Following the end of the six placement matches, the fight for the podium place for the CS:GO Winter Championship has been narrowed down to the best 16 university teams from across the country. Some of these teams are experienced, having played and placed in multiple previous seasons. Others like Matt from Collar Stay Poppin are just in it for the memes and ‘would rather play FIFA 18 or Destiny 2 or Fortnite or PUBG or H1Z1 or anything but cs really’. However one thing they all have in common is that they’ll be glad they won’t have to find an excuse to dodge LAN this season should they make it to the finals.
Here’s a look at 8 of them with the rest to come soon:
The Lancaster Bombers from Lancaster Uni have always been a good pick to place highly having finished within the top 6 in every season they played since winter 2015/16. The current roster apart from Callum “Enigma” Merrill was formed in October of 2016 and that’s when things got knocked into 12th gear. Enigma came along for spring 2017 and they formed a strong bond, but you don’t want to know about that here. I’ll tell you one thing though, someone might have to contact Richard Lewis to look into how much these guys are throwing on LAN. They’ve only taken one map of 6 played, giving them a disappointing 0-2 record.
The Southampton Shufflers has had multiple teams in multiple seasons but only recently has one of their teams, headed by William ‘tau’ Thomas, borne fruit with two top 16 finishes in the Spring and Summer Championships. This season they’ve really hedged their bets, not only offering up an impressive 6 teams but also forming what on paper looks like their strongest lineup to date. They’ve taken rennui and Argos Age from the scholarZ of old, tau and Zelan from the University of Smurhampton, and thrown in fresher Carlos Purchase-Galarza for a sotonian super team.
Collar Stay Poppin are a solid bunch of memers from Portsmouth with an origin story to rival most of the terrible characters from suicide squad. Matt and Religion became friends after they both regularly finished in the top 5 of H1Z1 battle royal and decide to team up. They later find out that they are not only students at the same university, but they also live on the same road. The team fell into place after that as they recruited Matt’s roommate Chauski, Chauski’s coursemate Bambalam, Chauski’s flatmate Kevin and some guy they met at a LAN Cafe called CarlinG. Their roles in the team are best described by CarlinG as the choice of words is… ‘colourful’.
The inventively named UoM Team 1 are the first team from the University of Manchester. In their defence, though, they have only had one season to think of a better name as this lineup is completely new to the NUEL with the exception of CiaranQ. CiaranQ learnt from his tutor zxpppy who managed to lead his team to victory in the season of winter 2015/16. He’s been studying hard and now 2 years later, Ciaran has gone through extensive trials with the help of UoM esports society to form the current team, who are hoping to take the winning spirit of the first Manchester team with them through this season.
Hiko Yorkidding me might at first glance seem like just a pretty name, but peel away the facade and you’ll find that the team from the University of York packs a punch behind the memes. The team at first struggled to build a solid foundation against tough competition, losing to the eventual winners of each season in both Winter and Spring of 2017. However bringing in the 2 freshers looks like the right choice as they managed to 2-0 the Summer Championship winners Lancaster in the Roses Varsity match and they are hoping to bring that winning attitude through with them in this season’s bracket.
It’s Nothing Personal had the most explosive start of any team this season, starting off their very first NUEL season with a perfect first game. The team went 16-0 but then were beat 16-1 by Lancaster. They cite their recent loss as the cause for their change to a slower playstyle: ‘Most of our lesson came from playing vs Lancaster, slowly realising how big of a skill difference there truly was between a 2 year old team, and a 2 week old team.’ It’s fair to say they have a great deal of potential and there’s plenty of time ahead of them to make the necessary changes to win a season, if not this one then it’s certainly worth keeping an eye out for them in the next.
Lindum Colonia from the University of Lincoln is another team that is using the season to warm up their new roster with Bread and Perseid waiting until the first day of the season to join the roster. The core of the team, however, has pedigree, managing to reach the top 10 of the past 3 seasons. Their experienced captain and IGL Browny has made large contributions towards those results, not only dictating the play in game but also recruiting the two newcomers and slotting them into the roster to immediately become competitive with some of the best teams in the League. Having lost narrowly to Beijing university they concede that more work is in order, stating that ‘With more experience, we could have won’ and they ‘just need more practice to gain a good structure.’
De Montfort University’s ‘umirin?’ have caught everyone checking out the two exclusive NUEL first place hoodies they use to protect themselves against the cold caused by their fire going out way back in Winter 2016/17. Since then they’ve managed comparably worse results placing 26th in the Spring and dropping out after week 2 in the Summer. The titles were claimed with a roster including powerhouses EHM and J4CK who have since left the team, leaving Juicy and Prydzy to attempt a return to the spotlight with a completely different team surrounding them.
A special thanks to Adam ‘ADD’ Butler who helped a great deal with this piece and also to all of the players who replied and gave us an insight into your team.