So the dreaded preview is mine to write this week, and of course, it’s the second LAN of the year for UK teams. After what was an exciting weekend back in February for epic.SEVENTEEN, we move onto the weekend that everyone wants to get known for, insomnia57 and the UK’s largest LAN event.
For many years, iSeries has often regarded eSports as the neglected child of it’s LAN events. They may not admit that, but they quite clearly have let their own standards slip. Whilst traditional LAN events such as Dreamhack have expanded their tour stops to now include North America, Russia, Budapest, Spain, and even the United Kingdom, iSeries have never really ever decided to go full blown into the eSports market, mostly because a few years ago, it wasn’t seen as much of a money maker as it is now. First and foremost, Multiplay is a business, they have the server side of the business and of course the event side. For many people, they would never actually realise that holding a BYOC LAN is actually not making Multiplay any actual money from. It’s there and brings in a certain amount of participants each and every event, whether it is 1,000 or 3,000, it is a flatline set of participants at the LAN event.
However, I have often been a heavy critic towards iSeries, even when I was an admin for them (before people claim I am heavily bias towards epic.LAN). I feel that an organisation who were bought out by GAME last year, and previously to that should have been doing something more for the eSports community. It’s slowly getting there, but with every step forward, the new venue (NEC) there is always a step or two back (the tournament system breaking, the delays, the lack of information outside of the event). Several people (and none of which are active players in the scene) have noted it is far easier to follow an epic.LAN Tournament than an iSeries tournament, why? Because epic.LAN has all the information on it’s website, the splash page you hit during the event is one that features all of our streams, and tournament info is relayed on that, and we constantly push out content through news, or YouTube videos. We also have GOTVs for those who like watching their friends as a priority at events after we’ve sorted out the issues.
Multiplay have the know how, they have the kit, to produce top quality streams, to produce a website that does so much more, and they have contacts to get actual exposure to their events and fail to do so. I care, because the UK scene shouldn’t be left behind by all those events in Europe and internationally, we should be pushing for events here in the UK, be it in London, or be it as part of Multiplay or epic.LAN events. There is a reason why I see that, because a LOT of big money companies have their headquarters in Zone 1 of London, they have bases there that if eSports events were regularly happening in the UK, then we would garner more money, more exposure and the possibility of a team or two fighting at international events. Just should point out I could write an entire article on where they could and should do better.
However I digress from the original topic and got on my stool to talk politics in the UK Scene, when in reality I should focus at the matter in hand. At the time of writing there are 39 teams currently signed up for insomnia57. That is lovely and all and on course to beat i54 numbers (so YoY growth for the scene would continue). However despite the actual growth, it would be worth noting that the prize pool has been actively slashed in half since insomnia54. Now I can imagine being a betting man, Multiplay haven’t been able to attract possible sponsors and/or they wanted to make the prize pools flat rate for all the major titles to prevent looking like they were favouring one game over another (ie, League Of Legends despite it’s constant decline is £5k and Dota2 also has £5k).
Before we move on, I should point out, that this “preview” due to the length and how stacked the iSeries tournament is, has now been split into TWO PARTS, so please don’t pester me on Twitter or Facebook and point out “MY TEAM HAS BEEN MISSED AND WE WERE SIGNED UP”…. because this is a TWO PART preview.
So now that is out of the way, I shall take you through the various heavyweight teams that are attending insomnia57 this weekend at the NEC in Birmingham.
NEEX, morelz, reatz, kamil, EXUS
This team is the Polish team who are (apparently) invading our shores. They are attending due to the fact that they won the Online qualifiers, however according to some close sources to me, they are apparently not, and were trying to sell their tickets. Whether they do come or not remains to be seen, but I will assume they do, and if they don’t then you can adjust my preview as you see fit.
As we saw at insomnia56 in December, European teams had descended onto our shores, and of course, some of them struggled, most notably I had said in my pre-LAN preview of them, that Team ROCCAT would go on to win the event. They of course had a flight delay, and got to the NEC a full hour after the groups were due to start, they played long into the night and suffered back to back defeats at the hands of Team uFrag and DSk.eSports. Now I’m not saying Team Refuse will be anything like Team ROCCAT, but here we are for insomnia57, and this team with all it’s pedigree, will be odds on favourites to dominate the UK Scene and they will feel that too. So much so I could see them being over confident and perhaps end up suffering the same fate as Team ROCCAT.
Refuse recently participated in the Dreamhack Malmo qualifiers where in Qualifier #1 they got knocked out in the Ro64 by a team called c5. In Qualifier #2 they got to 9th – 16th where they eventually got beat by the eventual winners of that qualifier, Epsilon where the Swede’s toppled them 21:19 in overtime on de_overpass.
Don’t mock this side, the Polish scene has consistently regarded itself as one of the most competitive domestic scenes out there, probably ahead of the French and slightly behind the Swedish domestic scene. If they do turn up, they have the potential to really take a few big scalps and could even end up winning the title.
(Massive Edit: UKCSGO.com has had it confirmed that Team Refuse will be attending insomnia57.)
Predicted Finish: 1st/2nd
Immi, Puls3, MightyMax, Esio, CRUC1AL
Well, fm-eSports are arguably the strongest UK team currently, many people cited many different results that would say they are the #1 team on the rankings for UKCSGO. However what people forgot to realise, is that they were blurting out results for the current month, as opposed from February. I’m going to be absolutely slated if this doesn’t happen, but I would really be surprised if this team didn’t make the Grand Final.
They are currently the team in form here for this event, they took a map off Gambit recently, and they’ve had some really positive results in some of the various qualifiers and leagues they participate in. They participate in ESEA Season 21 Main and currently have a 13:2 record in there. The only losses in the season come against a familiar foe in the scene (especially for those UK teams with long memories), the Spanish side GBOTS (19:15 on de_dust2). The other loss came at the hands of Swedish outfit, Team Slisk (16:9 on de_inferno). Suffice to say, this team is in a really good place, and better than where it had been prior to insomnia56 in December. They are well drilled, and working like a well oiled machine, so from the perspective they play a lot online, and have been putting in insane amounts of hours, they should in theory expect a Top 2 finish realistically if not be lifting the trophy.
If they are not in the Grand Final, I’d be incredibly surprised (and disappointed) as this team can do things and potentially go on to win insomnia57, they have the classier players now with both Puls3 & CRUC1AL who are exceptional players.
Predicted Finish: 1st/2nd
robiin, Kryptix, mole, s0m, Surreal
Three of the five Infused players here, and they’ve bagged themselves another organisation to play under for insomnia57. Now according to the statistics kindly provided by Adam “Blanks” Heath, Rasta and even Reason teams have never ever won an iSeries LAN. They’ve won many epic.LAN events but never an actual iSeries event. So for fear of keeping this running, Adam decided he wanted to break that statistic by bringing in a group of players who have previously won an iSeries event. I mean this team is busting full of recent iSeries winners.
On a more serious note though, this team is a threat to the top two I have mentioned, and if Team Refuse do end up deciding not to attend despite winning free tickets to LAN, then this team has the potential to go all the way. However on the flipside of the coin, nerdRage should in all theory beat out this team to the third place if not higher position. This is essentially a “mix” team, one that has three Infused players, and two players who have been playing for various UK teams for a few years. I mean the Swedish star, Robiin, has often been flirting with the UK Scene to know enough about any teams weaknesses.
Like most mix teams, it is impossible to predict how well they will really do, and without much of a basis, they will either place solidly in the Top 4, or be a massive flop, but I’d hedge my bets on them being the former of the two options.
Predicted Finish: 3rd/4th
redsnK, Shaney, Lumji, Dream, Aqua
I want to believe, I really do.
I like this lineup, it’s got a good blend of experience and new people to bring into the fold of the UK Scene. However their online form heading into insomnia57 has been very questionable. Earlier before ESL UK Premiership qualifiers, I had predicted they would be the certain picks for holding #1 in the Top 4 to make Promotions Tournament. However in last week’s cup, they suffered a loss at the hands of Fisher & Dudley’s team, Team Sex over three maps. Meanwhile in Cup #2 they went out at the Ro16 stage to the “Team lol” mix which is formed from onscreen and Swedish player Punch.
Outside of ESL UK, they haven’t been as explosive as fm-eSports, but they have been consistently putting performances out there and trying to be better. This I can get behind, and I think as a lineup, when these guys are on it, they can beat anyone and everyone in the UK. However my doubts will be surrounding the fact that the players have a tenacity to either get down and/or force themselves to make a play when it isn’t needed. Sensible isn’t their forte on the battlegrounds, and for me the mistakes can be a factor when predicting teams on where they could factor. Let’s be honest this could potentially be the most stacked iSeries domestic affair of an event we’ve seen in years. There are teams outside my predicted top 8 here who will and should cause a few upsets. I’ve also for good reason missed out some notable names from this preview to cover in my follow up.
These guys have the potential to push higher than third, however for a safe bet I’ve gone with 3rd/4th here.
Predicted Finish: 3rd/4th
ashhh, adamxoxo, Powell, HypeIzBack, Yoshi
Having spoke to Adam “adamxoxo” Rotherham on Sunday for PhoenixUK, we went over great detail of what their preparation had been like coming into LAN, and some of the issues they have faced online. If there is one thing Adam singled out, it is the fact he absolutely hates with a passion, online matches. Some people in the Twitch chat, felt that Adam was making up excuses or belittling other teams achievements. However Adam, continued to let rip.
If I’ve been harsh with other teams and how they’ve handled the ESL UK Premiership qualifiers, then I have to be really harsh with Adam’s Team uFrag. In the first qualifier, whilst yes it’s a difficult bracket, and there were lengthy delays, Team uFrag were casted by Mark “Crossy” Cross earlier on in the night for their first round clash against a fairly unknown outfit called inDepth. They struggled on what is a “go to” map for uFrag, de_cache. They were sloppy, and made some rather poor choices throughout the match. The old cliche of “it’s not how you win, but that you got the win” would come into play, but it really set up the night in Cup #1. Eventually they got sent packing by Enraged eSports 16:3 on de_overpass.
One of the things noted by admin Jon “ViciousHorizion” Kelly at the time, was the rather bizarre way Adam had let the veto go. By the looks of the veto in that match against Enraged, there were two maps remaining, with de_overpass & de_cache left, and with Enraged picking which map out of the two, it seemed like Adam had tried to force them to play on a more familiar map, instead of going to overpass, something in which didn’t pay off for him, as Enraged made an arguably bold pick on de_overpass.
I’ll be honest and say that in reality, the veto process and knowing how other teams react to your veto is vitally important to winning big matches at LAN, and if Adam slips up come this weekend against better opponents, then uFrag could be in serious trouble.
It should be noted that at time of writing, Team uFrag are now in the Semi-Finals of Cup #2 and despite a tougher bracket this week, have really pulled something out. They face Craig “onscreen” Shannon’s mix team in the Semi-Final where they resume at 5:10 down to them on de_cache.
I’ve said it before, but I should say it again, they really have a team that could inspire future players in the scene to do well. They have a good blend of experience and youth, and they have a good blend of raw talent and brain power on the team. They are one of the most complete packages here at insomnia57, and whilst I’ve placed them in Top 6, they should ideally be expecting higher.
Predicted Finish: 5th/6th
Sheekey, Pegggyyy, resu, CINDER, Charley
Since the announcements of Jonathan “Sheekey” Sheekey, and Carl “Peggyyyy” Kneale, the Team CeX camp have been incredibly quiet. Current holders of the insomnia crown, they won’t want to be relinquishing it anytime soon and will want to try and keep that trophy for a second straight iSeries.
The team previously weren’t really at their breakout LAN, whilst their win was incredibly surprising, it was built on a path that was laid out to them back in the October last year with their second placed finish at epic.SIXTEEN. Of course, since both epic.SIXTEEN and insomnia56, their lineup has gone through a shit load of changes as a result of the UK Scene tearing down the walls built by Scott “kARMApangya” Campbell around that time.
I’m under the impression that since Jonathan has joined, he has assumed the “in game leader” role and will be calling the shots in the team. What Jonathan brings to the team, will be a lot of added experience, and a lot of passion. With his time in the nerdRage team, he had found it incredibly difficult to consistently keep players in check, whereas this team will suit his persona incredibly well to help build a team that could ooze confidence and progress.
Whilst I could single out any of the big name players, Adam “adamxoxo” Rotherham’s favourite rival comes to mind, Charley “Charley” Walker. The big man can AWP really well, as demonstrated at the ESL UK Summer Season Finals back in October, where he AWPed for United Estonia. He can also rifle rather effectively, and if he’s hot, he can and will most likely rip a lot of heads off at this tournament.
In terms of online results, they’ve participated actively in ESEA Season 21 Main League, however their record (because mostly of the changes in their roster) has been a little lackluster. They are currently sitting in 22nd place with 7 wins from 15 games. It’s not great, it’s not bad either, but it is certainly not the run of form you want going into one of the most competitive LAN events for a while. Again like every team on this list so far, whilst 5th/6th is a safe bet, they could do wonders with their new roster, or they might end up being very underwhelming. It is so difficult to tell.
Predicted Finish: 5th/6th
Jakem, RE1EASE, pt, vertiGo, beta
This is one of the most promising “mix” line ups I can see (they’ve still not signed up to the tournament website….) however with all mix teams, they have the absolute potential to utterly destroy certain teams with the “mix philosophy” or they could absolutely be dropped like a rock. It’s incredibly tough where to picture these guys, if we were going on “name” basis which many people seem to believe I “seed” from primarily (I don’t), then you have a former Championship Gaming Series winner, a former Copenhagen Games Winner, and a multiple iSeries champion in the lineup.
These players may have lost an “edge” to some of the players out there in the scene, but their experience on the big stage and inside the game, will be incredibly useful for them. I have very little basis to work from, I can tell you that all of the players have participated in the ESL UK Qualifiers, for two different teams, Pete “pt” Wright & Thomas “beta” Hanna were involved in the first cup with Team lol who managed a run to the Semi-Finals before being beaten 16:13 by nerdRage. Meanwhile in Cup #2 Daniel “RE1EASE” Mullan joined the other two with Sam “RattlesnK” Gawn in the side “Old & Bad” and were beaten by a bunch of players who everyone perceives to be cheating, however that was all “rumour” and no substance.
Meanwhile Jake “jakem” McCausland & Tom “vertiGo” Rockliffe have disappointed in the cups so far, by being beaten by eventual winners Team Sex in Cup #1 and then in Cup #2 suffered an even worse exit by being smashed 16:2 by a team called TB2 who are a bunch of Lithuanians who live in the UK.
In all fairness, despite the recent competitions of ESL UK Premiership Qualifiers, there isn’t much else to go on. I’ve gone for a 7th/8th as I’m unsure really where they will finish at insomnia57, if on form they could finish as high as third (and I mean that), but if they can’t get it together, they could end up being as low as what I’ve said. I know some people may slate me for that, but this is why it’s called a “preview” and not a “THIS IS WHERE THIS TEAM WILL ACTUALLY FINISH” article. As stated these guys will be the one mix team to really keep an eye on.
Predicted Finish: 7th/8th
Molotovs n Marshmallows
EB, maxyB, chron1c, fearLess, BeRTY
I’m again struggling to find anything that will help me really justify placing these guys higher than I’ve thought, however their online presence despite quiet, has been filled recently with the ESL UK Premiership Qualifiers which of course, this team should be aiming to get Top four with.
The brutal honesty is that, despite a great first week performance where they navigated to the Quarter Finals before being beaten by Sam “RattlesnK” Gawn and his band of merry men, their second cup showing was rather disappointing, bowing out to Girls Generation 16:12 on de_cache at the Ro16 stage. It is a big blow to them and their chances to make Top 4/5 of the UK Premiership qualifier spots.
In my ESL UK Premiership Qualifier hype article, I picked out Luke “fearLess” Morris as their star player, but someone I actually did neglect to mention from this side, was Henry “chron1c” Thornton. He is one of the most gifted players in this side, as I remember his play style from last years ESL UK Premiership seasons where he had actually played in the Lime Goblins/exceL/EZSKINS lineup that originally got invited from the qualifiers to the group stages in the first season. He is the Mr. Consistent of this side, and hopefully he can show this throughout the LAN.
Again, as stated in many other paragraphs above for other teams, due to the very little amount of information I have on these guys, there is no physical way to measure the barometer of success thus making an accurate prediction difficult. Their 5th/6th last LAN could happen again, but the caliber of teams at this LAN should in theory make that far more difficult for them to obtain. I’ll be interested in watching how these guys perform, because this is a side who I could easily get behind.
Predicted Finish: 7th/8th
That closes the first part of this two part special preview to insomnia57. I should have the second part of the preview ready for tomorrow, as this one has been incredibly long to write. The second part will feature teams such as Impulse Gaming, Monumentalis, Perilous Fury, BMiCrew, & Joe’s Money Crew. It should be exciting to read, if you feel you are better than me on predicting where teams are, feel free to comment on this article using the Facebook & Twitter pages.
Make sure you stay tuned to UKCSGO.com for all your latest news, coverage, and results from insomnia57. Give the UKCSGO Facebook page a like, and the UKCSGO Twitter bio a follow, and make sure you have read the recent Overclockers announcement we dropped on how to win prizes like Mugs & Mousemats if you predict scores between teams correctly. We will be at the NEC this weekend, to bring you all the latest, so stay with us![interaction id=”56f2623ea01a31a05d2f9b15″]