IEM Katowice has concluded, but we got plenty of surprises over the weekend. One of those surprises was Renegades’ excellent performance and their top eight finish in the Counter-Stike: Global Offensive major. After a great showing in the Challenger and Legends stages, Renegades dropped 0-2 against MiBR in the first round of the Champion stage. While Renegades would have obviously liked to have gone further, they still should be very proud of their showing at IEM Katowice. We caught up with Joakim “jkaem” Myrbostad of Renegades after their run at Katowice came to a close.
Daily Esports: Congratulations getting so far into IEM Katowice. You’ve come a long way from the first stage, into the Legends stage, and now at the Champion stage. So you are champions after all, aren’t you?
Joakim “jkaem” Myrbostad: Yeah!
DES: So how does it feel to get this far?
Jkaem: It feels really good. It’s been a lot of pressure on us in Renegades to be honest. Not by Renegades, but people think we always choke in the majors. There has been a long history of the team never managing to make top 16, so that was a win in itself. The top eight of course, we just topped that one. So yeah, it feels really good!
DES: I wanted to ask about a specific interview you gave some days ago where you said Renegades actually save your career. By the way that you’ve been playing, wouldn’t you say that you’ve kinda been saving Renegades as well?
Jkaem: [laughs] It’s a team game. We win as a team; we lose as a team. That said, if this offer didn’t come at that exact time, I probably would have moved on to a normal job.
DES: A “normal job” — what would that be?
Jkaem: My family runs a company, so it would probably be there.
DES: Really? So you would consider a job outside of esports?
Jkaem: Yeah. I wasn’t really happy with traveling and all that stuff. It’s still not my favorite part, but I think I have a different mindset now than I had before about traveling and spending two months on the road. It drains you out.
DES: The game against MiBR was pretty tough and kind of tense. It came pretty close at times. What do you think, as a team, you could have done better to maybe turn the tides?
Jkaem: I don’t know. I don’t think we did anything bad in terms of preparation of anything. We did the same thing we’ve been doing for the whole major, and it seems to be working. [pause] Yeah, I don’t know. I think we ended up getting into some mind games with the map pick. Rumors were saying they were going to pick Dust2 because they knew we didn’t play it a lot. But we knew that they didn’t play it either, so we decided to pick it. So I don’t know, maybe a different map pick, but I don’t think it matters too much.
DES: Interesting. So what are Renegades’ aims for 2019 after this major?
Jkaem: I think what we aim for is to consistently get into the playoffs in every tournament. It’s a goal that is achievable, so that’s our first goal. If we can consistently do that, then of course we will aim to get higher. But that’s something good to aim for right now.
DES: Do you have any aims in being top 10, top 5, top 3? Where do you place your team?
Jkaem: I think we’d always prefer to be in the top 10. Right now we’re in 8th or something — I’m not sure — but I think 6th through 8th is very possible. There’s a lot of strong teams at the moment, but if we keep doing what we’ve been doing, we will keep climbing one spot at a time.
DES: Do you think that coming off of 2018, the year of Astralis, some other team will gradually rise up and overtake the throne?
Jkaem: Today it’s so competitive and I think it’s impossible to be on top longer than 6 to 10 months. Different teams are going to come in and win tournaments as well. I’m not saying that they’re going to fall off, but I think other teams are going to come up and start sharing the trophies.
DES: So you think this year is going to be a little different, more of a challenge?
Jkaem: Yeah, I think so.
DES: Do you think Renegades could be that team?
Jkaem: Hopefully. I believe we can.
DES: Thank you very much for your time. I wish you all the best in 2019.
Jkaem: Thank you!