Collegiate CS:GO is becoming less and less predictable with every season. It used to be easy to simply assume that the season would end with a California school on top, with probably a few other California schools directly below them. Then, we started seeing some Canadian schools in the mix, then came the Texans, and finally, after multiple seasons of simply being “trash tier”, the East burst on the scene take take the title. Now, it seems like every division holds unknown threats and unlimited potential.
Let’s start with the West. It’s the region of rivalry. Lots of history is shared between these teams and many of them know the opposing schools’ rosters personally. It’s not uncommon to see multiple teams at locally hosted LAN events. Full of tradition and talent, there’s multiple squads to look out for this year. UCLA and UCI were both semifinalists last season, and they both got placed in West 1. UCSD, winners of AVGL 2017, are also in that group. It’s a shark tank, to put it lightly. Beyond that, you have your other monsters like SJSU, SDSU, and whatever other combination of S and U’s you can imagine. The point is, all these teams are scary.
Then we go North. It’s starting to get cold, which means more time spent indoors practicing for these schools. Canadian schools are starting to develop incredibly advanced esports programs as highlighted in our piece on Saints Gaming. These kinds of programs ensure that schools and gather elite talent, give support to their players through coaching and development, and of course, involve the entire school in the hype that is competitive gaming. CSL 2016 runner-up team Universite De Montreal still have their core players, the pillars of which are three French brothers, though 3psilon has moved to a coaching role. If you want more on the team, check out this piece from 2016. There’s also the established Ryerson, a staple of every league CSL offers, and University of Ottawa, a top 8 team from last season. And of course, the classic SFU and UBC rivalry will get the spotlight in Division 1 North 1. Lots to watch above the border.
Texas is Texas. I could make a joke about having an affinity for shooting things, but the fact is that they always have a presence in CS:GO. Matthew Mcconaughey Fan Club is still probably the best team name we have in CSL.
And last, but certainly not least, the East. Once the region that no one took seriously, they are now the region that holds the largest juggernaut in CSL. Baruch College are the defending champs, but they aren’t resting on their laurels. They have arguably improved their squad with the addition of 4sh0t, member of the team Torqued that is playing on ESEA MDL. That doesn’t mean we should ignore everyone else in the East. NYU is back this season and the impending matchup between them in Baruch should offer an interesting early test for the reigning kings.
Overall, this season is set to be the most exciting CSL has seen. There’s more talent, more rivalries, and more potential for greatness. The competition opens up with literal explosiveness as we head to Nuke. Let’s get it on!
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