The finals for CSL Smash is coming up at Shine 2019! Let's take a look at the teams heading to Shine to compete for the championship.
The northern divisional champions are making their CSL Smash national finals debut. Their entire team is power ranked in Iowa, including the state's #1, Welfare Pickles. They defeated former national finalists Ohio State University at Northern Divisionals on their path here, which is a sign of some deadly contenders. This well-rounded squad has a ton of potential to make a big splash for their first crew battle outside of the Midwest.
Sporting many strong New Jersey players like Chrismus and Arhungry, NJIT climbed out of the largest local qualifier above 18 other teams to cement their position as the team to beat in the northeast. Although New England is a bit far from them, they’re still the home team at Shine 2019 and are fighting to keep the national title in the Eastern Division after Stony Brook’s win last year.
UT Dallas toppled University of South Carolina, another 2018 national finalist team, to earn their invite to Shine. Coupled with their surprise victory over the insanely powerful University of Central Florida, UTD has built a ridiculous amount of momentum coming into their first CSL national finals. Players like Orex and Akito put in tons of work for them along the way here, and the full strength of their roster will be tested like never before this weekend.
UCI is the only returning national finalist lineup from Smash 4. After finishing in second place at last years final event in a nail biting conclusion, this team is looking to bounce back in 2019. Jovanni, who made a name for himself in Smash4 with his solid play is and the flashy Richer style of T3 Dome are two players to look out for on this crew. With their recently announced scholarships planned for next season for Smash Ultimate, expect to the trend of UCI in CSL National finals to continue.
UIUC returns to Shine Finals once again this year, and on paper they might be the strongest team still in the competition. All of their squad has made head away at recent Midwest events and are capable of causing some damage in bracket. Expect PRZ(Top 5 ranked in Illinois) who placed 17th in the singles competition at Shine in a breakout performance taking out Drephen, Bobby Big Ballz, and Pudgy Panda to name a few to anchor this years squad as they aim to close out their season with a 1st place performance at Shine.
RIT is a team with a deep history in TMG, falling shorts of qualifying for Finals last year losing in the Ontario regionals, they bounced back this year and are gunning for first. Anchored by their team captain Pisces, a hidden boss on the East Coast and up and comer DJANGO FETT, RIT is a strong contender going into Finals.
After being upset and sent to the losers bracket of their Regional qualifier by Stanford, SJSU run it all the way back to qualify for National Finals. Anchored by UMarth who is currently ranked 7th in Norcal, they are undrdogs coming into the competition but they've shown in the past that they have what it takes to battle against the odds. Keep an eye out for this NorCal based team to try and shock the competition at Shine
A historically strong collegiate team, TAMU finally gets their chance in the limelight at Shine. With Jaywalker, AlyJ, and BluesClues holding them down, they were able to score a big win over Georgia Tech at Momocon to advance to the final stage of the circuit. They’re first up against UIUC, which is sure to be an insane round 1 match to kick off the action as these guys try to bring a championship back to Texas.
Melee - I have to go with UIUC just based on how stacked their roster is and how close they came to winning it all last year. These guys are gunning for first and I think they have the experience and character roster necessary to put up a seriously intimidating challenge to their competition.
Ultimate - Gotta go with UCI, not just because of what it'll mean to their ever growing Smash scholarship program, but because T3 Dome was a legend in last years CSL Season for Smash 4 and i'm really excited to see how his new Ultimate character Richter performs.
Melee - My money is on UIUC. Their team has been performing at the top collegiate level for years, and players like PRZ and shabo have made huge waves in 2018-19. With an army of Foxes and a Peach ready to counter Ice Climbers, they’ve got a really dangerous lineup that will be hard to counterpick or beat with raw strength.
Ultimate - The tristate bias in me has NJIT taking it all. Chrismus is probably New Jersey’s biggest rising star, and he’s backed up by a bunch of really solid players overall. Inkling is still a rare character at the top level, so I think people will be a bit starved for matchup experience against him.