Last Wednesday, the first stream of the British Esports Student Champs 2022/23 season took place, with four teams battling it out in Valorant live on the British Esports Twitch channel.
Tommy Blurton looks back on the action between OSFC One and LSEC Thunder, as well as the Confetti Arrows and Loughborough Lycans.
Ellis ‘Ellibear_’ – Host
Vlad ‘Waxen’ Catusanu – Caster
Elias ‘Eko’ Wylde – Caster
Elliot Bond – Stream Producer
Jacko – Observer
Match 1 – OSFC One vs LSEC Thunder (Bind):
Echojet – Brimstone
Hammerbeef – Sage
Wa Ge – Skye
Crusty Richard – Reyna
BIGBADBORIS – Raze
Seem – Jett
Galaxxy – Chamber
Hype – Reyna
xDworth – Astra
Kaen – Killjoy
Thunder seemed electric on the attack, crashing a huge storm on top of OSFC One. Round 1
and 2 were hyper-aggressive B pushes that OSFC One were simply not ready for. An
adrenaline-filled Seem, on the Jett, consistently cracked open the defence, allowing LSEC Thunder to pour in like rushing water. This really set the mood for the preceding half. Kaen secured each round
win with impeccable utility usage (producing an ungodly amount of KillJoy lockdowns) and
Seem continued to draw crucial first bloods for LSEC Thunder. Relentless speed on both A and
B sites seemed to throw OSFC’s defence off balance. The first change in pace arrived at the 9th
round with Thunder slowing the BPM of the match, opting for an A-B split. This sudden
alteration in speed allowed Thunder to surprise Reyna in A short like a deer caught in
headlights. These subtle changes in tempo were wonderful to watch from this team. Round 10
was bought and paid for by an all too familiar KillJoy ultimate and round 11 was another
intelligent speed shift in Thunder’s play style. Jett lurked on A whilst the team executed a B
push, luring OSFC’s A players into a false sense of security. A lot of proactivity came out of
OSFC in the first half, attempting to fight fire with fire it seemed like LSEC were anticipating
each show of aggression, fluidly adapting around them. Despite being 11-0 in the last round of
the half, OSFC One kept rigid, unwavering composure that is really to be admired considering
the mental strain put on the players. The defending Raze secured the first blood with clean
confidence and precision, but once again KillJoy’s ultimate locked this round down for Thunder,
allowing them to start the switch on match point.
Finally allowed to embrace the attack side of this map, OSFC was tasked with a seemingly
insurmountable climb, knowing each mistake could be their last. The attack OSFC showed us
did not reflect any nervousness or timidity – they refused to cower to LSEC. OSFC One’s fast B
push led to chaos, and bodies being traded and traded – Kaen even got a quick and nasty
double with a Frenzy. But when the dust settled OSFC One emerged on top, attaining their first
round. With the momentum garnered by One swung up A short. Once they had swept the site
and forced a rotation from Thunder made the quick decision to use the teleport onto B and fend
off the retake there. This quick and creative decision paid off and they rendered another win.
OSFC One opted for another fast B push in their 3rd attempt on attack. The spike got planted
but Thunder’s aggressive retake won out and ended the game.
This match was a non-stop hypersonic train jam-packed with impressive displays of egotistic aggression from both sides. It’s unfortunate that OSFC One did not get more of a chance to show their attacking half, because this is where they came alive. It is obvious that both teams are attack-heavy so it would be interesting to see the outcome if OSFC One began as the attackers. It is certain that there was a huge amount of loud talent in the lobby and it offered us an entertaining start to the Student Champs season.
Match 2 – Loughborough Lycans vs Confetti Arrows (Breeze):
Khizo – Sova
Manda – Jett
Prospect – KAY/O
Aceee – Viper
Naz – Chamber
Pikaflash – Sova
Sinnvalo – Neon
D1amondmaker – KAY/O
Asta – Viper
CharleyDx – Chamber
Confetti began as the attackers, opening things on Breeze with a strategic A push. With Aceee’s
Viper wall up and splitting the site in half, Khizo’s Sova dart hits the back site and all the players
funnel onto A. The spike went down and a retake was demanded from Loughborough – Confetti
brought the fight to Lycans, pushing up along Khizo’s viper wall, and they knocked down each
player one by one giving the Arrows a flawless first round. These types of tactical executions
surrounding Viper’s utility are always expected on a map like Breeze where space is so
fundamental , so this first round was emblematic of how the game was expected to play out.
The second round hit like deja vu – Confetti orchestrated another quick push on to A site off the
Sova drone and the Viper wall. Upgraded guns in the hands of Confetti meant the Lycans had to
remove as many as they could with their low buy. This moment showed us how cohesive
Loughborough can be, moving like one organism. They removed players with impeccable utility
usage and map knowledge but ultimately Confetti the round. Khizo was the heart and soul for
the attack side, orientating these site hits on A and B from all corners of the map with precision –
this forced the Loughborough Lycans to play catch up on the defence.
Alongside these premeditated strategies Naz on Chamber introduced an occasional jump scare with his lurks up through mid – the perfect agent to do these types of ratty plays. There were multiple rounds in which value was derived from Chamber lurks, whether it was a mid push or split push, Naz would plant himself mid and introduce an element of surprise to this meticulous attacking half. The 5th round showed us Lycans adaptive capabilities and this got their first point on the board.
Up 6 points, Confetti decided to call a timeout right after an explosive round win involving many of their ultimates. The discipline to slow down the pace of the game solidifies this team as professionals who came to win. They were met with a refreshed defence. Incredible opening shots from Lycan’s Viper led the team to their second round win.
The scoreboard at this point did not represent how tight this game felt, but attacking on Breeze has historically been the easier job. So, like in the previous game, it came down to the ability of the attackers in the second half to crawl back – retaining their mentality throughout. The last round of the half was by far the best showcase of skill level prevalent in the lobby. Confetti’s Naz on the Chamber attempted another lurk which did not work out, but their Viper performed an unbelievable lurk through their ultimate all the way to the back site of B. This on-the-fly thinking and coordination from the Confetti Arrows sets this team up to be a scary contender in future games. Loughborough remained tapped into the game, leaving both Sova’s to skirmish in a 1v1. Due to the momentum the Arrows already had by this point, the attacking Sova planted A site and waited dutifully to pop his ultimate to stop the defuse. The patience and timing was steadfast from Khizo and the half ended 10-2 in the favour of Confetti.
The switch presented Loughborough with a huge mental challenge – momentum needed to be garnered in order for them to close the distance. The Lycan’s hit the ground running with a fast B hit but the defenders quickly snuffed out their fire, choking them from all sides. The scoreboard now stood at 11-2 and match point within arms reach for Confetti. Following this, Loughborough opted for an A push but planted Chamber up mid in order to catch any overzealous rotating defenders. This lurk paid dividends, securing the round for the Lycans. Confetti now had to save, and this presented an opportunity for the Loughborough players to gain that much needed momentum. The defence chose to stack A but the Lycans hit B site, and off the back of an unbelievable Sheriff shot from Prospect on KAY/O, Confetti found a chaotic thrifty win in this round. This left Loughborough one point away from losing this game. The next round showed us why the Lycans opted for Neon over Jett – moving in with a fast A hit using Viper’s ultimate allowed the spike to be set in motion. Bodies began dropping quickly, with each kill being traded. The defenders got the spike half way defused and it really seemed that all was lost for Loughborough, until it was revealed Sinnvalo on the Neon was deep in mid, sniping Jett with a Vandal through a slither of pixels, stopping any chance of the Arrows finishing the game there and then. This beautifully creative angle from Sinnvalo kept the Lycans clinging on to this match. With confidence back in their veins, all the Lycan players pushed A halls, and opened the door leading onto A site. Lycans killed Chamber, the solo site defender and quickly dominated the site. This subversion of Confetti’s expectations allowed for the attackers to turn the tide. A lot of ultimate’s came out in the next round, creating a hectic scene and it ultimately favoured the attacking side. After that another fast push came rushing out of the Lycan players, and it was obvious they had found their feet. Loughborough smacked 7 points on the scoreboard – Valorant is at its best in the midst of these comeback stories. Nerves start to show from Confetti at this point so they pull a timeout.
After the timeout Loughborough went full out and threw everything they had at the defenders on A site. A KAY/O, Sova, and Neon ultimate got invested which allowed them to force their way on to site. The Lycans lock down A and make it their fortress, but an incredibly fast and cohesive retake comes bursting out the gate and they meticulously dismantle the attackers – the advice from the Confetti coach sent them over the finish line and the match concluded 13-7.
Looking for more Student Champs action? We will be streaming matches live on the British
Esports Twitch channel every Wednesday during the academic year – so stay tuned for more