This Monday undoubtedly saw the best Counter Strike of the tournament with the Grand Final of the NUEL CS:GO Winter Championship delivering a nail biting finish to the season.
With Lancaster coming into the matchup with a one map advantage, BATH A did incredibly, eeking out two 16-14 finishes to bring the tournament to the final deciding map. However the exceptional plays from the Bath players proved not quite enough and the Lancaster Bombers comfortably picked up the remaining two maps, making them this seasons champions.
Lancaster newbie Enigma proved his worth in the opening map of the series, racking up over 30 kills. However Bath IGL mystery led by example and as a team they closed out Overpass, relying on a clutch play from SOS to prevent overtime.
This was a bad sign for Lancaster as they couldn’t just rely on Enigma to step up and some adjustments would be necessary if they wanted to finish the final on top. On Mirage they played as a team with the incredible 34-8 score from Exparilis only making their victory easier. This map saw perhaps the most VAC-worthy play of the tournament as BeanBoy fended off four hunting Lancaster players to save his awp. The play, whilst flashy, sadly had little impact, not even preventing the Bombers from buying fully into the next round.
The third map, Inferno, was another 16-14 win to Bath with mystery making up for his poor showing on Mirage. Again he arguably made the difference between a win and a loss, averaging roughly a kill a round on both Overpass and Inferno.
This led the teams to the deciding map and it was Cache that was going to conclude the series. Exparilis must have done a good job at keeping morale high after suffering such a close loss as the team maintained their cohesion and showed few cracks. The Lancaster Bombers took their place atop the podium after a simple 16-7, proving that they are the best team not just of the map or series, but of the tournament.
The Lancaster Bombers maintain their stellar online performance, looking strong throughout the championship even through the top 16 right to the final map. If this roster stays together for the next season then they are clear favourites as this victory has undoubtedly made them even stronger, giving Exparilis more experience leading his team and allowing Enigma to find his place where he comfortably performed. It should also be recognised that a large part of this team’s success is thanks to Tobz’ consistent impact frags, not putting up huge numbers but frequently making the difference between winning and losing a round.
For BATH A, the confident ‘superteam’ led by mystery shows incredible promise when considering that this is their first season playing together. Mystery was right to have confidence in them and I personally hope to see them stay together as their potential is clearly huge.
This final saw some amazing Counter Strike being played by young players, I hope the NUEL continues to grow and with it grow the community of talented CS players in the UK. Join me next season in reading about, playing in and watching the scene grow.