Once more, Renegades’ Counter-Strike: Global Offensive squad proved themselves the dominant force in the Oceanic region, closing out a quick 3-0 (1-0, 16-14, 16-6) against ORDER to claim their seventh title in a row at the Oceanic ESL Pro League Season 12.
It was more of the same from the POL Fall & ESL One: Cologne Oceania champions, sweeping the entire Pro League event without a map lost. Their win here would have secured a position at the ESL Pro League Finals in ESL’s new studio in Malta, but the offline event was cancelled citing COVID-19 restrictions.
Josh ‘INS’ Potter (1.39 rating, +44 Kill Differential) dominated the HLTV statistics chart, with Renegades players filling the top four spots. Sniper Simon ‘Sico’ Williams (1.29 rating, +43 K/Diff) posted his best event rating of the year while AVANT’s Euan ‘sterling’ Moore (1.18 rating, +22 K/Diff) & ORDER’s Karlo ‘USTILO’ Pivac (1.13 rating, +17 K/Diff) did their best just to keep up with the Pro League champions.
The signs of a repeat RNG win came early despite a spirited Dust 2 performance and individual effort from Charlie ‘zeph’ Dodd (1.10 rating, -6 K/Diff), with The Chiefs downed 2-0 (16-14, 16-2) to a rampaging Renegades.
It was assumed a two-horse race for second between ORDER and AVANT for the overall finish, but ORDER proved early they were out to challenge Renegades with a scintillating USTILO (39-23, 1.48 rating) leading ORDER to the 2-0 (16-2, 16-10) over AVANT.
But they were brought back to Earth by Renegades in the winners match, dropping their own pick of Nuke 16-2, then losing out excruciatingly on Inferno in double overtime 22-18.
AVANT were pushed by The Chiefs in the lower bracket opener but came out ahead 2-0 (19-17, 16-8) thanks to a brilliant sterling (57-35, 1.51 rating), giving them a second shot at ORDER in the grand final qualifier.
A much closer affair, each team traded map picks; ORDER needed overtime to break AVANT’s Dust 2 19-17, before AVANT struck right back on Train 16-11, forcing a third map tiebreaker.
But it was an all-round effort from ORDER on Inferno, a map they’d proven to be effective on, that saw them eliminate AVANT cleanly in the third map 16-5 to clinch the series and book a grand final meet against the Renegades, who began the best-of-five final with a map advantage from the upper bracket.
ORDER started well on Vertigo in their attempt to level the series early but couldn’t keep up with Renegades’ T-side economy, boosted by eight bomb plants in the opening nine rounds.
Inevitable save rounds from ORDER meant their 8-4 lead was cut to one at the break, and Renegades capitalised on a Sico triple kill in the second half pistol to take control.
ORDER chipped back but a second run of rounds from RNG’s CT side had the challengers struggling at 10-14. So ORDER upped the pace, countering a Chris ‘dexter’ Nong ramp push early and executing fast onto A to reset Renegades.
Two more clean rounds and the tables had turned. ORDER looked like levelling Vertigo and were 4v3 up in the 28th round, executing onto the A site. But a Sico triple with the AWP at close range immediately shut down the round, keeping the margin at two with RNG holding two map points.
ORDER’s economy was still strong and found the 29th to force the final regulation round, and with RNG immediately broken for money it was a force of pistols and SMGs for the champions. It proved enough—a late flank from Jordan ‘Hatz’ Bajic and Liam ‘malta’ Schembri with the CZ’s shattered the ORDER site hold and, through the eco win, secured the map 16-14.
2-0 up with the map advantage, the series entered Inferno—a map Renegades have not lost on in three months. However, ORDER was looking to buck the trend with a similar start to RNG on Vertigo. Four bomb plants in the opening five meant ORDER’s T-sided economy was very strong, while Renegades opted to save through to fight back from 1-4 down.
Finally with guns, RNG found their second round since the pistol, but two straight back from ORDER threatened a runaway T side at 6-2. But Sico back on the AWP, and an INS shutdown on the B site flipped the game on its head.
RNG finished the half with seven straight rounds as constantly ORDER found themselves short of time, wiping clean the T side economy, and when Hatz landed a second half pistol ace, it was all over bar the shouting.
Fourteen straight rounds from Renegades dashed all hopes of an ORDER comeback, ending Inferno 16-6 and sweeping the series 3-0, securing Renegades the ESL Pro League championship.
Next up for the region will be DreamHack Winter & IEM Beijing-Haidan, with qualifiers for both events just two weeks away. The real question on everyone’s minds, however, is if anyone can challenge the Renegades lineup in the coming months – before the lost potential of the lineup in 2020 is fully realised.
Overseas, Australian expatriates 100 Thieves struck a vein of form they hadn’t seen since early this year, ultimately falling agonisingly short of their first title under their new organisation in North America’s ESL Pro League series.
A mid-season dive in form and a slow start to Pro League meant a mountain of pressure for the line-up, with 100 Thieves limping into the finals with wins over Cloud 9 and Triumph.
However, in the finals, the squad exploded. First was a 2-1 win (13-16, 16-13, 16-9) over long-standing rivals Team Liquid, who captain Aaron ‘AZR’ Ward and Justin ‘jks’ Savage had not defeated in a best-of-three since 2017.
Then, led by the veteran Australian duo of AZR & jks, 100 Thieves took down an in-form Evil Geniuses 2-0 (16-14, 16-13) in one of the upsets of the event. The win booked a rematch against Brazilian squad FURIA, who 100 Thieves had defeated just a week earlier during league play.
However, in their second grand final since joining 100 Thieves in November 2019, the squad was unable to convert their semi-final effort into a tournament victory as the Brazilians proved too strong. FURIA took Vertigo 16-7 & Inferno 16-10, and with the map advantage from the upper bracket secure, eliminated 100 Thieves 3-0.
It has been reported that 100 Thieves, among other North American-based squads, may travel to Europe in the coming weeks to scrim ahead of the IEM Global Challenge, the first offline event since early this year.