A look back at Season 0 of UKIC Varsity

A new initiative from UKIC, the Varsity tournament aims to bridge the gap between Collegiate Counter-Strike, and the wider UK scene. Running alongside the new Division 1 and Division 2 tournaments, there is an opportunity to gain promotion to these tournaments by competing in Varsity.

Coming into the tournament, six teams were invited based off of their NUSELO rankings, which were calculated using results from previous seasons of NUEL and NSE, the two other University Counter-Strike leagues. The invited teams included:

– podbots (University of Southampton)
– UoN Archers (University of Nottingham)
– Half Natty (Lancaster University)
– MamaP (University of Warwick)
– SuperCali (Glasgow Caledonian University)
– Surrey Stags (University of Surrey)

The remaining four teams were decided through an open qualifier, with the following teams getting the chance to compete in Season 0:
– UEA Bluejays (University of East Anglia)
– Strathers Pink (Strathclyde University)
– Bath Boomers (University of Bath)
– Staffs Swingerz (Staffordshire University)

Group Stage

The group stage followed the same format as the other UKIC tournaments, being a round robin that is played over the course of five weeks. UKCSGO laid out predictions for the group stage of the tournament, which were as follows:

1) Podbots
2) Half Natty
3) Strathers Pink
4) MamaP
5) SuperCali
6) Surrey Stags
7) UEA Bluejays
8) Bath Boomers
9) UoN Archers
10) Staffs Swingerz

Following the conclusion of the round robin, the final group stage standings were:

1 – podbots (University of Southampton): 8W 1L
2 – Archers (University of Nottingham): 8W 1L
3 – Half Natty (Lancaster University): 7W 2L
4 – MamaP (University of Warwick): 6W 3L
5 – Surrey Stags (University of Surrey): 5W 4L
6 – UEA Bluejays (University of East Anglia): 5W 4L
7 – Strathers Pink (Strathclyde University): 2W 7L
8 – Bath Boomers (University of Bath): 2W 7L
9 – Staffs Swingerz (Staffordshire University): 2W 7L
10 – SuperCali (Glasgow Caledonian University): 0W 9L

Some of the predictions were fairly close, but a few stand out. Notably, UoN Archers had an incredible group stage to start their campaign in this season of Varsity, only dropping a single map to podbots. They swept aside their other opponents with ease, and went into the playoffs with a point to prove. On the other side of the spectrum, SuperCali were predicted to finish within the top five, but ended with zero wins. This is due to the team folding halfway through the season. Similarly, Strathers Pink were predicted to come in third place, however ended with only two wins from nine, one of those being a FFW against the folded SuperCali.

With the season ending and two teams having to be relegated, only one spot for relegation remained due to SuperCali withdrawing from the tournament. After all the games were said and done, three teams held a record of two wins and seven losses, however it was the home of Alex “Edeninho” Holder, Staffs Swingerz, that ended the season being relegated as they had the worst round difference.

Group Stage Perfomers

With the group stage ending, the top five highest rated players were:

1) Maza (UoN Archers) – 1.55
2) Gizmy (Half Natty) – 1.41
3) retro (UoN Archers) – 1.34
4) Ting (podbots) – 1.28
5) Dutchy (Strathers Pink) – 1.28

[Stats courtesy of Mischief]


After the conclusion of Swiss in the Open UKIC University league (the league that sits below Varsity), two teams have secured promotion, both of them being the second team of an already existing Varsity University. The first team to be promoted is Lancaster University’s Triple Accredited, who won 8/8 swiss matches, and then beat SU Sharks 2-0 in a BO3 to get their spot. The other team to qualify for Varsity S1 was Warwick Roll, who won 8/10 swiss games and beat UCL Eco Cobras in a BO3. These two teams got the chance to play the Varsity playoffs, which went as follows:

In the promotion match-ups, Bath Boomers beat newly promoted Triple Accredited 2-0 to progress to Round 1 of the lower bracket, whilst Warwick Roll swiftly dispatched of Strathers Pink 2-0. In Round 1 of the lower bracket, Warwick Roll fell 2-0 to the UEA Bluejays, who were looking to make a mark in potentially their last match together. On the other side of the lower bracket, Bath Boomers couldn’t continue their winning ways from the previous round, and lost 2-0 to the Surrey Stags.

On the upper side of the bracket, Archer’s continued their fantastic form from the group stages, and beat Half Natty 2-0 (lots of 2-0 scorelines I know!), whilst Podbots finally switched up the status quo and beat MamaP 2-1. Unfortunately the next round of the lower bracket did not get to be played, as both Half Natty and the UEA Bluejays were unable to reschedule their respective games and so had to forfeit them. This set up the next lower bracket matchup of Surrey Stags against MamaP, which Surrey won 2-0.

Meanwhile in the Upper Bracket Final, the Archers fell to the podbots, losing 2-1, meaning that they’d have to fight back against Surrey Stags to get another chance at beating the Southampton team. They did exactly that and didn’t let this stumble knock their momentum, beating Surrey Stags 2-0 (who would have thought?!).

In the Grand Final, the Archers came in hungry, taking the first map of Mirage 13-11, with Oliver “Maza” Mazarelo leading the pack with 23 kills and only 12 deaths. Podbots weren’t ready to give up just yet though, as they fought back on Overpass with a 13-8 victory. Maza‘s 24-13 performance wasn’t enough to help the Archers secure the trophy, it was instead identical performances from Ting and Frosty which won it for the podbots, with both players ending the map on 21 kills and 12 deaths.

The final map of Vertigo was the quickest of them all, with Maza again showing why he was the highest rated player in the group stage. He topped the server scoreboard again with 19 kills and 13 deaths to his name, and after a first half score of 6-6, the Archers ran away with a flawless second half, finishing 13-6, meaning that the UoN Archers are your first UKIC Varsity Champions! They performed excellently and surpassed expectations at every step of the way, and proved that I should not be trusted to make predictions.

This also denies the podbots their desired treble, with Kezham stating prior to the season’s start: “its hard to see how we don’t do the treble”. They’ll be looking to fight back in the next season, which should be starting around the beginning of February.

If you’re interested, the entire bracket for the playoffs stage can be seen below, and the stats for the preliminary season can be found in the below tweet from Mischief: