This weekend gave the Australian fighting game community a bittersweet taste of what 2020 might have held, were we not forced to spend most of it at home. For the first time since summer, the CouchWarriors League schedule was able to feature something more exclusive than an simple online ranbat, as the Tekken World Tour Online Challenge travelled down under!
The 2020 CouchWarriors League is well onto the home stretch, and halfway through October competition we can really see who is pulling ahead among the top contenders for each game.
Both the Street Fighter bracket on the 3rd and the Melee competition on the tenth pulled 24 attendees, giving us short but extremely fierce tournaments. It seems like after the initial boom of contenders entering following the double-points announcement, we have once again crunched the numbers down to just those players with the most points, or the most self-confidence. Read more
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!
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 signing up for his first CWL Online event of the season, while “Moose” from SA entered for the first time since April. Two of the very best in the nation, the double points incentive had finally forced them to pick up the sticks again in defense of their leaderboard rankings.
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 impactful for the leaderboards in Street Fighter V and Smash Bros. Melee, which were the first two games contested for the month. These points races have been static and lopsided all season, with interstate rivals Joshua “GZ|Sora” Lyras and Davin “Davox” Mai dominating Melee while Ervin-Jason “pahnda” Garanovic and Xavier “DS|Somniac” Nardella were holding it down in SFV.
These players amassed their lead in the first months of the year while full points were still available at offline events, and then have continued to put in enough work over the monthly CWL Online events to remain above the reach of their competition. Will a few months of double points give in-form players like ORDER|Travis Styles or Jacob “Sock” Waddell the chance to reel these frontrunners in, or will they just lift their game to match the higher stakes? These September online events were our chance to find out.
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.
— CouchWarriors (@CouchWarriors) August 22, 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”, community mainstay Kun-Mo “FAM|Gun_Mo” Yon, Master Raven players Raphael “FAM|Daitooka” Batskos & Peter “Ravenboy” O’Flanagan, and online warrior “arbiter”. Read more
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 Gaming Chair?)
— Kanga Esports (@KangaEsports) July 19, 2020
Another awesome month of online competition brings new developments to the CWL leaderboards!
The weekly CouchWarriors League Online events each focus on one of the major games supported by the League, with the placegetters receiving League points as part of our ongoing tournament season. Our monthly winners also received Steam vouchers from CouchWarriors.
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!