epic.FIFTEEN: Four teams to fear
The fifteenth installment of the epic LAN series is just mere days away, and with an almost record attendance for the CS:GO tournament, things appear to be heating up. The tournament is currently set to have 14 teams in attendance should all those registered complete their rosters, with a few extra in the making if some last minute mix teams manage to materialise. Thus, the prize pool currently sits at a comfortable £1,250 with the scope to increase further should the numbers see a last minute surge.
A list of teams has been published recently on our website, indicating a number of interesting observations. Firstly, this may be the highest attended epic LAN tournament for CS:GO, which has been plagued by poor turn out for a number of events in the past. This is perhaps indicative a growth in UK CS:GO numbers and an increased appetite for competition, something that would be gladly welcomed by many hoping for a breath of fresh air.
Another thing that is apparent is that there are quite a few unrecognisable names in the running, which is both promising and distressing at the same time. With the large majority of teams signed up seeming to be unknown forces, it becomes difficult to predict how the tournament will pan out. One may just dismiss such teams off the cuff immediately, but this may be a slight injustice to those turning up to do more than just make up the numbers. It will certainly be interesting to see if any of these lesser known rosters can actually do any damage. However with that being said, the team list clearly illuminates four teams that are highly likely to be in contention for the gold medal, beautifully labelled as my “Four teams to fear.”
Curse these metal hands
Let us first turn our attention to a team that has recently been put together by former Perilous member Tom “quiver” Griffiths, a player with his own fair share of CS lan experience and an AWP once feared by even the best in Britain. His band of merry men (RIP) is comprised of a number of has-beens and former greats, and is rounded up by former EZSkins member Jake “Boaster” Howlett. Jesting aside, this roster boasts a wealth of experience that gives them an edge over any fresh, hot talent, and should give them the composure to sail through the group stages with ease.
With that being said, aside from quiver and Boaster, and a small showing from Ollie “crazycat” Netherton towards the earlier days of Global Offensive, the older chaps of this team are yet to show if they have managed to get to grips with these new-fangled technologies and game mechanics. This team should undoubtedly make the top four, but the question really is, can they go much further? If the transition back into playing competitively has been an easy one for the old-timers, then they could potentially be one to watch.
The fish123 mix team is a name that now almost comes as a part of the furniture with epic LAN Counter-Strike tournaments. A long standing pseudonym for a select handful of players that fancy a tournament get together, fish123 has seen its fair share of glory in Kettering and Utoxeter alike. This time around, the mix boasts some fish123 classics such as Jamie “keita” Hall and Jake “batham” Batham, but also will be bringing along first time lanner and former CAZ player Joe “Joeee” Leigh.
Joeee himself, though a humorous fellow, is a particularly good player when it comes down to it. If he finds his form at this event, his skillset may be highly sought after at in the future at his offline résumé may being to slowly expand. The fish123 roster is completed by “TBA” member and UK all-star Brandon “weber” Weber and his former fm-eSports team mate turned streamer James “Kryptix” Affleck. Needless to say, being a mix bears obvious disadvantages, but with a roster this bright, that may not be an issue.
The former MALIK eSports side became Choke eSports last month with the notable change of bringing in former League of Legends pundit Ben “Esio” Doughty. After making it into the first season of the ESL UK Premiership, this side failed to impress after falling foul to the wrecking ball that was Lime Goblins come exceL eSports. However, their campaign in the first draft of the second Premiership has started strong, with victories of the Molotov and Marshmallows side and epic LAN competitors fish123.
As a side that, as of late, seems to be turning up when it really matters, this event could be a good test of whether this new roster is going to stand tall against the test of time. A good performance here will see them heralded as one of the better teams in the Premiership and will give their confidence a big boost when it comes to the all-important offline finals, if they ever make it there. Choke gaming certainly have the potential to go all the way at this event, but it all comes down to how they perform on the day. This side could sink or swim, and could top the charts or not even make the podium.
Finally, CAZ eSports are a team that have been playing in a multitude of online leagues alongside European teams of varying notoriety. Despite a few roster changes since their conception many months ago, the core of the team remain firm with Jake “jakem” McCausland at the helm. However, despite this fact, the team have yet to play together at an offline event, an environment that could see them flourish. The roster consists of very talented players, including their new Greek pickup of Kostas “tsack” Theodoropoulos who can be seen on top form whenever he appears to be in the spotlight. Combined with the consistent awping of young starlet Tom “SPUDZ” White, CAZ are certainly a team that will take some beating at this event.
CAZ eSports will undoubtedly cruise through the group stage unscathed, whoever their second seeded team may turn out to be. It would be a travesty if such a team did not make it into the final of the event, as along with Choke, they are a team that deserve reward for their commitment to sticking it out together. However, first event flops are not uncommon and it is certainly not out of the question for CAZ, but may be considered as an unlikely scenario for such a proficient roster.
This event could pan out a number of different ways, and once the dust settles we may have some idea of who to look out for at the upcoming iSeries and in the ESL UK Premiership. I would predict the top four will look something like this:
- CAZ eSports (jakem, REAZN, SPUdZ, tsack, decclan)
- Fish123 (keita, weber, batham, kryptix, Joee)
- Choke Gaming (Immi, MightyMax, Esio, Powell, Peggyyyy)
- Curse these metal hands (benkofk, crazycat, mortism, quiver, boaster)