In 2015, the Renegades organisation made the bold decision to push the frontiers of the Australian Counter-Strike scene. Moving the roster overseas to the West Coast of the United States, the experimentation was devised to prove that the scene down under could compete on global stage. But after the announcement that RNG’s Ricardo “Rickeh” Mulholland had been transferred to Counter Logic Gaming following a drought of success, the results of the Australian experiment have failed to prove the theory.
The initial experiment samples produced by the VOX Eminor in 2015 showed that, in event after event, Australians had the necessary ability to compete alongside the best talent from around the globe. After qualifying for the major in Cologne and placing third at IEM Gamescom, the Australians looked on form to provide a return on their risky investment.
Playing under Chad “SPUNJ” Burchill, the squad continued to impress in North America, producing solid results in the second and third seasons of the online ESL Pro League. Sadly however, this trend has not continued, as the Renegades roster fades towards obscurity.
After bringing in new blood from Team Immunity in mid 2016, the LA Renegades looked to revitalize their lineup, again with injections of fresh talent from down under. The new and improved lineup looked impressive, netting themselves a second place finish at Dreamhack Winter 2016, falling to Gambit in the final nil maps to two.
After an unimpressive ELEAGUE major qualifier however, placing dead last to a weak Cloud9 side, their future seemed uncertain. For a brief instance in 2017 the experiment seemed to be back on track, with Rickeh putting in a solid performance to secure the team a finals berth for Dreamhack Las Vegas. But despite a strong showing in qualifiers, the Australians failed to prove their worth on the big stage, losing in an unconvincing fashion by 10 rounds to Na’Vi.
From CLG’s perspective, the pickup of Rickeh is not the safe move in terms of social assimilation, but for purely skill based Counter-Strike, Rickeh is probably the optimal pickup for the NA based org, passing up on other local AWPers, namely Kenneth “koosta” Suen.
The move of Rickeh to Counter Logic Gaming is not only devastating in terms of the Australian’s desire to assimilate into the North American region, but also breaks the stubborn history of Australian-only pickups from the Renegades side, with their acquisition of Swede Simon “atter” Atterstam as a replacement. Despite showing early signs of promise, the Australian experiment in North America is failing to the reap the results originally hypothesized, it’s surely a matter of time before the plug is pulled.