10th - Hanno - BKA - The King in the South

10th - Hanno - BKA - The King in the South

I should make it clear that 10th greatly undersells Hanno. When I started out with the NUSELO Top 20 Rankings , I wanted to rank the top 20 solely based on season performance data. However, for Hanno the data absolutely undersells him and isn't able to reflect his performance and contribution. One of the greatest players on the South Coast, has made me question my entire philosophy on CSGO data and 10th in the NUSELO Rankings; Edward Hanno.

Hanno found out about the University scene a few months before he arrived at Southampton and upon arrival was filtered into the fourth team, aptly named “Team Four”. Hanno arrived as a FACEIT Level 4 to Southampton and on Team Four he would be joined by fellow yellow level, Andy. You probably would have written them off as a team destined for the midsts of the swiss stage, however after a lot of hard work and some key roster moves the duo would finally see success after 200 games. Team Four would end up winning NSE Spring 2022 Finals, a fairy tale run having consistently improved over 15 seasons , with Hanno and Andy sticking together the whole time. This would be the final season of the iconic duo with Andy retiring, however where Andy’s story would be ending this was only the beginning for Hanno. Winning the finals was a huge accomplishment , however the roster was absolutely stacked and it was key performances from kwackle, Ting and Frosty that led to the win. Hanno would end the season with a 0.92 rating, which was somewhat disappointing but this season would see Hanno stepping up in behind the scenes work as the “Veto King” and was a key part of game setup. Alas, this support impact would not be enough and after Team Four went under a rebuild, Hanno would see himself cut. All good stories have to start with a set back, and while on the backfoot, Hanno was not done yet.

For as long as I can remember, Southampton has always had 3 clearly tiered proper teams. Firstly, Ting’s team which is now called podbots. A step down a tier there is Elo Recovery Service with the legendary IGL BlahBlahRudra at the helm and then finally another step down, Soton Savages which was more of a talent development team under Doaky’s wing. Hanno would see himself roped in by Doaky to join Soton Savages under the rebranded “Team Jump Spec” , which from the outside looked like it would be Hanno’s retirement home. Surprisingly, this was not the case, Team Jump Spec would go on the best run by a 3rd team in Uni CS history and would finish 12th in NSE, only 4 places behind Southampton’s first team. This would also be a massive individual step forward for Hanno, having his first ever season with a positive rating and the highest rated player on the team. He only achieved a 1.03 rating in the season, however taking a University’s 3rd team to the top 12 in a league of 120+ teams is nothing short of a miracle. This success would reinvigorate Hanno and would see him join ERS with the aspiration to try and push further in the 2023 Spring season.

ERS’ roster for the 2023 Spring season would see Hanno and his TJS teammate, Jammy, join up with Unusual, James and Fisiks. It's not a roster that you’d expect to break records but definitely a dark horse for the top 16. Hanno after 3 years would finally take on the mantle of the IGL position. While his first time calling, Hanno says he had “learnt calling from my previous teammates who have influenced my playstyle a lot over the years (Frosty, Wndy, Ting)” and because of this went into the season with the confidence they’d make the top 16. It had been a long time coming but finally Hanno would step up in crucial situations, helping the team narrowly qualify for division 1 in NSE in a 19-17 win against Arbalest Warwick after a massive 1.3 rating. 

If their season had ended here everyone would have been super happy, but it got even better. ERS would go on an amazing run in division 1, with some insane performances from Hanno and would end up against Surrey Stags in a BO3 to decide top 6. This match would end up being one of the longest in University CS history, going the full distance over 107 rounds with an incredible 22-20 comeback on Map 2, and then a crazy overtime 19-16 win to close out the series in a reverse sweep fashion. The game was an absolute war of attrition, with both teams having multiple match and series points but through Hanno’s leadership ERS were able to keep their mentality in control and close out the game. The game took a toll on the players but somehow managed to win their next game against Durham Defenders in another spectacular BO3, which went the full distance with two more overtimes which would finally end at 1am. Unfortunately, this is where this incredible run would end, with the team coming 4th after losing to Back Six the week after. However, this run was still exceptional, a 2nd team coming 4th is ridiculous and Hanno would have by far his best ever season with a 1.26 rating and was one of the best IGL’s in the whole league.

Hanno was super impressed with the season, and “found the new challenge of IGL very interesting and enjoyed it a lot!” He thinks that the team ended up surprising themselves with how well they did, finishing above a lot of top university’s first teams. He thinks theres some definite future talent at Southampton and highlights “Lukent and Fisiks – Luke has another year and he has the potential to do some damage on future Southampton rosters, as our 6th man / main sub he pulled off some incredible feats including a 1v5 vs KCL he won’t stop talking about. Fisiks is leaving Southampton at the end of this year, but if he pops up at another uni he could be quite the threat “.

It probably is the most impressive underdog story in University CS history and was a testament to both Hanno’s leadership abilities and in-game talent. One of the best IGL performances this season and still a great overall performance has led to Hanno coming in 10th.

Now, going back to the start of this piece, why does this under-sell Hanno? I have always been a stickler for data and believe it's the most pure representation of ability / rankings. From a pure statistics basis, Hanno’s had quite an impressive career but when you take into account his achievements and the story behind them its a near legendary status. Hanno is a pure home-grown University CS talent, going from a meagre Level 4 to now a Level 10 and is likely the most successful home grown talent there has been. He’s a championship winner, has taken a 2nd team to the top 12 and somehow a 3rd team to the top 4 in consecutive championships. He’s also one of the most successful University CS talents in mainstream UKCS, making it out of groups at 2 of his 3 LAN’s which is not an easy task. Apart from the most recent season a lot of these accomplishments are paired with average performances and negative K/D’s , but the record speaks for itself. He’s definitely not the most mechanically skilled player but he spectacularly manages to make the best out of the hand he is dealt.

The term GOAT is thrown around a lot, and while Hanno has merit to be in contention, there's likely other players such as crit who fit the term more. However, that's not to take anything away from Hanno. I've known Hanno for about a year now and he's a great guy, without ego and really tries to help both Southampton and the whole University CS scene. Hanno dared to dream and managed to do the impossible, while becoming a successful caster and also helping run southLANder which is a brilliant tournament for the Southern University esports scene. Hanno thinks “the uni cs scene is in a great state at the moment, with LAN finals mostly returning, some uni teams heading to epic.lan/insomnia as well as top tier UK players being involved – it’s in a stronger position than it’s ever been before” and while small , Hanno has definitely played a hand in helping get it where it is today. There's a rumour floating around that Hanno is transferring to Valorant, which would be a huge loss for Uni CS but would mark a legacy and a half.

A great talent, true underdog and likely the most impactful Uni CS player on the South Coast, Edward Hanno.