“What matters is that you have fun, and that you beat UCLA.”
That’s what USC Smash player Devinder “SWERV” Carson said after taking out two UCLA players, all six stocks by himself in the final round of the nail biting best of three Crew battle during UCLA’s La La LAN on Sunday.
UCLA didn’t have to shut down any freeways – no one danced on cars and sang through traffic – and there were way more EDM bangers than jazz pieces in between matches on the Twitch stream. But between the two teams was an undeniable tension that mirrored the torrid love affair of Mia and Sebastian’s romp through La La Land.
At least that’s how it seemed during the Smash tournament. USC came in without many of its top players, assuming an attitude of “this is a video game. Let’s not get mad at ourselves if we lose, let’s just have fun,” according to SWERV.
But then it got heated. SWERV said that there was some trash talk going on between the two teams. “They’re a little pissed at us. We’re a little pissed at them,” he said, describing the atmosphere at the end of the second round. USC won the first round. UCLA the second. The third was nuts.
By the end of the match – as UCLA’s Toon Link missed his Up B and fell out of the map – the entire room was in uproar.
“I just drop my controller. I get up and I'm just like, oh my God, we won. Dude. It was like a movie. It was just crazy. I got up and I'm just saying ‘ah ah ah’ and my friends just start grabbing me… it was insane.”
SWERV ran out of the room in excitement. “it was just the most exhilarating feeling. I had to get some energy out so I ran out. I ran the hell out.”
The Varsity Overwatch match was no less dramatic.
The USC team looked directly into the glowing beacon of revenge, remembering when they lost a close 1-2 match against UCLA at Conquest. Now they were up 2-0 in the best of five. Just one more game and the throne would be theirs.
USC was approaching 99% capture of the Ilios control point in the first round of the third game. Iggnatius “fanout” Mullin got three quick kills, looking to push the team into arms reach of a 3-0 sweep. But the Bruins collapsed on the point, pushing out the USC heroes. USC struggled and fought, but could not manage to break the stronghold of UCLA. The percentage meter slowly ticked up as they failed push after push, and UCLA eventually took the round.
After that, “they gained momentum and started to adjust their play style. We didn't have many adjustments/ adaptations to how they were playing,” according to Kenneth “Patriot” Peralta, the captain of the team.
UCLA took control, eventually winning the next two games putting the final score at 3-2.
But Patriot said that this year saw a big improvement from Conquest. “I liked how we started the beginning strong with the first two maps. Executing plans and strategies for fights. where as in Conquest we didn’t have many fight plans or positioning.”
On the flipside, Varsity League of Legends cleaned up. Maybe even more than Conquest. They had a slightly altered roster, with some JV players filling in for the Varsity absences.
According to Hovanes “Hovz” Terovsepyan, the AD Carry on Sunday, said that “both games felt kind of like a one sided match, and it was obvious we played far better than them. But I do remember they put up a fight early game.”
The League of Legends team won a convincing 2-0 game, mirroring the score line of Conquest.