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ESEA S44 Preview

Ahead of the new season UKCSGO.com takes a look at the ukcs hopefuls preparing themselves for s44.

by arnie

With the start of a new year comes the start of a new ESEA season, and this time we have more UK teams in the Advanced division than ever before. Ahead of the season starting, we take a look at some of the UKCS hopefuls from the top three divisions and their prospects/expectations for season 44.

Disclaimer: This article is part of UKCSGO.coms ad deal with ESEA, signups for Season 44 are still open which can be found here


Fnatic Rising

We start our preview off at the highest level of ESEA League, ECL which the UK has been represented in recently by Sebastian “volt” Malos with his Fnatic Rising team. The team had a fairly disappointing run at the backend of 2022, only managing a 7-8th place finish in the WePlay Academy League.

volt‘s boys did manage to keep their ECL spot though and were looking hopeful to fight it out in ESEA’s top division once more.

However, Fnatic announced that they would be releasing their Academy side moving into 2023 and it is unknown where the talented Brit will find himself for the new season.

Into the Bin

The undisputed number one UK team had seen their results take a dip in the back half of 2022 and with the team plateauing their former org, Into the Breach, decided to take the decision to drop the team. The timing of this move was rather awkward as the British-Swedish mix was still participating in multiple events, one of which being the Advanced playoffs.

Among their rough run of results, ITB had managed to put together a strong performance in Advanced finishing the season 10-4. Despite losing their org and the future of the team being up in the air, with multiple players confirming they would be looking for different opportunities, ITB now going as ‘Into the Bin’ were able to lock in an ECL spot beating UNGENTIUM 2-0 in the ECL Season 43 Relegation to get themselves in the top divisions.

It is still unknown what the players will do with the spot now they find themselves promoted, however, just this week Andrew “wolfie” Allan, Robin “robiin” Sjögren and Max “PANIX” Hangebruch joined their ESEA roster ahead of the new season.

Interestingly the team are still listed in the Advanced league for season 44 at the time of writing, despite winning ESL Challenger League Season 43 Relegation. The exact makeup of their new roster is yet to be announced/confirmed.




Arctic Raptors

Where better to start for the Advanced division than with the recently promoted squad. The team formerly known as XRAVEL are arguably the biggest surprise of the year as they took the scene by storm with their performances in season 42, placing second in the regular season of ESEA Main but missing out on Advanced after running out of gas in the playoffs.

However, in season 43 they would come back with a vengeance, dropping just 2 maps in the regular season to once again place second and this time they made no mistake in getting themselves promoted to Advanced. The team also made the Quarter-Finals of ESL Premiership Autumn, drawing the short straw and having to play the dominant force of Endpoint in the first round of the playoffs.

Whilst they might have had the luxury of being an underdog and making runs with a lack of pressure on their shoulders, now the team has shown they have the talent to be one of the best in the UK. So all eyes will be on them in their first season of Advanced to see how the team fares against serious European opposition.

– Rasmus “zodi” Frølich
– Mohamad “Ducky” Nourelden
– Euan “synergii” Wilson
– William “wfn” Maskrey
– Seán “Atrox” Greene
– Daniel “papp” Hart (Coach)


Speaking of first seasons in Advanced, Arctic Raptors will be looking to take some tips from Dripmen as the team comfortably kept their spot in the Division on the first try. Led by Veteran Fraser “Frazehh” Sollom the team has some serious firepower on paper but it hasn’t quite clicked for the team outside of the ESEA Leagues yet.

The team struggled in ESL Premiership Autumn, winning just the one map against ‘If I speak’ and leaving their org BLVKHVND mid-way through the tournament. Many in the scene had written the team off after their bumpy patch, however, the team would prove they have the talent to beat the best the UK has to offer at the UKIC Beyond Winter Invitational.

Dripmen would beat ROYALS and most impressively 1PIN, in the Grand Final, the team that for the majority of the year has been regarded as the number two team behind ITB. This triumph paired with the teams’ assured performance in their first season of Advanced suggests there is a lot more to come from this roster, and the scene will be keen to see if they can go one step further and make Advanced playoffs this season.

– Fraser “Frazehh” Sollom
– Richard “zulu” Wood
– Kirk “Tadpole” Stephens
– Matas “Extinct” Strumila
– Josh “JAUSTERE” Philpott


7AM is one of the most intriguing teams going into season 44. The team is led by Oscar “LVN” Levin and has a lower average age than some Academy teams.

7AM were one of two UK teams to have the opportunity to play at Fragadelphia 17 and the young squad posted some impressive results beating NA Advanced team Limitless and taking a map off of EG White. However, upon returning the side struggled in season 42 just keeping their Advanced spot with a 5-9 record.

The team managed to improve on this record in season 43 and were rewarded with new contracts going into 2023. For a team so young it is understandable that their has been some inconsistency in their performances. However if they continue their steady improvement, there’s no doubt that this young team can develop together and fight at the top of the scene in the future.

– Oscar “LVN” Levin
– Herman “1Knas” Hattevig
– Mason “Vacancy” Haines
– Zy “yz0” Esponilla
– Leo “Silence” Ingvarsson
– Luke “EMPEROR” Ingram (Coach)


Possibly the buzziest team towards the end of last year, Viperio re-entered CS:GO by picking up the former EKO core spearheaded by Irish AWPer Tom “arTisT” Clarke. The EKO team decided to make changes after their disappointing upset loss against Temperate (now eMasters) in the Grand Final of Insomnia 69.

These changes have proved extremely fruitful as the addition of former Temperate player Marco “MMS” Salomone and the re-addition of the experienced Javier “Ping” Griffiths saw their results take a turn for the better. The team put together an extremely impressive run at ESL Premiership Autumn to make the Grand Final and took a 2-1 advantage, only inches away from taking away Endpoints crown.

In ESEA Advanced s43 the team put together a solid run and were one win away from making playoffs, however, due to their opposition refusing a reschedule they were forced to forfeit their last match of the season costing them the chance to challenge for promotion. Despite this, it was positive signs from the new roster and no doubt they will be expected to make playoffs in season 44.

– Javier “Ping” Griffiths
– Tom “arTisT” Clarke
– Callum “Girafffe” Jones
– Jack “Gizmy” von Spreckelsen
– Marco “MMS” Salomone
– Ciaran “biscu” King (Coach)


1PIN burst onto the scene in 2022, making deep runs in Major qualifiers and pushing (ex-)ITB to the limit in terms of challenging for the top spot in the domestic scene. However, their results notably cooled off towards the end of the year and they will be looking to make amends moving into 2023 and season 44.

In ESEA they put together a strong 11-3 record in the regular season to give themselves a good seed heading into playoffs. After breezing through the first round the team came up against Masonic falling 1-2 losing a close third map 13-16. They then had to overcome former Major finalist Aleksi “allu” Jalli’s JANO. The team fell 0-2 largely due to Olli “sLowi” Pitkänen having a life game posting a 1.33 rating, far above his relatively mid-average rating of 1.02.

There is no doubt that 1PIN will be looking to put up serious numbers in the regular season once again and do their best to avoid any in-form Finns in the playoff stage to get themselves promoted to ECL. Possibly the biggest selling point for the team is that they have only made one change this year, and even that was enforced, a unique stability in an often quick-to-change scene.

– Tobias “shyyne” Sæther
– Oliver “leaf” Jackson
– Ryan “dox” Young
– Oscar “AZUWU” Bell
– Kristian “Krs7N” Mladenov
– Sam “Wilksyy” Wilks (Coach)



eMasters are another team that has struggled in the closing months of 2022 in comparison to the first months. The team, going by Temperate at the time, finally converted the consistent Top 4 finishes into a win with an impressive Lower Bracket run at Insomnia 69.

Since lifting the trophy in Birmingham the team has had to deal with roster instability stemming from Beau “fluFFs” Newton deciding to hang up the mice and Marco “MMS” Salomone getting the opportunity to make the step up and play for Viperio.

Now having time to bed in their new additions the eMasters side will be looking to significantly improve on their 8-6 record from season 43 and fight for promotion to join their compatriots in Advanced for season 45.

-Emyr “eMy” Green
– Man-Ho “mrhui” Hui
– Jack “DeXter” Hepple
– Harry “moshi” Raines
– Oliver “husky” Gollings


Clique are one of the UK teams who came agonisingly close to joining Arctic Raptors in making promotion last season. A 10-4 record set them up well to have a good run at the postseason and they would win their first match with ease. However, after losing to Comedyclub and a super tight BO3 against STRANGERS, their promotion hopes were ended.

Despite missing out on qualification the results represented a big step up for the team after two very average seasons in the Main division. The additions of Elias “Rack” Karttunen and Mohammed “Mophoria” Abbas were the catalyst to the teams’ growth and even gave the organisation their first HLTV appearance in the UKIC Beyond Winter Invitational.

After coming so close in their first ESEA season together, there is little doubt that they will once again be fighting for a promotion spot in season 44.

– Elias “Rack” Karttunen
– Mohammed “Mophoria” Abbas
– Lewis “Ziimzey” Coleman
– Christopher “VireZ” Wegmann
– Fizan “Fizzy” Anjum
– Sebastian “Wajk” Wikholm (Coach)


Vitalize went through a number of different iterations during season 43, not settling on their final five until halfway through the season. Despite this, the team showed initial signs of promise as they went on a seven-match win streak to secure a spot in the playoffs.

The team would come even closer to promotion than Clique, as they would win their opening two matches in the postseason to leave them needing to beat Hydra Team to lock in a promotion. Disappointingly, the team would fall at the final hurdle as they lost 0-2 against the CIS side and would go on to be knocked out of playoffs in their next match bringing down the curtain on the Advanced dream.

Considering that it was their first season as a side and they only had half of it, the results should give confidence to the team as they hopefully can finish the job this time around and make Advanced.

– Earl “Earl” Stephenson
– Rhys “Rhys” Stumbles
– Reegan “ReegaN” Ward
– Benjamin “Klay” Hurst
– Seth “Xeth” Jackson


For ROYALS ESEA season 43 capped off a brutal end to a tough year, the team had been plagued with roster problems during their last season in Advanced which caused them to be relegated to Main. However, with a complete rebuild putting some youthful talent around stalwart Kyle “swaggy” Wilson the team were expected to bounce straight back up.

After all, ROYALS had proved their worth in other competitions, beating Dripmen and most impressively Endpoint at ESL Premiership Autumn. This proved that the team are more than capable of fighting at an Advanced level, and a 10-4 regular season record set them up for playoff contention.

They would draw a tough opening matchup against French side TheDice and losing that forced the side into having to make promotion via the lower bracket. ROYALS would miss out on promotion after losing 1-2, including a 14-16 loss on the opening map, to MCE Gameexpert. The team look to be running it back for season 44, this time with a new coach in Andreas “addi” Wallenberg, and will look to make up for lost time after missing out on the immediate bounce back.

– Kyle “Swaggy” Wilson
– Edgaras “entz” Luksas
– Timothy “tvs” Sjöberg
– John “Dutchy” Holland
– Xavér “xavi” Hebők
– Andreas “addi” Wallenberg (Coach)


Disclaimer: This article is part of UKCSGO.coms ad deal with ESEA, signups for Season 44 are still open which can be found here


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