Hindsight is now more than ever 20/20, so we look forward to a year of USC esports teams with richer rosters, ripe and ready to frag perpetually.
And we’re jumping right into it. This weekend hosts the second round of Riot’s CLoL league, and USC’s varsity LoL team is playing against everyone’s favorite super villain - UCLA. Their LoL team is generally... meh, but it’s to be determined if this in-depth analysis holds up in the court of Summoner’s Rift.
Varsity Overwatch is back at it as well, participating in an $840 MSI tournament on Saturday. Hopefully they can eke out a win somewhere, and won’t be doomed to the map 3 losses that plagued them last semester.
And we can’t forget the SoCal SnowDown happening Valentine’s Day weekend. USC’s LoL and Super Smash Bros teams will be participating in the festival that’s hosting UCLA, UCSD, SDSU, Glendale Community College, Cal State Northridge and USC. There will also be a Minecraft obstacle course hosted on USC’s very own server… but that’s neither here nor there.
Last semester’s team had a bit of a shaky start, especially after a rough summer performance in the USC Games Expo tournament against Santa Clara and UC Riverside, and in the Pac-U league where they had trouble making it out of the bottom third of teams. They started picking things up in their Spotlight match win against Stanford. The turnaround came at around the time the varsity team competed in the Immortals tournament, nabbing a match against Cal State Dominguez Hills to make it to the semi finals.
“We’ve worked hard during practice to learn and become a better team. I think that will serve us well as competition ramps up in both CLoL and CSL. I’m extremely proud of how far the student players have come this past semester and I know they will continue to learn and excel,” said coach Joe Jacko.
And this semester things are looking even better with the addition of freshman Grandmaster Arthur “Senshi” Bookstein in the Jungle position. Rank doesn’t mean everything, but raw skill never hurts.
The varsity team is currently participating in the Collegiate StarLeague (CSL), arguably the second most important league in collegiate LoL after Riot’s CLoL. They seem to be having no problems in the West 4 conference, going 7-0 against teams from the region.
CLoL is also underway, and USC finds themselves at 1-0 after a victory against HMC esports. The record doesn’t say too much right now, but this weekend’s match vs. UCLA is definitely going to be one to watch. Matches between the two teams are close just about every time, though USC has the upper hand winning the last couple matchups including Conquest 2019 and UCLA’s La La LAN.
>Riot CLoL - Jan 18 - February 28 - Playoffs March 1 – March 28
>CLoL vs. UCLA - Jan 30, 6:00 p.m. PST
>CSL - Oct 24 - Jan 31
>SoCal SnowDown - Feb 13 - 14
Overwatch is in a constant state of recruitment, according to Quiana “jaru” Dang, so it’s still uncertain if their current roster (the same as last season’s)link here will remain consistent throughout the semester. Their schedule suffers the same fate, and with Tespa now out of commission, they’re opting to play in tournaments and events when they come up. The first one, conveniently enough, is an MSI sponsored tournament in their series this Saturday at 4:00 p.m. PST.
>MSI tournament - Saturday, Jan 30, 4:00 p.m. PST
The USC varsity Rocket League team is the most recent edition to USC Trojan Esports’ catalog. They competed in the Pac-U series last semester, and struggled in many of the matches, but found a rhythm towards the latter half. Big plays by Jake “JKDriven” Kandell and Alex “Hammertime” Hemmerlein secured the team two big wins against Arizona and Stanford in the last two weeks of the competition, creating a solid platform to build the coming season.
“There’s not as many tournaments happening in the spring compared to the fall, so occasionally random ones might pop up and we’ll play in those,” According to team captain Gabriel “Lacayo” Lacayo.
>CRL - TBD
>PlayVS - 2/15 - 4/24
USC’s Smash community is one of the best out there with bi-weekly tournaments, and a varsity team of players who compete with the best. They’ve had some spectacular victories, like a clutch win against UCLA at their La La LAN, and good performances at CSL crew battles, getting third in a big one back in 2019.
The bi-weekly’s are their bread and butter though, and even in the switch from in person to online, the Slippi system works its own anti-latency magic behind the scenes and lets the show go on.
Our unofficial Valorant squad hails from the SC Esports camp, their game deemed too violent and “Brand Unsafe” to be recognized as an official USC varsity esport. Nevertheless, they’ve done well in the CSL bracket so far, going 4-4 against teams in the West 2 conference. Two players, Kyle “Iamasillyturtle” Tran and Martin “SMILEZ” Park are both have the Immortal Rank, the highest in the game, and for a non-varsity college team, is certainly something to write to grandma about.
Unfortunately, it’s not looking like the team will be taking things too seriously this semester, “We have 3 more weeks of the CSL tournament after that not much,” according to Sam “whizmas” Cho. According to him it’s due to a general lack of ambition and participation. “It is what it is,” he said.