There is no title within competition that brings more mysticism and prestige than “Undefeated.” With every game that passes, more and more spectators join to see if the “0” will fall and humble the untouched back down to the realm of the normal. And with every match, more and more pressure is piled upon the players to maintain their focus and, most of all, to not screw it up.
Division 2 currently has nine teams clutching to their undefeated titles. Coming back from break will provide new challenges for each of them, and only time will tell who will be left standing once the season is over. We are going to highlight four of these teams to examine what got them here, what their experiences have been, and what they plan for the future.
RMU has been a mainstay of collegiate esports and CSL in general for a long time. It comes as no surprise then that a school that takes esports seriously on its campus is capable of presenting multiple high level CS:GO teams. RMU held their tryouts over a 2 week period and sorted the players into where they fit best.
“...for most of us it's the first time we're playing together; so we all have to adjust to our each others play styles and tendencies.” - Jordan "Plasmaraider" Johnson
The team has definitely found their synergy quickly, and you only have to ook at their record to confirm.
16-1 vs. University of Kentucky
16-1 vs. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (OMAE WA MOU SHINDEIRU)
16-3 vs. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (ILLINI C)
16-1 vs. Northern Illinois University
But looking over their record, you can also find a match that had them against the ropes.
“I think our most notable matched was against UIC, it was honestly the first time we were tested all season, and that caught us off guard. For the first half of the match we were really on our back foot but managed to recover, finishing the match 16-10 and closing out an undefeated season.” - Johnson
That game was exactly what the team needed to spark renewed dedication.
“...we encourage people to play on a team outside of CSL because the more time you can put into the game in a structured environment the better, and that really shows when you get put in a tough situation like we were in against UIC.”
We will see if longtime competitors RMU can use that structure to keep their lossless record intact.
If RMU represents structure and stability, Queen’s represents… something else.
“Couldn’t be bothered to practice and put in actual work so we decided to play div2. All pug no strat. 2 of our players know as many smokes combined as the number of limbs u have.” - Team “Captain” Slypie
Division 1 Queen’s player and coordinator for the D2 squad Renpei “Vos” Chen says the team was formed last year when “Queen's eSports Association” came together at the school. At the time of its forming, Chen was a player on the D2 team but was coordinator for both D1 and D2. This year, he’s moved to the main team along with both returning and new players. But it’s obvious from our correspondence that Chen… doesn’t exactly know what to think of the D2 team he watches over: “Slypie (who seems to be calling himself the captain) gave these responses. I wasn't planning to include them but he really insisted and I ended up promising I would attach it somewhere in the email. He wants you to use it but all I can say is, that probably isnt a good idea.”
Scanning through the team’s match data, it becomes apparent that the squad may be winning in spite of Slypie, considering he consistently drops into negative KDA. But his charisma is undeniable, so we’ll let him explain why his team has been successful this season.
“Our games are FFA, do whatever until we think we may actually lose. We should be losing to anyone that practices and is decent at the game. I guess that says a lot about Canadian DIV2 teams. How we’re winning, we have no idea, but we don’t really care either. We in it for funsies, nothing serious at all. We’re garbage, we have really good players, but we’re garbage. Next season when it matters is when we’re gonna be serious." - sLyPIE “LE TEAM captain”
We’ll have to see if Queen’s University really does “try” and are able to keep the wins coming this Spring.
Next up, we head South to look at Georgia Tech. The team has had a very different journey through collegiate esports than many of the other D2 CS:GO teams. This season is more of a nostalgic reunion for veterans than it is young players trying to prove their worth.
“Our players used to play for our D1 team, so they've definitely had experience with collegiate CSGO. I believe their most notable accomplishment was winning NCeSPA 2015 championships against University of British Columbia's CSGO team... When [the players] were offered the opportunity to play with each other again in a low-stress environment, everybody jumped at the opportunity.” - Dennis “Qwerert” Li
The team’s focus this season is to have fun, and no one on the squad is really looking into the future. Most of them are graduating by the end of the year, and this season represents one last chance to test themselves competitively.
“Funny enough, we didn't form this team until after tryouts for the Tech CSGO teams had already occurred, so, with the approval with our D1 team's captain, we were able to register our team as the second D2 team from Georgia Tech in CSL.” - Li
The team has enjoyed an undefeated record this season, but there was one match in particular that had the team desperately holding on while their “0” was under siege. They were taken into double overtime against Kennesaw State University and barely squeaked out a 22-19 win. But it’s moments like these that brought the team of veterans back to CSL; and with their combined experience, winning is just coming naturally.
Whether or not these players will keep their reunion blemish-free will have to be seen.
While the old-timers are having fun at their reunion, other schools are experiencing an influx of freshman that want to make esports the next big thing on their campus. Alex “Ax99899” Arcasoy took it upon himself to organize and legitimize his school’s CS:GO team.
Before even coming into the school, Alex reached out to an on campus gaming club to test the waters and see if anyone showed any interest in competitive CS:GO. The club told him that they didn’t have anyone taking the initiative, and charged him with seeing his plan for a team through. From there, Alex became a member of the esports club’s board and the group was able to gain approval from the student organizations committee. Now, the Northeastern University e-Sports club not only have their school’s blessing, but an undefeated and powerhouse CS:GO team in Division 2.
The team has enjoyed success with relative ease this season, but as many of the other teams in this article, hit a slight road bump along the way. Champlain College took NU into overtime where the team had to prove their worth and managed to secure a 19-17 victory. It was a close match, but NU was able to keep their undefeated record intact. Outside of CSL, the team is testing themselves in the ESEA arena. Their most notable match was a loss to the semi-pro squad Miami Flamingos that became the determining factor in them not qualifying for ESEA IM. But Alex is only looking to the future when it comes to this team and school.
“In the future, we are planning to participate in the next ESEA Open tournament as we were eliminated by a semi-professional team during season 26. We also are thinking of taking part in the AVGL tournament in the spring, setting up school-wide casual tournaments, and I am in the process of trying to set up a Boston LAN tournament with a few other leaders in the e-Sports community for the universities in our area. I am hoping that through all of these events we can prove to the community and our administration which funds us that we can really dominate. Through that, we are hoping to get a gaming room set up for all of the competitive eSports teams within our club.”
The future is bright for the young team, and watching where they go in CSL and beyond will be interesting to watch.
Four very different, very unique, and very skilled teams. Being undefeated comes easily for some, is a challenge for others, but for all, it’s the goal to strive for.