Epic28 has been and gone, and Fierce Esports made a splash!
On a cold, wet Thursday up north in the Fierce PC/Fierce Esports offices, staff prepared for the long journey south. The rental van was picked up, the Fierce PCs and AOC monitors were carefully fitted inside, and Fierce Esports staff were just about ready to depart. The Fierce players—from the Rainbow Six: Siege and Counter Strike: Global Offensive teams—made their way to Kettering from all over the country—and beyond.
Staff arrived in Kettering at around 6:00pm and began setting up the equipment. Prox, Keenan and Nathan from the Rainbow Six team were the first to meet us at the entrance. We met Whitey, the new Fierce Esports CS:GO coach, for the first time, along with our newest addition Jenko—formerly of Endpoint. They were accompanied by Fierce CS:GO captain Astroo, who has been our skipper for over seven months (an eternity in esports). Fierce Esports staff proceeded to lug the first load of electronics through to the main room before setting up the equipment.
Fierce Esports staff pull PCs into the venue
Hours passed since the first of Fierce arrived at the Kettering Conference Centre. PCs have been connected to the EpicLAN network after endless graft, and Fierce are ready to check-in at the hotel—an old-fashioned, homely barracks housing all members of Fierce Esports for the weekend. The players and staff that have already arrived in Kettering head back and relax, just about ready for bed. Impulse, Fierce CS:GO AWPer, is exhausted—he’s been awake since 4:00am having flown from Belgrade. It’s almost 11:30pm. Then, in a panic, ardiis—also of the CS:GO team—drops a message in the Fierce WhatsApp group chat. He’s accidentally hopped on the fast-train from Liverpool to London.
Wondering if an overnight B&B in central-London was on the horizon, a panic ensues, and the CS:GO team members scamper online in search for another train to Kettering. Thankfully there are a couple yet to depart from London St Pancras, otherwise our entry-fragger would have been stuck, and Fierce would have been a player short.
At around 12:30am, Ardis finally arrived in Kettering on the correct train. The CS:GO team found a kebab shop and had supper. Then everybody made their way to bed and prepared for a long, intensive weekend of gaming.
Fierce Esports Day 1 – Seeding
The next day, the teams were up bright and early for day one of Epic28. Everyone donning the black and orange of Fierce Esports—staff, Rainbow Six, and CS:GO members—was up at around the same time. After some team photos and a quick bite to eat, the teams ambled down to the Kettering Conference Centre and started warming up on their new Fierce PC setups.
Friday was a tournament seeding day for both teams. Both the R6 and CS:GO teams entered Epic28 as favourites, so you’d be forgiven for thinking Friday was a foregone conclusion. It was.
Keenan (Rainbow Six) feeling confident on Friday
Let’s start with the R6 team. In 9 matches, the squad won 63 out of 73 rounds played, easily going undefeated. Their closest match was against Exillium Esports, another ESL UK Premiership squad. Fierce R6 beat them 7-4 in a best-of-one contest during seeding, which was the closest anyone got to scratching the team.
Flawless first four games for Rainbow Six!
They played six other relatively easy seeding games on Friday before the upper-bracket quarter-final. This was the team’s first best-of-three and was played against TeamZPE. Prox and his team dispatched of their opponents in 16 rounds, dropping just two.
Exillium were one of the surprises of the weekend, performing well in Rainbow Six: Siege as well as Counter Strike: Global Offensive. After breezing through their first five games, Astroo and company for Fierce CS:GO were forced to make a sizeable comeback to see off Exillium’s CS:GO branch, taking the map 16-14. They then dealt with LionsCreed in their upper-bracket quarter-final, with both Fierce Esports teams headed into day two without dropping a map.
Fierce Esports Day 2: Upper-Bracket Semis & Final
On Saturday, Fierce Esports Rainbow Six’s first match was against Peak Esports in the upper-bracket semi-final, which saw the boys in black and orange drop their first map of the weekend. They managed to recover, however, comfortably taking maps 2 and 3. On to the upper-bracket final—where they once again faced Exillium.
Fierce never looked uncomfortable on their way to the grand-final, seeing off Exillium 7-3 in maps 1 and 2. This meant Exillium were in the lower-bracket final to face Peak, who they eliminated from Epic28 with relative ease. On Sunday, Fierce Esports were to meet Exillium for the third time, this time in the grand-final.
Fierce CS:GO also faced their toughest test yet at 10:00am on Saturday in their upper-bracket semi-final—once again, Exillium Esports were the opponents, just 16 hours after their previous close encounter. In parallel to Fierce Rainbow Six, Astroo and company dropped their first map.
Fierce (CSGO) take a big upper-semis pistol round
The first map was lost 16-12, but Fierce dug deep and took the second and third maps 16-7 and 16-8, respectively. Next up was BuzzKill Esports in the upper-bracket final, which was the kindling of a 24-hour rivalry between the two sides.
Fierce (CSGO) take the overtime win in upper-final
This was a tightly contested affair, highlighted by the double-overtime on Mirage, the first map. Fierce managed to see off BuzzKill 22-20 behind a 41-kill performance from Frei, however, which took us to map 2—Fierce’s map pick, Nuke. This was another close game, but Fierce saw it out professionally, winning 16-12 and taking the series 2-0. Both teams representing Fierce Esports at Epic28 headed into Sunday to compete in their respective grand-finals.
Fierce Esports Day 3: Grand Finals
Fierce Esports’ CS:GO squad began their grand-final against the resilient BuzzKill Esports—a team Fierce had just bested in a nail-biting upper-bracket final. Their five players—Puls3, Luzuh, MiGHTYMAX, soulcas and Thomas—are each highly respected in the UK Counter Strike scene, their mixed squad a challenging blend of experience and talent. Map 1 of the grand-final was to be played on Vertigo—Fierce’s pick. Map 1 was tightly contested, but Fierce won 16-11.
On to map 2—Train, BuzzKill’s pick. Suddenly, after pretty smooth sailing all weekend for Fierce Esports, they were handed their first real beating, losing out 16-5. The match was over in a blink.
(CSGO) The final map
Then came map 3. This time Inferno was the map of choice, and once again, BuzzKill stampeded out of the gates. By half-time, the score was 10-5, and Astroo and company had their backs against the wall.
BuzzKill then won the vital pistol round to begin the second half, securing the next two rounds and making the score 12-5. By this point BuzzKill had all the momentum, and before anybody knew it, it was 14-5. Fierce were on the brink of losing the grand-final.
Fierce Esports CS:GO had no choice but to step up, and that they did. Brick by brick, they began to piece rounds together, mounting an incredible comeback. Each round they overwhelmed BuzzKill, and just as easily as they were down, they had brought things level. The score was 14-14, and the comeback of the century was on.
(CSGO) Comeback of the century?
Whoever takes round 29 will likely win the tournament. In the Epic28 arena, a thick crowd of fans gathered around the Fierce Esports team to witness the final moments. Fierce—currently on T-side—push the A-bombsite but are held by MiGHTYMAX and soulcas. Impulse comes agonisingly close to clutching the round with the AWP after rotating to plant at B. He couldn’t complete the 1v4, and the match was now 15-14 in favour of BuzzKill.
Round 30, match-point to BuzzKill. Luzuh, BuzzKill’s AWPer, drops ardiis. Fierce Esports respond with a mid-push and through A-long. Three members of Fierce push through, but nobody checks long-corner. MiGHTYMAX lies in wait, holds his nerve and waits for them to pass. He sprays all three down, leaving Astroo in a 1v5. He is picked off, and BuzzKill take the map, series, and tournament. GGs to them—silver medal for Fierce Esports CS:GO.
(CSGO) MiGHTYMAX seals Fierce’s fate
Rainbow Six: Siege Grand-Final
But the tension at Epic28 didn’t cease there. At the same time, Prox and his team for Fierce Esports Rainbow Six were preparing on the main stage. After a weekend of uninterrupted, smooth gameplay on Fierce PC systems, the team were made to switch for the grand-final.
No break in rhythm was ever going to impede Fierce’s onslaught. Prox and his team blew Exillium Esports away, comfortably taking maps 1 and 2; Villa ended 7-2 and Club House 7-3. The team placed their seal firmly on the tournament after looking unbeatable all weekend.
Winning moments for Fierce Rainbow Six
The lads took centre-stage to claim their trophy. Fierce Esports were Epic28 Rainbow Six: Siege champions.
Overall, the weekend was a huge success. Despite Fierce Esports CS:GO’s deflating grand-final loss after dominating all weekend, a silver and a gold medal from two tournaments isn’t a bad haul. Fierce players and staff then spent the next two hours disassembling the Fierce PC systems and loading the van. Players bid one another farewell, and that was the end of Epic28.
A huge thank you to everybody at Epic—the work they did all weekend was stellar. In November, we may once again see both teams at the same LAN event, this time competing in the ESL Premiership Winter Finals. The CS:GO team recently qualified for the LAN Finals, going 7-0 during the online stage. The Rainbow Six team are still playing their online stage but hope to qualify, having gone unbeaten in four games thus far.
A phenomenal showing from Fierce Esports at Epic28—onwards and upwards for the lads!
This article was written by Billy Studholme, Esports Coordinator for Fierce PC/Fierce Esports and freelance esports journalist.