Renegades came into IEM Sydney as a wild card. With not much known about how the team would play and the fragging power of the Australian core of players, the Detroit-based side had the chance to pick up some upset wins. Unfortunately, convincing losses to FaZe, Chiefs and Astralis saw them drop out of their first LAN event with American AWPer Nifty and Serbian in-game leader nexa.

I spoke to Noah “Nifty” Francis about his signing with the organisation, their performance at IEM Sydney and the team’s goals moving forward.

I want to start off with you joining Renegades. How did that come about and how did you link up with these players?

It was spur of the moment almost for me. I had been someone that they had been looking at for a little while at least, ever since Rickeh swapped over to CLG.

Are you finding it hard living and practicing with the different culture of the Australian players?

It’s not really all that different. I mean, with the Serbian I’d say much more than the Australian because they’re still very understandable. With the Serbian player and the coach, it can be kind of tough because there’s a little bit of broken English here and there sometimes. But overall, it’s not too bad.

Speaking of the Serbian, nexa’s been the in-game leader of the team since you two joined. How do you feel he’s going with that and how do you think he’s developed over the past month or so?

Because it is his first month in-game leading ever, I know how he feels because I went through that last season in NA. I’d say he’s doing as good as he possibly can.

Going back to the IEM group stage, one of the more notable results for your team was the 0-15 half against Chiefs. Do you feel like they had a read on how you were playing or was it a lot of mistakes on your end?

We just played really, really bad. We were just missing everything. To sum it up, we didn’t even have one person from the team that was able to go out and win a round by getting 3 kills or something. In general, we weren’t comfortable, our coordination was not there. It was a mess, but it’s something that we can forget about and move onto the next. That’s all we can do.

You had the luxury of knowing who your opponent would be after the two losses with the swiss group stage. Did you and your team do much preparation going into the ViCi game?

Because we lost to FaZe and Chiefs on our first day, we knew that we were going to be playing ViCi. We prepared for them a little bit and then we went through the possible options of who we would be playing next if we beat ViCi. So, we did a bit of preparation for all the teams that we could’ve potentially played, whether it was North or Astralis or whoever.

The Astralis and FaZe games were very decisive. Do you have any take-aways from them or anything to improve on in the future?

We didn’t really make many mistakes in terms of organising the round against those teams. The early round was good, we did everything we wanted to do. But then it got to the mid-round, and that’s where our coordination, our communication, all that stuff fumbled a bit. That’s really where most of the mistakes came in on most of those rounds, because we weren’t having problems getting the kills either. It just shows how big of a hurdle it is between teams like us right now and teams like Astralis and FaZe and how good their fundamentals are.

You guys have the Asia minor coming up. Are you looking forward to playing lesser-known teams in that region and do you think it’ll be tough to adapt to the Asian playstyle after preparing for European teams here?

We’ll for sure do preparation on teams like TyLoo, UYA and ViCi, but we’re primarily going to focus on our own game. We’re planning on going there and just crushing, coming out first and making it to the major qualifier.

Looking forward, what else is on the team’s calendar?

We have the Cologne qualifier when we get home sometime in the next week or two, which would really be a nice event to make. But the minor is really the main goal right now.. Just major, major, major, major. Afterwards, we’ll get a little bit of a break around September area.

How are you enjoying Sydney, getting to explore it with your Australian teammates?

I love it. They really hyped it up before we got it. There were like, “just wait ‘til you get to Australia, everything’s so much better”. It’s pretty good. A big upside for me is weather because I live in New York and the weather’s different like every day with all these different seasons. It’s like California here; constant 70 (fahrenheit). Food is good, the people are cool. We went into the city multiple times, the nightlife is awesome.

And finally, do you have any shoutouts or final words you’d like to give?

Yeah, shoutout to Renegades and our sponsors. They’re a really good organisation. And IEM and ESL. They ran the event pretty well. There weren’t really any delays or anything like that. Well taken care of in terms of food, stuff like that. Overall, a good event.’