Would more money help the UK Scene? Or should something else change?
As most people will know, the U.K. Scene has been pretty lackluster when it comes to international tournaments. Both Rory “dephh” Jackson and Kia “Surreal” Man have made the jump over to North America, joining Complexity Gaming, whilst Owen “smooya” Butterfield stood in for Flipside Tactics at the iBuyPower Masters event in December replacing electronic, who was unable to obtain a visa in time for the event. Unfortunately for smooya, Flipside crashed out of groups losing both of their games. During the WCA World Contest Championship, the three top U.K. Teams, Endpoint, FM eSports and CAZ eSports, managed 3 wins between them vs the relatively unknown Quantum Bellator, 5FRAGS.ORG and New4. The last time the U.K. was properly on the map was Dreamhack Open London 2015, when EZSkins managed to upset Renegades on Dust 2 to win 16-11.
A lot of players have attributed this “uncompetitive-ness” down to the lack of funding in the U.K. Scene, myself included, but what I present is a hypothetical scenario where the UK scene has enough money spread over 4-8 teams to field 1 team for a full year, with salaries and foreign LAN tournaments on continental Europe paid for by the teams. We may see a rise in the placings for U.K. Teams but I still feel the same underlying problems surfacing. Post-LAN shuffles have become an annual feature after an I-series event. Quite a few teams will got to a LAN for the first time and have high expectations, some may even finish somewhere like 6-8th, but will still feel the need to replace a player or two. Despite not being a good enough player to properly compete at tournaments, I feel that instead of changing a player every time a problem arises, teams need to work through it. The best teams in Counter-Strike are the ones that keep pushing through the problems they have. Virtus Pro are a prime example of this.
Before Snax and Byali joined their ranks, TaZ and Neo had been playing with each other since the beginning of 2004 with Pasha joining them in 2010 during their time with Frag eXecutors during CS 1.6. The full roster has been playing together in CS:GO for over 3 years without a single roster change. Before the most recent ELeague Major, most people didn’t have them as a team that could win the Major and that they needed a roster change to replace TaZ, who in now 30 and has signed a contract up until 2020 with VP.
Another team that has managed a long time without changing the core has been Ninjas In Pyjamas. Xizt, friberg, F0rest and GeT_RiGhT have been playing under the NiP banner since August of 2012 and have been switching their fifth player almost annually since Fifflarren retired. Back to my point, I feel that if UK players took a leaf out of either books, that the UK scene may finally progress in a better direction instead of bickering and talking shit about other people on Twitter. (Seriously though, if you don’t have anything better to do than chat shit about other players… Then maybe you should reassess your career aspirations. You don’t need to make friends, just be respectful to others. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.)
Back to the original premise of this article, would the UK Scene improve if 4-8 teams had funding for a whole year to pay their players and for their players to go to events? Possibly, but having money come into the scene could also breed complacency in the teams. The “Who cares? We’re getting paid” attitude. UK players are seen as being very cocky, rather selfish and arrogant at times, feeling like they’re Gods gift to UK CS. If UK CS is going to be anywhere near where it was in 2007-2009 with Team Dignitas and 4Kings, then talent needs to be nurtured by some of the veterans of the scene who are coming to the end of their time. Caspian, one of the coaches for Team Impulse and the Icelandic team War Monkeys, was helping the scene with his UK Academy streams. But I feel like more people need to help. All the time, I’ll hear people say that they want to help the UK Scene but never do anything publicly to actually make that a reality.
I feel that whilst money is something that would definitely benefit the U.K. Scene, the biggest thing that needs to happen, is that people’s attitudes need to change. If people can help others and stop being so selfish, then the UK could get back on the worldwide CS map.