We have all been on the edge of our seats waiting to see what would happen to UKGT, the tournament created by Ben Bagg which promised to bring esports to the awareness of the general public. Today, we got that answer – It’s been canned.
UKGT is fast becoming a bit of a joke around the UK scene, with players taking snipes at it on Twitter, and a general air of distrust surrounding the tournament. The four qualifying team were announced on March 20th, with information being put on Twitter the following day announcing finals dates and ticket prices for the live finals. Since then, all has gone a bit quiet on the UKGT front. Between the notice that dates would be released soon and now, UKGT has posted three Twitter updates, one congratulating the qualified teams, another confirming the delay in announcing the live finals, and finally a short, but sweet “Happy Friday”.
As we all know, the PGL Krakow major is coming up soon and teams from around the world will be battling it out for places in the Minors in order to earn their shot at glory in Poland.
Valve, however, have thrown a spanner in the works, sympathetic with the state of UK Counter Strike, they have offered one team a chance to compete in Poland by partnering with us for the UK Minor.
The UK Minor will see sixty-four teams compete at a BYOC LAN tournament hosted by our friends at Multiplay in a dark hall in the middle of the historic National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham. We can also reveal the schedule for this historic event in the UK Counter Strike scene:
Day 1 –
- 09:59 – Groups hastily seeded and created by tournament admins last minute
- 10:00 – Groups officially start, 16 groups of 4 in a Round Robin format
- 11:30 – Most of the players are located outside smoking and are ushered back into the hall so they can actually start their games
- 12:05 – Allotted time for default hunters to complain about ambiguous details to try and get a free win under their belt
- 12:30 – First group games start
Day 2 –
- 04:00 – Group games finish
- 09:30 – All doors are locked to prevent any more delays for smoke breaks. Any teams still outside are defaulted
- 10:00 – Bo3 16 Team Double elimination bracket starts
- 23:59 – Quarter finals
Day 3 –
- 11:00 – Semi Finals and Consolidation Final
- 15:00 – Grand Finals
There’s also a significant prize pool for this event, a stunning £5,000 will be split across the top 4 teams with £2500 going to first place.
A VALVe Spokesperson had a few things to say about this first-time event.
We’ve been watching the UK Counter Strike scene change and grow since the early 1.6 days, We’ve been inspired by teams like Mousesports UK, Birmingham Salvo, Reason Gaming, London Mint and many more. While the scene has dropped off significantly since the release of Global Offensive, we believe that British Esports can come back fighting which is why we chose to run this Minor. We can’t wait to see the mix team that wins this and then splits just before the Main Qualifier.
In this interview, he goes on to say that he was so impressed with our flawless execution of UKGT, that they wanted us to run and produce the tournament during i60. In response to this, Jon Kelly from Multiplay, a man who has dedicated most of his adult life to putting up with admining BYOC tournaments said:
I mean, it’s kinda bulls**t…Why assume teams that have paid top dollar to fight through hoards of Minecraft kiddies and cosplayers actually want to play in a serious competiton? Everyone knows its not what the Insomnia Series is about. The scheduling is way off too…I mean, 35 minutes between finding them smoking and the first defaults being attemtped? Are you crazy? That should be at least another two hours. And as for this “flawless exectuion” of UKGT, let me tell you………..
Bizarrely, all recording equipment stopped working at this stage and the rest of the interview was lost.
We hope you’ll join us in Birmingham for this exciting event in 2 weeks time. We’ll provide more details as the time closes in.
The online stages of UKGT came to an anticlimactic close as Impulse Gaming chose to default their three outstanding games, becoming the 4th team to drop out of the tournament alongside uFrag, Rasta Gaming and exceL.
Top of the table is Endpoint, who were technically undefeated throughout the tournament. They picked up one draw against Impulse Gaming at the start of week 3, and then chose to forfeit their game against Barrage eSports in the final week as it wouldn’t effect the final standings for any team.
Tied in second place are Imperial and CEX, both sporting a 6 win, 2 loss, 1 draw scoreline. However as Imperial came out on top when the two teams faced off in their matchup, they claim the second seed spot for the live finals, causing CEX to take 3rd.
The final team to qualify is the former SKUM Gaming lineup, now part of XENEX. Despite having accusations thrown their way through this season, other tournaments and even at epic20, they rose above it and managed to get 5 wins, 1 loss and 3 draws under their belt. This gave them enough points to sneak into 4th place, ahead of Barrage eSports who were only 2 points behind them. Although the 2 points may not seem like too much of a gap, Barrage gained 3 points from the default win against Endpoint, so that gap could have easily been 5 points wide had Endpoint played their game and won 2-0.
The final UKGT standings[table id=1 /]
There has been a lot of speculation over the live finals of UKGT, but we have been assured that it will be taking place. After the Milton Keynes shopping centre venue was lost, and the Leamington Spa Theatre was announced as the new location for the finals, plans have been put in place to make it an event to remember. This venue swap did cause a delay to the initial dates for the live finals as the venue wasn’t available.
The date for the event is due to be released this week, along with ticket information for spectators and a full timetable for the event. What we do know is that the event will be a double-elimination bracket with best-of-three games in the upper bracket, and best-of-one in the lower bracket split over a weekend.
UKGT have announced that the offline finals for the first season will be changing both date and location. For reasons both public and private, it will no longer be held at the Centre:MK but rather at the Royal Spa Centre, Leamington Spa.
UKGT had this to say;
“We are changing our offline final, I won’t go into detail behind the reasoning but it’s not been as feasible hosting a Esports event in march in a shopping centre, H&S / PEGI18 issues etc etc.
So for our first event we are moving it to a Theatre in Leamington Spa, offering teams a player back stage area, a proper stage with a seated crowd of 660 people.
Location: The Royal Spa Centre, Leamington Spa
The date is not yet set for the final however will be very soon, once that is confirmed I will let you know, it will be delayed from the 11-12th of March to April we want to work with the 4 teams that qualify to ensure that the dates are applicable for all.
We will also case by case offer financial support on this.
Leamington Spa is becoming a “Silicon valley” style town with big game developers moving to Leamington all the time, with Ubisoft being the next large move to Leamington. By bringing Esports here we are working with the local MP & game developers to help create something good long term.”
With teams still battling it out for a place at the offline finals, they will now be playing for their place at the new location. Featuring a backstage player area, a proper stage, and a seated crowd of up to 660 people it should be a spectacle to remember. Here’s how it’s shaping up so far:[table id=1/]
The dates are yet to be confirmed, but we’ll be updating you all as soon as they’re announced.
Word has been released from the UKGT camp this morning about them taking an unscheduled two-week break from their timetable. This is mostly due to a clash with the UK Masters qualifiers, and teams voicing their desire to play in these.
In a statement Ben released earlier today, he mentions that they do have a 5 point penalty point system in place for teams who don’t show up to their games. If fewer teams wanted to play the UK Masters qualifiers, then it sounds like these rules were ready to be enforced.
The delay is caused due to a number of teams wanting to participate in the UK masters qualifiers over the next two weeks. As our rulebook suggests if a team does not turn up to their fixture they will get a 5 point deduction with so many teams wanting to participate we have gone with the 2 week break. Obviously from a business POV we are not happy with needed to this, however we completely understand that the UK masters is the premier event here in the UK. – Ben Bagg
This two-week delay does mean there will be a two-week overlap with the main UK Masters season which is unavoidable. However, as the UKGT schedule is already planned, Ben has provided this information to Multiplay to prevent any clashes during those overlaps.
The last two weeks of our season (already known to clash slightly) will be played at the same time as UK masters. We have our fixtures all ready as you all have them, we have given these fixtures to UK masters to avoid any problems, we hope they will co-operate to ensure there fixtures don’t overlap. – Ben Bagg
Also mentioned in this email was a topic that there has been a lot of concern and confusion over, the servers. While it is no secret the that Var and SV values of the servers were a little on the extreme side, the reasons behind this didn’t cause performance issues on the server like a smoke grenade failing to put out a Molotov. The cause of these fluctuating values was identified in week 1. A combination of traffic shaping and eBot were the main cause behind this, along with the server being located in France. Because of this, we have now moved the servers we provide UKGT to a UK based server from a provider we’ve tried and tested before.
We’ve had a rocky start to our first event, with the qualifiers being messy and some server issues on our front. I would first like to state all issues have now been resolved on the server side, which was fixed ready for today’s fixtures, we will give them extensive testing over the two weeks to ensure there is 100% no issues going forward. – Ben Bagg
Despite this delay, all UKGT fixtures will remain the same and will be back on the 14th of February with Impulse Gaming vs Endpoint.
Last night we saw the first UKGT qualifier for Season 1 take place, and it was a rollercoaster. Plagued with server/ebot issues from the start, it had all the hall markings of a brand new event. Once the decision was made to stop trying to fix the issues and just run with what we had, things smoothed out a lot and a couple of teams managed to stay pretty much bang on schedule for a few rounds too!
That being said, there was a fair amount of finger pointing and accusations being made throughout the night. It was suggested that some teams were using hacks. At no points were demos not provided throughout the night, and the earlier delays proved as a blessing in disguise as it gave time for the demos to be reviewed. While nothing conclusive was found by watching the demos, it did open the door for people to question why no anti-cheat was used. UKGT were quick to respond to this saying that nothing was planned to be put in place for the qualifiers, but there would be for the main league. This eased the mind’s of some people, but for others kept pushing the point suggesting it was pointless to let teams who could qualify with cheats, then play in a league only to get busted.
This has caused UKGT to spring into action. They have decided to move the next two qualifiers, tonight’s and tomorrow’s, to FaceIt. This is very short notice, and will no doubt cause another uproar, but it will offer the team’s competing, the protection they requested. If you are wanting to compete, you should waste no time in signing up to these qualifiers.
With the first season of the UK Gaming Tours coming up on the horizon, the organisation have opened their qualifiers for teams to sign-up for. These qualifiers will allow the final six teams set to enter the tournament, alongside the four already invited teams.
There have been four teams invited, but as of yet none have confirmed their attendance. The teams are:
- Reason Gaming
- FM eSports
- Team Endpoint
- CAZ eSports
After the three qualifiers secure the final six teams, this leads the 10-team league to be kicking off on the 17th January, finishing up a month later on 16th February. The live finals are set to be held over the 11th-12th March at the Centre:MK, a shopping centre in the heart of Milton Keynes.
The qualifiers are being hosted on Battlefy, with all three qualifier sign-ups available here.
UKGT have announced that they will be dropping two of the qualifiers for their premier season, and are reducing the number of teams in the final stages from 16, to 10. The main reason behind this change is to prevent a clash with ESL UK’s EPS qualifiers, which they announced earlier this week.