Renegades announced the change in a vague and confusing tweet:
Success has been hard to come by for the Australians, with an unexpected run to the DreamHack Winter final and qualification for DreamHack Las Vegas being their only success for a string of disappointing months.
Qualifying for DreamHack Las Vegas is a big positive for the team, but with the loss of a key player, how deep can we expect to see Renegades go in the tournament?
Why drop their best player?
Rickeh, 25, has arguably been the best performing Renegade after his high profile switch from Team Immunity in late 2016.
He has consistently provided an outlet for the Renegades, holding down sites in a more limited AWPing role or moving from point to point in a flashier, more frag hungry style of play.
His performances alone have been the catalyst for wins against Liquid, Kinguin and also stealing a map off Faze last year.
His statistics also point to success in recent months.
He has the highest rating out of all Renegades players (1.09) and has very rarely dropped into the negatives for K/D.
But with all of the positives Rickeh brings to a struggling Renegades roster, why would he be replaced?
As Karlo ‘USTILO’ Pivac summed up on Twitter:
“ppl have no idea what goes on behind the scenes in a team. We had many issues in the team and it was a needed change. welcome
Conflicts with philosophies, attitudes, personalities or even language barriers have broken up teams in the past and they will continue to do so in the future.
It would not be surprising to hear that the core 4 group of players of jks, AZR, Ustilo and Yam who have been together for multiple years may have been forced to move out of their preferred roles to accommodate for Rickeh.
This can cause several issues within a team, including the fluidity of each player, communication and the overall chemistry of the team being broken by such a sudden change.
What next for Rickeh?
For Rickeh, a move to a North American team seems more than likely at this point.
However, speculating will prove to be fruitless, as it is more than likely that we will not see any news regarding Rickeh until after DreamHack Las Vegas, where several potential homes for the Australian are competing.
Who is Atter?
Simon “Atter” Atterstam has been a mainstayer in the Swedish Counter Strike scene for a couple of years now.
He first joined the Swedish organization Torpedo Gaming in late 2015 and won QuickShot Arena #10 on his online debut for the team.
Torpedo strung an impressive number of performances together, inclduing qualifying first and finishing 3rd in the established Nordic Masters 2016 minor LAN which show cases some of the best talent in the Nordic scene.
The young Swede left Torpedo to join up with star Swedish player and former member of Ninjas in Pyjamas Maikail “Maikelele” Bill.
The newly former team known as “Mixbanan” impressively won the Yoggi Yalla Cup, which featured Epsilon, one of the best teams in Sweden at the time.
Mixbanan eventually became Qwerty, but after a miserable run of results, including a 0 – 2 loss to Fnatic Academy at DreamHack Leipzig 2017, Qwerty disbanded and left Atter as a free agent.
Although just a stand in for the time being, Atter may prove to be the difference maker for the Renegades.
His fragging was impressive for his previous teams and his reputation as a team-mate must be excellent, as this would be the first time a non Australian player has represented Renegades, a huge step for the organization.
Just a stand in?
Atter himself has said that “he is just standing in for DreamHack Las Vegas”.
This obviously means that after the tournament has concluded, we should expect to see a more permanent roster change take place.
But who do they need?
If we take a look at how the Renegades line up shapes up without either Atter or Rickeh, this is what it shows:
AZR – Entry Fragger
JKS – Lurker/Support
Ustilo – Support
Yam – AWPer/Rifler
An in game leader seems the obvious choice for the Renegades.
The Renegades have struggled in terms of leadership after the heart of the team – Chad “Spunj” Burchill – retired in late 2016
In terms of leading his team and providing strategy and mid round calls, SpunJ was one of the finest in the scene. However, his lack of fragging proved to be an issue, a self admitted problem that proved to be the basis of his retirement.
An in game leader has been somewhat of a ‘unicorn’ for North American teams and with Stanislaw’s swap from Optic to Team Liquid, there seems to be little to no options for teams in recent months.
However, whether or not the Renegades choose to pick up an IGL, what will be interesting to see is if they choose one of their own from the Australian scene or end the tradition of having a permanent all Australian line-up.