The concept of a ‘super-team’ has yet to be fully explored in Australian Counter Strike. While many teams, such as Athletico of mid-late 2016 and Chiefs of 2017, have made roster changes throughout their tenure that have elevated them to the pinnacle of the scene, it’s rare we’ve seen a new lineup of established talents form from scratch. The closest Oceania has come to a super-team, in the form of Winterfox, who took three fifths of mid-2016’s Immunity roster -zewsy, emagine and ofnu – and added ap0c and dexter, were barely in the country over their eight month tenure together.
Kings Gaming Club’s announcement of their new CS:GO roster looks to break this mold in the region. Hatz, Sico, liazz, emagine and wizard have all come together to create a star-studded lineup that has a great chance of establishing themselves as a top team in the region. The five players in this team all have a storied history in the realm of competitive Counter-Strike and well-defined playstyles that may be the crux of this roster’s success.
Chris “Emagine” Rowlands
Emagine is the most experienced player in this lineup. With the majority of his time in CS:GO being played on Team Immunity, Emagine’s accomplishments include playing at the ESL Cologne 2015 major, where his team narrowly lost to Kinguin in their group’s elimination match, placing 2nd at the Crown Invitational, defeating Renegades and Cloud9 in best of threes along the way, and participating in two seasons of the ESL Pro League, through 2016 and 2017, with Winterfox. More recently, Emagine’s departure from Winterfox left him without a team for quite some time, but the veteran put on a great performance in his substitution for Chiefs in the Minor qualifier.
Emagine’s skillset has generally seen him used as a lurker on the T side and a large site anchor on the CT side. With a solid rifle spray and incredible game sense in clutch situations, Emagine has always been a strong presence in the mid-late round. While on the CT side, this, paired with the small site anchoring of Liazz, will be a huge positive for the team’s holds, the T side is where the roles of Kings could be murky, with both of these players vying for the lurker role.
Simon “Sico” Williams
Sico has been a polarising figure through CS:GO. The AWPer, for much of his career, has gravitated towards the same few players from his time on Dire Wolves in early 2015, with wizard being one of them. Until he joined Avant Garde in January 2017, Sico, seen as a highly skilled player, was bottlenecked by the teams he was playing with, never getting the chance to attend one of the multitude of LANs that occurred in the latter half of 2016. The New Zealander was able to demonstrate this skill with Avant this year, however, being the best rated player on his team at the ZEN League Offline Qualifier and being the best rated player at the ESL AUNZ Championship Season 3 finals, which his team won.
Sico’s style of AWPing seems to have matured during his time under LONSDALE in Avant Garde. Once a streaky player that would either be monstrous or non-existent in the server, the New Zealander has progressed into a much more stable sniper, where his strength now lies in holding angles and locking down positions with the AWP. The main factor that will be interesting to look for on Kings is how much this stylistic change for Sico was the affected by LONSDALE’s rigid system. The limited aggressive presence on Kings will require Sico to sometimes take initiative on the T side, which he rarely did for Avant, but overall this lineup will benefit from a stable AWP presence to work in collaboration with the team’s playmakers.
Jordan “Hatz” Bajic
Hatz is the youngest and most inexperienced player on this team, but may turn out to have the most impact. Since his transition from amateur leagues to Trident in early 2016, Hatz has been on the rise, establishing himself as a strong fragger. Sticking with the same core of players since then, the rifler was part of Parallax during their surge in 2016, playing at multiple national LAN events, including CGPL Season 8 in which they finished 1st.
Hatz’s aggressive rifling style is what Kings will rely on for T side openings. The 19 year old has incredible aim and a willingness to take early engagements or lead the charge into a bombsite. Like Sico, however, the question will be whether this skillset translates to a LONSDALE-less team, especially considering Hatz hasn’t played in a team without the in-game leader since 2015. With more passively inclined players, such as Liazz, Emagine and wizard, in the lineup, it’s Hatz’ entry fragging that will be crucial to his team’s success.
Jay “Liazz” Tregillgas
Liazz wasn’t a player on anyone’s radar before December 2015, and even when his Alpha Sydney lineup were starting to rise through the ranks, taking down teams like Immunity and Exile 5 along the way, InfrequeNt was seen as the team’s star. It wasn’t until the Athletico era of mid-late 2016 that we really saw Liazz for the talent he is. Insane performances online and offline saw many rating him as the best player in the region. Even up until his recent departure from a shaky Tainted Minds, Liazz was still putting up numbers.
The rifler is best utilised as a late round player. Anchoring small bombsites and generally lurking on the T side, liazz has incredible composure in clutch situations. These factors compile a similar skillset to that of emagine, so the team will have to make a decision on who will take the late round, lurk style role on the T side. Of the two, emagine’s experience and versatility would allow him to more easily slot into a supportive position, thus liazz would be allowed to shine in a comfortable role. For a young, confidence-based player like liazz is, Kings would reap the benefits from this structure.
Travis “Wizard” Richardson
Much like Liazz, Wizard’s mark on the scene was left during his time with the dominant Athletico lineup of 2016. 2015 and early 2016 was a chaotic period for the Australian player, hopping between various organisations with different variations of the Dire Wolves lineup of old before finding a home with Athletico. While his numbers with the team during their reign weren’t the best, Wizard was a smart, supportive style player that allowed players like InfrequeNt, Chuch and now-teammate Liazz to shine.
Taking on the in-game leader role with Kings, Wizard may struggle. He hasn’t called the shots in a team since Alpha Sydney in early 2016, and, even then, his team wasn’t that tactically deep. However, with the skill around him, wizard can implement a loose style based on what each player brings to their respective role. wizard himself is an excellent supportive rifler, displayed on his time with Athletico and recently with Immunity at the minor, that will be crucial to assisting Hatz and Sico in finding opening frags. Kings have the firepower to become possibly the best team in the region, but it will be on wizard to command his troops around effectively if they’re to take down powerhouse teams, such as Chiefs, Grayhound, Dark Sided and Tainted Minds.