Concordia hosts first ever live event; Yoder places first in two tournaments

Concordia hosts first ever live event; Yoder places first in two tournaments

For the first time in Concordia University Ann Arbor history, the esports program hosted its first ever live event: A Super Smash Brothers Ultimate invitational which featured numerous athletes from four other WHAC schools at the Black Box in Kreft Hall on Sunday, November 7th. The event consisted of three separate tournaments with 20 players representing Concordia University Ann Arbor, Aquinas College, Lawrence Tech University, Siena Heights University, and Cleary University. 


The first event was squad strike, a version of Smash which is played one-on-one where each stock, or life, is played as a different fighter in the game. So in contrast with traditional Smash singles rules where a player selects one fighter and uses them the duration of the match, each player is assembling a unique team of three different fighters. Concordia's Smash captain Zach "Yoderlaheehoo" Yoder went a perfect 5-0 in bracket and defeated Aquinas's Christian "zDemoncake" Perez in the Grand Finals. Yoder and Perez would go on to face each other in high stakes matches in the other two events as well. Lawrence Tech's Charlie "Joy-Con Jesus" Hughes finished in third place.


The second event was doubles style, meaning that it was a two-on-two tournament with each player selecting a single fighter to use for the duration of each match. Yoder and freshman Kameron "Shocker" Farnham had a strong run through the winners side of the bracket, even defeating Aquinas's Perez and Tim "Timmyyy" Hill in the first round before they met again in the Grand Finals. Perez and Hill were able to adjust in the rematch, defeating Yoder and Farnham to force a bracket reset and a second best-of-five to determine the winner. Perez and Hill kept that momentum going in the final matchup, winning the doubles tournament with a 3-0 sweep. Lawrence Tech's Hughes and Jonas "Yuko" Harison took third place.


To finish the day, there was a classic singles tournament. Yoder had to go through his teammate Justin "Jgoody" Goodrich in winners finals en route to another grand finals appearance with familiar opponent Christian "zDemoncake" Perez. Playing his signature Luigi, Yoder left nothing to chance and won his second tournament of the day with a decisive 3-0 sweep. Goodrich ended up finishing in third.


The event as a whole was very successful on all fronts from player development to community building among WHAC schools. "Our program originally got started the week before the pandemic started in 2020, so it was great to be able to finally have an in-person event where we could have multiple schools and athletes actually come together and play in the same room. Esports is so different when it's live and you literally have support there cheering for you. I'm really happy we were able to put something like this together and give all of these students their first experience at a collegiate event like this. It's only going to get bigger from here," said Concordia's Director of Esports, Dominic Scala.  

The Smash team is already talking about potential events for next semester ranging from hosting regional events for even more schools to hosting a live high school showcase, similar to the online version they hosted last spring. The entire invitational from this past Sunday, complete with play-by-play commentary, can be watched on the team's Twitch page.