Red Reserve initially started as a sub-group of the notorious FaZe Clan in order to satisfy fans of their roots in Call of Duty sniping as FaZe began to branch out. However, they made waves in the esports scene earlier this year after Swedish organization Orbit acquired all rights to the Red Reserve brand. It was a smart business move that utilized Red Reserve’s mass following in supporting their various esports teams.
Although the move was finalized many months ago, the organization has recently hit the spotlight following their Counter-Strike and Call of Duty teams results at events across the globe.
For you fans in need of a team to root for, I’m going to give you a couple of reasons as to why this organization is an exciting one to watch.
Counter-Strike and DreamHack Valencia
The team headed into DreamHack Valencia as an unknown – everyone knew they had acquired former major finalist Mikail ‘Maikelele’ Bill but were uncertain on the team’s level as they had not yet played on LAN or faced this type of opposition.
Their group matched the Swedes against fellow countrymen Ninjas in Pyjamas as well as two North American teams in CLG and NRG. My sole reason for tuning into the series was because I was an advocate of Maikelele when he played for the Ninjas and I wanted to see what he saw in this new squad. I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome.
A fragging leader
Hampus had some of the best stats at Dreamhack. [Source: HLTV]
Leading Maikelele and crew was eighteen-year-old Hampus ‘hampus’ Poser. The teenager seemed to be something rarely found: a fragging in-game leader. He was fantastic against Heroic in the semifinal and almost single-handedly took the game to a third map. On the map in question, Overpass, Hampus anchored the B bomb site, earning an array of multi-kills and boasting an ADR of 103.9 and a KAST* of 83.3%. Even in their previous series against CLG, he was only out-fragged by the team’s main AWPer.
A note I made on the strategic side of Red Reserve was that they had a heavy focus on Molotov based executes. As opposed to saving the Molotov’s for post-plant they would use four or five to safely clear the site. This meant that they were taking less 50/50 aim duels. They also seemed to have flashbangs left on players late in the round, making it possible for them to clutch many 2vX situations.
A deadly duo
The man in charge of the AWP was one of Red Reserve’s twins, Joakim ‘Relaxa’ Gustafsson. Unlike most top level AWPers such as KennyS or Fallen, Relaxa isn’t flashy but consistent down range. A trait mostly overlooked nowadays, he never missed shots he was supposed to hit. Similarly to Hampus, Relaxa was also an anchor on their favorite map Mirage. The player was quintessential in their CT side setup playing from CT spawn. Not only did he lock down the A site but also sniped down the tunnel into mid with deadly effect. Below is a clip of him popping off a little bit.
Now everyone loves a set of twins and this time is no different. Tipped by analysts as the next big Swedish player, Relaxa’s brother Fredrik ‘FREDDyFROG’ Gustafsson is a strong well-rounded player who is particularly good in the clutch. Although his performance dropped off as they faced tougher opponents, he was influential in their series against the Americans. If he can start to bring some of those plays to the worlds’ best he’ll definitely catch the eye of the top Swedish teams.
The final two players to discuss are Alfred ‘RuStY’ Karlsson and Maikelele. These two seemed to be Hampus’ right-hand men. Whatever he needed them to do, they would do. RuStY, in particular, was impressive because of his ability to dedicate himself to entrying when needed. All though it had varied success, I believe one of the hardest things to do in Counter-Strike is fully dedicate yourself to entrying. On the CT side, he would provide utility for his star players to garner opening frags.
Maikelele had a pretty quiet tournament overall. He ran the second AWP when needed, but other than that usually he’d get one kill before being traded out. However having Maikelele for the future is a huge bonus as he is a player that can come alive at any time. When he’s having one of his days with the AWP he is near unstoppable, which he proved back in his days on NiP. His best map was the one which took them to the grand final where he netted 33 kills, demonstrating his tendency to show up when it matters.
Although it could be argued that Red Reserve should have never made it past CLG after Koosta’s mishap. The team showed great resilience, playing twelve maps in total, especially after their embarrassing opener against the Ninjas in Pyjamas. It did, however, make them all the more exciting to watch because every time it came down to winning they did so. They even gave NiP a run for their money on Mirage in the grand final. I believe Red Reserve has a bright future with Hampus at the helm and the likes of Freddy and Relaxa leading the charge.
Call of Duty and the Global Pro League
After finishing top eight at one of Call of Duty’s biggest events, MLG Anaheim, it seemed unfair that Red Reserve’s Call of Duty team was pitted against season one champions Splyce and a revitalized eUnited in the Global Pro League. Despite narrowly missing out on the playoffs on map count, they proved themselves to be a menacing team heading into the World Championships.
Europeans on the rise
European Call of Duty, in general, is trending at the moment, with Splyce winning the first season of the Global Pro League and Epsilon blossoming. There’s no better time than now to start getting behind another upcoming EU team.
The Red Reserve roster consists of Urban, Seany, Rated and Joe. Rated is the most recent addition to the squad, though he played with them earlier in the year. The change came as a surprise to many when his former team placed above Red Reserve last season but he still opted to make the move. The deciding factor was his chemistry with Joe, as the pair placed second at the World Championships last year and have played alongside each other for the majority of their careers.
Rated left Elevate to join Red Reserve. [Source: MLG]
Having a team you can rely on is essential in any sort of competition and it definitely showed in their play. In Crusher Search and Destroy versus eUnited, they made numerous plays that required full commitment from the team. In one round, instead of defending the bomb after it had been planted, they made a four man push into the base to catch the Americans off guard. And analysts were also full of praise for their judgment to go for straight defuses whilst there are still multiple players alive. This forces the hand of the opposition rather than allowing them to sit back and wait for the retake to come in.
A balanced roster
One aspect of Call of Duty that’s always been exciting is the trash talk and the hype some players bring to the table, and Rated is another one of those players. Over the years, players such as Aches, Clayster and Killa have gained recognition for their ability to throw opposing players off their game. Rated has had the same effect, it was only recently a Reddit thread with back and forth between himself and Zero of Splyce came to light. Not only does his fiery personality shine through on social media, it is replicated through his style in-game. The aggressive assault rifler does not let up on his enemies, pressuring them into making split second decisions.
His buddy Joe also has his own unique playstyle. The Brit likes to get behind enemy lines to kill multiple opponents from angles they don’t expect. He does so by anticipating their rotations and by picking the fastest routes to get there. Admittedly it’s harder to pull off against well-drilled opponents but it will easily upset some of the teams attending the World Championship.
Their NV4 player Seany has only recently popped up on my radar. Easily their best player over the course of their GPL weekend, Seany was earning killstreaks map after map with his laser like shot. These killstreaks mean that even if they are beat off of rotation they can be used to resecure the spawns for the upcoming hardpoint. If he can bring the same consistency to the World Championship, Red Reserve can rely on those streaks to break some of the more challenging Hardpoints against the most challenging opponents.
Finally, we have Urban. This guy has spent most of his professional career on Team Infused with MarkyB. They had many first place finishes at European LANs but were unable to replicate the same success overseas. During this time Urban has gained a wealth of experience and has started putting it to use on Red Reserve. For me, he can be the star player of this team if he can elevate his play ever so slightly. He’s a danger with any sort of weapon and can clutch up victories in any of the game types.
Call of Duty Conclusions
For you CoD fans this is an entertaining team to watch because of the variety of play styles on display that’s slowly being matched with strong calling. They are a team that goes against the curve and I think they’ll surprise many at CWL Championship. They may just become the giant killers and knock off teams we expect to place top eight.
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*ADR means average damage per round and KAST stands for Kill, Assist, Survive or Trade percentage.