This grand final of the NUEL’s CS:GO Spring Championship saw tournament golden boys, 2ez5u (De Montfort University) face lower bracket victors LUGES red (Lancaster University).

2ez5u have only suffered one defeat leading up to this final while LUGES have impressed fending off an array of teams in the lower bracket. They were taken to the last rounds of both maps in the lower bracket final with LU:CS, a hard-fought victory against a team that 2ez5u comfortably dispatched in the upper bracket final last week. Make of that what you will.

However, both teams have shown themselves to be worthy of their spot in the final and it promised to be an evenly skilled match-up which meant all it could take is a little magic from one player to set these teams apart.

 

Map 1 – Mirage

The game was opened by a dazzling exhibition of skill from both teams, characteristic of the final we’ve all hoped for. Thrillhunter took the first frag onto Shaq which set LUGES up for a bomb plant. The formidable 2ez5u showed no sign of defeat though; the accuracy with which they picked off the defending LUGES players was frightening. Both teams were clearly fired up for this match. In a 2vs1 situation, a weakened Lorenzo managed to save the day with some quick movement and impressive accuracy from aps, taking down the defusing Jack and Juicy almost simultaneously.

LUGES took the following three rounds, including the first full gun round with relative ease. In the past 2ez5u have made a point about trying to read their opponents early on in the match, it’s how they’ve crippled teams earlier on in the tournament. Nevertheless, LUGES looked in control of the game and you had a real feeling of 2ez5u trying to actually defend the Lancaster team’s attacks, they looked like they were on the back foot.

But in typical 2ez5u fashion, the boys from Leicester bounced back, forcing Astonex to save while running with zero utility. Expert positioning and accuracy allowed them to retake the bombsite, securing the next round also.

Shaq’s fragging efforts were the highlights of the seventh and eighth rounds, picking up three in each and branding the B site as his. He helped his team to draw level in the match after a rough start with an impervious defence from short, killing two of the oblivious LUGES players and then KEHZUH after picking up a different gun, stringing these movements together as if it was his innate skill.

2ez5u closed out the half at 9-6 in their favour, dropping only two rounds in the process. However, LUGES picked up their second pistol round of the game and also the following round despite a nervous experience with DMU’s force buy, especially Diet Tango’s devastating Tec-9 frags from aps.

But with a reset economy following a loss on DMU’s eco round, LUGES suffered a further two round losses which created an uncomfortably large gap between them and their opponents.

A tense twenty-first round which saw man advantages change like the wind culminated in a 1vs.2 scenario for Shaq. The lethal fragger used skilful spray control to take down Lorenzo from tetris and then danced around the bomb, in and out of the smoke to finally kill the dazed and confused Astonex.

The composure of 2ez5u was astounding. At 14-8, the game, for most is considered to be won – the advantage of rounds in this instance seemed unrecoverable. But the DMU side had the foresight to anticipate a round loss and employ a preventive measure against a LUGES resurgence. Juicy chose to enter the round weaponless, with only armour, grenades and Glock in hand to save money despite Diet Tango having $7,000 in the bank. They did, as expected lose that round and were able to buy in the next one but LUGES resisted their attacks long enough for time to run out, leaving 2ez5u with no monetary reward. Regardless, this was a remarkable show of how relaxed the team from Leicester can be under the pressure of a grand final.

LUGES regained the spring in their step that we saw at the very start of the game, taking four straight rounds from 2ez5u. Astonex’s fragmovie-worthy 3k with the AWP was a real highlight.

Despite taking the game to the thirtieth round, 2ez5u won the map that they picked 16-14. The score line showed just how evenly matched these two teams were and it was reflected in the gameplay. Both teams were able to capitalise on their opponents’ mistakes which saw round advantages change as quickly as a pendulum’s swing.

 

Map 2 – Cache

The game begun with another convincing pistol round from LUGES, Thrillhunter and Lorenzo combined to kill three of the onrushing Leicester men from chequers before KEHZUH mopped up the last two on B plat.

In the second round an effective DMU force buy allowed them to plant on A and kill all, fully bought LUGES players. With money in the bank, 2ez5u capitalised on LUGES’ poverty and took another four rounds from them. They played confidently and I couldn’t help feeling as though it could be another repeat of their decimation of Essex Blades on this map.

After suffering a demoralising string of round losses and a frail economy, LUGES went into the seventh round fully bought. Bugzy’s blind spray into garage found the head of Jack and gained mid control in the process. This limited the attacking options available to De Montfort and they did lose the round and also the next.

This is where the game took a drastic turn. 2ez5u really turned on the style, making LUGES look hopeless, like they have done to teams time after time in this tournament. LUGES didn’t look like the intelligent, clinical team that they are and are known to be because they were being completely outclassed by everything 2ez5u were throwing at them. The half ended at 12-3, hardly the nail-biter of a game I just watched.

If I was a betting man I would’ve predicted a LUGES pistol round win, they had taken the previous three and they had taken them well. Furthermore, they really needed it this time, they needed it to fight for their chance at glory but their punches weren’t strong enough, 2ez5u made light work of their uncoordinated A site approach and punished them with their superior utility in the next round too.

The eighteenth round saw the sign that 2ez5u had already accepted their long-awaited win, Prydzee and Jack steamrolled into garage dealing little damage but it didn’t matter, they were eleven rounds ahead and they wanted LUGES to know it. It ended 15-3.

In the next round, Diet Lemonade was forced into a 1vs2 retake with an AWP and deagle in hand, and of course he pulled it off with the trademark audacity we’ve seen from 2ez5u in these situations. LUGES clocked his position on the site by spotting him early, also aided by his carefree attitude towards making footstep noise but despite this two deagle bullets were all that was needed to drop the remaining LUGES players.

So there it is, it all ended with the previous split’s runners up being crowned the undisputed student champions of CS:GO. Over the past few weeks, watching them outplay every team that faced them has made for exceptional entertainment that could turn anyone into an esports fan. Every Wednesday evening, they have impressed and conquered, not only with their scorelines but also the flair with which they play – they looked like they enjoy their Counter-Strike.

The winners will receive NUEL hoodies and £40 steam wallet vouchers, to the victors go the spoils.
– Connor Jones