"The toughest decision of my life in esports."
That’s how George “Whitey” White, coach of the Endpoint.ROG Academy, described cutting 20 players from the Endpoint academy process. It’s not hard to see why. During the round-robin stage, 15 games were played, where all 30 players, across 6 teams, did their utmost to prove themselves, playing some fantastic Counter-Strike in the process. But 30 does not go into 10. Some players had to miss out — no matter how fine the margins.
As one door closes, though, another can open. It has never been the intention of the academy process to put players off Counter-Strike for good. Instead, it has shown the opposite: the depths of young talent in the UK Counter-Strike scene, and the determination of these youngsters to pursue a career in the game. Far from a dead-end scene, the UK has a bright future in Counter-Strike if this process and the players it has unearthed are anything to go by.
Players and teams interested in finding out more about these players can find a list at the bottom, along with links to their social media contacts.
“I discovered during this process that the player pool we had left over was much more skilled than I could have imagined”, Whitey commented. “The work ethic and dedication from these players to play on such short notice really took me by surprise. I think the community has woken up to the players we have and the team we could potentially build.”
Data was key to the process. Whitey’s Scout Scoring spreadsheet ranked players in six different categories — communication, utility usage, role presence, awareness, team work and positioning — with scores for each being used to make a final decision. “Is he calling what he is doing? Is he communicating why such and such play didn’t work? That links to KPI (key performance indicators, and those KPIs were the insight for my overall decision.”
Some roles were harder to choose than others. With only two spots available for AWPers, and 4 statistically proven AWPers topping the leaderboard, this resulted in a brutally tough decision. “I had to look in depth into multiple areas — are they the style of AWPer this team needs to work? Are they the perfect person for the process and to work with Endpoint? I struggled hard making this decision and it’s not something I’d like to do again.”
Whitey wants to focus on the positives though. “All 30 players put on a show and performed and they should be proud of that. There were some players — Jc-Kica, JackB, Cha0s and CrnB, to name a few — who came super close.” The potential for players to join other teams — and potentially even prove Whitey and Endpoint wrong — is something we want to encourage. “I think from this weekend players have showcased what they are capable of. Other players and teams have seen this, and potentially I hope we could see teams forming or even a player getting a trial in other teams when needed.”
Outside the academy, Endpoint’s ownership of the UK and Ireland Circuit — itself a scouting ground within Endpoint and the UK scene itself — is also a bright sign for the future. “This can be used to socially branch out and meet new people, showcase yourself and your skill to hundreds of players. I want this process to prove to other organisers, third party platforms and even other organisations that there is still plenty of skill within the UK scene and with the right project and structure you can build something and make it grow.”
It’s that bright future that Whitey is keen to stress. “Everyone that applied, whether successful or not, you are part of this very first step of change within the UK and that should feel good.” And, cryptically, he closes: “As always, I will be keeping my eye out.”
Those players in full. Links are to their Twitter or Steam profile: