In the current competitive landscape of UKCS, there’s no doubt that Endpoint is still the best team to compete in ESL Premiership. However, if the ESL Premiership Autumn 2022 has taught us anything, it’s that even the best can be challenged.
Viperio appears to have settled into a new, hopefully long-term, home. The main core of the team revolves around the two well-known former members of UMX, Tom “arTisT” Clarke and Callum “Girafffe” Jones. Both Jack “Gizmy” von Spreckelsen and Javier “Ping” Griffiths are well known to fans of this roster, having been on the team in the past, but they missed several versions of Viperio’s current playing five due to various roster changes. The core of the team has shown stellar form throughout the year, winning events such as UKIC Beyond Summer Invitational, and SteelSeries NOVA Cup whilst also reaching the finals of Insomnia69, Kazyr League and most recently ESL Premiership Autumn 2022. Having displayed their prowess against Endpoint in a really close grand final during ESL Premiership, it’s clear that Viperio are a force to be feared.
In regards to stability, 1PIN has fared better than most UK teams this year with the core of the team being together since June of 2022, the only change made this year was when Andrew “Wolfie” Allan took a step away for a break. The team also knows the taste of success, getting numerous playoff appearances at regional events this year, and winning both the Kazyr League and SCL Season 6, the former coming against Viperio in a 3-0 fashion. A noteworthy fact to mention about 1PIN is that all their achievements have been earned without the backing of any organization which just goes to show the strong bond and resilience the team has.
Looking at the history of head to head matchups between the teams, both teams have two wins against each other, with 1PIN’s wins coming in the grand final of Kazyr League and the Semi’s of UKIC Beyond Winter Invitational, while Viperio were able to knock them out of the ESL Premiership Autumn 2022 in the semi-finals and beat them in the EU Pro League to finish 3rd.
The 1PIN vs Viperio rivalry has developed not only due to the amount of games they have played against each other recently but also how those matches have played out, with the exception of the Beyond Winter game, which was a close three map affair, the matches between the pair have not been nail biters. In Kayzr League it was a 3-0 sweep for 1PIN with only map one being close and in ESL Premiership Autumn it was a clean 2-0 for Viperio with 1PIN failing to reach double digits in either map. This only adds to the intrigue of the matchup.
This rivalry also shows just how competitive the scene is becoming at the top, with other teams like Ex-ITB, ROYALS, Dripmen, 7AM and Arctic Raptors all aiming to challenge and push each other further as we move into 2023. This raised level of competition could serve as the springboard to challenging Endpoints UK dominance, which we have already seen signs off as Viperio only narrowly lost out in the ESL Prem final to them.
Regardless, the competition between Viperio and 1PIN has been a great source of entertainment for fans, and it shows no signs of slowing down. It will be interesting to see how this rivalry develops in 2023, whether either team will be able to gain an edge over their opponent and what other exciting rivalries/matchups can the scene produce next year.