The Winter Championship – It’s Snow Joke
In 2017, there’s all to play for. With the Brawlhalla Circuit taking place over the course of the year – all leading to the Brawlhalla World Championship. Every tournament counts. The year is starting off with a bang; the first event of the Circuit will be the Brawlhalla Winter Championship, an online tournament in both America and Europe.
There’s no doubting the scale of the event. With four tournaments spread over two continents and a full weekend, there’s more than just pride in the prize pool. The winners of each tournament will get their share of $5,000 and, arguably more important, 5,000 Circuit Points, which will go a long way towards sealing their position in the World Championship at the end of the year.
Claiming those prizes will be easier said than done, however. With over 4,000 competitors already signed up, the victors will certainly have earned their rewards.
What Is There To Prove?
That’s not to say that there is no pride at stake; as the first major tournament of 2017, the Winter Championship provides a unique opportunity to plant a flag. Each and every brawler signed up will have a point to prove. Some will hope to show they can mount a serious offense on the bracket. Others, like LDZ, will want to show that the accolades they have accrued are no fluke. Others still, such as Dobrein and Ephi, are determined to prove that their results at BCX in November, or lack thereof, are not all there is to them.
The fact of the matter is, the first event of the season means the chance to stake a claim early. An invitation to the 2017 World Championship is the final goal, and a good placement at this event will go a long way to securing that. The boost to CP balances will be more than welcome, but the notoriety gained will be just as coveted.
Despite the benefits, winning the Winter Championship can be a dangerous achievement. The winner of each event is going to have a target painted on their back. They instantly become the one to beat, and the battles they will face going forward are likely going to be more competitive than their challengers. Not only will their opponents be more prepared against them than ever before, but they will have to face the pressures that any favorite does against challengers.
More pressingly, the crowd will be on the side of the underdog – after all, who doesn’t love to root for the unlikeliest heroes? Before long, our champions will be fighting more than just their opponents; they’ll be fighting the crowd and themselves too. Only time will tell if they will crack under pressure or be forged into diamonds.
Who Are The Favorites?
Brawlhalla Winter Championship USA
At any tournament LDZ attends, he is the man to beat. With the first ever Brawlhalla World Championship under his belt he is arguably the best player in the world, and his goal this year will be repeating the feat. The Winter Championship is the first chance to show that he is capable of that. LDZ will be wanting to start the Circuit strong with a top placement, but there will be quite literally thousands of players standing in his way.
This year the champ will need stamina; consistent results are the name of the game, and reaching the latter stages of the Winter Championship will stretch LDZ and his opponents to the limit. A strong performance here should establish that LDZ has the legs to last the long haul.
Sitting pretty at the top of the leaderboards, Astronaut has transformed himself from a mid-ranked Hattori player to one of the leading contenders on the American portion of the Circuit. All of this occurred during the off season, and he didn’t compete in a single tournament in 2016. There’s no small mystery to Astronaut and his improvements, and there will no doubt be keen eyes on him in the first tournament since his sudden streak to the top of the rankings.
For his part, Astronaut will want to prove that his abilities are the real deal. A strong performance here will establish that Astronaut is a legitimate tournament threat at the highest levels. He will want to prove that he’s strong, not just on ranked, but when it really counts.
Despite a strong performance at BCX with doubles partner Blood Diamond, noeL can’t be pleased that he fell short of top 8 in the singles event. He’s back to training with a vengeance, and has climbed the ranks, sitting just below Astronaut and LDZ, and will want to make the point that he is more of a threat than recent results might suggest.
We know that noeL has the ability to compete at the highest level. His performances at BCX may not have netted him the results he was looking for, but he and Blood Diamond also made it very clear that they’re not to be slept on. He’ll want to reinforce that impression at the Winter Championship.
Brawlhalla Winter Championship EU
As another player who is fighting it out for the mantle of best in the world, Dobrein will want to scrub from recent memory the fact that he couldn’t attend BCX. Instead of remembering that LDZ is current World Champ, Dobrein will doubtless be setting out to dominate the Winter Championship and remind everyone that it’s no mistake that he finished top of the leaderboards in each of Brawlhalla’s Ranked Seasons.
Again the question will be one of stamina; Dobrein has more victories under his belt than anyone in the world, but there are a lot of people who will want to cause an upset. It’s not easy being the favorite, and all eyes will be on Dobrein. It will be impossible to plan for all comers, but don’t doubt that they will have done their homework. Dobrein’s going to have to overcome that time and again to place well.
Despite a recent change of doubles partner, Addymestic is starting the year strong and sitting consistently near the top of the rankings. As part of [R]eason Gaming’s old guard, he’ll want to prove that there is plenty of life in him yet.
His new partnership with Cake may take a little more working out, but his doubles play may well influence how he performs in singles. If the fresh duo do well, it might be the kick he needs to go deep into the singles bracket. Of course, with so many players on the way to the championship, it may drain him of much needed energy.
His rankings might not be the highest at the moment, but Diakou is still one of the fiercest competitors in Europe. His subpar rankings in Season 3 are likely down to a change in control method – once controller, now keyboard – and the Winter Championship are his first attempt at making use of a keyboard in a tournament setting.
“At BCX I couldn’t do anything I had practiced on my controller,” Diakou said. “I wanted to swap because keyboard is a lot faster and consistent when it comes to inputs, at least for me.”
The Winter Championship may well prove to be make or break for Diakou; will he become a keyboard warrior, or return to his tried and true for events later in the Circuit?
Welcome To The Spotlight
The Winter Championship is the start of the 2017 Circuit, and though it has only been a few months since BCX, we’re already playing in a very different environment. Cross and Mirage have been added to the game since BCX, with an all new weapon – Scythe – to boot. We may well have an opportunity to see a whole different tournament, with specialists of strange and new weapon combinations causing upsets.
The introduction of the Scythe could well change the way we understand some matchups too – mastery over the brand new weapon could be pivotal to success over the course of the weekend.
One Against The World
The sheer scale of the Winter Championship is enormous. With over 4,000 players signed up to compete over four separate tournaments, the ability of players to win, and keep winning over the course of two days, will be tested and then tested again. The four victors will be exhausted by Sunday evening, but there will be little doubt that they’ve made their mark as some of the very best players in the world.
There will be other challenges, however. Organising so many competitors will be a problem for Blue Mammoth Games, and making sure that the events run on time is going to be a challenge of herculean proportions. With so much on the line, there’s plenty of reason to make sure that everything goes to plan.
One thing is for sure; this is going to be a tournament to remember.
Find out more about upcoming Brawlhalla Tournaments at www.brawlhalla.com/esports