It was a tight finish for the favourites but an overall expected result in the first Oceanic Road To Rio qualifier as Renegades overcame a spirited ORDER 2-1 (7-16, 22-20, 16-12).
Renegades captain Christopher ‘dexter’ Nong (1.24 rating, +47 K/Diff) led the way for the event winners, putting to rest any claims over his position as the best individual player in the region, while ORDER duo Ricardo ‘Rickeh’ Mulholland (1.18 rating, +57 K/Diff) & Alistair ‘aliStair’ Johnston (1.14 rating, +38 K/Diff) chimed in brilliantly over a competitive week of Counter-Strike.
For many, Renegades had already been penned as the qualifier winners and while their 6-0 in the group stage certainly reflects this, their wins certainly weren’t without trouble - ORDER came within four rounds on Train, Chiefs within four on Mirage and Ground Zero managed to force RNG into overtime in their match on Dust 2.
Questions were raised over whether The Chiefs Esports Club and Ground Zero Gaming would be able to compete with the expected top two. Both received their invites to the opening Road To Rio event following their results in the Asia Minor Qualifier over two months ago, arguably during a different Oceanic competitive scene.
But both exceeded expectations and while the final top four fell as first thought, it certainly wasn’t without seriously testing the limits of top two Renegades and ORDER.
With Renegades straight through to the grand final after their first placing in the group stage, ORDER and Chiefs took to the server in a brutal semi-final - Chiefs through Hugh ‘HUGHMUNGUS’ Anderson’s 21-kill T half managed a strong six rounds on the weaker side of Nuke but ORDER proved better, closing their nine-rounds of CT with a solid 7-2 T side to lock map one 16-8.
Chiefs looked revitalised on Train, sprinting to a 5-0 lead then resetting ORDER after just two rounds to dominate the half 13-2, led by Jordan ‘Skullhunter’ Newland (22-11, 110 ADR, 1.61 on CT). ORDER’s aliStair (31-24, 1.18) had started poorly on T side but was a massive proponent to a remarkable comeback for his squad on CT. 11 straight rounds for ORDER tied up the map in record time, before a four-man retake led by Matthew ‘Valiance’ Hartrick (31-24, 86 ADR, 1.18) forced Chiefs off of overtime to take a thrilling map and series 22-19.
A all but flawless Train CT from ORDER had Renegades reeling early on Train, and after a monstrous 12-3 lead on Inferno ORDER were in the box seat to land an incredible early upset. But Joshua ‘INS’ Potter (29-26, 1.13) and Dexter (33-26, 1.12) combined to see RNG pull off their own comeback to claim Inferno in overtime 22-20 and force Dust 2.
It was a scrappy final map of the series but a Renegades 9-6 CT half was capitalised upon and while ORDER clawed their way back to tie it at 9-9, Simon ‘Sico’ Williams (24-11, 96 ADR, 1.55) led RNG to six straight T rounds, eventually overcoming ORDER 16-12 and taking the qualifier 2-1.
Renegades’ win here nets them 1600 RMR points, which puts them ahead for the sole Rio Major OCE Challenger spot. However, with each team within 400 points and with future Road To Rio events counting for many more points, the journey to the Rio Major has only just begun.
Renegades, ORDER and Chiefs will be joined by AVANT Gaming in early June for the DreamHack Masters Spring 2020 Oceania event - keep up to date on Counter-Strike news, results and more at Here’s The Thing.
ESL’s Road To Rio - Oceania Round 1
1st: Renegades - 1600 RMR Points
2nd: ORDER - 1500 RMR Points
3rd: The Chiefs Esports Club - 1400 RMR Points
4th: Ground Zero Gaming - 1300 RMR Points