It’s been a triumphant season for the ESL UK Premiership once more. Across four games and two events, twenty-three people were crowned national champions. Let’s take a look back over some of the season's best bits.
Counter Strike: Global Offensive
The Counter Strike tournament was certainly a match of big names, with two squads chock-a-block with the UK’s best mechanical talent, alongside Kioshima subbing in, MNM vs Reason was sure to be a series to remember.
Now on paper everyone had been saying this should be an MNM series through and through, heralded as a heavy favourite, the squad hadn’t dropped a map in the promotions or the group stage and now with Kio stepping into the roster, it certainly looked like they should be an indomitable team.
The score of the day certainly seemed to be 16-6 as that was the score of 3 out of 6 maps in total. After the first four maps, it had already been an incredible back and fourth series leaving the score at 2-2, already a better performance than people had predicted for Reason, they certainly showed up to the event. It was a short lived ray of hope though, as the final two maps went handedly towards MNM and by the end of the day, the organisation had picked up their first trophy of ComicCon!
League of Legends
For League Of Legends we saw the closest playoffs we’ve ever had, with no clear favourite and four teams fully geared to take on the greatest challenge the UK has to offer. The playoffs went to a full 9 games to prove this fact, with each and every match going down to the wire and some results not everyone was expecting.
Despite a very hyped up Excel squad and a fierce performance from TCA, the finals turned out as an Epiphany Bolt vs MNM war, the UK veterans duking it out in a “mix vs team” story as old as the UK scene itself. Epiphany Bolt came in swinging with a bloodbath of a first game, with 24 kills going their way in just 28 minutes, managing to gradually build up a snowball that would go on to roll over MNM.
During the second round, things were much closer, with EB staying even or ahead until just before the 30 minute mark when a baron managed to push MNM into the lead. Within 5 minutes of taking down the purple worm, MNM prove their ability to use the baron buff to it’s full effect and turn that small lead into a victory.
To finish things off, after playing almost solidly for nigh on six hours, MNM proved their indisputable claim to the ESL UK Premiership trophy and the title of the best team in the UK with their simplest win of playoffs. It seems they just needed two games to get a grip on EB and beyond that it was all MNM. Congratulations once again to our long awaited and well deserving UK Champions!
In it’s debut season Overwatch saw some of the most exciting moments in Premiership history. Esports News UK covered the incredible underdog story of Ameizing Team (now MnM Gaming) as they smashed through the opening group of the competition and went on to finish second in the whole competition.
While MNM had a great performance and managed to take the first map in the best of five series, they were the underdog for a reason and, speaking of Reason, they were the contenders everyone’s been talking about. The squad came in with purpose, originally Startspot then team project, the team got picked up by Reason shortly before finals and certainly did the name proud with a final score of 3-1 and the title of best UK team under their belt!
Overwatch was also the battleground for our incredibly successful Charity Showmatch, supporting Sarcoma UK and Macmillan Cancer Support. In that competition, forefront members of the Overwatch community (including Valkia, Phantasy and MissEllaCronin) faced off against the best of ESL UK’s broadcast talent - Joe Fenny, Dan Gaskin, Richard Simms, Jake Neal and Ryan Neal. Our boys did their best, but in the end fell to the might of UK ULT. Over £1000 was given away to charity during the showmatch.
The UK’s premier talent in Hearthstone continued to impress this season, with seven of the eight competitors this season returning again from our first season earlier this year. However, it was new face Jambre who took the cake. A shaky start made it look like Jambre wasn’t a match for the old guard and the current titans (including HelloLeerory and BoarControl) but in the end Jambre acclimatised to playing at the top of the scene and it was his obvious preparation, alongside an off the wall, but anti-meta deck selection, that pushed him to being the final victor on the day.
Special mention must go to HelloLeeroy as fan favourite for the whole season, who brought his own special brand of entertainment for us all to enjoy. Big thanks should also go to Blizzard for their incredible support of UK esports by sending some swag and ensuring everything went smoothly on the technical side. Finally, we’d like to send a grateful thanks to everyone who headed out to Leicester on the day and enjoyed some Hearthstone Bingo and Hop Trotter pale ale with us.
Oh, and last but not least - Praise Yogg.
The ESL UK Premiership is officially wrapped up for 2016, but this is just the beginning. This year has seen the development of so many great communities and organisations in UK esports, it feels like a truly exciting time to be a part of esports here in the UK.
We’ve got so much in the works for next year - it’s difficult not to give away too much now. Stay tuned for more by the end of the year.
We promise it’ll be worth it.
The ESL UK Premiership Team.