CouchWarriors League Recap: Smash Ultimate October

Western Australia, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria clashed in the Top 8 this month in CWL 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!

And so we saw 113 of the best line up to do battle in this CWL bracket, including what felt like half the nation’s sponsored players and even more of its brightest up-and-comers. Kanga was represented by Andrew “Shadrew” Isokangas and Joshua “Ghost” Francis, Ground Zero Esports had 4-time CWL Online winner Sebastian “SebPro101” Poli-Tabone, FURY had RaZe, Tim “Danklin” Franklin represented Tactical Bandits… even Tassie-based Down Tilt sent their boy Tomas “Luma” Parish to tussle.

Lining up opposite all that brand power was an ever-growing cohort of dangerous unsponsored players, hungry to prove they deserve what the first group have got. Foremost among the young guns in 5th place was Aiden “Dura” Scalza, the only player in the top 20 of CWL to have earned 100% of his points online. That’s even more impressive when you realize he’s sitting 6th overall – comfortably positioned to contest the season finale! 

Another name nobody wanted to see in their early rounds was Chris “chizzL” Nguyen – but of course, somebody had to face up to the challenge. His Lucario was red hot this time, overwhelming first RaZe and then the #2 seed Liam “M|Aluf” Aluf with ruthless reads on offence. 

Famed for his Mario, Aluf was taking the opportunity to test drive Bowser Jr. in bracket after the recent buffs to the character; he wasn’t kidding around either, and still managed to take chizzL to a deciding third game.

But the grinding chizzL put in earlier this month paid off, and he was able to knock the talented New Zealander down to the lower bracket, where he faced another rising star: Fryd Rice. Playing from Perth, Fryd Rice was in Losers after a tricky matchup in Shadrew’s Ken, but he had held his own even against Queensland’s #1 player.

Bouncing back from that loss, Fryd Rice was able to hand Aluf his second L and a shocking early elimination which underlined the high upset potential of this loaded field. 

But at the very top end of things there were a few gatekeepers still holding fast, and in the Top 8 it was the proven elite who re-established their dominance – represented by SebPro, Shadrew, and Luma finishing Top 4. Luma pushed Seb to 5 games on Winners side, then dropped down to end Dura’s run in Losers. Shadrew personally blew through Fryd Rice, Curtis “maGs” Faithe, and chizzL without giving any of them a single game! South Australian PR player Q halted chizzL’s momentum with a 3-2 victory in Winners Semis, only to fall with a combined 1-6 in the next two sets against SebPro and Shadrew. 

Those two would inevitably come to meet in Grand Finals, but Seb’s advantage in the head-to-head made for a brief, brutal 3-0 end to proceedings. This is Seb’s fifth win in seven months of CWL Online, and whatever his critics might say about the worth of online results, it’s hard to ignore what an efficient killing machine his R.O.B. has become.

ProducerJosh Swift
Thomas Anderson
Thomas Anderson
A man in love with the stories of esports, Tom "TheWanderingBard" Anderson is a full-time writer and caster who has explored scenes from DOTA2 to CS:GO. He joins Snowball to highlight Australia's fighting game community, showcasing its hugely talented group of players and and expanding tournament calendar.

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