Last weekend saw the grand finals for the Spring season of UK university league NSE (National Student Esports) play out, as top university sides from across the country went head-to-head, Jake Nordland reports.
NSE’s 2020/21 season saw more than 1,700 teams from 100 universities across the UK – the highest participation in NSE’s history.
£6,800 in prize money was claimed during the Spring season as the UK’s best battled it out live on NSE’s Twitch channel, with epic.LAN handling production.
The University of Warwick retained their title as UK Esports University of the Year, winning the award for the third year in a row. You can read about Warwick’s 2020 NSE Esports University of the Year win here.
Warwick secured the title after finishing first in NSE’s British University Esports Championship (BUEC) league table – a cross-game ranking of the best esports universities in the UK.
Warwick fielded more than 40 teams of all standards during the year.
Joshua Mankelow, president of the Warwick Esports society, said: “Our first two wins were great on their own, but this third win really allows us to say that we’re creating a legacy in university esports. A legacy of excellence and sportsmanship that future students will be inspired to surpass.”
Daniel Zeng, who was president of Warwick Esports for the duration of the competition, added: “I am incredibly proud of everyone’s efforts over the past year. I handed the society over to a bigger and better team, and I have no doubts that we’ll be pushing the limits for what university esports has to offer over the next year.”
NSE Finals results: Which UK university teams won?
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
- University of West England – £500
- University of Bath – £300
- Newcastle University – £200
CSGO’s Friday grand final pit the University of West England’s Sea Stags against the University of Bath’s A team.
UWE took a very convincing early lead on Dust 2 with a 14-1 half. Bath claimed the ensuing pistol round, but were shut down by the Sea Stags’ force buy and lost the map 16-3.
A second map on Nuke was much closer, with the teams taking turns to string multiple rounds together in a half that ended 8-7.
They traded gun-round wins back and forth into overtime, where UWE claimed a 19-17 win to take the series and first place in the CSGO championship.
- Bournemouth University – £300
- University of Salford – £180
- Loughbourough University – £120
Rocket League’s grand final on Saturday saw the Bournemouth Barracudas impress with an utterly convincing five-game sweep over their challengers, Salford Lions.
Salford’s default 1-0 advantage coming from the upper bracket meant little as Bournemouth took them out in consecutive maps that initially appeared close, but culminated in a one-sided 5-1 affair.
Competition for the grand final spot was close. Loughborough took Salford Lions to game seven in the upper final, but faltered 2-4 in the lower final against Bournemouth. Portsmouth Paladins, who went in as strong contenders for at least a top 2 spot, were eliminated early in the lower quarter-finals by University of West England.
- University of East Anglia – £500
- University of Portsmouth – £300
- University of Lancaster – £200
As the newest addition to NSE’s range of championships, Valorant delivered an exciting two-match final on Sunday between the Portsmouth Paladins and UEA Bluejays x Rootkit.
With the University of East Anglia squad on match point in game one, Portsmouth staged a late and impressive comeback, but ultimately failed to convert the momentum as the inevitable win came in for a 13-10 finish.
An early and convincing lead in the second game for UEA saw the Bluejays reach match point again. But just as the Paladins looked set to try another comeback, UEA’s ‘Maximoose’ shut them down with a post-plant pistol 1v2 clutch to take the series.
- University of Portsmouth – £600
- University of York – £360
- University of Bristol – £240
Overwatch, which boasts the largest prize pool offered by NSE, saw the Portsmouth Paladins battle it out against the University of York’s Underwatch.
Underwatch started out strong with a 2-1 first game win on Control map Busan. The Paladins proved unable to bounce back in their second game as Underwatch continued their form on Numbani, prompting caster Phill ‘BIGGHUNGRYPHILL’ Moxley to describe the series as a potential “NSE grand finals speedrun any% glitchless”.
But after taking a seemingly less serious Anubis map from York, the Portsmouth roster followed it up with another win to take the series to game five. The deciding game saw Portsmouth Paladins end a very tight overtime on Nepal to complete the reverse sweep and win.
League of Legends
- University of Kent – £500 + 1300 RP + 5x 10 Masterwork Chests & Keys
- University of York – £300 + 900 RP + 5x 5 Masterwork Chests & Keys
- De Montford University – £200 + 500 RP + 5 x 3 Masterwork Chests & Keys
The University of Kent, represented by ‘Cabbage Family’, took the University of Bath’s ‘Robins Cringers’ head-on in the League of Legends finals on Saturday.
Cabbage Family found a concise victory in map one with a solid performance of clean, safe plays netting them the win over the Robins Cringers.
York fought valiantly in a longer second game. But a quick teleport away by Kent from a 5v5 team fight to York’s Nexus saw them eventually able to close out game two.
Cabbage Family, who are one of the longest-standing university teams according to caster Harry ‘Docda’ Evans, made quick work of the third map. They collected 24 kills in a quick 26-minute game to close out the series in a 3-0 sweep, and claim their title as the best university LoL team in NSE.
- University of Warwick – £500
- University of Lancaster – £300
- University College London – £200
In Dota 2, reigning BUEC champions Warwick faced Lancaster in a quick 3-0 series. The Warwick Ducks managed to pull out a convincing sweep against Lancaster Bombers Vortex.
Lancaster started with some early pressure in game one but failed to convert it into a win, and a map one loss for the team snowballed into two more increasingly one-sided games in favour of Warwick.
University College London’s UCL Instant Reflex took third place, beating out Nottingham for a prize-pool-finish.
Rainbow Six: Siege
- Newcastle University – £500
- Oxford Brookes Vipers – £300,
- Imperial College London – £200
In the Rainbow Six: Siege grand final, Oxford Brookes’ Vipers took on Newcastle’s Neocitadel.
A strong showing for Neocitadel saw them take convincing a 7-1 win on Oxford Brookes’ map pick, Oregon.
The Vipers proved able to do little more on Clubhouse, claiming a 7-3 scoreline to wrap up yet another NSE series 2-0. Imperial College London’s ‘ReOpen Nominations’ beat out Liverpool for third place.
For a recap of NUEL’s Spring 2021 finals, view this article.