Raptors Win ESL UK Premiership

Counter-Strike

Raptors Win Final CS:GO ESL UK Premiership

Raptors EC cement their place in the UKCS history books forever after being crowned champions of the Autumn 2023 season of ESL UK CS:GO Premiership.

This prestigious championship not only earns the #1 spot in the UKCS rankings but has also propelled the teams global ranking to 68th in the world.

This win comes off the back of the hard work and dedication of the players, who have been working towards this achievement since Daniel ‘Papp’ Hart (Coach) and Rasmus ‘Zodi’ Frolich (IGL) joined Raptors back in November 2022.

Qualifications were difficult for the Raptors; the first two closed qualifiers saw powerhouses Verdant and Endpoint take the two available places.

We asked Papp what his thoughts were going into the Open Qualifier:

After being unsuccessful in the first two closed qualifiers, were you still confident going into the final Open Qualifier against the likes of Into The Breach and ex-Coalesce, or was the pressure felt in the team?

“Qualification stages were different everytime, since we played with a new person each week with Zodi being away. Because of that I don't think we really felt the pressure also going against teams like ITB, I feel the pressure is always on them.”.

The Raptors then advanced in the online open qualifiers, beating Pirates Esports 16-8 and narrowly defeating Jack3d 16-13. However, they faced a setback against Into The Breach, losing 16-6, largely due to an outstanding performance from Bymas.

This loss pushed Raptors into the lower bracket where they overcame Team Invictum and had a close rematch victory against Jack3d, 16-13. The highlight of the lower bracket was a best-of-3 rematch between Raptors and Into The Breach. Raptors won the first game 16-13 on Inferno, with notable performances from ReegaN, ifan, and AwaykeN. Into The Breach edged the second game 16-14 on Overpass, thanks to Smooya’s dominant play. But the Raptors came back strong in the final game, clinching a 16-7 win on Nuke.

Concluding their challenging journey, the Raptors secured their spot in the ESL UK CS:GO Premiership Finals at Insomnia 71.

The Finals

The finals took place at Insomnia 71, featuring a stunning stage setup (as shown). In the quarterfinals, Raptors comfortably defeated Team Invictum with two 16-4 victories, despite Invictum having the support of Raptors fan and fellow Dragoni representative, Godku.

The semi-finals brought an eagerly awaited matchup: Raptors vs Verdant. Verdant had previously won the first closed qualifier under their old organisation, Viperio, and now, with a new roster and a significant deal, faced immense pressure to perform.

In the first map, Ancient, Raptors claimed a 16-10 win, with AwaykeN achieving a notable 1.52 rating. They narrowly led 8-7 in the first half and dominated in the second. The second map, Nuke, was tight. Raptors led 9-6 in the first half. Verdant fought back, winning the second half 8-7, but fell short with the overall score settling at 16-14 in favour of Raptors. AwaykeN shined again with 27 kills and a remarkable performance across both maps.

We asked AwaykeN how important his display was:

Vs Verdant, you had a crazy couple of games, with an overall rating of 1.44. How much did this help the team in closing out the series in quick fashion, and do you think if this went to three maps your performance in the grand final would have been different?

“Yes I had a good game individually but my team played really well too which made us win 2-0. I think it wouldn't matter even if it went to map three as I was really focused and was feeling the game and such things don't matter to me.”.

The Raptors achieved their dream by reaching the grand finals of the ESL UK Premiership for CS:GO. In the semi-finals, Endpoint quickly defeated ex-Coalesce with scores of 16-2 on Inferno and 16-9 on Vertigo. This set up a Raptors vs Endpoint grand final.

The 3-map series consisted of Ancient, Vertigo, and Inferno. Game 1 saw Endpoint dominate the Raptors 16-6, highlighted by an impressive performance from Azuwu. However, the Raptors rallied in Game 2, securing a close 16-14 victory on Vertigo, with Azuwu again putting on a remarkable 32-kill performance, but it just wasn’t good enough for Endpoint.

The deciding Map 3, Inferno, was intense. With the scoreline equal at 13-13, it seemed overtime was imminent. However, the Raptors secured the final three rounds, winning 16-13, largely thanks to Ifan’s standout performance of 29 kills. With this victory, the Raptors triumphed over 10-time ESL Prem winners Endpoint to clinch the final ever CS:GO ESL UK Premiership.

We asked ifan a question regarding his big performance:

As the most recent addition to the team, how did it feel to put up such a big performance in Map 3 vs Endpoint to ultimately win the entire tournament?

“So for me personally it's obviously nice to have played well, its the last map of a big tournament, but at the same time I think its important to know that my team set me up so well in that game, we had really good comms and trades and when you do the basics right it allows people to shine, same with ReegaN for example on the map before, he absolutely farmed up. I have played for a while now so I feel like used to pressure and I am really happy that I was able to step up and help the team win.”

The win is not only a massive achievement for the team, but also a major milestone for the organisation, who have had faith in the team since signing them in the beginning. As we move away from an era of CS:GO and ESL UK Premiership, what comes next?

We asked Brad Heaton (CEO) a question about what comes next for Raptors Esports Club:

After reaching such a big milestone in UKCS, and with ESL Prem now coming to an end, what comes next for Raptors Esports Club?

“Reaching the pinnacle of UKCS is just the start. That has clearly been an ambition of ours from the get go with signing the team in the first place and always providing resource and making calculated decisions to improve the team to get to where we are today. I think we have proven our credibility as an organisation and now is the time to move forward and take the chances that present themselves off the back of such an impactful win. It is hard to predict the future, but rest assured that we will constantly analyse what we have and what we can do to ensure esports success is at the forefront of our operational model. I'd like to thank the players for being all around awesome guys and Dan (Papp) especially for ensuring the team is in the best place it can possibly be. It would have been impossible without the reciprocated support network we have in place.”

The conclusion of the Autumn 2023 season of the ESL UK CS:GO Premiership marks a significant achievement for Raptors EC, who have now secured a prestigious place in UKCS history.

It also opens the door for the talented roster to reach new heights in Counter-Strike, now being afforded a chance at qualifying for ESL Pro League, as well as invites for other competitions such as the Pinnacle Cup and the EU Pro League.

This win elevates Raptors EC‘s global ranking, further establishing their presence in the esports community, and is a reflection of the solid organisational support and an aligned ambition of nothing but success, as well as the unwavering commitment of each team member towards a shared ambition of becoming professional players.

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Counter-Strike, CS:GO, ESL Premiership

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