Steven R. September 5, 2019
Renegades are on fire at the StarLadder Berlin Major.
The Australian squad made a statement win in the opening round of the Champions Stage playoffs, shutting down ENCE Esports with a 2-0 series win. The bracket-busting loss sends ENCE Esports home in 5th-8th place.
Renegades got off to a hot start on Mirage with a successful pistol round on the T side. But a B rush in the seventh round was stuffed by ENCE, with Renegades not securing a single kill. This shored up the economy of ENCE, equipping them with multiple AK-47s but an important clutch by Sean "Gratisfaction"' Kaiwai forced ENCE to reset and kept Renegades in command.
Renegades got bolder as the first half progressed, making aggressive plays like wide peaks out of palace and long flanks. Everything seemed to work for them though, which resulted in a 11-4 first half.
ENCE hinted that they were going to make a comeback. A cheeky A-site bomb plant during a B rush worked and seemingly lifted their spirits in the second pistol round, but Renegades denied the conversion off a full buy with just a few pistols. That functionally closed the door for ENCE, which saw them skid to a 16-5 loss.
The second game on Nuke was looked like a slam dunk for ENCE. But it didn't play out that way.
ENCE opened by winning and converting the pistol round on the T side, but Renegades answered by taking a couple rounds. Renegades seemed ready to take over, but their struggles in capitalizing on anti-eco rounds reared its head when ENCE turned some CZ75s into a round, a few rifles, and some serious momentum. ENCE carried a 9-6 lead into halftime but that didn’t last them long.
Renegades won the pistol round and converted which put ENCE into a freefall. Nuke can be a tricky map for the T side if the CTs can gain an economic advantage but ENCE could never actually string together full buy rounds as they lost duels and were frustrated by clutches from Justin "jks" Savage. ENCE never managed to gain its footing, which allowed Renegades to rally to a 16-12 win on Nuke and 2-0 series victory.
What’s next for ENCE and Renegades?
This loss is a tough one for ENCE Esports, but the Berlin Major still stands as a good event for them.
The team entered with a dark cloud over them in the form of the announcement that they were set to cut Aleksi "Aleksib" Virolainen following the event. Questions swirled about how this would impact ENCE in Berlin. The team answered by breezing through the Legends Stage with a 3-0 record.
While ENCE was widely expected to advance further, maybe even having a shot at winning, making the top eight and retaining legend status for the next CSGO major is still a very good outcome for the Finnish squad.
Meanwhile, Renegades advances forward to the semifinals to face the winner of Team Vitality vs. Avangar. The boys will return to action on September 7.