With the season coming to its crucial playoff stage, UKCSGO takes a look at the winners and losers over the past few weeks. Once again using the UKCS spreadsheet, created by Oscar “LVN” Levin, we will take a look over the promotion chasers and the relegation scares up and down the ESEA divisions.
Unfortunately, despite the spread off positive performances for UK teams over the past month, only one of the UK Advanced teams managed to convert those performances into a playoff berth. Into The Breach have long been considered the heir to the UKCS throne, behind the currently out of reach Endpoint, and once again they lead the way with a 8-4 record in the regular season. They will face tough competition on their fight to promotion with their opening playoff match against, recent RMR qualifiers, Aurora Gaming scheduled to take place 21st September.
Whilst Into The Breach are the only majority UK team to make the Advanced playoffs, Sebastian “Volt” Malos and his Fnatic Academy team finished the regular season with a very impressive 10-2 record. This left them in third place in the division and will give them a good seed in the post-season, with their first match against Russian side ARCRED again on the 21st.
The Main teams got on only slightly better with two UK teams making it to play-offs, although spare a thought for Temperate who missed out by a round difference of one due to the FFL they took to play in the UKIC Beyond qualifier.
In one of the most impressive runs of the season XRAVEL, home to one of the most talented upcoming AWPers in the scene William “wfn” Maskrey, finished 11-1. This record put them second in the division, ahead of a number of professional teams including Mathias “MSL” Lauridsen’s TITANS project. At the time of writing, XRAVEL’s first playoff match-up is unknown and yet to be scheduled, but after the impressive form the team has displayed in the regular season they are certainly ones to watch for the promotion chase.
The other Main team that squeezed into playoffs are BLVKHVND, who after adding Oliver “Husky” Gollings, had the exciting and rare opportunity to go compete at Fragadelphia 17, alongside 7AM. Despite a good showing from both teams, BLVKHVND’s form stumbled on their return to British soil. This run included a triple matchday in which they lost every single game, and a loss in their final regular season match left a nail-biting wait to see if they would sneak into one of the final playoff spots. They did and fans and teams alike should be wary of underestimating the team, a blip in form and a low seed is not ideal, but the team showed in America that they can perform to a high level.
BLVKHVND played their first playoff match last night and after taking the match against pepsilon to a decider map, their Swedish opponents left the server after the first half (9-6 in favour of BLVKHVND) due to a scheduling conflict. Leaving BLVKHVND to secure a first win in their playoff run and will play Russian side R0ses on the 22nd (September) whom they lost to, 22-20, in the regular season.
There was more playoff positivity to be had in the Intermediate division, with more UK representation in the post-season. None of the teams finished in the top seedings however, which will make for harder match-ups in their playoff runs.
Two teams finished the season with a 8-4 record, the first being the former Team Fatal roster, now going as Eternal Tyre. The newest addition to the roster Tristan “Lake” Jones continued his good early form throughout the season. The team will hope Lake can carry that over to the post-season, to help the team reach Main whilst the team look for a new home.
The other team closing out the season on a 8-4 record were Chain Brothers, who I must admit are a almost complete unknown to me, and I think must be the surprise of the season. The mixed nationality team will play their first playoff match on the 22nd September, with a tough test against Stefan “1mpala” Ailazian’s 5balls_.
7th core another mixed nationality line-up, managed to recover from a rocky start to the season to finish 7-5 and grab themselves a playoff spot. One of the stand-out players on the roster so far has been Jai “poseiidon” Taylor whose fragging ability, has helped power the side to within one BO3 of making Main. That match is planned to be played on the 21st September against French 9-3 side Guerrero Gaming.
Tinks CS academy also made their way into the playoffs with a 7-5 record although they had the reverse fortunes to 7th core. The team started the season hot, racing to a 6-1 record and looking good for a high placing which would have led to a easier opening match-up. However, four losses in their last five games leaves them against a 10-2 high seed in the regular season.
The Open division was home to 76 UK teams this season, and a host of them made it to the post-season so I will only be able to delve into a few here, but will list the full teams underneath.
Starting off we have 16 year-old UKPL player Gh0sty_-‘s team, who finished 11-1 in the regular season. The squad’s record has set them up nicely for a favourable post-season seeding with them due to play a 6-6 team. Stronger tests will lie in wait for the team, and with five FFW’s bloating their record, they will be looking to prove doubters wrong in their playoff run.
At 9-3 we find The Milk Men, who have had a much more consistent season than most, with the couple of losses they did suffer spread across the season rather than in a clump. They play Russian 7-5 team d3voted on the 22nd September to kickstart their playoff run.
Also at 9-3 are Yeaahhbuvv who, after starting 3-3, finished out the season with a undefeated run to leave them in good standing in the playoff race. They find themselves in a UK derby in their post-season opener against 7-5 team munchbunch, again scheduled for the 22nd.
A familiar face also springs up in the 9-3 category, with former Endpoint player-turned Caster/Analyst Ben “esio” Doughty playing on Rat Labs Media, three FFW’s might have helped them on there way but its always good to see some old faces taking part, even if it is just for fun.
Speaking of old faces, Stifmeister has returned with ex-pro’s Aaron “frei” frei, Zaki “Danceyz” Dance and Sam “Astroo” Gresham all finding themselves on the roster. The Stifmeister team find themselves on an 8-4 record with a match against Turkish team EXILE as their opening playoff bout.
UKCS stalwart Harry “Pommey” Crawford’s Alienate team looked set for a rough ride after finding themselves 1-3 after their first four matches. However, the team managed to turn their fortunes around losing only one of their remaining games to leave them 8-4 and in the playoffs.
Finally in what has to be the most bizarre playoff qualification I’ve seen Nova Juniors have managed to make it into the playoffs without having to win a single match. The team started off struggling with four losses on the bounce, with a FFW proving a short respite before losing their next two matches. In a bizarre turn of events, the team have managed to rack up 5 FFW’s in a row to close out the season 6-6, losing every match they have played. Default hunt pro’s? Or just super lucky? Either way, there is no doubt the team will find it extremely tough in the post-season with their first match against Dutch 10-2 team, couraggge.
Both 7AM and 1PIN posted respectable records, with the latter being one win shy of making the post-season, however they will be dissapointed at not reaching the playoff stage. With 1PIN’s Andrew “Wolfie” Allan taking a break from competitive Counter-Strike and 7AM potentially losing their star AWPer William “zyyx” Sjögren both teams will be facing a challenging period, after putting up some notable results in the past few months.
Both Javier “Ping” Griffiths and Kyle “swaggy” Wilson endured a tough season with Inferus (formely JESTE) and ROYALS respectively. Whilst Inferus managed to scrape together four wins which should be enough to see them hold their spot, ROYALS are threatened with the prospect of being demoted to play Main next season after only managing three wins. ROYALS poor season included a run of six losses to finish out the season leaving them near the bottom of the table.
Whilst Only BLVKHVND and XRAVEL made it to the playoffs there were a number of good signs from the Main division this season. With many teams close enough to playoffs to touch them but not quite make it. I have already mentioned Temperate being one round away after being forced into a FFL, but they also had to finish the season with a stand-in for Emyr “eMy” Green which can’t have helped their form.
On top of Temperate, the UK saw signs of life from K10, BLOWN and Katana who all also missed out on the playoffs on round difference. Out of these teams BLOWN has had the most turbulent season, after a string of poor early results the team brought in former Endpoint Academy player Kevin “vKEMPeN” Van Kempen who helped steady the ship as the squad finished the season with four wins on the trot.
Both Clique and Legates finished their seasons 6-6, after both teams endured some early struggles. Clique’s Rhys “Rhys” Stumbles announced that he would be stepping away from the game due to health reasons, and its unknown who will be brought in to replace him. Whilst Legates had a disappointing Main season, they did make a surprise run into the Beyond UKIC Summer Cup, earning them some HLTV match experience.
By Far the most disappointing run of the season, and the only team that i would argue it is fair to coin as ‘losers’ is the Arctic Raptors squad. The team started off the season 0-3 and immediately made changes, bringing in Ben “c60” Saberton and Ethan “EjR” Ross. The teams fortunes took a short upturn with the team picking up the next two wins, but the respite was short lived. With four wins following and putting an end to the teams playoff hopes, from the outside looking in you could tell things were falling apart. EjR parted ways with the squad and they were left to finish out the season with a stand-in, ending on a 4-8 record and they can consider themselves lucky to have avoided relegation. The immediate future for the team is unknown, with their planned appearance at Octobers Epic and the roster instability leaving a lot of questions.
A couple of teams came close to relegation from Inters this season but managed to rescue it at the last minute, including the former Neverlast Esports team who drafted in Neil “mAgic” Elliot and Ben “ghil” Nicholson to help recover their season after a dreadful 1-5 start. The team managed to scrap out two wins which would save the spot and decided to FFL the final match of their season.
Former NeverLast AWPer Reece “RJ” Howell found himself on a another struggling team after he joined Everest Heights who were 3-5 at the time. RJ’s addition done little to quell the teams issues though and it took them until their final match of the season to pick up their first ESEA win with the new AWPer, leaving them on a 4-8 record.
This time around I have decided not to put any teams in the ”Losers” section for the Open division. Partly due to their being no Relegation, but also because a number of the teams that take part in the Open division do so as mixes or for some competitive fun. I think being able to play competitive but for fun is a vital part of the grassroots experience for CS, just like in real sports and therefore, hats off to all the teams and players who gave it a go and got involved this season.