The Aston name is known throughout the entirety of NUEL, as a powerhouse of some of the most skilled teams across the university esports scene – and their CS:GO division is no different. Since their inception in 2015, the team have climbed through the NUEL ranks, with their most recent summer run only being brought to a standstill in the finals by the Loughborough champions themselves – something I’m proud of; being the ex-team captain of the Clutchers! Now that the dust of the summer finals has settled, and the first week of NUEL winter has crept in, I caught up with Assassin_V4 to tell us his story.
Assassin_V4 was a name seen representing the Clutchers early in the 2015 Winter League, and was chosen to be the support player due to his knowledge of seemingly every smoke in the game. However, he was soon dropped through the acquisition of ex-jr Nerdrage Academy AWPer Zephyr, in favour of the team’s individual-skill based approach to the game.
Assassin did not let this deter him, as he headed straight for the headshot servers to begin the grind to claim his place back onto the first team. It took until late spring for the decision to be made to return Assassin to the active roster.
“Aston and the NUEL was my first taste of competitive CS … Revan, Liam, Stanley and Anas, I was playing around good players, I really enjoyed the competitiveness”
“It did grind my gears that I wasn’t picked up again by the first team for so long, because I felt I became more than good enough and I put more effort in than some of the first team”
(On returning to the roster):“I felt like I’d finally been acknowledged, it was a good feeling, but I still had the motivation to be the best on the team”
Looking back at how he improved, Assassin cites his teammates, notably khaniv0re for his success. While the basics were taught by Revan, Assassin talks about how his time in an ESEA team with Aston’s new captain, khaniv0re, was crucial to sharpen Assassin abilities, creating one of Aston’s finest fragging machines.
Now one of the core players of the roster, Assassin & the Clutchers had an important task on their hands; replace their previous team captain, who had since graduated. With the winter league fast approaching, tryouts for the first team and second team were combined into a single ten man game on Aston’s home map – Cache. Though Assassin admits to the crudeness of analysing skill through a single best-of-one map, his confidence in every player and the team as a whole was hard not to notice.
“It’s been a struggle… it’s hard to find a 5th who’s as good as Revan … Andu made some decent plays against KCL … Turn and Fall is also a name to be excited about… Everybody in the team respects everyone else. Zephyr is vital to our success. He’s a very impactful AWPer.”
Changes in the team appears to have changed very little in the fragging power of the roster, convincingly dispatching of once-rivals King’s College London 16-6, though teething problems of a new roster showed more strongly in the following game, leading to a loss against Bath’s A team.
Discussing other NUEL teams to look out for, Assassin was quick to point out the extremely high individual skill of the Loughborough side, the formidable executes of Staffs CS:GO, and the hilarious names of all Sheffield Hallam teams. Individuals who received praise included Aston Juan’s very own Ltlmx, who Assassin describes as following a path very similar to his own journey to the top.
“We respect Loughborough because of summer, they’re full of good players. The sick thing about NUEL is that there’s loads of high quality UK players who could get into a UK team, given the chance, playing at the highest level. They have that potential… There are players in the second team that are just like me, with that drive to get better. Ltlmx has been talking to me throughout summer – I can tell he’s improved in a very small time period, he’s got a lot potential and can only get better”.
The Recipe for Aston Magic
Closing out for the interview, I asked Assassin how Aston were able to establish successes in League of Legends, winning the 2015/2016 season and representing NUEL in transnational leagues, and also find success in CS:GO, reaching the finals of the summer split. Assassin paused for a short while to think, before attempting his best shot at nailing the source of the university’s accomplishments;
“I dunno. We’re just good.”
It will be interesting to see if the Aston Clutchers can maintain the highest level of play in an ever-expanding and increasingly competitive NUEL championship, and what twists and turns Assassin and the Clutchers story may continue to take throughout the Winter League. Tune in at 7:15pm next Monday evening to see some of the hottest UK University teams in an all out brawl to become the NUEL CS:GO Winter champions!
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