Verdant announced the signing of The Free the former Viperio Esports lineup, before the very last ESL Premiership. This marks a return to UKCS for the organisation not long after they dropped their previous lineup over them stream-sniping in the ESL Premiership Open Qualifier.
The team has only had two constants since they signed with Viperio – Tom “arTisT” Clarke, the AWPer and IGL; and Callum “Girafffe” Jones, rifler and cat meme extraordinnaire. Matas “Extinct” Strumila has been the third member since February, after the team parted ways with James “bevve” Slinn. Marco “MMS” Salomone and Jack “Gizmy” Spreckleson were the remaining pieces for their campaign at the BLAST Paris Major RMR, but they left after a string of disappointing results.
Javier “Ping” Griffiths and Kirk “Tadpole” Roberts then joined the team, to no avail as they were eliminated by Endpoint in ESL Premiership Spring 2023 semi-finals and failed to qualify for ESL Challenger League. The contracts that the members held with Viperio expired on August 12th, but they have been quickly snapped up by an organisation who will hope this team can last longer than the 50 days they managed with their former lineup.
They now boast two new members, Mohammed “Ducky” Nourelden and Andrew “Wolfie” Allan – and that had a big impact to begin with. The squad, then still under Viperio, upset Endpoint in the grand final of the first ESL Premiership Closed Qualifier, qualifying for the LAN finals in the process, then made a run to the quarter-finals of CCT East Europe Online Series 1 all the way from the play-in. After going unbeaten in the Swiss stage, a 2-0 victory over Marcelo “coldzera” David’s Fake Natty in the round of 16 was a highlight, before they were eliminated by BLAST Paris Major quarter-finalists Monte. While results have taken a downturn, with semi-final exits in both ESL Premiership Autumn 2023 and UKIC CeX Summer Invitational being a disappointment, there is plenty of time for the squad to improve.
Verdant were found in 2021, and they began life competing in League of Legends’ NLC, with a strong performance in the calibration tournament confirming a spot in the second division. In the Summer 2023 season their Scandinavian roster finished 3rd. They expanded into CSGO earlier this year with the signing of Dripmen, and have re-affirmed their commitment to the UKCS scene by signing one of its strongest cores over the last few years.
Verdant’s owner Sam “Sami” Cunningham spoke to UKCSGO, saying:
When approaching our search for a new CS roster, we made a commitment to return with a UK core as it’s important to us to be a part of why UK CS will continue to thrive. Verdant’s Counter-Strike division is a long-term project for us and more importantly so is this roster, but we’re already seeing why this team are so highly rated in the UK scene.
Everyone at Verdant has been thoroughly impressed by both the players and Ciaran’s work ethic and professionalism so far. We’re incredibly excited to see what the future holds now we compete in two titles.
I had the pleasure of starting this project off by attending Insomnia (my first in around 8 years) and being able to be with the team for the ESL Premiership. Not only was it great to meet our team but it was also great to see how welcoming the UK CS scene is as I got to meet a lot of new faces!
After a year that has been famous in equal measure for lineup instability and their qualification for the BLAST Paris Major RMR, Verdant and their players will hope this recent positive uptick in form will translate into consistent results.
Verdant are now:
Tom “arTisT” Clarke
Callum “Girafffe” Jones
Matas “Extinct” Strumila
Andrew “Wolfie” Allan
Mohamad “Ducky” Nourelden
Ciaran “Biscu” King (coach)