GG:Strive Joins CWL Online With First Interstate Showdown

When we write fighting game history, 2021 is going to go down as the Year of Gear. The bold presentation and fortuitous timing of Guilty Gear: Strive has brought the hard-rocking franchise from the fringe of the FGC into the mainstream. And the willingness of Arc System Works to remodel some aspects of the core system has invited many new Guilty Gear players to make Strive their entry point, mixing it up with anime veterans on more even footing. 

With all that momentum it was inevitable that GG:ST would make it onto the CouchWarriors League circuit as our newest featured title. Last month’s Battle Arena Nightclub was the first opportunity for players to pick up ranking points on the Strive leaderboard. But even that clash of Melbourne’s finest turned out to just be an appetizer for August’s CWL Online event – the first real chance to see who could stand supreme in this new game at the national level.

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CouchWarriors League New Points System Aug 2021

If you ask the question, “why are the CouchWarriors events all called Ranbats?”  It’s short for Ranking Battle – a long standing tradition in the community, offering players an incentive to compare their progress and get ever stronger! Today we’re announcing an update to the point system to make it more inclusive of players of all levels.

Of course, all our Ranking Battle live events are not just about tournaments, they’re perhaps moreso about socialising, casual matches and even long sets, with a great opportunity to learn and improve.

By also having tournaments this adds some goals and structure for a day’s play – and the point system is part of that. Tying all our offline and online events together via the points is CouchWarriors League – the league ladder tracks each game and region, which you can filter here on the website. This has been a great way to determine seeding and invitations for events, and prize rewards.

Now as we dive into the 2nd half of this year’s season under CouchWarriors League, we’ve updated the system, in consultation with the tournament teams.Lets take a look:

What’s new and why do we like it?

  • Expands the point system down to all participants, not just top 4-8
  • This means participation is encouraged for those who think they can’t place, they can build up a small base of points just by entering consistently.
  • We have kept the weighting towards offline tournaments vs online, however all points totals are increased, so if you play consistently, even online, you have a chance to post a good score
  • This provides a nice second split/half season boost as we go towards finals. We won’t reset the points completely, but it provides an effective reset for those actively playing thanks to the increase.
  • Still acknowledges season 1 players who get a kick start, recognizing due to COVID, its been an uneven year for live events.
  • The system gives more scope for flexibility in determining prizes and finals seeding.

The point system will be in effect from July events onwards! Yes, that means you can earn more points for playing any of the current tournaments! Register here

Rewards

We recognise this year has been uneven due to Covid, so some regions may have more events than others. This is why we will award end of season prizes to the top players in every game – in each region.

So if you’re the best player in a feature title in your state, or online, which is treated as its own region, you’ll be rewarded!

Current online feature titles are Street Fighter V, Guilty Gear Strive, Tekken 7 and Super Smash Bros Ultimate.  These run monthly, so there’s a tournament each week and a prize will be allocated each month.

An additional two titles, while not guaranteed to run an online tournament each month, are staples of offline and will also have an end of season prize: Dragon Ball FighterZ and Super Smash Bros Melee.

Prizes are to be announced as the season progresses. You can count on support from our excellent sponsors Astro and Mwave for starters.

Regular titles you find at your local ranbat are all tracked in the points system, and at minimum we will add rewards at the finals.

Finals

On finals we will be planning to conclude the CWLeague season at CWC – CouchWarriors Crossup – in December with a boosted prize pool and more, to be announced.

If it is impossible for us to run a live finals event, we will run an online invitational using the league ladder. Last year there were over $5,000 in prizes and we are aiming high for this year.  We will have more to share on this soon, but rest assured those points are worth striving for!

CouchWarriors League Recap – May 2021

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 May Results

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

Tekken results May

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.

 

SMASH ULTIMATE

Ultimate results for May

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.

 

SMASH MELEE

Melee results for May

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.

 

DRAGONBALL FIGHTERZ

DBFZ results for May

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!

CWL November Report – SFV

This strange, abbreviated but intense 14-event season of CouchWarriors League SFV came to a head on Saturday with the final CWL Online for the year. Doubled ranking points meant stakes were high, with the ladderboard leaders desperately holding onto the cash bounties attached to their top 3 spots. Even those well outside the top 3 were playing for keeps, since reaching the Grand Final here would be enough to earn another shot at the money in next month’s Season Finale. The competition has been fierce all year long, but now the finals atmosphere was palpable as players busted out pocket picks and some elite ringers showed up to snare qualification.

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CWL October Report – Smash Ultimate

Another weekend has passed, and the last CWL Online event for the month is in the books. With only one more event left on the schedule for each game, October represented the last real chance for any new names to show up and make a tilt at qualification for the Season Finale. Players whose qualification was already locked in were still there at full force as they battled tooth and nail for top placegetter payouts.

This weekend also saw a bit of league rules weirdness, as players in the South Australian scene seemed like they might have grabbed an extra chance at those prizes. Capitalizing on their relative freedom from COVID-19, the locals took this chance to finally restart their “Cheese League” ranbat series, which in an ideal season would have been the main way for SA players to earn their CWL points. 

While it’s a terrific sign that we have players getting back into offline play, CouchWarriors quickly clarified that there were no extra points suddenly up for grabs as a result – to be fair to players in other states, it would still be CWL Online or bust!

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CWL October Report – SFV & Melee

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

CWL September Report – Smash Ultimate

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!

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CWL September Report – Tekken

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.

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CWL September Report – SFV & Melee

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.
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CWL August Report – Smash Ultimate

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.

 

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