ESL UK Premiership: The 88 Round Map
When exceL eSports were invited in to the ESL UK Premiership, many voices of doubt echoed around the various circles that exist with UK Counter Strike. With teams like The Last Resort and CAZ eSports being left without an invite, the choice of ESL to invite the team was one met with many queries. To their merit, the Lime Goblins side had managed to string together three very succesful qualification tournaments with two round of eight finished, and one top four where they were ousted by Team XENEX. Despite these performances however, members of the community had favoured the experience of more well established sides over the less well known names that went on to become exceL eSports.
With the result of their previous encounter standing at 16-1 to Team XENEX, even the crew over at ESL had opted to stream the other opening clash of group A, between Perilous RAGE and MALIK eSports. On paper, this was to be the better, more interesting and closer fought game. Instead, what unfolded in that game was a rather one sided affair. Perilous began with the upper hand on de_cache, before MALIK eventually caught up and went on to win the map 16-11. The second map de_inferno also went the way of MALIK, with a scoreline of 16-3. Amusingly, ahead of the match between XENEX and exceL, these sorts of scorelines were being thrown about as predictions of how exceL were going to fare.
Opening up on the CT side, XENEX went on to take the half with a five round lead of exceL, who had managed to take five rounds of their own during the half. Whilst this is a typical score for an inferno clash, the odds were stacked heavily in favour of XENEX who would have been aiming for a greater advantage. This was no great worry for the XENEX side though, who began to rack up the terrorist rounds for themselves and bring the score to a comforting 14-8. At this stage in the game, something must have clicked for the exceL camp, who managed to take hold of 5 consecutive rounds before any sort of response from XENEX, who eventually led the game 15-13. Just two more rounds from exceL eSports saw the game lead into what would become the longest games of Counter Strike in memory.
Overall, a grand total of 88 rounds were played with the eventual scoreline falling in favour of Team XENEX who managed to take a good lead in the opening half of the sixth overtime, giving them a comfortable round lead going on to the harder of the two sides. At this stage of the game, each player on the server had managed to exceed the 50 kill mark, with XENEX’s JT leading the charge with around an extra 20 on top. However, despite the map eventually going the way of XENEX, this result shows an extreme level of composure from the exceL eSports side, something that had been doubted in the match preview. It can safely be said that XENEX were not expecting the clash that came their way, and despite the fact that Goliath eventually took the map, David can walk away head held high. And better still, map two is still to come.
Not only did this game provide a fantastic experience for the teams involved, through all of the stresses and strain, but it has managed to show the wider world that the UK CSGO scene has some value to offer the CSGO landscape. If this is what we find in the opening round of the league boasting the UKs best teams, what then can we expect from the finals?