position to storm away with the map after an 11-4 T half, but Peter ‘BL1TZ’ Athanasatos (1.50 rating, 29-20) & sterling (1.35 rating, 26-16) combined to put eight straight rounds on the board. However, the triple threat of Ricardo ‘Rickeh’ Mulholland, Jireh ‘J1rah’ Youakim and aliStair was enough for ORDER to hold off the AVANT recovery, hanging on 16-13 and forcing Train.
AVANT had the upper hand at the half 9-6 and began to put the sword to ORDER’s CT side, changing up their style continuously, breaking through ORDER’s defence to post six series points at 15-9. But aliStair (1.26 rating, 33-29) came alive, and coupled with Rickeh (1.14 rating, 32-29) holding down B, ORDER dragged themselves back into the fight—levelling the match in regulation at 15-15—then leading in overtime.
But a remarkable effort from sterling and HUGHMUNGUS, plus site entries from Jared ‘HaZR’ O’Bree, saw a perfect double-overtime from the AVANT squad, ultimately locking out ORDER 22-18 and progressing to the grand final.
Once again AVANT entered the grand final a map down to Renegades’ upper bracket advantage but began well on Dust 2, knowing full well they’d need to make it to map three’s Nuke to really put themselves into the series.
Alas, a 10-1 CT side on Dust 2 from Renegades, finishing 16-10 in their favour, meant AVANT would need Mirage to stay alive in the series, and the trio of Hatz (1.39 rating, 23-18), dexter (1.34 rating, 29-19) & INS (1.14 rating, 24-20) were looking to end it early with a 10-5 T side lead.
RNG would go 5-1 to all but lock the map up at 15-6 before a resurgence from Mike ‘ap0c’ Aliferis (1.05 rating, 21-21) threatened an upset, leading AVANT to seven straight rounds on the T side. Renegades, however, would hold off the comeback to take out the tournament 16-13 and finish ESL One Cologne undefeated.
The twelfth season of ESL Pro League for the Oceanic region will start up in late September, but all eyes are on the final qualifying event for the Rio Major - Perfect World’s Oceania League Fall 2020 - starting September 2. Barring a miracle upset it seems likely to be a two-horse race between frontrunners Renegades and challenging outfit ORDER for the sole OCE slot at the Rio Major in November.