Turbulent times at the StarLadder Major Berlin 2019. With an enormous amount of upsets, the Pick’Em challenge quickly became a horror for most takers. Moving on to the New Champions Stage live in the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin, this hasn’t changed.
Renegades swiped past ENCE with a quite convincing 2:0 victory. After taking Mirage 16:5 (11:4; 1:5) and Nuke 16:12 (6:9; 10:3), they advanced to the semifinals against yet another underdog, AVANGAR.
“Looking at the overall results ENCE have been the favourites, fair”, reflects Renegades’ Joakim “jkaem” Myrbostad (25). Despite the overall team performance on paper, the Norwegian and his team have been confident going into the duel with ENCE. “Looking head-to-head, we beat ENCE almost every time we faced them. They hate playing us.”
“Mirage, Nuke and Dust2 were exactly the maps we expected and that we prepared for.” For the map selection, “we were 99% sure they would pick Nuke first. We reviewed their match on Nuke against Team Vitality earlier in the tournament and it didn’t look scary.”
At the time jkaem talked to The Shotcaller, he believed in Team Vitality making it through, being their next opponent for the semifinals. But, eventually, AVANGAR made the cut with a surprising 2:1 victory. According to jkaem, they should be the supposedly easier opponent. If AVANGAR’s Dzhami “Jame” Ali (21) can show up as he did against Team Vitality, the semifinal of the underdogs will be far from being a plain sailing.
Despite not being a player with the flashiest plays, jkaem is one of the household names in the competitive CS:GO scene. Having played Majors under the roof of LGB, G2 Esports, FaZe Clan and now Renegades, he’s convinced “this is the biggest achievement of my career. When I placed third in a Major with G2 Esports back in 2015, the level of top-tier CS:GO was nowhere near compared to where it is now.”