Cambridge defeat Oxford 5-0 at 2022’s Esports Varsity
This brings Cambridge into the lead in the history of Esports Varsity, with 5 all-time wins to Oxford’s 4
Cambridge’s Esports teams beat Oxford’s in all 5 matches at the 9th instalment of Esports Varsity, which was played out across an entire weekend on June 25th and 26th 2022 at the Red Bull Gaming Sphere in London. The light blues’ latest win brings Cambridge to 5-4 ahead of Oxford in the all-time history of the event.
On the first day of competition, Oxford and Cambridge’s Counter Strike: Global Offensive and Valorant teams battled it out across two “Best of 3” series, with Cambridge’s CS:GO team defeating Oxford’s 2-0, and Cambridge’s Valorant team securing a competitive 2-1 victory.
The second day of competition saw Cambridge complete a clean 5-0 sweep over Oxford for the first time ever in Esports Varsity history, with the Cambridge Overwatch team winning 4-1, League of Legends team winning 3-1, and Rocket League team winning 4-1.
The CS:GO match was first up on the morning of June 25th, and saw Cambridge defeat Oxford in strikingly dominant fashion: Cambridge took the first half of opening map Dust II by 13 rounds to Oxford’s 2, ultimately winning out the match 16-4, and looked set to repeat this domination on the second map Mirage, as they tore ahead to lodge a 12-3 scoreline by the end of the first half.
Although Oxford attempted a valiant comeback at the beginning of the second half – a strong pistol round to open up allowed them to race up to 12-5, and Oxford’s “TriggerMuffin” then denied Cambridge’s “Fourlom” the chance to achieve a legendary 4v1 clutch in the 18th round – Cambridge quickly stepped up their game to close out the map 16-6, with a 1v1 clutch from Cambridge’s “aftermath” in the final round securing them the 2-0.
This brings Oxford and Cambridge level to 4-4 in the history of Varsity CS:GO. Cambridge Captain “skeletman” said of the win, “This was our third time playing against the Oxford team this year, we beat them early in the year but the second time we played them they had some great prep and got a convincing win against us, so it was all to play for. This time, though, we showed up big in the server, we were hitting our shots and they couldn’t stop us even when they had the read on us.
“Playing in person was great, we brought great energy and cheer, while also communicating clearly and staying focused. My team were excellent and so much fun to play with. Fourlom was hitting highlight after highlight, aftermath had some huge impact, Haber’s aggressive play won us so many rounds, and Ben was just so dependable no matter how tough the situation.”
Oxford CS:GO Captain “matt” added poignantly, “The Oxford team is fantastic, just needs to work on communication, aim, map awareness, crosshair placement, economy management, pistol aim, awp flicks, grenade spots, smoke spots, pop flashes, positioning, bomb plant positions, retake ability, bunny hopping, spray control and getting kills.”
The Valorant “Best of 3” followed the CS:GO to round out the first day of play, and the Cambridge team won the series 2-1. The first two maps were a close affair, with opening map Bind lost to Oxford in a close 14-12 and second map Breeze won by Cambridge with a tight 13-11 scoreline, but the Cambridge team regained their form for third map Haven, which they won in a strong 13-4 showing.
Cambridge player Zaki “R4DAR” Lim said of the series, “It was a tough series of matches, Oxford put up a good fight, narrowly taking the first game in a shock defeat for us. We almost got knocked out after game 2 but after a few heroic smokes from our Captain “Timimimim”, the utility God Udunno managed to pull off the defuse of the century.
“After that, we found our heads and game 3 we were all just hitting our shots and we completed the reverse sweep. It was an intense 3 games and I’m glad we put on a good show for the loyal viewers watching.”
The Cambridge Overwatch team, captained by Ciara “Silk” Aberdeen, opened the second day of play on June 26th with a very solid but perhaps unexpected 4-1 win against Oxford, as “Silk” commented, “The team were pretty worried going in, Oxford actually have a former pro player on their side, but we were able to isolate and focus on him very effectively once we got comfortable.
“The MVP was Joshua “Hypersycos” Pollick who made some amazing plays, looked great on the Pharah as usual and was able to utilise Reaper’s Death Blossom extremely effectively, given it’s a very difficult ability to use.
“Oxford has a somewhat lopsided ability spread which forced them to pretty much only play one team comp, and they only ever used combos centred around their star player, whereas our players were all very strong and we were able to set up lots of different plays based on which abilities we had available. It’s criminal that we could only have one MVP, any player on our team could have won the award.”
League of Legends followed, with the Cambridge team managing to secure a very convincing 3-1 win, their Captain “char” telling The Tab, “It was really fun taking part in the Oxbridge Varsity. I knew before it started that our team was confident in winning but Oxford’s team was also confident they would win so I expected there to be some long games. We did end up losing the first game which scared a couple of us but we got our heads together for the next games.
“Honestly the early parts of many of the games were pretty close and favoured Oxford but we did well overall and I’m super proud of us. I think we all thought there would be a game 5 after the Olaf pentakill in game 4, but we managed to turn it around.
“Overall, I think listening to the jungle’s calls really helped us but the team’s capacity to weak/strongside at different times was pretty key. No hard feelings between any of us, we all got pizza together afterwards! Looking forward to the next Varsity event.”
The Cambridge Rocket League team rounded out the second day of play with yet another victory for the light blues, winning their match against Oxford 4-1 after going in as the heavy favourites against a slightly weaker Oxford team.
Captain “Isaac” echoed this sentiment, “It was super fun, we went in as overwhelming favourites so for Rocket League it was much more of a social thing! It was lovely meeting the Oxford team and making some new friends with the shared interest – we’ve even planned to meet up next week to watch the next international Rocket League event in London together!
“As for the game, obviously we’re very happy with how it went. It was really fun playing to a crowd and being able to get some really nice goals and wins for the uni pride, as well as sealing the first ever sweep in Esports Varsity history!”
A hugely successful event for the Cambridge side, 2022’s instalment of Esports Varsity not only saw a great level of competition between the two universities, but also great levels of sportsmanship and comradeship which sum up the spirit of the event.
One of the organisers, Vice-President of Cambridge University Digital Gaming Society Ciara “Silk” Aberdeen, thanked all those involved, with a few special mentions, “There were so many people involved in organising, but I want to thank Leah, Andre, and Sameer, for helping with organising and production on the day, it couldn’t have happened without them.”
Feature image credits: Leah Weir (left) and Zaki Lim (right)