Steven R. September 7, 2019
Avangar is the first entrant into the StarLadder Berlin Major.
The Kazakh team took a strong win over Renegades in the semifinals, winning 2-0.
Renegades started off Mirage strong with a successful pistol round and conversion, but a pair of losses stemming from early frags by Dzhami "Jame" Ali allowed Avangar to even the score. Both teams started to get aggressive in hopes of asserting dominance, with Renegades doing quick boosts through mid window and Avangar pushing off sites to score surprise kills. Some plays worked out while others didn’t, but this combined to a razor-thin first half that favored Avangar 9-6.
Renegades got off to a good start in the second half thanks to some excellent sniping Sean "Gratisfaction"' Kaiwai but never gained much of a lead. The two sides basically traded rounds with Renegades hitting 15 rounds courtesy of some clutch defuses and massive output from Justin "jks" Savage but their economy was in shambles by round 30. This allowed Avangar to force overtime.
Avangar got out to a strong start in the first overtime but jks and Aaron "AZR" Ward came through late to help them force a double overtime. The second OT period started the same way, except with Avangar taking the first three rounds. Renegades looked poised to even the score but a key clutch from Alexey "qikert" Golubev allowed them to take the first point with a 22-19 win.
Game two on Dust 2 started off the exact same way that Mirage did. Renegades got an early lead and applied pressure with high-risk plays including crafty boosts and holding deep angles with their AWPs. While that boldness paid off in many cases in game one, that wasn’t the case in game two as Avangar took 10 straight rounds to drain some of Renegades’ enthusiasm and take a commanding lead.
Avangar won the second pistol round, but Renegades answered by denying the conversion with a force buy victory with utility, armor, and upgraded pistols. Unfortunately, Jame took the spring back out of their step with a massive round with a scout.
Renegades couldn’t find any more chances back into the game, and sputtered to a 16-6 loss to close the series 2-0 for Avangar.
Can Avangar win in the Berlin Major finals?
Avangar entered the Berlin Major as something of an afterthought.
The squad stood out during the IEM Katowice Major group stages and looked hot in the following weeks, but slowed down considerably in the summer. They found mixed success even in regional events, and weren’t necessarily a popular pick to advance out of either set of group stages in the Berlin Major.
The team kicked into a higher gear in the Legends Stage however, and have now taken strong wins over Team Vitality and Renegades to reach the finals. They’ll face the winner of NRG Esports vs. Team Liquid next. And while they’ll likely be the underdog against either, they would be a deserving champion at this point.