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ÉpiqueLAN: A return to the mecca of UKCS

After four long months our desires for EPIC.LAN has returned – bigger and better than ever.

Not only do we have 34 teams playing, – the most teams competing since 2019 – previous EPIC.LAN winners, but the cherry on top of the cake is an ex-Major winner. Sit back and enjoy as we take you through the revamped format, your favourites for the LAN, and most importantly, why are Kenny “KennyS” Schrub and Cédric “RPK” Guipouy in Kettering?

“The defuse clip”

Updated scheduling format

As many of you have seen, our residential stats mastermind MischiefCS, has a fully revamped format to support the higher number of normally attending teams.

EPIC.LAN simulated bracket demonstrating the new formate.

Many of you (like us) looked at this graph and went “What the hell”, and that reaction would be valid. However, while this is a radical change they are trialling, this approach will lead to better quality games and the same schedule everyone is used to.

So where has this system come from? It’s a format that combines systems that have been used in the Dutch chess circuit, Norwegian King-of-the-Hill Swiss and then closest to home is it’s based on what some may have played in University CS. In Uni CS the seeding matches are more hidden and less noticeable when a team is sent upwards on a loss.

So why has this change happened? Previously EPIC had four groups, but to keep the same number of groups, they would have had to extend the schedule by a realistic minimum of 2-3 hours. It would be more susceptible to delay and there were concerns regarding player and staff welfare. Eight groups were also ruled out as a majority of teams would get significantly fewer main tournament games, worsening their value for money and games would have limited value due to the high skill disparity in them. Eight groups were also not used as they’ve been tried before and don’t particularly go well, you can use 2xBO1s in eight groups but it just leads to repeats of bad matchups or an extended playoffs which leads to a very long day.

The format being used for this LAN is a vertical group Ladder, each round you are within a group, winning will see you progress and losing will see you demoted. Throughout the day you can progress upwards and downwards in the ladder , at the end of the stage the higher you in the ladder the better your finish. The stage consists of 7 rounds for every team and a final tiebreak round for some teams to determine seed in the bracket or making playoffs. It is essential you make sure to correctly report your scores as your performance in each round will affect the successive round.

Overall this new format maintains a good level of game time, – seven to eight rounds –  and maintains or improves the quality of gameplay, pitching you up against people of similar levels.

There will be a live spreadsheet tracking each round during the event for those who want a deeper look at how they are doing, and by large all progression between groups is dependent on whether you win or lose. There are some special cases and they have more detail on the EPIC.LAN which you can see for more in-depth explanations.

The Teams

Now that we understand the new format, let’s take a look at some of the names we want to be keeping an eye on this weekend.

K10

Starting off strong we have reigning UK LAN winners K10. At the tail end of last year, they won their first outing with the new organisation at the UKIC League Season 0 Finals. Heading into the new year they nearly mimicked Viperio’s magic in the PGL CS2 RMRs as they fell at the penultimate hurdle to KOI in an intense overtime game.

Unfortunately, there have been some setbacks for the team as captain Ryan “dox” Young retired from competitive Counter-Strike. Luckily for K10 they could fill the IGL spot with Jacob “Rezst” Hemming who had IGLed previously for Genk. Finding a new fifth necessitated a break from a UK core, as they added former Apeks Rebel Steffen “SLY” Amundsen. Currently 8-3 in ESEA Advanced and 4-1 in UKIC Divison 1, the team’s only weakness right now looks like their recent roster instabilities.

Tree60 celebrating at the UKIC Fall Finals 2023

TLR

Up next The Last Resort comes into Kettering off the back of a win versus Verdant in UKIC Divison 1. Going 8-3 in Main and just behind K10 in UKIC Divison 1 with a 4-1 scoreline, the core who came second last EPIC.LAN – under the K10 banner no less – will be looking for retribution.

Losing Jamie “Tree60” Callan is going to negatively impact any team. However, with the additions of upcoming AWPer James “Flicky” Errington and rising rifler Fizan “Fizzy” Anjum they have landed on their feet. What TLR lack in experience they make up for with brawn and instincts. Vying for Advanced qualification and LAN upsets, you do not want to count this budding team out.

Coalesce

Coming in is fellow ESEA Advanced contender, Coalesce. The former DuckDuckGoose team that qualified for the UKIC League Fall 2023 Finals landed themselves an organisation heading into the new year. With some issues between AWPer Lukas “luccs” Zdanavičius they added William “wfn” Maskrey who had recently come back from a break after leaving Arctic Raptors. Prior to leaving his former team, wfn came top three at EPIC.LAN 38, and was a key component for Raptors EC making ESEA Advanced. Moreover, they signed Matthew “moz” Gelder after he stood in at UKIC.

wfn returns to EPIC.LAN representing Coalesce

Soul’s Land

A team that surprised everyone last LAN returns once again to see if they can cause a raucous once more. Soul’s Land the fully Chinese lineup made top four last EPIC.LAN and even then didn’t go out with a fight, taking K10 to all three maps. What most people might remember fondly is Soul’s Land having their HLTV game streamed by a famous Chinese streamer named Machine who streams on the platform “douyu.com”. We never have been able to confirm the number of viewers the stream had, but there is a very high chance it was the most concurrent viewers ever on an EPIC.LAN game.

Since their rise to UKCS glory, the team has been struggling online. The Chinese team has since made roster changes, replacing Xuchen “Kisynergy” Duan and Jihang “Wh1mzzz” Wu with Deg1l and EthanChen. Currently, they sit dead last in UKIC Div 1 going 0-5, and 4-7 in ESEA Main trying to save their spot. Will they be returning to Kettering to replicate the same heroics as last LAN, or will they be forgotten?

Soul’s Land bringing in huge viewership numbers at EPIC.LAN 40

Raptors EC 

The final team to highlight has to be Raptors EC’s new roster which is currently 6-5 in ESEA Main and 6-0 in UKIC Division 2, sitting neatly in first place. With prospective youngster Igorek supported by experienced Swedish AWPer in Alex “PALM1” Palm and with Icelandic legend Heiðar “Midgard” Flóvent Friðriksson returning to competitive play, this new Raptors EC roster went from not being very competitive to being a team you will have to take notice of in the future. The test is now what can they do this LAN?

The Mixes

The Neighbours

The EPIC37 champions return to reclaim their crown. Owen “smooya” Butterfield has some free time, with The Witchers disbanding in acrimonious circumstances, and he teams up with the former 7AM core of James “bevve” Slinn, William “dobbo” Dobson and Adam “Adam9130” Ahmad, who have similarly had a month to forget. Rounding out the roster is EPIC’s joint-most decorated champion – Matas “Extinct” Strumila, a six-time winner here. It is a testament to the quality of this mix that even though they are going up against the domestic champions, anything other than an event win will likely be considered a disappointment.

Rum Bumpers

Another team that needs little introduction. With Jack “JackB” Burton on the team, this mix is just as likely to shatter eardrums as they are to shoot heads, and they bring the experience of Arkadiusz “ifan” Dabkowski and Josh “JAUSTERE” Philpott to the team as well. The highlighted name, however, is Cai “CYPHER” Watson, the former Into the Breach player who has been plying his trade with Team SoloMid and BLEED Esports most recently. While those stints have not gone too well for the Brit, perhaps a return to Kettering’s halls with his former CeX team-mate Josh ‘Yoshwa‘ Ryley is exactly what he needs.

Can CYPHER perform like he did in Paris in Kettering?

Royals

Royals “don’t practice”, but they seem to be doing alright. Now that peekers’ advantage has been patched, things are looking up for them. They are 5-0 in UKIC Div 2 and have revived their ESEA Main scoreline from 1-4 to 6-6, with young uni CS star joey proving the difference-maker on the server. As long as they keep Oskar “oskvr” Myszka away from the vape pen, Kyle “Swaggy” Wilson and co should be both a fun addition to the LAN hall and tidy on the server.

Disco Diggers

The perennial mixers, Shuaib “shoobie” Saddique and Isaac “Isaac” Patto, return with Rhys “Rhys” Stumbles and some friends. Shoobie was rather shockingly upset at the ESL Premiership Autumn 2023 BYOC, failing to make the stage games after an unexpected defeat in groups. What they lack in original names they make up for in experience, having attended plenty of LANs over the last few years. Either they’ll triumph, or they’ll get lots of data for Shoobie‘s external project DemoDive, so win-win really.

Can Isaac or Ghil make it out of groups?

Anita Max Wynn

Viperio are not present after their move to an international roster, but one of their players is. Marco “MMS” Salomone heads up the Anita Max Wynn roster along with genetexe’s ghil and seiren, with youngsters Stop_it and trouto filling out the lineup. MMS was victorious last time out with Raptors EC, but he may have a job on his hands to carry this team to a similar title.

And do give a shout-out to our UKCSGO representatives: dbdan (JTM Fan Club), meffew (TYREECE SIMPSON), and Arnie/Stetson on Database Checkers.

Le Tank and The MagiciaN set to enter Kettering

Some Counter-Strike legends have walked through the halls of Kettering: Henry “HenryG” Greer, Luke “KritikaL” Green, Joshua “steel” Nissan to name a few. Now we can add two more celebrities to that list, as French titans RpK and kennyS will be coming to Kettering as part of an activation with TradeIt.gg.

KennyS was an early pioneer with the AWP, with many speculating that nerfs to the weapon in 2015 were designed specifically to counter his aggressive playstyle. He won a major with EnVyUs at Dreamhack Open Cluj-Napoca 2015, along with 10 other notable trophies during his career. He was HLTV’s MVP for all but one of those trophy wins, and though his career would decline after 2017, he remains popular as a streamer for Saudi organisation Falcons. RpK never won a Major, but “Le Tank” as he was known had a long and illustrious career starting in 2006. He was part of the VeryGames lineup that dominated Source, and though he would retire in 2012, he returned a few years later in the wake of KQLY’s VAC ban winning 6 trophies in Global Offensive before a second, final retirement in 2021.

Who will take the showmatch bragging rights this LAN?

TradeIt.gg will be sponsoring the CS2 tournament at EPIC 41, giving an undisclosed boost to the prize pool for the event. It’s not the first time they’ve been involved at EPIC, having supported the Binmen vs Granny’s Knockers showmatch last time out, in aid of Breast Cancer UK. This time however there are bigger promises including giveaways and treasure hunts, as well as an official TradeIt MVP award for the best player at the event.

The French duo will be meeting and greeting fans, with photo opportunities and 1v1s promised as part of the sponsorship. They’ll also be taking part in a showmatch in support of Special Effect’s Game Blast 24 campaign, a gaming marathon taking place the same weekend as EPIC. The showmatch will be held on stage at the event with the exact schedule to be confirmed.

Talent

Starting off the talent list strong is the mighty duo of Tim “TIMMO” Musters and Harry “index” Bayliss. Set to make their third consecutive appearance at EPIC.LAN, you know it will be a good one. Our next duo comes with upcoming Dutch caster Orson “SeveralSheep” Schuijers and Overwatch caster making his debut for Counter-Strike at EPIC.LAN Izaac “Spectrion” Bailey.

Hosting our finals will be none other than UKCSGO’s finest Leyna “Affinity” McQuillin. Joining her will be someone who has EPIC.LAN running through his veins Nick ‘ReaperSteve‘ Stevens. Finally, another newcomer enters EPIC.LAN looking to make their mark in UKCS, Kuinno.

Counter-Strike 2 Casters – @SeveralSheepCS | @indexCS | @TIMMOcs | @Spectrioncasts pic.twitter.com/fEal63UeIv

— EPIC.LAN UK Gaming & Esports Events (@EPICLAN) February 19, 2024

Fantasy

Last but not least, the EPIC.LAN 41 Fantasy. Check out Mischief‘s tweet down below and build your super team for this weekend!

New format means new prices, EPIC41 Fantasy is now out!

View competing teams: https://t.co/ghlPyWrGPQ

Make your fantasy team: https://t.co/C0DaWwTDLa

Also there are pickems, find them at: https://t.co/MkJtYO7xHb

As always, huge thanks to @lutafatootoo for the hard work. pic.twitter.com/wM7uq0HRLV

— Finn (@MischiefCS2) February 21, 2024

The post ÉpiqueLAN: A return to the mecca of UKCS appeared first on UKCSGO.

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