It’s the month of July, the middle month of Summer and, as is tradition for UK Counter Strike teams, we find ourselves heading to EPIC.LAN this weekend to celebrate in the way we know best. It’s EPIC39 time, and it’s set to be a one of a kind event for a whole host of reasons.
Firstly, for those of us catching up, we’re unfortunately not set to be in the spiritual home of UK CS:GO this time around. Swapping Kettering for Wolverhampton, we’re seeing one of the UK’s most important LAN events taking place at a racecourse for the first time since 2012 (both EPIC.LAN and Insomnia hosted their last LANs at Uttoxeter and Newbury in the July and August of that year). For those wanting to know the lay of the land before heading to LAN this weekend, check out this guide to Wolverhampton we put together when the venue change was announced.
Secondly, and we’re taking minor liberties with Valve time™ here, this is expected to be the final CS:GO LAN held in the UK. Or, at the very least, the final EPIC.LAN held on the Global Offensive version of the game, as many commentators firmly expect CS2 to be released by October. This is down to Valve announcing the upcoming release to be released in “summer” this year.
But, one thing that will remain the same, UKCSGO.com will be there throughout the weekend to provide updates and content from EPIC39. That begins with this preview, bringing you through the talent who’ll be delivering you the action, a few of the attending teams and how we expect them to fare.
— EPIC.LAN UK Gaming & Esports Events (@EPICLAN) July 17, 2023
EPIC39 continues the events’ history of being a place where new UK(ish)-based on-camera talent can get on-event experience and continue their start in the industry. Picking up hosting duties across the event and for CS, alongside EPICLAN stalwart Nick “ReaperSteve” Stevens, will be friend (and staff member) of UKCSGO.com Leyna “Affinity” McQuillin and American interviewer, artist and host Daisy “damp” Powers.
Over on the casting desks, a couple names familiar to those that tuned into the UKCSGO.com broadcasts of the last ESL Premiership season will be taking their seats to bring the action in Wolverhampton. Casting duo, and former UKCS players, Harry “index” Bayliss and Tim “TIMMO” Musters will be half of the commentary team attending the event. Joining those two will be the two new kids on the block, Orson “ServeralSheep” Schuijers and Zakariya “Zakar1ya” Ben-Hamida, who have been providing loads of coverage to UK CS games. Barring Zakar1ya, all of the commentators for EPIC39 have started their journeys in casting since the turn of the year.
The BINMEN return in force
Ryan “ReTr00” Bernard, Josh “Dweg” Nathan and friends return to EPIC.LAN, as the BINMEN head to another LAN on their charity fundraising journey across UK esports. This time, the BINMEN are sending three teams to EPIC39 in various levels of potential competitiveness. They’re raising money for YoungMinds, with a fundraising page opened on JustGiving with a target of £1000. As of writing, they’ve raised £250, with donations slowly falling in since it was launched.
Sadly for the BINMEN, our crack team of pundits here at UKCSGO.com (reader: not me) have only given their BINMEN International guise any real shot at damaging the event’s playoffs. Here’s hoping the team Dweg has built himself will manage to see him through to those playoffs for the first time after five previous EPIC.LAN Inters appearances.
Realistically though, the BINMEN have become a welcomed fixture at many a LAN over the past few years. Having seen them turn up at both EPIC and Insomnia, causing mild pleasant chaos and enjoying themselves while raising money for charity has been a delight. Long may it continue folks! Long may it continue. (Sidenote, they’re also giving away prizes for those that donate over the weekend.)
As of writing, there are 22 teams signed up to attend EPIC39. That team number is good news for the organisers, as its pretty much on par with last summer LAN’s CS:GO attendee numbers (22 teams at EPIC37) despite the last minute move to a new venue. Naturally, as this is a UK LAN, a solid proportion of these are mixes that’ll pick up for the event and then drift into the sunset come 5pm on Sunday afternoon. However, there are still a solid amount of regular teams heading to the event this weekend, a few of which which we’ll list below.
The highest-profile, and one of the teams with the strongest shot at the trophy, are 7AM. Oscar “LVN” Levin’s boys come in holding the title of the UK’s most stable roster, having made just one roster move in the past ten months. This means new boy, and Insomnia70 champion, Oliver “husky” Gollings will be making his LAN debut with the team as they look to make a charge on the top tier of the UK scene again.
Next in Line are the… next team in line on this list. Fresh off qualifying for the next ESEA Advanced season after winning ESEA Open, the NIL boys are looking to secure another feather in their cap in Wolverhampton. John “Dutchy” Holland’s new project didn’t receive too much fanfare when it was launched a few months back, but they’re developed into a strong five since. Expect them to be making a strong shot at the title, and anyone discounting them would be taking a sheer risk. They do, however, come into the event with a small change to the roster, with James “Mad” Debono being replaced by Andrew “Wolfie” Allan.
Fraser “frazehh” Sollom’s Verdant, previously known as dripmen and featuring the core of the Insomnia70 winning eMasters team, are also in attendance. They’re one of the newer team rosters on the list, having only formed at the start of June reuniting Frazehh with his former BLVKHVND teammates Jack “DeXter” Hepple and Josh “JAUSTERE” Philpott. The team has significant enough strength in that core and previous relationships, but with a small unknown factor for those coming up against them that could see them go far.
…and the Mixes
An EPIC39 preview would be amiss without mentioning the mix teams set to shake up the scene this weekend. The Neighbours, are the strongest roster of these and potentially the entire event. Headlined by Major attendee and pro-player-cum-streamer Owen “smooya” Butterfield, reunites with fellow EPIC37 winner James “bevve” Slinn and a whole host of well known UKCS talent. Adam “Adam9130” Ahmad sets up to act as the in-game leader of this team. The most surprising thing about this roster (assuming it is what’s listed on the Fantasy page!) is how well balanced it is, with every player taking a role that’d make sense in a team. Expect fireworks.
Following the likes of Stevie G to the Arabian peninsula, the Al Fatiaq semi-mix are set to attend. The description of them being a semi-mix is apt, with the core being made up of Arkadiusz “ifan” Dabkowski, Slaven “Awayken” Lyubenov and Marco “MMS” Salomone from RAPTORS EC. Their EPIC39 march under a green banner is rounded out by international troublemaker Rory “cryths” Ursell and the long awaited return to competition for Jack “JackB” Burton, coming back after heading to the sidelines after Insomnia69, before retiring at the start of the year.
Coming screaming in from UKIC’s Ruby League, Max “hste” Harrington’s genetexe is a roster of potential upset merchants. The team features Ben “ghil” Nicholson, with the rifler taking a rare break from sitting in the hub’s queues. Team7PM may also cause some surprises, with our resident experts (not me) expecting them to reach the first round of the playoffs. A mention also must go to the M6 Toll Road, with Viraj “square” Thanki back again to collect fares.
The ROYALS name also makes a return, with this being another stop on Kyle “swaggyavi” Wilson’s retirement tour (Good luck, but I’ll believe it when I see it mate). Alongside EPIC37 winner Alex “Heartles” Collier, the team features a few potential heavy hitters in the roster including Michael “devraNN” Geutebrück and Timothy “tvs” Sjöberg, who could do damage in the playoffs.
Once again Finn “Mischief” Farrer, also lead admin for the upcoming event, has set up and launched the EPIC39 Fantasy league. For those of you inclined, you can prove your knowledge of all things UKCSGO and select the various attendees into your dream team of choice. Or, for those at LAN, you definitely don’t have an opportunity to pick yourself into a team with players you’d prefer to be playing the event with.
EPIC39 FANTASY is now LIVE
If you think you know UKCS, try and create the best team possible for the last UK CSGO LAN.
🟠Create team: https://t.co/k9clREEmVO
Huge thanks to @lutafatootoo for making this happen
RT's appreciated ❤️ pic.twitter.com/kEaGqbgIrm
— Finn (@Mischief_CSGO) July 24, 2023
Mischief has also announced that, alongside being on a new custom coded platform its working on a new dynamic pricing system. This has been set up to allow player pricing to change depending on how often they’ve been selected. This should prevent the over-abuse of the strong Dweg pick that was a staple of previous LANs, and allow my player card value to remain in the absolute basement.
Whether we see you online (twitch.tv/epiclan and twitch.tv/epiclan1) or at the Wolverhampton Racecourse, let’s hope for an exciting, high-octane and enjoyable time this weekend at
IEM Wolverhampton EPIC39.