Owen “smooya” Butterfield led his teammates to victory after a decisive final match against Buzzkill Esports. This means that fish123 will walk away with £2250 + five tickets to epicLAN 28. For more information on this match, click here to view a recap from UKCSGO.com contributor Michael Moriarty.
I’d like to briefly thank @mattys_gaming for creating a visualisation of all historical veto and win percentage information for each team attending the Major, from which much of the following information is sourced.
Owen “smooya” Butterfield was confident in his team’s ability to make top eight at this major, claiming previously his side would breeze through the first two stages winning six maps, and dropping two. The German side has had a more turbulent experience in the first stage; they find themselves at round five with a two win and two loss record, following close losses to Vega (16-19) and compLexity (12-16).
BIG’s final match in the main qualifier is Danish side OpTic, one of the stronger teams in the fifth stage. The teams have never played each other head to head, but I’ll take a look at how the veto will most likely pan out, and how the two teams face up on the expected maps.
With the best-of-three set to be vetoed on the traditional process, two bans, two picks, one ban, and one final pick in an A-B-A-B-A-A-B pattern. On a team’s map pick, the opposing team will decide the side they start on, with the team in the B position in the pick order choosing the starting side. The highest seed team, which by the Buchholz system is OpTic, will decide if they want to ban first or second.
With the current predictions we have, the first two bans will be Mirage and Cache, as they are BIG and OpTic’s respective perm bans. When we look into the past results of both teams, we can take a well-educated guess in what the picks will be.
Dust 2 is shown to be an extremely exploitable weakness for OpTic, falling into the hands of a BIG clan who are more than comfortable to play it. With the Danish lineup, OpTic have failed to win a Dust 2 match on LAN, the closest match being a 16-8 loss to NiP in the European minor.
In stark contrast, BIG would consistently first pick the map against top-tier competition throughout the ESL One Cologne play-offs, and had left it as their deciding map in all three series at ESL One Belo Horizonte. The team boasts wins against Liquid, Na`Vi, NTC, a 16-1 trouncing against G2, and a close overtime loss against FaZe on the map, all at LAN.
During the major qualifier, BIG have only banned the map once, against a Renegades side that had previously beat them 16-13 in Cologne. With the disparity in results between the team, it’s safe to say that Dust2 will be played, and most likely won by the Germans and Brit.
While I can’t be nearly as confident in guessing OpTic’s first pick, there are some good indications to what they would like to play.
In a normal series, OpTic would commonly favour picking Nuke or Inferno first, while OpTic may have reservations in picking Inferno, it seems to be a favorable matchup for them to pick. The main factor being that OpTic’s most commonly played map is inferno, at 20 recorded games since May 1st, second only to BIG’s ban Mirage at 15.
BIG made much of their name on Inferno, but that spark has been somewhat extinguished since adding smooya. It would be unfair to say they aren’t comfortable on the map, seeing four wins out of nine matches played since his addition, including a close loss to smooya’s countryman Rory “dephh” Jackson’s compLexity earlier in the Major. In the same time period, OpTic have seen eight wins out of twelve games played.
With a fresh demo to watch of BIG playing, as well as the historical advantage, OpTic should feel comfortable if they do decide to play with fire on Inferno.
Both teams seem comfortable enough on their own picks, and while BIG winning on OpTic’s pick is much more likely than the inverse, this series will most likely be extended to all three maps. I can’t say with much confidence on how the final stage of the veto will go, however BIG have a fair amount of liberty in what they chose to remove.
The remaining maps match up in BIG’s favour, with Train being the only map that favours OpTic by win percentage. BIG aren’t uncomfortable on that map, but with a broad map pool it will likely either be banned or not the final pick for them.
If this veto follows, Nuke and Overpass will be the remaining maps. Nuke would logically be a fine map for BIG to play under usual circumstances, even with the team only having played twice on the map with smooya, they were both 16-8 wins. It however won’t likely see play in this major system, due to the fact playing it would allow the opposing to choose a CT side start, giving them a large advantage. If this map is however picked as the final map, it will most likely be due to OpTic picking it, being comfortable after having a fresh demo of BIG playing the map, potentially granting BIG the CT side.
The most likely map to decide the series will be Overpass. The teams look similar judging by the statistics, with fairly even win percentages in the last three months. BIG look confident on the map however, with more maps played overall on the map, and having not banned it at any stage in the major so far.
The match is set to be close, with current betting odds reflecting this too. Overall, BIG’s map pool contrasts OpTic’s in a way that gives them the edge in the series however. I’m confident in saying that Dust 2 and either Overpass or Nuke will be played in the series, two maps in the best of three that look favourable to send smooya’s side on it’s way to a promised top eight finish.
With the FACEIT Major Challenger stage set to start today, we wanted to have a look at the UK representation in London and weigh up their chances at the tournament. This is the first major event hosted in the UK and the first that will contain UK players. So who are these players leading the UK scene forward into uncharted waters?
First is Rory ‘Dephh’ Jackson who is the entry fragger for Complexity. His humble beginnings were in the UK playing for CAZ Esports. Rory played alongside many other top UK players but stood out as a hyper-aggressive player with outstanding raw aim. Dephh began to make a name for himself online as well as offline at numerous Insomnia events. Interestingly, Dephh never managed to win Insomnia with two second places being his best placements. Rory was scouted by Complexity at the start of 2016 and moved to America where he has been living and competing ever since. Dephh has been the longest standing member of Complexity CSGO. The roster has gone through many iterations over the years with the UK import remaining as the only constant. As could be gathered by the numerous roster changes, the team have had their issues throughout Dephh’s time on the squad. They have struggled to push to the top of NA but have been on an upwards trajectory the whole time. Dephh’s first Minor was for the previous major in Boston. Unfortunately the team finished fourth and didn’t qualify for the major. The team continued to make roster changes and improve. The latest additions of Stanislaw and Shahzam from Optic Gaming improved Complexity drastically.
Complexity reached the major after winning the Americas Minor. They take on the worlds best team Astralis in their first match of the tournament, a very tough match. So how far do we expect Complexity to go in this major? It is difficult to see how the team stacks up against the best from Europe and around the world as they don’t have many recent results to go from outside of NA. With a bit of luck in the Swiss format, it wouldn’t be outrageous for Complexity to make it to the Legends Stage of the tournament. Dephh’s squad is currently playing better than ever and are a dangerous opponent for any team in the tournament. Take them lightly at your own risk!
Next up is Owen ‘Smooya’ Butterfield, main awp for BIG. Smooya has been making noise in the UK scene for some time. He started to make a name for himself by consistently having the highest RWS of the month in Europe on ESEA. The young pug star started to compete at a high level in the UK, regularly placing well at Epic LAN and Insomnia. There was a high demand for Smooya in the UK so he spent time competing with lots of different rosters and organisations. He had short stints in Excel, Radix, CeX and finally Team Endpoint prior to leaving the UK scene behind to compete on European rosters. His first opportunity in a European team was with Epsilon for the Gfinity Elite Series. His team ended up winning in Season 1 before they got benched for Season 2. Owen spent some time inactive with Epsilon before returning to their active roster. His career was temporarily halted when Epsilon locked him into his contract by way of a large buyout fee. After his contract troubles with Epsilon were resolved, he was approached by the German lineup BIG who wanted a strong Awper. He joined the team and hasn’t looked back. Smooya seems to have settled in quickly getting good results with the squad early on. Their most notable achievement to date is their recent second place finish at ESL One Cologne. This will no doubt give them great confidence going into the major especially after getting upset wins against MIBR and Faze Clan.
BIG automatically qualified for this major by finishing in the top 16 in Atlanta. As previously mentioned, the team are hot off their strong second place finish at ESL One Cologne and dependant on how the Swiss format unfolds, should comfortably make it to the Legends Stage of the tournament. There are still tough teams that could play spoiler to BIG in the Challenger Stage such as a North squad in excellent form and the world’s number one team Astralis. Smooya’s BIG are still a young team and it is doubtful that we have seen them at their peak. They will be difficult to overcome for any team in the tournament. If they perform as well or better than they did in Cologne they could be a dark horse to win the whole thing!
Regardless of their chances on paper, both teams will have the support of the crowd in London which could have a major impact on their performance. We saw how the support of the fans impacted BIG in Cologne and who would have predicted Cloud9 to win the last major in Boston?
Less than a month ago, Tom “jenko” Jenkinson was announced as the fifth man for the epsilon lineup, giving the squad a majority UK roster. While earning themselves the spot as the de-facto ‘best team in the UK’, the roster hasn’t worked out as some may have planned.
Jenko disappeared from the active lineup, with cryptic messages, as is now tradition, being spread around by Owen “Smooya” Butterfield; a tweet posted by him showing two UK flags, two Swedish and a Greek, his usual technique to start roster rumours. Around the time of this tweet DeKay posted his first report of BIG linking Smooya to their squad: a replacement for failed trial Niels “luckeRRR” Jasiek.
In an interview after Copenhagen games, where Jenko was last active with Epsilon, Smooya said that five days into the Epsilon bootcamp, Jenko returned home for exams, leaving the squad with less practice than intended. Since then, to no surprise, Smooya’s attitude towards this issue was passive aggressive at best: In response to Immi asking why Thomas wasn’t picked up over Jenko, Smooya replied that he wishes he did, “he wouldn’t of wasted the chance”.
Smooya’s roster rumor came to fruition after the Copenhagen games exit, with Dylan “DH” Hamrini playing alongside the team in their main playoff matches, there is however no mention if he is a permanent addition to the team. With DH, Epsilon managed to reach the top four of ESEA Main Season 27, securing a spot in the MDL; if they wish to keep this spot, they must play 8 out of the 9 first games of the season with two players on the roster that played a match, as per ESEA rules.
Earlier today, DeKay published his second report on Smooya to BIG, claiming that the signing has been finalised. Doubt’s had been cast on the transfer after a screencap of Smooya’s stream was posted to reddit, where he mentioned in chat that Epsilon wanted €40000 (the currency presumed, not specified), and that BIG had declined.
It’s unclear what’s happening to Epsilon’s roster, as the team was originally built around and handpicked by Smooya. Without Smooya or Cosmeen, the team has an excess of supportive players and a void of fragging power.
IGL Robin “robiin” Sjögren yesterday played the ESL One Belo Horizonte European qualifiers with his old singularity lineup, going out to a mix of GameAgents players. With DH on the active roster, there is a chance that Epsilon may look to return to a full Swedish roster for ESEA’s MDL Season 28.
Epsilon have added former Method player Tom “jenko” Jenkinson to their roster, Owen “smooya” Butterfield unveiled on twitter this morning. He is set to be replacing Cosmin “cosmeeeN” Mihai in the roster, after jenko had been seen replacing the Romanian player in recent events as a stand-in.
For our teams to continue to progress, we always need to be looking to the future and toward our new talent in the UK CSGO scene.
This article contains a listing of the talented youngsters from the UK and Ireland, for the sake of narrowing it down, it contains only those up to the age of 18. My writing is of course subjective as I’ll be giving my opinion on the players throughout, but this does not mean it is without any statistical backing.
I have used a simple system for each player, ranking their apparent current skill and level of competition, alongside a rating of their potential with some justification in each case.
My intentions for this guide are purely positive and my hope is that the article will be seen as useful to teams and to those featured in the article.
Owen “smooya” Butterfield
Mentioning ‘smooya’ in this article was inevitable, as he’s more than made a name for himself in recent times. He’s undoubtedly our best young player at this time, and continues to improve as he reaches a higher level of competition with Epsilon.
Most recently Epsilon have qualified for the Gfinity Elite Series playoffs with ‘smooya’ performing well throughout. Already competing at such a high level he surely has the ability to take himself deeper into European competition in the near future.
His role is main AWP, in which he thrives on an aggressive style and opening kills.
My Rating: 95 Potential: 100
Zaki “Danceyz” Dance
After picking up Danceyz, CeX were a force to be reckoned with. Although perhaps he was still finding his footing in the CeX roster with a few inconsistencies, he has shown to be a player capable of a match winning performance. ‘Danceyz’ was outstanding at epic21 with Radix and I think there is still plenty of time for improvement. In comparison with others such as ‘smooya’ or ‘jenko’ featured in this list he has been competing at the top level a relatively short time. Danceyz may be known for his AWP plays, but is also a strong rifler, having shared the AWP role with his teammate ‘hemzk’.
My Rating: 85 Potential: 100
Will “mezii” Merriman
Having watched ‘mezii’ myself at i60, I could instantly tell why he played a huge part in Dog Gaming’s run to the Final. He looked like a player confident in his own ability, and he had every right to be. My only concern with placing him on this list is the lack of times that I’ve seen him competing lately, with the team now XENEX not featuring in any of the online leagues.
‘mezii’ can pull out game winning performances, but it seems that he might be most comfortable at LAN as the team struggles online.
My Rating: 80 Potential: 90
Ross “Trials” Campbell
‘Trials’ has climbed the ranks in the UK scene rapidly in the past months, he has shown to be a reliable member of Team Infused in Gfinity after he took over from ec1s. He is certainly lacking the top level experience at the moment, but if he can find real consistency we could be seeing much more of him at the top. ‘Trials’ is a rifler, aggressive on the terrorist side and a strong anchor on ct.
My Rating: 75 Potential: 90
Dilans “lainNy” Feldmanis
Unfortunately there isn’t a huge amount of information on ‘lainNy’, he’s currently living in Ireland and competing in ESEA Main with a European team. What caught my eye is his raw skill, he clearly shows talent for the game in a pug environment, and his statistics in the league were good for his first attempt at Main level competition, not quite outstanding. I think he’s someone who could be molded into a top level player in the near future.
My Rating: 70 Potential: 90
Man Ho “MrHui” Hui
Perhaps not always a star player in IGI, ‘MrHui’ has shown good performances both at LAN and online as part of this long-running and relatively young lineup. He appears to be a good all-round individual, dangerous on a force buy and a gunround. Much like ‘wh1sk’ he doesn’t currently show any signs of a big breakthrough but the potential is there.
MrHui is a rifler and very useful on a force buy.
My Rating: 70 Potential: 85
Nathan “wh1sk” Alderson
I have to rate Nathan similarly to lainNy, he definitely possesses talent for CS and has great aim, but whether or not he could become a complete player and make the jump to a higher tier is yet to be seen. He performed well in ESEA Main with the UK lineup mYinsanity, who made the playoffs this season.
‘wh1sk’ is a rifler who utilises his excellent aim.
My Rating: 65 Potential: 85
Jake “jadam” Adams
A recent addition to LondonLYNX ‘jadam’ has already proved to be a skilled player, however I don’t believe that ‘jadam’ has the star potential that those above have shown, he would seem to be more of a role player in the team. He’s a smart player and I could still see him progressing greatly from where he is now.
My Rating: 55 Potential: 75
Jake “Jake^^” Charlesworth
Team: Causing Mayhem
Jake is at this time very much unproven and perhaps unorthodox, both himself and his team’s style of play is far from tactical.
He has been seen regularly carrying his team through UK Open this season, including stepping up in the playoff games taking them all the way to the semi-finals and a top 4 finish. Definitely lacking experience, but displaying the raw skill that would lead me to believe he could go much futher. The real test will be if he can maintain his level of play against tougher opponents.
Jake is a versatile aggressive player, using both the AWP and rifle.
My Rating: 55 Potential: 80
Tom “jenko” Jenkinson
Certainly deserving of a place in this list, ‘jenko’ has been playing with Method for quite some time and put in some memorable performances. With such top level experience already at the age of 17 ‘jenko‘ is one of our best prospects.
He can use both the AWP and rifle effectively, and can often be seen winning pistol rounds single handedly.
My Rating: 85 Potential: 100
Tautvydas “HyPe” Paldavicius
Team: Playing Ducks
It’s fairly difficult to gauge where ‘HyPe’ is at right now. He’s currently competing at a very high level and holding his own. However when in the UK scene he didn’t seem to match up to the likes of ‘jenko‘ or ‘smooya‘, I think that perhaps he prefers to be more of a role player and not so much the star of his teams. Regardless, he deserves a good rating here for his statistics with Playing Ducks.
My Rating: 80 Potential: 95
Alfie “raY1” Scott
What impresses me most is that he seems to be very dedicated to improving, he clearly has a real drive to play CS and it’s paying off.
He’s becoming a great player quickly, and is a key part of the Ablaze lineup. He’s been seen to play well online with the team throughout ESEA Main and was crucial to the teams 5/6th placing at i60.
‘raY1‘ is a rifler with outstanding aim, able to play multiple rifle roles effectively.
My Rating: 70 Potential: 85
Dominic ‘dOMM‘ Sulcas
Last seen with Radix at epic21, he certainly wasn’t the star of a team boasting ‘ozzy‘ and ‘Danceyz’, but he shows good mechanical ability and has plenty of time for improvement, I could see him thriving under another experienced in-game leader.
‘dOMM‘ is also a rifler heavily reliant on aim.
My Rating: 70 Potential: 85
Adam “ec1s” Eccles
‘ec1s‘ has improved vastly in the past year or so. He’s earned some chances in top teams but not really taken them yet, although I’m not aware of the reasoning, he was dropped from the Infused roster during Gfinity which leads me to believe there are some issues.
His rate of improvement is impressive and earns him a spot on my list, I think it’s still very possible for him to make it in the UK.
He’s a rifler, appears to be varied in style.
My Rating: 65 Potential: 85
Kory ‘Kryzih‘ Da Rocha-Hitt
Another deadly rifler alongside ‘raY1’ in Ablaze. Kryzih was showing monster performances at epic21 despite the team dropping out earlier than they had hoped. Still plenty of scope for improvement, whether he makes any real progress in the UK will be dependent on the success of his team. Another strong aimer.
My Rating: 65 Potential: 80
Jamie “Jba” Fitzpatrick
Not so well known by the community, ‘Jba‘ has preferred to spend his time so far in European teams, reaching as far as ESEA Main and putting up impressive stats. His playstyle is somewhat questionable as an aggressive main AWP, under good guidance he could be very useful to a team.
My Rating: 60 Potential: 80
Team: Apathy Reborn
A huge part in his teams run to the UK Open final, beating XENEX on their way. He has a long way to go to really prove himself however.
My Rating: 50 Potential: ?
Ryan “dox” Young
I believe ‘dox‘ to have been the In-game leader for IGI, which is quite an unusual role for someone of his age. Despite taking on the duties of calling for his teammates he still is a valuable member of the team fragging wise, he is a reliable AWPer and to be competing at a decent level already at 16 he can only get better.
My Rating: 65 Potential: 95
Kyle “swaggy” Wilson
Team: Able Uprising
A good individual, playing well in ESEA Intermediate currently. Whether he has the other qualities to take him further in CS remains to be seen. I think that in future with a little more maturity he could be seen as a future prospect.
My Rating: 55 Potential: 80
Jacob “Little” Aitkin
Displaying real skill already, he’s certainly worth a mention. To better judge his potential we need to see him playing against better opponents than his current games in UK Open.
My Rating: 45 Potential: ?
Kirk “Tadpole” Stephens
I think that ‘Tadpole’ can be seen as a real prodigy of the UK scene, unfortunately his faceit ban for cheating will make people hesitant to give him a chance. I hope to see him attending LANs with his new teammates in eDen and maybe there he can prove himself.
Until we see ‘Tadpole’ sticking with a team for a little while and competing more actively once his ban expires I can’t rate him too highly.
My Rating: 55 Potential: 100
Oliver “leaf” Jackson
‘leaf‘ has shown to be a capable player in this season of Intermediate, which is already impressive considering his age.
What I like about him is that he’s seemingly loyal, having stuck with the same roster for months. Just recently moving to a new team under the lead of ‘chron1c‘, which can only be good for his future. He has a long way to go but he’s showing good signs.
My Rating: 50 Potential: 85
We are one week away from the UK Masters grand final, hosted at Insomnia Gaming Festival i60, and the mix team fish123 have found themselves a home. Radix eSports have announced their support of fish123 for just the UK Masters finals.
The announced fish123 roster features Smooya, Keita, Jenko, Mole and Roma, and they are set to face off against FM eSports on the Friday night of i60.
Towards the end of last year, Radix eSports quietly drifted off into the sunset and looked to be closing their doors for good. However, they are now back with a new lease of life, and a new lineup.
Before the LAN, most of us were expecting quite a simple, nice and straightforward LAN event with the odds looking to favour uFrag taking the whole event with ease, this can’t have been more wrong. Before the event kicked off on Saturday morning, there was arguments between players that Radix eSports shouldn’t have even been seeded, but now they are in the grand finals! Their first game in the quarter finals was Owen ‘Smooya’ Butterfield’s party with him dropping 56 kills in one, yes one, game. To see more coverage of that best of three game, go to the video below where Kieran ‘Smithh’ Smith interviewed the team:
In the next game, against the more experienced DOG Gaming, they managed to 2-0 them in quite a close series in comparison to the rest of Radix’s games. The first map being quite a standard scoreline with a 16-11 even with a quiet smooya, but when smooya turned up for map two on cache, it was a lot closer then expected with Ashh and his boys choking a big lead to give it away to Radix eSports in a 16-14 fashion.
Radix played against Bulldog eSports in the following game which was on Overpass and Cobblestone. The first map went to Radix in a dominating fashion of 16:6. The next map in the BO3 series was Cobblestone which was a closer matched game but Radix ended up taking the map 16:11 and winning out the series 2-0.
Radix move to the finals on Sunday at 11:30 AM over at twitch.tv/epiclan1
Last night we caught up with Radix after their shock 2-0 victory over Vatic setting them well on their way through the upper bracket of epicNINETEEN. An impressive performance from Smooya saw Radix win a triple overtime match on Dust2 where he was close to hitting 60 frags. Let’s find out what they had to say…