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Royals returning to their roots marks something important for UK CS

Royals have finalised their roster with Dutchy, tvs and xavi but what does it mean for UKCS?

by GrimyRannarr

Royals have a deep-rooted history within the UK scene, with the start dating back to mid-2016. Jack “kpiz” Pragnell formed a rag-tag group of UK players to compete in the United Kingdom Open for ESEA Season 22. They tore up the competition, going 15-1 in the regular season and ultimately placed second overall in playoffs after falling victim to CeX in a close best-of-three. During this period, they competed in the ESL UK Premiership Summer Contender Series, where they were consistently placing high and vanquishing some of the best teams within the region.

After this good start, the squad did not want to stop there and in the next season of ESEA, after losing their opening four games, the UK squad fought their way through the adversity and booked themselves a ticket into season 24 of MDL. Granted they did not do very well with only one win to their name. It was this result that caused a momentary halt to Royals.

The name Royals lay dormant for a few years after, popping up here and there but nothing stable, until Kyle “Swaggy” Wilson came along in 2020.

The focus however had feigned away from being UK central and moved to being more international with the odd UK mix competing in UK events such as the Fantasyexpo Spring Cup 2021 United Kingdom Closed Qualifier. By large this squad was a mix competing in high levels of ESEA Main, making playoffs back to back in season 34 and season 35 till they finally made advanced. Continuing on this mentality, the squad mixed until season 39 where they got demoted to Main and began attempting to pick up the pieces. The tattered group of misfits were the last team to make it through to playoffs and ended up coming eighth overall, granting them a one way ticket into advanced the next season.

This caused a change in the mentality of the roster, they moved away from being a mix to an actual squad, at first going back to a UK core, picking up ex-Endpoint AWPer and caster Alex “Byfield” Byfield who joined Edgaras “entz” Luksas and Swaggy, however, Byfield did not last long, thus Royals returned international. Swaggy’s crew made HLTV appearances multiple times and kept a presence in the UK scene by playing in ESL Premiership, but after having a short delve into advanced playoffs they got demoted last season into ESEA Main which has caused a full reshuffle of the roster.

This then brings us to the modern day squad with only Swaggy staying alongside Andy “Mythix” Shek, who is the coach, manager and social media manager. A player we have mentioned before, entz, the IGL of the squad, has returned back to this team, after a short stint in Nexus Academy. Alongside Swaggy they started to build the roster around themselves.

Alongside the two brits, they round out their core with John “Dutchy” Holland, who has most notably played for Feenix and EKO making advanced with the original roster, alongside that playing in both regional and international LANs, claiming notably a second place in EPIC.LAN 35 losing their 11-0 lead against DUSTY. Recently, Dutchy competed at EPIC.LAN 37 with a mix labelled as EXLI-KUBAB and placed third, gifting Adam “AdamJC” Colwell his first HLTV performance.

With this UK core in place, the squad searched elsewhere in the European scene and firstly selected Timothy “tvs” Sjöberg, the fourth Swedish sniper to play for Royals, following in the footsteps of Love “phzy” Smidebrant, Aleksandar “jayzaR” Zarkovic and most recently Alex “PALM1” Palm. After helping The Prodigies to make ESEA Main last season, he is settling in quite nicely with 104 ADR across their first two ESEA games.

Lastly, as the third Serbian to play for Royals, the young gun Hebők “xavi” Xavér who is most definitely the least experienced player in the roster has come in and is showing a new depth to this roster, having the chance to really flex his muscles plus bring a really good mentality.

We were able to talk to Mythix about the aim of their rebuild:

What we’re setting out to create isn’t just a short term thing, these additions allow us to build for a long term project. We want to help these players develop themselves into top players and achieve the highest possible skill ceiling. tvs, xavi and Dutchy are all young ambitious players with a lot of potential, they believe in what we want to achieve, and the goal of Royals is very clear. To fight for first place.

Something that we touched on when 7AM was formed was how young the team was, and Royals are not too dissimilar. Both xavi and Dutchy are 19 and tvs is 20, three young players who are also coming from three very different regions and teams, that can all bring their own values to the team alongside the older and experienced players like entz.

We were also able to talk to Swaggy about the new roster:

Going back to UKCS was more of an opportunistic thing than one set in stone. When entz and I were looking to rebuild, we wanted to do things differently, as in look for players with good attitude and the correct roles and build on the rest after. We saw the chance to take Dutchy who fills our ideology and decided it would make a lot of sense to return to a UK core. After a lot more trialling we decided on finalising both tvs and xavi which also fit the way we wanted to build things. It worked fast and I think it’s largely due to how good of a leader & caller entz is. We have some early results winning ByBit (albeit with David “fnl” Mușuroiu not Xavi), and now a win over 7AM which shows promising signs outside of the practice we’ve had. I think we really have a young roster for the future that has a very high ceiling.

Swaggy has touched on the immediate success that this roster has been having, already making two different HLTV events, firstly winning $5,000 from Bybit World Series of Gaming 2022 neutralising MALCO and secondly making the semi finals of Kayzr League Fall 2022, after making it out from the group stages to firstly knock down EC Brugge, but ultimately fall to Viperio in the semi finals. Moreover, they have been competing in the ESL Premiership Autumn 2022 standing third in their group with a 2-1 score line. Additionally the squad is going to be making further HLTV appearances after qualifying for the Beyond Winter Invitational, looking to print themselves into the upper echelons of UKCS going into next year.

In other international leagues, Royals, before getting demoted from ESEA advanced last season, are currently brawling it out in Main where they are currently 2-1 after two very decisive victories. Furthermore, they are competing in the second highest division in SCL currently placed 8th with a score line of 5-2 and as seen as one of the favourites for winning this division. Lachlan “Flamboyant” Hamilton, one of the SCL casters, has said that.

Royals is one of the more experienced teams in the division and should rely on that to give them a good boost, the only team being a threat is Endangered.

Overall, it is very clear to see that this squad is doing a lot, they are grinding, playing in multiple tournaments, making consistent deep runs at such an early stage. However, playing under the name of Royals has deep rooted history and should garner respect, however, ultimately they are playing under this name because they are unorged. For over a year now Royals have been looking for an organisation that they can represent, which would give them more stability to play this game as close to full time as possible. Recently they had negotiations fall through at the last minute and a problem with lack of funding and support can seriously stunt a team’s progression.

Fundamentality, for the heights this team is wanting to reach, being a part of an organisation and having that salary is mandatory, if this doesn’t come within the next six months, it genuinely could be one of the main downfalls for rosters of this type. 1PIN are a great example, where you see them having massive amount of success, but because they have no salary, players like Andrew “Wolfie” Allan have stepped down because he couldn’t warrant playing full time CS for nothing.

So, the reason that Royals returning to their roots symbolises something important for UK CS is that it marks a period in time where the scene has multiple rosters that can compete internationally whilst not having the financial backing to sustain their success long term. Succeeding within the UK normally comes from players leaving the scene and joining EU cores, with the old Royals team being a prime example. Now with Swaggy and entz returning to a UK based team, it shows that you can succeed internationally with a UK core. However, ultimately the return of Royals should be a wake up call that without organization support soon, the UK scene will not be able to continue the growth it has had in recent times.

The Roster going into the future is now:

Kyle “Swaggy” Wilson
Edgaras “entz” Luksas
John “Dutchy” Holland
Timothy “tvs” Sjöberg
Xavér “xavi” Hebők
Andy “Mythix” Shek (Coach)

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