We’re nearing the climax of the Winter Championship with Monday seeing us say goodbye to 4 of the top 16, leaving just a dozen left in contention for the top spot and the highly sought-after NUEL Winner’s hoodies , as well as some sweet HyperX prizes. This week we’ll meet the other half of the teams that made it to the top 16. For some it will be a chance to better understand the players behind the plays, others for whom Monday was their last day competing it will be a reflection on the teams that made it so far and a look ahead to the next season.
Here’s a look at the rest of the top 16:
BATH A are one to watch after they decided to beat both Warwick and Portsmouth on Monday, putting them in the top 4 with a two-loss buffer in this double-elimination stage. They are the first of two teams from the University of Bath that have made it to this stage, however they are not an established team as their captain, Mystery, is the only one of the previous roster that remains. Earlier in the season he predicted his team’s success in stating he was confident they would at least make top bracket with his ‘superteam’. Mystery is keen to place above the Southampton Shufflers as he still remembers his loss to the team from his hometown in a previous season.
VK Warriors are the second team from the University of Bath but in terms of skill they’re certainly not far behind. Despite being knocked out of the runnings for a podium spot due to two losses the team have performed impressively given that they feature 3 freshers and are ‘Almost complete strangers’. That isn’t to say they’re new to the game by any means, Steemboat has had past experience IGLing and Jabzilla runs a CS:GO-focused YouTube channel. For a first time team their performance is certainly impressive and I would say they have succeeded in their goal to ‘Make BATH A proud’.
No AntiCheat Bananas are a completely reformed roster representing the University of Edinburgh. None of the players from last year’s Winter Championship are playing again now despite placing 12th overall. Instead Winston ‘danzy’ Chu has created an entirely new lineup from a mixture of freshers and veterans that he claims will not only take 1st place, but ‘without dropping a map until the finals’. So far they have been true to his word, only missing out on going into the final 16 in first seed due to an error when signing up for the tournament. They’re self-described as ‘Quirky players with an interesting personality’ which we’ll have to look forward to should they attend a LAN together.
Brighton Panthers are another new roster that is making inroads into the university Esports scene. They attribute a large amount of their success to Stanners, their IGL and consistent MVP. He’s the man to watch if they’re streamed. His contributions no doubt go further than just the NUEL, though, as only this year has the Esports Society received the funding and exposure it needed to allow the players to find each other and the CS:GO team’s success will hopefully further this growth. The team is perfectly placed to exact revenge on the teams that made their qualification a little harder as both Collar Stay Poppin and It’s Nothing Personal are in this final 12 with them.
Beijing University (London) are themselves surprised with the success that they’ve had this season, having placed poorly with a team made up of their core 3 last year. The two new players seem to be exactly what they needed as despite going out of the double-elimination bracket on Monday, they’ve managed to improve significantly on previous performances. Their captain, cheelz, is happy with the improvements that they’ve made throughout the season, getting used to each other and becoming a more cohesive team than when they started. Although you won’t get the chance to see him perform on stream this season, keep an eye out for bozbez in the future for some stand-out plays.
Warwick Old Boys are no strangers to success in the NUEL, they’re another team that it trying to progress past the PUG style and develop some rigid strats to place even higher than in previous seasons. In last year’s Winter Championship 4 of the 5 current roster made up the team that finished 6th, their current roster has been around since the Spring season where they did even better, taking 4th place. The team has put aside all other commitments within the game to have a shot at winning, ignoring the potential for both other NUEL teams and other teams in Counter Strike as a whole. This approach is surely inspired by the dominance of the University of Warwick’s League of Legends team as the uni seeks to show excellence in all aspects of Esports. The team lost to York in their qualifier and are now looking to get revenge.
Sussex Offenders have always had highly skilled players in their lineups ever since MiGHTYMAX from #1 ranked UK team Endpoint played for their lineup in the first NUEL CS:GO Championship in Winter of 2015/16. They’ve taken their heritage and used it to inform their Philosophy, taking the 5 most skilled players they can get and making the team from them. 4 of the current roster have played in two seasons over this last year, placing 14th and 17th however this is their first time in the double-elimination bracket, perhaps owing their success in part to the fresher they added to their roster this time around. It wasn’t always guaranteed that they would make it this far, however, as they lost both of their games in the first week of competition, though admittedly they were to two teams that joined them in the top 16. They’ve won every game since and are keen to show that they are better than when they started.
The story of LJMU.CS is a story to rival twilight. Whilst 4 of the team have been together since last year’s Winter Championship the current roster was not complete until fate had the captain, deviL, spot someone browsing the r/GlobalOffensive subreddit in front of him in a lecture. Since then they haven’t looked back and now regularly go to their local LAN cafe to kill noobs together, winning the last 3 tournaments they have competed in. They recently narrowly lost 16-14 to York and are now eager to show they’re improved.
But no matter which team you’re supporting, make sure to watch the stream this coming monday as the matchups promise to be some of the most competitive we’ve had to date.
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.