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August 30, 2020
Tom Anderson
Couch Warriors / Ranking Battle

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.

 

The first is Sebastian “GZE|SebPro101” Poli-Tabone, who at least in the CWL has proven to be Australia’s king of online Ultimate. Seb strung together back-to-back-to-back tournament wins between April and June; tied for the biggest streak in national CWL events across any game.

After intentionally resting last month and letting someone else score some points, Seb returned re-energized for August and immediately surged through the Winners Bracket on his deadly R.O.B.

As clean as Seb can be though, this was not going to be another easy tournament win. His opponent in Winners Finals was Joker main Aiden “Dura” Scalza, arguably the breakout player of this online tournament season. Dura has publicly named SebPro as his “bracket demon”, but the matchup must also be a little uncanny for Seb – the 16-year-old Dura seems on a similar track to where Seb himself was just a couple of years ago!

It it’s always interesting to see how a once-rising star adapts to their more settled place in the competitive firmament – one can maybe fancy a little extra emphasis on the match in Seb’s mind as he grapples with the vanguard of Smash’s next generation.

 

 

Dura wasn’t just here to measure his personal progress against Seb though. A string of podium finishes have helped him scale the CWL leaderboard despite not making his first points until May, and each month the young talent has gained confidence as he hunts for a maiden CWL victory.

With Seb’s consistency over the past few months, it seems very likely that the road to a Dura win runs through him as final boss, and we saw a pivotal shift in that balance here as the underdog claimed a thrilling 3-2 victory and a place in Grand Finals!

 

 

Feeling the salt a little after such a hard-fought loss, SebPro was nevertheless able to call on some champion’s spirit and overwhelm his Losers Final opponent Kinaji, 3-1. His Grand Finals set with Dura immediately picked up with the intensity they’d left off, the first set going to another nailbiting game five finish. But this time it was Seb who was able to clutch things out, reasserting his dominant position in the rivalry and setting up a third successive set between the two.

This time though it seemed Dura had finally let fatigue or perhaps disappointment at the reset get to him; Seb quickly smelled blood and found the hits to put away that second set 3-0 and secure a fourth CWL Online championship.

 

 

It’s a tough ask for anybody to make serious headway on the CWL leaderboards based on just online results, but it seems like nobody told these two players! After scooping four or five points a tournament with only one miss each, Seb and Dura are finally seeing their names overtake nationally ranked stars like Bradley “DD” Kun and Ariel “Ari” Hemat-Siraky.

 

Smash Ultimate leaderboard for August

 

SebPro has proven himself capable of hanging in such company at tournaments prior to COVID-19, but it will be very interesting to see when (or whether) Dura tries to convert his online success into a Major LAN finish.

First things first though – he must set his sights on September and the next chance to break his 2nd-place curse!



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