The fires of competition have burned more brightly than ever before across the CouchWarriors League, as we count down the days before the long-awaited BAM12 major. The month of May set a new all-time record for most ranking points on offer, impacting the race across all five CWL games.
In the past, the league rankings have often been dominated by a handful of regional champions who can reliably scoop their local tournament every time – but 2021 is looking different. Not only have we seen a few instances of top players traveling interstate to play spoiler for one event, but almost every game and region is seeing a more even spread of winners as the months roll on. It’s been the perfect way to foreshadow the inevitable clash for bragging rights we’ll see at BAM.
STREET FIGHTER V
Street Fighter V is likely still the most top-heavy national field, although no one name currently stands clearly above the rest. Defending CWL champion Ervin-Jason “pahnda” Garanovic took out the Queensland ranbat, holding Benjamin “Destiny74” Jakabfy off as he tried to repeat his breakthrough victory from April. Those two and Michael “GodlyEffect” Wright seem to be a step ahead of their competition this year, with Dale Roy the best of the rest as he finished 4th for the third month straight.
Down south, the Christian “ORDER|ROF” Dedalija comeback tour continued with another triumphant sweep of the Victorian ranbat. We also had a fresh face breaking up the podium as Austerzone took advantage of some earlier upsets to sweep into third place.
Xavier “DS|Somniac” Nardella fell to 5th in Victoria after one such upset, but his season continues to demonstrate the value of consistency. He once again backed up points at the ranbat with a huge run in the CouchWarriors Online Series, extending an undefeated netplay streak which has lasted months at this point.
Somniac stayed clean all the way through the bracket, including a smooth 3-0 over old rival Kevin “GG|bksama” Nguyen in Winners Finals. But the wheels finally came off in their Grand Final rematch. The matchup between the two evolved several times; bksama repeatedly chased down Somniac’s slippery Ed to take a set 3-1, prompting a more aggressive approach from Som after the reset. The adaptation was good enough to force a final game, but bksama found enough good hits to hang on for the win. With their head-to-head in games dead even for the night at 6-6, we can anticipate a real classic next time these two collide in a big offline set.
Tekken 7 saw even more hopefuls leaping into an already-packed points race, as noted Alisa lover Budget Chanel swept the Online Series event for his first 5 CWL points. Other fresh faces joined him in the top placings, including fellow grand finalist UoN|twygs and Thiogian “kamasutraspirit” Damalis.
Their appearance hampered the runs of championship hopefuls Harlem Barriball and Peter “Ravenboy” O’Flanagan, but like Somniac in SFV they were able to bolster those Online Series points with a second helping from the Queensland ranbat. There the Grand Finals saw a second consecutive showdown between kewlkats and Tom “yiggs” Ho, with Yiggs winning both sets to take the clear senior position in their rivalry.
Victoria’s contingent of players are beginning to fall a bit behind in the overall points race, due to less Online Series success and less consistent ranbat results. The one player holding firm month to month is DHT|Yagami, who successfully repeated his maiden win from April to easily lead the state going into their home major.
I made big promises about the exciting state of Smash Ultimate heading into the 2021 season, and so far I doubt anybody is feeling disappointed. The breakout stars from 2020’s predominantly online tournaments trying to earn their place on the PR charts against the established stars of each state has been riveting narratively as well as a source of quality gameplay. Of course, the CWL Online Series remains home ground for many of these phenomenal young players, with WA’s Fryd Ryce especially prominent. He improved from 3rd to 2nd last month, and in May his rise proved to be inevitable as he took Grand Finals over our nation’s leading Lucario, chizzL.
After Fryd Ryce clutched the Pokemon battle in Winners Finals, chizzL reached into his insanely deep character pool for the eventual rematch. After failing to dent Fryd Ryce with Ridley or Wolf, chizzL seemed to really hit on something with Jigglypuff. His deft control to float around and even under thundershocks caused a stir in the commentary box, and some clutch rests were enough to take a game back. But Fryd Ryce steadied on his Lylat Cruise counterpick, and sealed an exciting victory to stay in the overall points race.
This season’s established “big 4” of Victoria continued to brawl over the top places in their latest meeting. Bradley “GZ|DD” Kun finally got one back against sometime doubles partner Jonathan “KANGA|Jdizzle” Douglas, who had taken the honours over DD in Grand Finals the last two months. With Jdizzle out of the way, DD just had to hold off CWL 2020 points leader Sebastian “GZ|SebPro101” Poli-Tabone to take home the win amidst an ultra-stacked Top 8.
In fact VIC was so stacked this month that it again spilled over into Queensland, where visiting VicHub PR honcho R!OT|THE GWIF made a big impression on their May ranbat. Kyra “Spammage” Corben ultimately defended the home state’s pride to secure a second consecutive win. Daniel “Recon” Guo made a big step up to secure a podium finish and leapfrog up the season rankings.
And while all of this goes on, reigning CWL Smash Ultimate champion Joshua “KANGA|Ghost” Francis continues to rack up the wins in Adelaide’s Cheese League monthlies. He’s now 3/3 for trophies there this season, in absolutely lethal form, and looks to already be a certainty for another Season Finale appearance in 2021.
Over in Smash Melee it’s actually the absence of the defending champion which promises the most interest for this season. With Sora taking a hiatus the Victorian crown is the subject of a running duel between Miles “LGC|DonB” Dobney and KANGA|Dekar. This month it was the Legacy veteran stepping up, with a win in the ranbat and a strong 2nd in an Online Series dominated by out-of-state ringers.
Queensland remained highly unpredictable, with neither the March nor April ranbat winners appearing in the Top 8 this time around. Instead Carlisle “Kami” Miller improved from 3rd last month to claim the maximum 10 ranking points, while a chorus of new names also entered themselves onto the CWL 2021 leaderboard.
DBFZ is the “new” game on the block for CouchWarriors League this season, but the community is very well established with some clear leading characters set up to control this inaugural championship.
Queensland’s rising star RelatingBeef registered back-to-back ranbat victories while relegating MitchN64 to the bridesmaid’s role for the third time this season. The 10 points weren’t free, however – RelatingBeef took a humbling loss to Phillip “APEX|Newspectre” Repia along the way. Newspectre also registered his first CWL points at the event with an eventual 5th place – something to build on in coming months.
RelatingBeef attempted to double up with a win in the CWL Online Series, but was thwarted by a strong field including noted netplayer the_racoonisme and interstate rivals from Victoria. Ray “Agent17805” Usanto in particular was poised to maintain the highest individual points total across all CWL games just by making Grand Finals – which he accomplished. But once he got there, “Agent Numbers” ran afoul of Nolbie, who made a big comeback to CWL competition this month.
Not only did Nolbie take the W in the Online Series, but we got to watch a repeat of the match in the VIC ranbat – also ending in defeat for Agent. This set Nolbie up against Agent’s long-time rival John “ZEDDD” Le, one of a handful of players good enough to make leaderboard for multiple games this CWL season. Nolbie proved the stronger in DBFZ however, completing a stellar overall performance for May.
That’s all the results from May’s CWL competition! With so many events every month, it’s important to keep checking the league website and smash.gg/league/couchwarriors-league-2021/ for the upcoming schedule. And remember #BAM12 is just a month away too – smash.gg/bam12 to register for the events there. See you all next month!