With the new lineup this is Renegades' first time in getting to go up against the stronger European teams and they are not taking it lightly. We talk to malta and their coach KingFisher about who is coming up through the Australian scene, their recent rosters changes, and what competing in Europe again means to them.

Video of Interview with malta and KingFisher from Renegades at IEM Cologne 2021
Video of Interview with malta and KingFisher from Renegades at IEM Cologne 2021

Grady: Hey guys. It is the first LAN in a long time, but you guys still had a chance recently to test yourself against other international teams, both at Katowice and EPL. What has changed since those tournament's coming into Cologne now?

malta: First off, we started working with David (KingFisher), he's our new coach, great guy, and he's brought a lot of structure. I think during the first two tournaments I was IGLing for Katowice and then Josh (INS) had just taken over for Pro League. So bringing [KingFisher] in has, we were pretty all over the place for those two tournaments, and then David came in and structured everything a bit more properly and [INS] got more into the rhythm of being in charge. So I think we're looking a lot more refined at this point than we were on those two tournaments.

KingFisher: Yeah another thing that has changed between then and now would just be the way we structured our t-sides a little, in terms of roles like with aliStair picking up the AWP a lot more

That sort of leads into the next question. [KingFisher], I was going to ask specifically about you coming into that coaching role. What were the big sort of changes you've made as you've stepped in?

KingFisher: I'd already been working with the team as an analyst while they were over there [at Katowice and EPL]. Some of the big changes with me coming in is just bringing most structure to the times of practice and the processes that go into the every day, how the team improves. Also supporting people as they go through their role changes - so helping [INS] step into the IGL role as much as I possibly can, which he's been doing a fantastic job of adjusting into. Then just trying to make the shift from sico to aliStair AWPing as smooth as possible.

Now with coming off of a bunch of online tournaments, you're heading back to LAN finally. Has the preparations changed in any way for those?

malta: We prepare pretty equally for every tournament. We didn't have a huge amount of time for this tournament because of the schedule, we we're playing in the ESEA season and playing the finals recently to qualify for the next Pro League. So we've kind of just come off the back of that and straight into this, so we're using the three or four days that we have here now as preparation for this tournament.

On the back of us restructuring all our t-sides and stuff like that, which is really the preparation for coming overseas, they way I see it anyway. Now we try to prepare the exact same for every tournament, whether back home or here, maybe on LAN we'll play a few more confident angles or something like that, but apart from that, it's the same.

Talking about those tournaments back at home, I think you guys won 11 of the 11 events since the online era started. Do you think you've firmly cemented yourselves at the top of that sort of the ANZ scene?

malta: We definitely cemented ourselves last year. I think going into this yea there were questions about whether we'd still be number one when dexter left the team, or I think people thought it would be more hotly contested. Teams in Australia have definitely gotten better as well over the last like year or two, there are teams who can still take maps off us and even win series against us as we've seen, but that was in our rebuilding phase. Now I think we're at full force again, so we're pretty confident now that we'll be number one for awhile.

If you guys are locked in as that number one, is there another team that you look at in the region that you see maybe as a confident number two?

KingFisher: I'd say ORDER the majority of the time definitely look like the number two team in our region and are always very challenging to play against. Obviously this team picked up aliStair who was their main AWP and they've picked up Vexite in the meantime, who's proven himself to be a very challenging opponent to play against and probably some real potential in the region. Dire Wolves are another team that you have to mention talking about the number two spot in AU. They are not as consistent as ORDER, in my opinion, but when they are firing on all cylinders they have a lot of depth to their t-sides.

malta: I think with the Australian scene there's like so much like good up and coming talent. So you've got the established teams of ORDER, who are experienced, they have like a lot of individual skill in that team and they play good CS. Then you have a team like VERTEX, they're passionate young guys who are just trying to make their break, and in the ESEA season they beat both Dire Wolves and ORDER. I think with the Australian scene, there's so many good teams who are starting to play proper CS now, their style and structure of practice seems to be really good, and when they work on themselves and improve over the next six months - then I think that second place spot will be up for grabs for sure, between those three teams, in my opinion.

Looking at the international teams you guys will be going up against IEM Cologne. Is there any team that you look around and you think maybe you want to go head to head with? You wanna see how you fare against them?

malta: We definitely cemented ourselves last year. I think going into this yea there were questions about whether we'd still be number one when dexter left the team, or I think people thought it would be more hotly contested. Teams in Australia have definitely gotten better as well over the last like year or two, there are teams who can still take maps off us and even win series against us as we've seen, but that was in our rebuilding phase. Now I think we're at full force again, so we're pretty confident now that we'll be number one for awhile.

Talking about those tournaments back at home, I think you guys won 11 of the 11 events since the online era started. Do you think you've firmly cemented yourselves at the top of that sort of the ANZ scene?

malta: I don't think specifically any team, it's been such a long stint of not playing against top teams. I think because of the way our team was structured for the last two international tournaments, they didn't really feel as special as they usually do when we go overseas and verse European teams. It feels like it's been quite awhile since we've been to verse these teams. So pretty much any team now, we're just happy to verse and get the experience to see how we fare up against them. No one really specific.

KingFisher: The mentality going to Cologne is definitely about managing expectations and just treating it overall as an opportunity to get experience at a high level of competition. Ultimately, being stuck in AU for so long just means that you really can't get punished for a lot of the mistakes you make when you're practicing or playing domestic competitions. Then coming over here, just the experience alone is invaluable for team improvement.