Cambridge lost the best of five series 4-1Louis Ashworth

A spirited but inexperienced Cambridge side were unable to stop a relentless Oxford team from claiming back-to-back victories in the eSports Varsity. The competition, now in its fourth year saw gamers from both universities go head to head in five games: League of Legends, Overwatch, Dota 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Hearthstone, with Cambridge only victorious in Hearthstone as they slumped to a disappointing 4-1 loss to the Oxonians.

It was the first League of Legends match of the day that set the tone for the rest of Cambridge’s performances across the board. Playing a best of three series, the Light Blues fell to a disappointing 2-0 loss. While Cambridge dominated the early proceedings, with Alex Franklin playing as Zac getting off to a confident early start in the top lane, they were simply unable to consolidate their position as Oxford’s superior scaling during the team fighting stage, which ensured they took the first game with ease.

The second game was more one-sided than the first, with Oxford’s jungler wreaking havoc while Franklin, arguably Cambridge’s best player in the first was unable to stave off a number of two-on-one attacks early on. The Cambridge team were seemingly unable to adapt to Oxford’s change of tactics and characters, and although they fought valiantly in two team fights towards the end of the game, they simply could not surpass the near-insurmountable gold lead that Oxford had accrued.

Oxford also claimed a 2-0 victory in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Oxford narrowly won 16-12 on the Overpass map. The Train map seemed to be a much more one-sided affair at first with Oxford comfortably dominating for the majority of the map. Despite Oxford going 15-7 up, a single round from victory, Cambridge resiliently fought back to win six consecutive rounds and bring the score to 15-13. Unfortunately for the Light Blues, though, they ran out of momentum as Oxford claimed the 29th round to give Oxford an unassailable 16-13 lead. 

They entered the game as strong favourites, having recently been ranked fourth in the country.

Cambridge will most likely see the loss in Overwatch as their biggest missed opportunity. They entered the game as strong favourites, having recently been ranked fourth in the country. Unperturbed by their underdog status, the Oxford team put in a number of dominant performances to ensure a 3-1 victory in the best of five series, including near walkovers on the first and last maps, Dorado and King’s Row.

A distraught Alex Franklin looks on as Cambridge lost their first match of the dayLouis Ashworth

Oxford came away with another 2-0 victory in Dota 2 to secure the title for the Dark Blues. The drafting and laning phases in both games were relatively even, however, Oxford’s nightly team practices clearly paid off as they were better able to impose their game plans from the 10-minute mark onward. Oxford’s victory avenges the 2-0 drubbing they received at last year's competition, and ties the two universities for games won over the history of the eSports Varsity at two apiece. 

The Cambridge Hearthstone team was able to redeem Cambridge by beating Oxford 3-2. The matches kicked off with Cambridge’s ‘Meati’ (Tom Wayland) clean-sweeping Oxford with his N’Zoth Paladin and Control Mage. In the next round, Oxford managed to out-value ‘Aftershock’ (Laurence Cook), who won with Freeze Mage, but whose Miracle Rogue fell victim to its own draws. In the third match, Cambridge took it back as ‘Goodshport’ (Maxim Shport) won two games in a row against Oxford’s Control Mage with his Warrior and Paladin counter-picks. The fourth match sealed it for Cambridge as ‘Telephos’ (Thomas Clausen) piloted his Midrange Hunter and Miracle Rogue decks to a 2-0 victory. Although the victor was decided at this point, the last round was nonetheless the most memorable for everyone watching. In the first game, the meme-worthy Hungry Crab Druid deck of ‘Jamieson12O’ (Jerry Jamieson) absolutely destroyed Oxford’s Midrange Paladin to the audience’s thunderous applause. Unfortunately, his Hunter then failed to utilize its crustacean win conditions against Paladin Druid, leading to a final score of 3-2 to Cambridge – giving the Light Blue team some consolation.

Cambridge:

League of Legends: Alex Franklin, Melchior Chui, Samuel Silvester, David Yukuan Tao, Arlen Liu

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive: James Hinshelwood, Harry Michalakakis, Nis-Julian Kneusels, Jerry Jamieson, Matthew Laven

Dota 2: Yuan Han, Gintautas Kamuntavičius, Alexander Di Stefano, David Atkins, James Pigden

Overwatch: Kin Jong Poon, Will Carpenter, David Almasan, Tomas Ostasevicius, Justin Auger, Mykolas Zupkauskas

Hearthstone: Tom Wayland, Laurence Cook, Maxim Shport, Thomas Clausen, Jerry Jamieson

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