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October 8, 2020
Tom Anderson
Couch Warriors / CouchWarriors League

Things have been heating up in Australia’s fighting game community all month, and it’s not just good spring weather. Tournament registrations are up, prize pools have been raised, and even in embattled Victoria there are signs that coronavirus is slowly receding – giving us hope of holding CouchWarriors League events in person next season.

This excited atmosphere was heightened further in the Smash Ultimate scene, as the successful Cospendium Open series decided to merge its remaining event schedule with existing CWL monthlies. With the stakes having risen twice already since August, it’s no surprise that this weekend’s Ultimate tournament was even more hotly contested than the last one.

The quality of competition improved as well; there were plenty of ranked names among the 125 who entered. Yet again, we enjoyed seeing proven winners clash with the brigade of fierce, up-and-coming competitors who have made their own names during this year’s online tournament blitz. And quite often it was the latter who triumphed!

 


Yes, you can consider this “home turf” for the wi-fi warriors, and no top smashers are losing respect or sleep over online results. But you can only beat what’s put in fro nt of you, and a CWL top 8 is another feather in the caps of players like Chris “chizzL” Nguyen and Aiden “Dura” Scalza. Going in, Dura’s impressive runner-up performance in August had me wondering whether this might finally be his month. But this month’s fairytale run came from an even less expected quarter.

Victorian Ness main Andrew “Khami” Mantineo has yet to make a splash outside his own scene, but have been promising signs about his future. His offline results are best described as “decent”, steadily improving over a year and change of recorded entries. His background in CoD suggests a strong competitive attitude; a channel full of slickly-edited combo videos hints at serious lab hours put into mastering his chosen characters. 

 

 

Hard work and ambition had established Khami as an “upset machine” at Melbourne locals, but he has stepped things up a notch in recent months. Taking advantage of the constant online events, his grinding had already yielded a couple of 1st place finishes in fields close to this size – but not this depth of quality. He was 17th at July’s CWL Online, and 97th at last month’s Cospendium Open. But on Saturday, he was flat out unstoppable.

Khami didn’t just win the tournament with hundreds of viewers watching on – he won through winner’s side, not even dropping a set. There was no bracket magic involved for the unseeded champion – his last four sets ran a gauntlet of national-level talent, facing Sebastian “GZ|SebPro101” Poli-Tabone, Liam “M|Aluf” Aluf, and Bradley “DD” Kun twice. His Ness ran through them all. Even DD, whose scalp had eluded Khami in 4 prior tournament meetings, was unable to contain his bold and aggressive style.

 

 

To give credit to the internationally-ranked DD, he was putting on a show on his own this tournament, rotating through an endless array of pocket characters. But Khami dismissed DD’s signature Wario just like the Ken before it, and after dropping a game to K.Rool he ran it back against the crocodile to avoid a Grand Finals reset.

 

 

That completed an extremely memorable dark horse run which will have significant implications for the CWL standings in Ultimate. Depending on how Khami and his fellow rising stars parlay their online momentum into results next year, the community may eventually look back on it with even more significance.

 


Smash Ultimate leaderboard for September



October 8, 2020

As we covered in our last report, the leaderboards for the inaugural CouchWarriors League had been shaken up by the announcement this year’s remaining tournaments would offer double ranking points. The Tekken 7 race was already close; now it was virtually open season. Despite the heightened stakes – further amplified by this event’s inclusion under the official PAX Online banner – the spike in registration witnessed in other CWL Online events this month didn’t materialize. This bracket saw a bump in quality rather than quantity – Naveed “Kanga|Chand NY” Iqbal signin...

September 28, 2020

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September 21, 2020

The first fortnight of September has kicked off the endgame for CouchWarriors League 2020, with the national FGC organiser announcing that the remaining events on its tournament calendar would award double the normal ranking points to top 8 finishers!  This change goes some way to addressing the unexpectedly low number of points available this season after COVID forced a switch to monthly online events. Now you can imagine a chance for almost anyone to make a late run at top 16 – the cutoff point for invitation to the $2000 season finale event! The new points bonus looks to be most im...

August 30, 2020

Last Saturday’s CouchWarriors League event drew 110 entrants for Smash Ultimate – the first turnout of that size since May. Despite the packed field, this month turned out to be just another chapter in the fast-solidifying dominance of two players who have owned these online ranbats – as they finally begin to see that consistency pay off on the leaderboard.   Congrats @SebPro101 for a huge climb, reset bracket & takes final over @Dura_SSB. Seb wins $50 Steam voucher on us + full league points. Thanks all for playing #CWLeague! Ladder: https://t.co/hZfHncle57 Next month rego soon @ ...

August 18, 2020

Out of the four major games covered as part of the CouchWarriors League, Tekken 7 continues to be the most unpredictable and hotly contested. Months of national competition in these online events has failed to show a single dominant champion. Instead, a host of talented and dedicated players are constantly one-upping each other as they struggle to reel in the points totals amassed by ranbat winners in the first months of the year. Six grinders in particular have been consistently scooping top points; Lucky Chloe main Chris “Stuckles” Stuckey, Queensland champion “Harlem”, commu...

July 31, 2020

July 19th brought us the third event of the new online Smash Ultimate league created by Cospendium and Kanga Esports. With overall leader Joseph “Doctor A Ness” Cresnik sitting out this time, there was the opportunity for a winner to close the gap he’d started to open over the pack – and 142 smashers showed up to try their luck. Oh, and the winner would get to lean back in a new Zenox gaming chair at the end of the day.   A huge thank you to everyone who joined us today. Congratz to the top 8 of the July @cospendium SSBU League! (Especially DD who secured the Gami...

July 31, 2020

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July 10, 2020

Well, 6 months down and 6 to go. 2020 may have turned out to be an inauspicious year to launch our new CouchWarriors League, but just like any FGC great, we’ve adapted. Online events have kept the CWL leaderboards ticking over during the pandemic months, and we’ve even seen new players gain big opportunities from this unusual focus on netplay. Certainly for those who live outside of the main metro regions this season is looking like their best chance to make a tilt at national recognition! One important thing to remember when reading these standings. At the creation of CouchWarrio...

July 4, 2020

Well despite the best efforts of 2020 we’ve made it all the way through June, and thu to the halfway mark of the inaugural CouchWarriors League season! Look out for a formal midseason recap to b...

July 3, 2020

June 21st brought Smash Ultimate fans the second event of the new online league created by Cospendium and Kanga Esports. Huge congratulations to the top 8 of the @cospendium SSBU League June tourname...

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