Shane 'Daddy Shane' Massaad, David 'Faraday' Meehan, and Jordan 'SynonymForTree' Reece, the victorious York captains

Roses E-Sports 2017: York whitewash Lancaster in a dominant performance

Established in 2013, Roses Esports began as an unofficial competition between Fragsoc and LUGES, the gaming societies of York and Lancaster respectively. After several years of trials, the competition was eventually added to the official Roses line-up in 2016, with Lancaster taking the series 2-1 to earn 4 points for their university. With Roses returning to York in 2017, Fragsoc were determined to take revenge and score a home Roses win, and did so in convincing fashion, defeating Lancaster 2-0 in Dota 2, League of Legends and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive to complete a 6-0 whitewash and secure the all-important points for York in a hotly contested Roses event.

Game 1: Dota 2 – York 2-0 Lancaster

The day kicked off with Dota 2, a staple of the Roses Esports competition, having been played at all five iterations of Roses Esports. Last year York captain David ‘Faraday’ Meehan lead his team to a dominant 2-0 victory over Lancaster, and backed up by a huge MMR advantage, York looked like they had very similar intentions going in to the first map. It was Lancaster, however, who picked up the first few kills in Game 1, capitalising on Faraday’s aggressive positioning and using the stealth of Nyx to quickly reduce him to 0/3. York kept their composure, however, and continued to maintain solid gold and XP advantages on their core heroes, as well as picking up kills of their own, but the game really opened up with a massive team wipe in the 16th minute: an initial 1 for 1 trade quickly turned in favour of York, with Fyre’s Lifestealer ripping apart the split Lancaster forces. The game quickly snowballed out of control, with multiple towers falling in quick succession for Lancaster, and an uncontested 25 minute Roshan enabled York to brute force their way into the base and close out a comfortable first game win.

Game 2 started in a similar way, with a smart roam from ootachi’s Bane picking up an early first blood onto Exilion for Lancaster. Fragsoc were quick to respond, however, and kills were traded frequently throughout the early game. Lancaster looked ready to take the lead with a 3 for 1 trade at the 10-minute mark, but York’s objective pressure kept them in the game in terms of gold and XP, this allowed them to take an early Roshan in the 13th minute. Despite remaining even in kills for much of the early game, Lancaster’s failure to pressure any objectives led to a considerable lead for York, and they soon used this to brutalise the visitors. Whilst the end was far from clean, given York’s tendency to style on Lancaster rather than pushing for objectives, Lancaster were never at a point in the game where it looked like they would win, and York eventually closed out a dominant 2-0 victory in 32 minutes. Lancaster were unable to take the initiative throughout the series, and quickly crumbled under the pressure in two quick victories for the home side, giving York a 1-0 lead in the Roses series heading into the second game of the day.

Game 2: League of Legends – York 2-0 Lancaster

Next in the order of play was League of Legends, the second MOBA of the day. Roses 2016 saw York veterans the Minster Men crumble to a 2-0 defeat against a strong team from Lancaster’s Chinese society, and York were looking for revenge, as well as an early points victory for the home university. Backed up once again by a massive rank differential they were clear favourites heading into the series, and soon demonstrated their quality. A slow start to Game 1 was broken by an impressive solo-kill from York’s star mid-laner Jason ‘udaq’ Luong, who went on to kill his lane opponent AUFault multiple times. Lancaster’s jungler EdMySuffering made a questionable call to pick Rek’Sai early in the pick/ban phase, and the champion’s weakness was soon exploited by York. Multiple kills onto him enabled York to open up the map with multiple towers and neutral objectives, and they quickly established a 13-0 kill advantage and a 10,000-gold lead. Lancaster briefly gained momentum after they picked up 3 kills off of a well-timed Shockwave from AUFault, but they were unable to stop York taking Baron, and a sloppy dragon attempt ended in a steal from Daddy Fred. Lancaster were unable to threaten York from this point on, and York coasted to a Game 1 victory.

Game 1 was the warm-up, but Game 2 was a massacre. Lancaster attempted a high-risk high reward composition, picking up several heavy damage champions, and took York’s favoured top-laner Shen away with their first pick to try and enable some more proactive plays. Despite this, their first engage in bot lane ended up being turned disastrously in favour of York, who picked up 3 kills uncontested and secured the first turret in the process. York began a relentless assault on Lancaster’s objectives, and Freddie ‘Daddy Fred’ Payne picked up two quick triple kills on his signature Graves pick, reaping the rewards of his teammates’ selfless play. Once they fell behind, Lancaster were unable to contest York with their lack of damage, and York needed very few neutral objectives to take the nexus, closing out a perfect game in 21 minutes, not dropping a kill or a tower in the process. York thus secured the LoL series with a crushing 2-0 victory, and also gave the society an unassailable 2-0 lead in the Roses series, giving them an early victory over Lancaster heading into the final game of the day.

Game 3: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive – York 2-0 Lancaster

The series might have been decided, but the closest game of the day was still to come in CS: GO. York had beaten Lancaster in the most recent NUEL fixture, but Lancaster had been lacking their star player Enigma, who carried them to a second-place finish in the league overall. This made Lancaster, who also defeated York in a convincing 2-0 last year, the favourites going into the first map of Overpass, but it was York who picked up the knife round, and thus their very much preferred CT side. Lancaster were able to bounce back in the pistol round, however, and quickly converted into a 3-0 lead, though this was soon evened up to 3-3 after York took the first gun round. York continued their strong return with 4 rounds on the bounce, with nice kills from Rasclart, Synonym and TheBCG bringing the score to 7-4, and the half ended 9-6 in favour of York. With their star player lagging behind his team in kill contribution, Lancaster needed a strong start to the second half: it looked like the pistol was going their way after they created a 3 on 1 situation, but Rasclart heroically defended the planted bomb with his life, and York turned their close pistol round victory into a comfortable 12-6 lead. For a while it looked like York’s smoke-heavy take on B site would prove too much for Lancaster, but Enigma and Exparilis stepped up, hit their stride, and brought the game to a deadlocked 15-15 at the end of the first 30 rounds. To overtime we went, and York stepped up to take 2 crucial T-side rounds, and were able to immediately hold Lancaster the round after to take a close 19-16 OT victory in game 1, setting up a potential 6-0 whitewash for the York teams going into game 2.

After losing their own map pick of Overpass, Lancaster were looking uncomfortable heading into York’s pick of Cobblestone. Losing the knife round didn’t help, and York once again started on their renowned CT side. A quick 3K from York’s captain SynonymForTree secured the pistol round, but a sloppy hold on B site gave Lancaster the second round, and they converted to 3-1 after the economy break. A tight series of rounds were exchanged back and forth, ending in an 8-7 lead for Lancaster at halftime. After taking a comfortable pistol round victory they looked set to snowball, but in a repeat of the first half, York reset Lancaster in the 2nd round of the half. This proved to be a costly mistake, as York took 4 rounds on the bounce and with it a 12-9 lead in the game, and Lancaster proceeded to crumble. No player was under-performing for Lancaster in terms of kills, but York were so much more efficient with theirs, able to secure round after round with only the occasional reply from Lancaster. A final spray from TheBCG, York’s top-fragger for the second round, secured the win in the 28th round, giving York a comfortable 16-12 victory on Cobblestone, a 2-0 win in the series, and completing the 6-0 rout for Fragsoc at the event.

Thus, York completed a dominant victory over Lancaster at Esports 2017, taking 4 points for the competition and enacting their revenge for last year’s defeat. Whilst Lancaster battled hard in each and every game, they were outclassed at every turn by York’s players in a brutal display of strength from the White Roses. Whilst the day was marred by severe technical difficulties, the quality of gameplay was not affected. With Lancaster sent packing, York will celebrate their victory, and look to take the momentum forward to next year, when Fragsoc challenges LUGES on home turf.

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Charlie Hill

MA in Global Literature and Culture student at University of York. eSports fanatic, Smash4 enthusiast, aspiring LoL coach for UoY Bother. I read and write about video games.