The first day of the ESL Premiership’s relegation tournament for the Spring 2019 season concluded last night, and there are four teams still in contention to head to the Summer season of the ESL Premiership.
We’ve been silent recently. Sorry for that, I (DuckMoriarty) had an annoying mix of being busy and suffering from an illness. But in that time, the scene has changed a… fair amount with rosters looking very, very different. We’ll start this cheeky recap off in chronological order. And also, if you see the Tweets broken – we’re working on a fix but to see them, just click the body of the text!
There’s been a few roster shuffles coming into the next ESEA season, of which a number of teams from the UK compete in. We’ve already reported on the changes to Vexed’s UK (now majority Swedish) line-up and Epsilon’s new European squadron, but there are a few that we have missed. Here’s your quick round-up of the latest UKCSGO Roster Moves relevant to the UK scene.
This time last week I was enthusiastically talking about how, mathematically, the MDL could be home for up to five UK sides next season. I had no hope or belief it would happen, but still find myself disappointed that it won’t. While I had drawn up a ‘best case scenario’ plan for what could happen, it seems the opposite has happened since. The MDL can see three UK teams next season maximum, I’ll discuss who could have made it, and who should make it. With the last matches that could affect playoffs today, I’ll look at who could have made it, and who can make it.
Vexed Gaming UK
This is the first team that could have made it, and I really hoped they would have, since winning the last iseries, and then since handing out two back to back losses to Wind and Rain, the team has held a soft spot for me within the UK. At the time of the ‘five teams’ prediction, Vexed sat on a 9-5 scoreline, two wins to Russian ‘teamasd’ and the organisations main French side would cement them a playoff spot. Neither wins materialised, and the team now sits at 60th in ESEA Main. They do however have a feasible path to MDL, discussed later.
Endpoint are the most disappointing case of hard work and good effort going punished, season in, season out, as of late. Last season, the team lost their place in the MDL on the back of a 16-13 loss in the final game, a win would have granted them a place in the league this season. The team finished their season of main on the 14th of march on a high note: The team won eight games, the final six concurrently, with only one “loss” between them. Their record placed them comfortably within the top 32, but their ranking has slowly been chipped away at by overtaking teams. They currently sit painfully 33rd, a slot away from playoff hopes. The real shame in the story is that Endpoint’s only loss in their latter nine games was a default loss to Norwegian mix “partyastronautss”, who sit on a 7-9. A recurring sentence that springs to mind when thinking of the team, but maybe next season.
Epsilon’s road to being the fan favorite ‘Best team in the UK’ was as easy as picking up a third UK player. The team have pulled off some impressive wins in european qualifiers, and have shown rapid improvement and great form since their first games listed on HLTV. The team just finished their final game of the season, losing 16-3 against NeilM’s Imperial, finishing the season on an 11-5 record, in 31st place, the lowest seeding possible in playoffs. The team narrowly avoid the fate of team Endpoint, who have the same rounds-for at 221, but seed higher on rounds-against, managing to hold onto their spot.
While not seeded in top four for the season, in fact nowhere near, other head to head results online have shown that they’re very capable of making the semi finals.
Epsilon’s Smooya has stated the teams goal is to make ESL Pro league (due to their inability to play at majors), therefore the playoffs for ESEA Main should still be very meaningful to the team. The side will be meeting WASD in their first round of playoffs.
Wind and Rain
The team’s in a strange spot since their last four games in the MDL. The team had had a respectable 6-5 scoreline, and looked like they would definitely make an appearance in the next season, whether they will or not is a less answerable question now. The team lost four straight matches to Asterion, Unity, Singularity, and bottom of the league side Flipsid3. Their final game was against Sprout, a game the team looked unlikely to beat. A loss would have been the final nail in the coffin for the season, however their upset win only raised cautious hopes; coach ‘nEiLZiNHo’ posting on twitter that it meant they would “hopefully keep our spot”.
After a terrible run of games we pull out a sick win vs @sproutGG in @ESEA MDL to hopefully keep our spot for next season. Good luck to sprout in the IEM qualifiers! We play @Vexed_GG right now in @ESLUK
— Neil Finlay (@neilzinhoCSGO) March 19, 2018
ESEA reserve the right to use their own discretion with move up/downs for the league, and have no official rules for the number of teams that relegate. The process classically has been as follows:
The top two teams, after MDL lans, promote to the EPL, the next seventeen eligible will stay on for the next season, the final eight will relegate to main.
WaR sit 20th, the highest placement that still should demote.
Not all is lost however, at the end of the last season Seed finished with the same rankings as WaR, and played through this season as Sprout, filling in for a team that disbanded between seasons.
The Fixed Spot
The winners of the ESL Premiership will advance directly to the MDL, if the winner already has a spot, the highest ranked team who doesn’t will take it. In my first prediction this spot allowed a team such as Luminary or Radix to take a spot, bypassing main playoffs, it now looks like it will be used to its intended purpose. With Wind and Rain most likely otherwise being demoted to main, this can be used to save their place. If favorites fish123/epsilon win the league and also qualify for MDL through main, a 2nd place finish for the side facing them in the final would allow them to qualify; this holds true for any team facing WaR in the final too, if they keep their spot in the league for the next season.
Vexed are, in my opinion, the team to watch going towards the LAN finals however, while obviously not favoured to beat fish123, they have shown that they would be more than capable of pulling off an upset, winning both of their fixtures to WaR in group play, and already cementing a spot in the finals.
Even though the hopes of a huge spread of UK players in the next season to redeem UKCS is somewhat dead, I am still more than excited to see what the next season will hold. When thinking back a few months to being surprised that the mix, at the time, Stifmeister had made it through the finals, being the solitary team in the league. I never had the highest of hopes for the team, however freii leaving Infused to be a permanent player, the introduction of nEiLZiNHo as a coach, and the support of a respectable organisation turned my expectations around 180 degrees.
With whatever the next season brings, we can all at least appreciate the rapid increase of the quality of UK Counterstrike.
TLR.esports have recently announced that they have returned to UK Counter-Strike by picking up a rather interesting team. It has been a while since TLR were around officially, as it around a year since they last had their official roster when they announced the picking up of ProjectX at the time.
In what seems to be a busy month of roster announcements as we head into the new league seasons of ESL Premiership, ESEA Season 27, and the upswing of LAN events in the next two months. NerdRage have announced their brand new roster for 2018, in the hopes of doing well over the coming months.
Here is a roundup post of where we are at in terms of all the biggest leagues and events in the UK currently. I will be going over ESL Premiership, Gfinity Elite Series, Multiplay’s UK Masters and of course the ESEA Open United Kingdom division. It should detail who is doing what in each respective league, and who are the biggest winners and losers to date.
The new league season of ESEA has been officially announced over the weekend. As is now the tradition, there is included an Open United Kingdom division, so if you are a UK team, you can compete against hundreds of other UK teams and play for a chance to move up divisions to the Intermediate Division. This season sees a bump in prize pools too and an additional division given to Turkey.
Last season saw 157 UK teams participate in the UK Open Division and 49 UK teams have already signed up. If you are looking for a league to play in the coming weeks after LAN has concluded, this would be the best place to go at current time. It was fm-eSports who simply reigned supreme last season boasting an impressive 16:0 Win/Loss rate in the Open division, and they are set to face either The Goose House or nerdRage UK in their next match in the bracket.
This is what ESEA announced on their website over the weekend:
We are pleased to announce ESEA League Season 25, which will feature increased divisions for certain regions as well as a number of improvements based on user and team feedback from Season 24.
Registration for NEW teams for Season 25 is now open and will remain so until Monday, May 22nd, 2017 at 11:59pm CDT. Once registration closes, there will be a few days for teams to get acquainted with the system and to schedule their first matches, which will begin Sunday, May 28th, 2017.
Teams currently registered for season 24 (Open – Premier) will be moved to season 25 once season 24 officially ends Monday, May 1st. Rosters will also be locked until this date and move ups will be done shortly after.
Key Changes From Season 24 to Season 25:
- Mountain Dew sponsored League and a to be announced LAN event
- Increased prize pot from $140k+ to $150k+
- Increased number of League servers on new hardware to ease scheduling availability
- Introduction of the Turkey Open division
Features of ESEA League include:
- Two matches per week for all divisions
- Recruitment section to find teams and players
- League matches broadcast up to 5 nights a week on ESEA TV
- Complete web match scheduling
- SMS scheduling alerts
- All matches played on our ESEA servers across 26 global locations
- Coaching system for all regions and all divisions
- Protection from our industry leading anti-cheat / config locking Client
- Helpful team of handpicked paid league Admins who are active in each community
- Complete box scores and stats for every match
- SpecTV replay downloads for every match within 5 minutes of matches finishing
- Automatic live SpecTV for every match (unlimited number of spectators)
- Automatic POV replay recording
- User prediction system for every match
- You build your permanent league record
As a reminder, last December we implemented VAT collections on all subscriptions. Although this was prior to the start of season 24, we decided that due to the short notice ESEA would continue to pay VAT for all season 24 participants. Starting this season, we will begin collecting VAT for all league fees paid from VAT-eligible regions.
A full prize pot breakdown, as well as the map rotations will be announced within the coming weeks so be sure and check back often. Further details about the Mountain Dew League, end of season LAN event, and the Turkish region will be announced in the near future.
With the current league season underway, it should be noted that the eight teams participating in the $50,000 Global Challenge will take place here in Leicester, United Kingdom over the weekend of May 13th – 14th. These are the following teams that will be competing at that event:
Dark Sided (Australian Premier #1)
paiN (Brazilian Open #1)
BIG (EU Premier)
GODSENT (EU Premier)
PENTA eSports (EU Premier #3)
Splyce (NA Premier #1)
Enigma6 (NA Premier #2)
Bee’s Money Crew (NA Premier #3)
We will try to cover as much of ESEA Season 25 as possible over the coming weeks, but remember, the signups for this new season close on Monday May 22nd, with the new season beginning on Sunday May 28th.
Make sure you keep yourselves posted to UKCSGO as we continue to cover the top tier of UK Counter-Strike. You can follow us on Twitter and like our page on Facebook for further updates so you never miss a beat in the UK Scene.
Whilst epic20 is kicking off in Kettering, in tonight’s ESEA Premier games ROYALS UK was set to play against Finnish team iGame.com.
Just minutes before their ESEA Premier Official disagreements were made within the ROYALS UK team which resulted in Ricardo ‘CRMJ’ Costa being removed from the roster.
Prior to the scheduled start time, it was reported that Jack ‘kpiz’ Pragnell had his differences with Ricardo ‘CRMJ’ Costa. This lead to the players refusing to play with one another. Within the last few minutes, Kasper ‘Kasper’ Løvold was brought into the game to fill in the missing place of Ricardo ‘CRMJ’ Costa. As of now, it is unknown of whom the lineup will consist of after tonight’s discussions.
The ROYALS UK lineup before last night’s altercation:
Jack ‘kpiz‘ Pragnell
Josh ‘Tesquo‘ Faulkner
Ricardo ‘CrimJ’ Costa
Jack ‘J4ck‘ Slosmanis
Josh ‘neph‘ Munro
Since ROYALS UK have been promoted into ESEA Premier their ESEA page shows a series of negative results. Only to add to the streak of losses ROYALS lost their ESEA game 16-2 against iGame.com. As the situation evolves throughout the week you can expect updates regarding the roster changes on UKCSGO.
Announced last night via Twitter a replacement was made for the loss of Ricardo ‘CRMJ’ Costa of whom will now be replaced by Christian ‘stylez‘ Hart. Christian was in the lineup prior to the change and now will be introduced back into the lineup.
It’s certainly been a merry Christmas, one filled with a whole lotta’ Christmas pudding and rather a lack of Counter-Strike, however come January – that needs to change. A few officials sprinkled here and there, a league or two, after all that’s what we expected?
Multiplay UK Masters
One of the first pieces of news collected was something broken at Insomnia i59 as Multiplay announce their third season of the UK Masters.
Multiplay quoting the success of their first two seasons, allowing them the unique position to be a direct rival of ESL in relation to both tournament quality and most notably, prize pool. The aim of Season 3 is set as another to aid in the process of nurturing teams and players in the scene, provide a stable and professional platform to compete.
In terms of specifics Multiplay have been fairly hush, however, it has been talked of that qualifiers can be expected in January.
The ESL Premiership
The ESL Premiership is back for 2017 and it is going to be “bigger and better than ever”. These are the words of ESL UK when talking about their upcoming Spring Season. Big claims – can they live up to them?
So far all that has been released is dates, with not even a subtle hint of the prize pool, leaving the question, what is ESL’s response to competitors such as UK Masters?
The open qualifiers for Counter-Strike will take place on January 9th. The qualifier will be in a Swiss-style format, from which the top 16 will qualify for the Invite Qualifier on January 10th. There, the top eight will qualify for the main ESL Premiership season. The season itself will be played from January 16th through to March 2nd, each Monday in a round-robin format. The Finals will be played shortly after, with the two finalists battling it out on March 18th in a best-of-five match. The qualifiers are currently open to enter.
One key note already is that we will not be seeing a CS Grand Finale at MCM Comic Con in London in May, instead, we will be looking at our top teams battling it in the Leicester-based ESL Studios.
UK Gaming Tours
Next up on the chopping block we have the rather comedic UK Gaming Tours Championship. You already be asking, why comedic? It can’t help but be said that things have been rather a shambles when looking at the nitty gritty, an unfortunate strike for a newcomer to the circuit.
Originally we would have been set to see a rather large skew of qualifiers, however, UKGT has taken action to now ensure there is no clash between themselves and the above-discussed Premiership Season. The dates cast into the stone are the following; January 6th – 7th – 8th. The exact format is yet to be announced.
This isn’t the first time UKGT has had to make a change, if you throw yourself back to the middle of December, we saw the heavy debate over a ruling on only allowing UK (legal) residents to compete in their event. This stance has since been adjusted to allow one non-UK resident in each, as well as strong clarification on their definition of residency. It may be a rough start, but, I’m taking some words out of the mouth of Adam “Blanks” Heath for this one;
… shows UKGT’s desire to make this about UK players and teams, rather than teams hinging their hopes on a Robin/Tsack style powerhouse which we have seen so often.
After the three 32-team qualifiers are played out, we’ll be granted our 6 qualified teams of which will join the likes of Reason Gaming, FM eSports, Team Endpoint and lastly CAZ eSports (assuming each team accept their invites). Much like ESL, UKGT has announced their league play dates, pitching them to run from 17th January through to 16th February, with games played from Tuesday through Thursday. The LAN Finals are also set, on the 11th and 12th March at the Centre:MK in Milton Keynes.
Next up is the standard ESEA, a league that’s sprinkled its fair share of love across the UK scene recently. Most notably in the amount of $150, as each team within the top 8 of the UK Open Division got themselves ‘in the money’, with the top dog, Cex, taking home $3,000. The UK saw a lot of love in terms of move ups, with the top four teams finishing in the UK Open got flung up the ladder to ESEA Main, and the eleven teams below saw a jump to the Intermediate league. This was down to the sheer volume of teams taking part, as the UK League was the largest out of all the National Opens. Chew on that, “UK has no scene elegiggle” people.
Season 24 is coming up, with sign-ups open until 16th January. Premier will once again see Team Endpoint, this time with their full roster taking part, as the main UK representative. They will (most likely) be joined by Team Prem1er, a European squad featuring r0m and smooya. The UK Open and European Open leagues will feature a full spread of UK sides, but considering how fruitful playing in its last season was, it’s safe to imagine that there’ll be hardly any in the European Open League. The EU Intermediate league will feature a whole swathe of UK teams, including eleven brought up from the UK Open League. Teams ranging from uFrag to Omen, from MALIK to XENEX will litter the league, bringing a whole swathe of British-ness to the division. Now ESEA Main is still subject to confirmation on the promotions to Premier, but the likes of CAZ eSports, the ex-exceL squad and Bulldog eSports heading the field. The top four of UK Open will also take the field, as CeX, a mix of souls headed up by redSNK called “On The Ball”, IGI eSports and the amusingly named “OnlyInRetakes” receive their promotions.
So with that, if you’re a player within the scene, sit tight, have yourself a merry little New Year, for you have a gift in the form an official scheduled nearly every day of the week, squeezing every last drop of energy and persistence out of you and your team-mates.
The question is, which teams will not crack under the pressure from encroaching real-life commitments backed further by curve balls such as education. On paper, this is a tough fight to balance. Is it time UK teams start to wave the white-flag and opt to miss an event or two in pursuit of more practice and overall more workable schedules?