Right off the bat, the Michigan qualifiers already showcased tons of CSL talent. Michigan State had an amazing performance and steamrolled their way through legions of competition with their very strong lineup of players. Hawk, Linus, Goma, and anchor Dyl of MSU were constantly taking turns holding a lead while the rest of the team cleaned up shop. Throughout the many matches of this qualifier, one set Hawk took 8 stocks, in another Goma took 5, and in yet another Linus took a total of 10 stocks solo! MSU is definitely a team to watch out for this season.
That’s not to say that they were the only strong team running through the competition, as UWindsor’s B team, Wayne State, and UMich took a few victories home as well with UMich defeating Windsor’s B team to meet MSU in grand finals. However, in the end, Michigan State stood atop the hill. UMich, Wayne State, Windsor B, and Michigan State advance!
The University of Maryland Terrapins completely dominated this 11-team qualifier from start to finish, with George Mason University following right behind. Both teams didn’t drop even a single match, met in the grand finals, and gave us a finale that didn’t disappoint! This qualifier was full of hype, pop-offs, and trash talk, even from the commentators. In a very close grand finals, Yikes and his Wolf tried to bring the stocks back in favor of GMU and almost succeeded, but Flippachu and his Incineroar took them to the literal ropes and closed it out, giving Maryland the big W. With both these teams advancing along with UMBC and Liberty University, I can’t wait to see where the rest of the CSL competition goes this season!
GMU set the stage for things to come with a completely dominant first match. Their first player Sy and his Fox went in with no mercy, using countless chain grabs and great edgeguarding to take 9 stocks from UMDCP, leading them to a fast victory. They met Johns Hopkins University in the grand finals, where they convincingly won despite JHU’s efforts to keep the score close. Ultimately, GMU took the tournament with a quick finish from everyone’s favorite character, Jigglypuff.
This qualifier seemed to be in the bag for Iowa State University’s team. They set up shop throughout the tournament and showed everyone why the qualifier was named after them with a very strong performance. Featuring two very high ranked Iowa Smash players, Daijoubu and Salad, they’re going to be a team to watch out for throughout this year’s circuit! USD, Iowa State MH Three on Three, RMU, and Iowa State Smash advance!
The Rutgers qualifier boasted the most diverse character pool from our local qualifier circuit so far. From Bowser Jr. and Mario to Marth and Wii Fit Trainer, there was never a dull character choice from the competitors here. This meant every match was going to be explosively hype, and being paired with some great commentary made it even better. Featuring a crazy match between Drexel’s Ness anchor Earthboundy and NJIT’s strong Marth anchor Killakell, Rutgers didn’t come close to disappointing from a viewer or player perspective. The grand final match between Rutgers and NJIT was one you’ll want to go back and watch. In a close set vs Rutgers, NJIT almost brought it back with both anchor players ending up with 1 stock apiece. In the end, Rutgers was the victor with NJIT A following in 2nd, Drexel A 3rd, and NYU 4th. Each of these top 4 advances!
This crew battle started off with a close match and ended with a close match. Rutgers and NJIT both brought their A-game to this exhibition and neither team slouched in their showing. All matches went down to anchor vs anchor ending with NJIT taking it over Rutgers A and B!
This qualifier has been unofficially named “The Team-Kill Saga” by yours truly. No matter what you want to call it, these 8 teams really put on a show. One thing I did notice from this region was deep character knowledge and many players with great stage control and awareness. So many times I saw these players find the simple solution to taking their opponent’s stock and keep a calm head; those are the marks of a great player. UBC’s A and B teams showed me this the most; they also showed great synergy throughout their gameplay that made me feel like I was watching a well-oiled machine. From Nuke’s Pikachu combos to Slow’s Pokemon mastery, I’m very excited to see where these players go from here once regionals begin. SFU team A and UBC teams A, B, and C advance!
24 teams and only 4 qualifying spots made the Boston University qualifier one of the most fun to watch. This 7-hour epic brought us tons of great matches from each and every team involved with tons of character diversity. Suffolk University really came out and showed off their great team composition, reaching every goal and turning things around for themselves each time. This adversity lead them to a grand finals bracket reset from losers and ended up with them taking the entire qualifier in first!
As the season continues, there’s sure to be even more explosive matchups and dramatic finals. Stay tuned to CSL to find out who will win it all!