We have seen many faces come through the EPIC.LAN sphere. Going into EPIC36 there are a lot of familiar faces, and some new faces that are looking to prove themselves offline coming out of this online period. This will be the third LAN back after lockdown with 24 teams signed up and a £3,250 prize pool. It is going to be a weekend with some of the best UK Counter-strike players competing for the trophy and bragging rights, but also for the £1,600 prize of first place.
DUSTY, the reigning champions, will not be looking to hold onto their title, but Rory “Cryths” Ursell, who played on that title-winning roster, will be making another appearance under the banner “emps kids.” This mix are who many consider the favourites going into this tournament. Individually everyone has an immense amount of experience including Cai “CYPHER” Watson who plays at some of the highest level of European Counter-strike on Into The Breach. They are also the only team at this event to bring along a coach, Luke “EMPEROR” Ingram, who is heralded in some cases as the godfather of the UK scene. He will be bringing his mountain of experience over and trying to support these players in claiming the title which he could not do last EPIC.LAN, when EKO crashed out in the finals against DUSTY after having a 11-0 lead on the first map.
emps kids are the team to beat going into this event, but that does not mean it will be smooth sailing for them. There are many other strong contenders, the main two being Temperate and BLVKHVND. An advantage these teams have over emps kids are their stability. They are set rosters instead of a mixed squad like emps kids. Both of them have undergone a few roster changes in between EPIC35 and now, but are ready to show everyone what they’ve got and take over the LAN.
BLVKHVND picked up EPIC34 winner Tim “TIMMO” Musters, adding a level of expertise and depth which they did not have before. Coming from the old Lucent roster, TIMMO placed third at the last EPIC.LAN and most certainly was disappointed with that result. Now going into this LAN he, alongside his ex-teammate Richards “Zulu” Wood, will be looking to convert the success they had online in ESEA Main and the Beyond Spring Invitational into offline results.
Now, to their counterpart, Temperate. Saying it was a rocky ESEA Main season for them would be an understatement when it comes to roster and organizational changes, but somehow they managed to prevail in quite a drastic manner going 10-4 in the regular season but then failing to make much progress in playoffs. This roster has seen the core of Emyr “eMy” Green, Marco “MMS” Salomone, and ManHo “mrhui” Hui stick it out. Add on the new guns of Beau “fluFFS” Newton and then the firepower that Reegan “ReegaN” Ward and the team now has potential to reach new hieghts. This side can be a fierce contender and definitely can be in a position to take the trophy home.
Below the top three favourites, there are a few other notable teams. Players range from ESEA Advanced players to casuals and that is what EPIC.LAN is all about. Bringing everyone together and letting anyone compete in mixes and teams no matter what level they are is a mainstay of the tournament. We have university teams competing with teams like Portsmouth Paladins and FISTBUMPS ON LAN who could most certainly be slept on and may upset some of the bigger names. We also have a lot of people who are looking to prove themselves on their first EPIC.LAN outing such as Joseph “GODKU” Fowkes who plays on the Scambit roster with the core placing 13-16th last EPIC.LAN. This is not an incredible result, especially with the calibre of play these players can provide, but they are most certainly another team to keep your eye on for an upset.
Players to look out for
One player who this article already mentioned is Cryths. Looking just purely at his performance at EPIC35 where he took home the trophy, he had a 1.20 rating across 19 maps, and only seemed to get better as the event went along. Aging like fine wine, Cryths, helmed DUSTY through their lower bracket win putting up some serious figures. The pinnacle of his tournament was his 1.51 rating in the final map against EKO, which claimed him the EPIC35 trophy.
Next player to highlight would have to be a player who has been deemed by many people the player who will prosper and propel himself out of the UK scene: CYPHER. He will certainly be looking to claim the victory to make up for his loss in Epic34. Probably the most experienced player at this event, as he’s reached the top 50 in the world on HLTV with Into the Breach, his is going to be looking rather dangerous on emps kids.
Andrew “Wolfie” Allan has been crushing it lately in his first season of ESEA Advanced against some of the best players in Europe. Last EPIC.LAN was no different as he had the 13th highest rating with a 1.20 rating across 13 maps while carrying his team to the top eight.
Within the sea of mixes there are some serious heavy hitters. We even have the highest rated player from EPIC35 returning. Tristan “Stop_it” Ellis who reached a 1.41 rating across seven maps but only got a 6.65 RWS will now be looking to go further than groups in this event with the core of B LIST LOVE ISLAND .
Finally, a player who has erupted into the UK scene this year, just completed his first ESEA Advanced season with 1PIN alongside Wolfie, and has been proclaimed by many to be the next big UK superstar due to his absolutely cracked mechanical skills is Oscar “AZUWU” Bell. He has proved himself online against both the top European players and top UK players as well as offline at Insomnia 68 where he helped The Last Resort claim 4th place and will be looking to push his team AVA Mix into a similar scenario.
Moving away from the purely competitive nature of the event, we can look at what type of content we can expect to see from the players. Alexander “SashAFP” Fomin’s stream from the last EPIC.LAN was very well received. He streamed all of the games on Twitch and added a new depth to an event that it had not seen before. Alongside him, Joe “Dexie” Demmon and others also had some pretty crisp clips from the last event.
Dominic “TheDombox” Box is also attending the event. Recently, he’s been streaming his ESEA Open games and plans to stream EPIC.LAN games too.
These three are among many others that will end up streaming their games, so definitely keep an eye out on what’s happening!
The Into The Breach Initiative
On the 16th of June, Into The Breach posted on Twitter looking to sponsor an organization-less player going to EPIC.LAN. The nominee with the highest number of likes on the reply to the tweet will be winning a BYOC ticket for the event, an Xtrfy K4 TKL RGB Keyboard, and an Xtrfy M4 RBG Wireless Mouse. Shuaib “Shoobie” Saddique was the chosen player and will be representing Nutty Dudes with the top of the line keyboard and mouse which will hopefully give him the edge against his opponents. Oscar “Imoru” Chandler was a close second and because of that, he will be awarded a ticket for the EPIC37. UKCSGO reached out to the Head of Initiatives at ITB, Blaine “Blainey” Uknighted, for a quote:
Supporting grassroot esports communities are at the forefront of ITB’s commitment to being a community first organisation. The UKCS community has been good to us since our inception and we are keen to show our appreciation with initiatives such as this. Our “CSGO Player Sponsorship” initiative has proven to be a great success this time & we are hopeful that this is something that we can continue to deliver for future UK LAN events.
Following in the footsteps of Feenix, this is something we will hopefully see more of in the future.
As of now, we have just been informed that Shoobie will be not able to attend the event as he is in hospital and will be replaced by Felix “Inf1nate-M-” Kenney. We reached back out to Blainey from ITB:
“we will still be sending Shoobie the Xtrfy gear but will be covering his ticket cost for Insomnia, instead of EPIC LAN! We will also be Sponsoring an additional player to go to Insomnia too”
GS:GO Talent for the event
What helps make a great event is also the production behind it and there are some really talented casters that will be at the event which makes the viewing experience for people at home even better. The talent list goes as follows:
Brandon “BDog” Rawlings
Tom “SneakyBeaky” Taylor
Kyle “CodyCasts” Mullings
Ryan “IC0N” Lee
Freddie “GrimyRannarr” Pritchard
They each bring a lot of experience in their own right and should contribute to making the event fun for all.
A Final word
This is the third event back, but it still feels like we are coming out of lockdown and LANs coming back are still fairly new. Having events back is so important for the scene for a multitude of reasons. They, at a bare bone level, bring us together as a community. People are finally able to put names to faces and those interactions people have between each matter for the growth of the scene. Good luck to those competing, and, to everyone else attending, relish the UK LAN experience.