Over the last month, players from all across the US queued up for a chance to win big in the Brawl League Open Cup. Hundreds of players poured in, though only 32 of them ended up earning a spot on the final stage. Some expected, some not, all worthy of the spot they earned. There was intense competition and heartbreak all through the bracket, so let’s get into what exactly unfolded.
LDZ is the dominant force in the Brawlhalla scene, no question. With recent big victories, taking first at the past Winter Championship and BCX, it’s no wonder he continues to dominate here in the Brawl League Open Cup. Though he did experience a bit of turbulence in the qualifiers, losing to Wrenchd once, he’s brought his best this time around and ran rampant through Winners bracket.
He lost one game to NoeL before taking the set, and didn’t lose another until Grand Finals. He even took a clean 2-0 against Boomie, who many consider to be the 2nd best in the US, after showing off dominant gunplay with Lucien. LDZ kept up his momentum and swept the rest of of the competition, with very few even able to knock the guns out of his hands. A close set with Starlight in Grand Finals nearly reset the bracket, but it wasn’t enough to take down the US champion.
It was interesting to see LDZ stick with Lucien as strongly as he did. He just won the Winter Championship with Ragnir, and before then won 1v1 BCX with Koji and came second in BCX 2v2s with Sir Roland. His fluid understanding of the game and how to play definitely shows, as that makes a total of 7 weapons he’s taken first with at all the recent biggest tournaments. It’ll be interesting to see if he keeps up this new Legend every tournament strategy while finding the same success. Maybe he’ll pick up a Scythe Legend next time.
Starlight’s Love, Anger, and All of His Sorrow!
Starlight is hungry for a win, but thus far always seems to get gimped out of the tournament. His improvement and determination definitely showed throughout the event; though he lost early against Blood Diamond, he ran all the way back through Loser’s bracket. He eliminated noeL, wrenchd, Crockie, Boomie, and at last Mother Russia on his way to the top.
Despite his clean Asuri taking him far, with a strong sword/katar combination, Starlight lost the first game against LDZ, but quickly came back with a 3-stock win and a strong win the 3rd game. After being up 2-1 and being up a stock in the 4th set, LDZ turns it around and evens it up 2-2. Unfortunately for Starlight, he seemed to lose his patience and crack, getting 3-stocked himself and finishing his tournament run at 2nd place.
While he did lose, it’s clear that Starlight is still very much intent on dethroning LDZ. While unexpected Lucien gunplay swept the tournament, Starlight will likely be researching how to better deal with them the next time. His performance this tournament came after he spent several hours casting the EU finals, proving he’s very much determined to bring his game to a new level both on an analytical and a technical level. We’ll see next time if Starlight can finally reach his goal and take a big money tournament off of LDZ.
Mother Russia Continues to Protect Soviet Skies in the US
Mother Russia is something of a fan favorite; he didn’t break Top 32 at the Winter Championship and he struggled in the prior qualifiers, but he saw a very favorable 3rd place victory in these Open Cup Finals. He showed off a somewhat shaky Hattori, and while it’s clear we saw some areas that need refinement there’s certainly talent to be found here.
Mother Russia ended up beating Blood Diamond and Crockie in bracket, but ultimately lost to LDZ and Starlight, the first and second place winners at the event. No matter how you slice it, Mother Russia did very well this time around.
While he unfortunately lost 2-0 against LDZ and 3-0 against Starlight, he was able to show off what he may one day be proficient at against Crockie. In that set, he displayed a clear dominance of the neutral game, outpacing his opponent at every turn. Even with dittos, his spear seemed to be a step ahead, his only real losses coming from mistakes and slipping on the tournament pressure.
While placing well at events is new to Mother Russia, taking 3rd here is sure to boost his confidence. A bit more experience in a tournament setting and a bit of a tune up on his gameplay could prove deadly, and we may continue to see Mother Russia take high spots in events to come. Only time will tell, but it’ll certainly be worth the wait.
Boomie had a rough go of this tournament despite placing decently at 4th place. We all know Boomie as the young gun who places very high at every event he goes to, some considering him the second best in the US right now. Unfortunately, he didn’t play like it this tournament.
Against LDZ and the full might of Lucien’s guns, Boomie’s Queen Nai couldn’t find any foothold to win with. After losing the first game he switched to the more comfortable Diana, but was dominated just the same. Halfway through the match, Boomie was erroneously disconnected from the game. While LDZ appreciated the easy win, it was a disappointment for spectators and fans alike. This event seemed to throw Boomie off his game going into Loser’s bracket, where he ended up losing 2-0 against Starlight.
The most important thing about any competitive game is one’s mindstate. A poor mindset will throw a perfectly winnable game, and the winner tends to be the one who can keep their cool longer. Though he’s very good at Brawlhalla, this is a skill that Boomie will need to learn if he wants to continue to improve. Hopefully he can learn it before the next big event, as we love to see him at his best.
Wrenchd’s Journey of Self-Improvement
Another fan favorite underdog over the weekend was Wrenchd, who tends to place high enough to earn respect but not high enough to bring home a paycheck. This time around, after taking an early loss to OMGItsBarry he still managed to power his way through much of Losers bracket. He pulled through and eliminated both noeL and Astronaut with clean 2-0’s.
Despite his effort, he ended up coming across Starlight just after reaching Top 8. He went Ember against Starlight’s Asuri: though Starlight had a clear goal of taking out LDZ, the top competitor, Wrenchd wasn’t content with just being another statistic. Starlight unleashed a very strong salvo against Ember, leaving Wrenchd no choice but to try to force an opening for himself. This ultimately didn’t work out, after which Wrenchd switched to Asuri, forcing a ditto matchup. His play shift does take him the next game, evening it up, but some heartbreaking mistakes end up costing him the game.
Though he ends up ultimately coming in 7th place, Wrenchd play showed clear improvement and promise. If he displays some of the same gusto as other underdogs like Mother Russia, we could see him go even further. He’ll need to work on those tournament nerves and a little more awareness, but we look forward to following him on that journey of self-improvement.
Though this event has concluded, you can still look forward to the 2v2 branch of the Brawl League Open Cup, which will be unfolding over the next several weeks. Though some of these players struggled, teams is a completely different game. Some of the players we’ve seen dominate may lose their footing in teams, and others may do extremely well with support or in supporting teammates. We’ll be sure to cover what goes on in those brackets here, but be sure to head over to the Brawlhalla Circuit smash.gg page and watch – or participate in! – the events yourself.
Editors Note: The initial version of this story listed Boomie as going AFK during his match with LDZ. This was corrected to properly reflect that Boomie was disconnected from the match during his game through no fault of his own.