UKIC’s new league system explained

Yesterday, UKIC has announced a project that has been in the works since the start of the year, aiming to completely overhaul the competitive UKCS scene. The brainchild of Finn ‘Mischief‘ Farrer, the league is split into multiple divisions across different skill levels, with each team aiming to compete in Division 1.

Division 3

The lowest division available to compete in is Division 3, which is split into groups of 10 teams maximum. These teams will play a 5-week BO1 round robin, where the top teams will be entered into the playoffs stage to fight for promotion to Division 2. This division won’t have LAN finals but will have 300,000 Faceit points up for grabs for those competing.

Season 0 of Division 3 / Open will start on the 24th of October 2023, and teams can sign up to participate here.

Division 2

The next level up from the open level is Division 2, which works similarly in that there is a group stage, and then a playoffs stage. Where this division starts to be different is that it is possible to be demoted down to Division 3 if your team is not up to the standard, and if you place in the bottom 3 after the 5-week round robin, you will be relegated. The teams placing from 3rd-6th will participate in the playoff quarter finals, whilst the 1st and 2nd ranked teams will go straight into the semi-final games. The fully funded finals will be held on LAN at the Endpoint HQ from Season 1 onwards, where the teams will compete for part of the £1,250 prize pool per season, and the top three teams will be promoted to Division 1.

Division 1

The top of the UKIC league structure will be Division 1, where the best teams in the UK will be competing against each other for the lion’s share of a prize pool of £4,000+ per season. This division will follow the same format as the others, a 5-week round robin, and the bottom 3 teams will be relegated to Division 2, whilst the 3rd-6th teams will play in online quarter-finals. The winners of the quarter-finals will then face off, on LAN, against the 1st and 2nd placed teams, culminating in another LAN final.

There are two qualifiers for Divisions 1 & 2, the first taking place on the 18th/19th of October, and teams can sign up here.
The second qualifier takes place on the 21st/22nd of October, and teams can sign up here.

These qualifiers are double elimination, and the top three teams from each qualifier will land a spot in Division 1, whilst teams placing in 4th-8th in each will secure a place in Division 2.

Collegiate Level

The university scene for Counter-Strike has been flourishing independently for a while, seeing numerous familiar names from the UKCS scene participate. There are two main tournaments throughout the university year, the seasonal NSE and NUEL competitions. Mischief has been very involved in the Uni Scene, notably being an admin for NSE, and doing stats work for both competitions. He also had been a part of other UKCS events, such as EPIC.LAN, and wanted to find a way to link the two communities together.

The UKIC Collegiate League is looking to do things a little differently to the standard format of the other University competitions. Whilst still running on the typical Swiss system, to allow some leeway with students who may have deadlines, all Swiss matches will be able to be rescheduled to any point within that game week. Thus, making this tournament a lot more flexible and hopefully putting less strain on students. The default day for matches is Monday.

Another quality of life addition for Collegiate is the introduction of verification, as teams having ringers has been a problem in other competitions in the past. This will hopefully erase this issue and ensure competitive integrity. Furthermore, the no-show time is a lot shorter, and there will be points penalties if a team doesn’t show up for a game. Additionally, alumni will be allowed to compete year-round, which allows former students to still have an avenue into UKCS.


The Collegiate league is split into two divisions, Varsity and Open. Varsity will be home to the top 10 teams, with six invites already being sent out for Season 0, whilst the remaining 4 spots will be decided in a qualifier on the 14th, which teams can sign up for here. These 10 teams will then play a five-week round robin, with the top 6 qualifying for Varsity Playoffs, and the bottom 2 relegated to Open. The 7th/8th ranked teams will then compete against the top 2 teams from Varsity Promotion in a play-in bracket, whereby the top two will secure their place in Varsity playoffs. There will be a prize pool of £1k per season for Varsity, and the finals will be played on LAN. High-ranked varsity universities will also have the opportunity to use the Endpoint bootcamp facilities free of charge.

The top two teams from Varsity will then compete in Division 2 Relegation to fight for a spot in the upper echelons of UKCS, demonstrating the co-existent structure Mischief envisioned when planning the UKIC League.


The remaining university teams will compete in the Open division, where they will similarly play a five-week round robin, and compete for a share of 300,000 Faceit points. The top 4 ranked teams in the Open division will compete in the Varsity Promotions, and the top two will play in Varsity next season and the aforementioned Varsity Playoff play-in. You can sign your team up for the Collegiate Open league, starting on the 16th of October, here.

Another interesting note is that in prize divisions (Varsity/Div 1/2), players will only be allowed to compete for a single team, meaning if a player is playing in the higher divisions, they cannot for example join a University team and compete in both tournaments. The exception for this is that a Div 1/2 player can be registered as either a substitute or a coach. As a substitute, the player can only compete 3 times in a season, and not in any playoff bracket, whereas coaching is unrestricted.

Putting the 𝐂𝐢𝐫𝐜𝐮𝐢𝐭 in UKIC

Announcing the UKIC League

University and Open Circuits
LAN events
For all levels from grassroots to elite

SEASON 0 starts later this month – check out the details

— UK & Ireland Circuit (@UKICircuit) October 6, 2023


UKCSGO spoke to Mischief shortly about his goals for the university league and more:

Where did this idea come from?

For a very long time, I have wanted to find a way to integrate UKCS with Uni CS as traditionally they’re entirely detached communities, there’s very little overlap and University CS is really a bubble. One of the main reasons I came up with this league was to complete the dream of them becoming one co-existent structure. The top University teams will have the opportunity to get promoted to some of the top divisions of UKCS, where they’ll be able to prove themselves and have a space, where they can compete against their UKCS peers for free. Previously University CS has never had a reference point, which will finally provide something tangible.

What did you want to do differently from the pre-existing University leagues?

Uni CS is defined by its Swiss system, which has been perfected by Hench and does an exceptional job. However, with a third league entering the scene, it could cause congestion and time pressure on competitors. To combat this I’ve produced my own take on the Swiss system of current, in which all matches will be reschedulable, enabling players to adjust their matches to when it suits them, to reduce the strain on the player base. Currently, in regards to tournaments, there’s only one chance to make LAN finals within a year, increasing the number of LANs in University CS and making it easy to access will help enable more students to experience a LAN tournament and being able to experience the upper-end of UKCS.

What are your aims for the UKIC League as a whole?

The aims for the league are very big, this isn’t a league that’s solely meant to be just a competitor in the collegiate space, this is a league with the aims of changing both Uni CS and UKCS’s entire ecosystem. I want to produce a seamless integration between bodies and develop both scenes. UKCS has a lot of extremely talented top teams, but as the ladder goes down there are large gaps and low amounts of teams. University CS is nowhere near the level of the top of UKCS, however, it is massive, has rigid team structures and has a more gradual increase in skill.

UKCS needs University CS as it can provide the foundations for its growth, and development and the numbers to help aid with sponsors and money into the scene. University CS needs UKCS as the top-level talent leads to improvement of the player base, something to aim for, and it helps up the ceiling which a student can push for. Additionally, it helps get everyone involved, at every university there are often players who are too good or not good enough, through integration with the UKIC Hub and Legends and Masters helps ensure everyone can get involved.