The LA Renegades ventured into the professional Counter-Strike scene in mid 2015, acquiring the top Australian roster to represent the organisation. The strategy was considered a bold move for the Renegades, sourcing talent from a region which had previously seen lived under a rock, without a single strong overseas finish to brag about. Following the pickup of the Australian squad, they would see successes in qualifying for majors and other big tournaments, but ultimately fell short of any notable placings.
The Australian Counter-Strike scene has been widely regarded as largely irrelevant for a long time, due in part, to the isolation and lack of high tier competition. The former Vox Eminor squad, picked up by Renegades, certainly presented the region’s best shot at placing well internationally and the Australians seized the opportunity to show the world that the prejudices against the region were not justified.
Immediately following the Renegades acquisition, the team showed their dominance in the Australian region, continuing to best the competition in the area, with three first placings in three consecutive tournaments. Along with qualification for the 2015 Cologne major, the Renegades organisation took the opportunity to build upon their team’s prospects and relocated the team from Australia to the USA.
Coinciding with the move to America was the sudden decline in notable results for the Australians, who have failed to reach the semifinals of a LAN tournament since. The team’s period of relative dominance has faded, now tallying losses to teams considerably weaker, such as the British team EZSKINS at DreamHack London 2015.
2016 has been an all to similar story for the LA Renegades, who despite continued support and investment from the organisation, have failed to provide anything other than mediocre results, failing to win anything in 2016. With the recent rise of the Asian region in high level Counter Strike, with teams like TyLoo and VG.CyberZen making a splash, the Renegades have similarly failed to best their local Asia/Pacific region, losing in 4 different local Asian LANs to teams which were traditionally considered beneath the skill level of the Australians.
The team now lack the form they once had to qualify for big LANs, in order to secure a slice, albeit a small one of the prize pools. With three unsuccessful attempts at major qualification this year, questions are being asked if the team requires some fresh blood.
The possibility of additions from the North American region rather than their own are certainly well founded, as the transfers of Ricardo “Rickeh” Mulholland and Karlo “USTILO” Pivac have proven to be considerably more successful than their respective predecessors of Luke “Havoc” Paton and Chad “SPUNJ” Burchill.
Moving forwards, the Renegades as a team may wish to reconsider their options, as the current lineup continues to unsuccessfully compete within the North American region, despite their status which leads to participation in prestigious tournaments such as ELeague.
The development of the Australasian scene would be greatly beneficial for the global competitive Counter-Strike landscape – every neutral is hoping the Renegades can turn their misfortunes around and do well in 2017.