Fairfield, CT - Despite it only being pre-season, Club Smash Bros. team has kept busy and preparing for their season. Although the Club Smash team, a subset of Club Gaming, is only in its second year it has experienced tremendous growth. The team has grown from 11 players in the 2017-2018 season to 34 players for the 2018-2019 season. These 34 players have been split into three teams of eight, Ultimate Black, Ultimate White, and Ultimate Red while the remaining ten simply practice casually with the team. Each team has it’s own captain with sophomore, Ricardo Gayle, acting as the captain of Ultimate Red; Gabriel Correa, sophomore, oversees Ultimate White, and graduate student, John Falcone acts as the captain for Ultimate Black and overarching captain of the club team.
On October 7th, a small cohort of players competed in a tournament hosted by Elm City Esports located nearby Yale University. The bi-weekly tournament was a 1v1 bracket so not only did the team have to compete against each other, but many skilled players. In the end, Falcone won the tournament without losing a single game earning the team $30 in winnings. Then on October 13th, another group of players traveled to Rutgers University for their preseason Scarlet Smackdown event. The event consisted of a 5v5 crew battle team event as well as a 1v1 bracket. As expected the skill cap proved much higher due to stiff competition from Rutgers University’s teams and New Jersey Institute of Technology’s team. Although the combined Sacred Heart team didn’t win anything, the experience proved beneficial for facing tough opponents and getting an idea of how potential opponents might play. On October 21st, another cohort of players attended the next edition of Elm City Esports to see if they could repeat their results from last time. Unfortunately, the skill ceiling proved higher and none of the team made it into the Top 3 for the 1v1 bracket. While none of the players made it into Top 3, senior Thomas Reveliotis came close earning 4th place in the 1v1 bracket and earned 3rd place with Falcone in a bonus 2v2 bracket. Finally, on November 10th the team traveled to University of New Haven for a crew battle scrimmage. The crew battle involved five members from each team competing in a 15-stock battle with each player having three stocks each. Whichever team lost all their stocks first would lose the scrimmage. Members of Ultimate Black and Ultimate White joined forces to battle UNH. SHU fought strong the entire crew battle with freshman, Richard Schmidt going Duck Hunt and having a great start taking 4 of UNH’s stocks. The energy carried over to the crew battle’s most valuable player, Reveliotis who went Jigglypuff and took 6 of UNH’s stocks. Once Reveliotis lost all his stocks, graduate student Eric Willenbrock finished UNH off by going Ike and taking their remaining four stocks. In the end, SHU ended up beating UNH in the scrimmage 5-0.
(Sacred Heart University students attending Scarlet Smackdown tournament at Rutgers University)
After the 2017-2018 Club Smash team had their season end in October, the team is determined for attending as many events as possible. Even practices are busy with there being an average of sixteen to twenty players at each Tuesday and Thursday night practice. The team practices with many different drills ranging from practicing tech skills, studying older match footage, and playing in mock crew battles or tournaments. Despite the extensive practice, there is still a large challenge for the Club Smash team. The 2018-2019 season starts in March; however, the season will feature the newest game in the Super Smash Bros. series, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate releasing in December opposed to Super Smash Bros. for Wii-U. This means that the team only has a few months to learn a new game with completely different characters, mechanics, and physics drastically different from the past games. The team has been preparing by heavily studying early footage from the new game, but studying footage is only one component of getting good at a video game. Future plans for the team include hosting a university-wide Super Smash Bros. Ultimate game night on the release day, Friday, December 7th. In addition, the team is looking for scrimmages against other colleges as preparation for the season beginning in March. Regardless of win and lose, for fun or for glory, in practice or in competition, Club Smash Bros. is keeping busy.