DePaul’s Super Smash Bros. team triumphs over University of Hawaii in online tournament


Quentin Blais

Sophomore Allison Dicks, the tournament organizer for the esports team, particpated in the club’s recent matchup with the University of Hawaii.

Besides the pressure of competition, the online nature of esports presents unique challenges when it comes to competing with opponents more than 4,000 miles away.

“We were kind of nervous going into [the match], though, because there can be connection issues, but it went really well,” said sophomore Allison Dicks, the team’s tournament organizer after competing against the University of Hawaii on Tuesday, Feb. 28.

Despite the potential for problems, DePaul’s Super Smash Bros. team was victorious 18-8 against their opponents. 

“Hawaii is one of the teams that we have a rivalry with every single year in this league,” said senior Dylan Turbow, president of DePaul’s Smash club. “We had to prepare hard for this one, and we came out on top.”

The team gathers at the competitive team center inside the Lincoln Park Student Center, each Tuesday to compete.

“We take an already-popular video game, and we turn it into a competitive scene,” Dicks said. “So, we have a team of about eight people who compete weekly with other collegiate schools. We play against one another to see who comes out on top.” 

The team works to accumulate points leading up to their championship, which will take place online in April. 

Each weekly tournament entails plenty of strategizing and practice for the Smash team, according to Samuel Steiner, the varsity captain of Smash Ultimate at DePaul.

“For our collegiate matches, we pretty much always analyze the rosters and character choice of the team we’ll be playing, which gives us a pretty huge advantage when we’re deciding who to send in [to compete] the day of,” Steiner said.

Dicks finds the outside preparation for Tuesday’s matches to be a great way to connect with the team.

“We get together quite a lot outside of school just to practice and work on new things,” she said. “It’s just a lot of helping each other and saying, ‘oh, I think you should try this’ or, ‘maybe don’t do that anymore.’ It’s really a team-based sport.”

Dicks described the team as a welcoming group, a “big friend group that happens to compete.”

“A lot of people think [esports] are really closed-off and that you have to have a super competitive mindset … but, the Smash team is super chill,” Dicks said. “We’re not going to judge you for not knowing how to play the game.”

Turbow echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the uplifting team dynamic.   

“We’re a fun-loving group of people,” Turbow said. “We are very welcoming. We accept everyone, honestly, and we enjoy everyone.”

Turbow hopes to end the stigma surrounding esports.

“There’s definitely a stigma when it comes to esports,” he said. “Just the overall idea that esports people are nerds … if people were to give us a chance, we could prove that we’re a pretty cool group of people.”

In addition to a great team dynamic, the esports team also holds several state, conference, and national titles.

“When it comes to the esports teams at DePaul, we are a force to be reckoned with,” Turbow said. “All of our teams have won not just state titles, but national titles.”

DePaul’s esports teams have had a successful year, with its League of Legends team capturing a Big East Title in the fall, as well as the whole team bringing home a national title in Spring 2022.

 National titles do not happen overnight, Steiner wants the DePaul community to understand. 

“If I could teach everyone one thing about esports, it’s that it’s just as much of a rigorous, competitive experience as any other sport,” Steiner said. “Thousands of hours of practice go into us competing, and it takes a strong mentality to take losses well and learn from them.”

Steiner encourages anyone interested in learning about esports or the Smash team in particular to look into VGBootCamp on YouTube. 

“They upload matches from all sorts of tournaments (local, regional, major), so if you want to see what competitive Smash is like at every level, that’s a great place to start,” Steiner said. 

Esports also holds plenty of events open to the public, such as tournaments, matches, and gaming marathons, all of which are detailed on DePaul’s esports Instagram and Twitter pages (@DePaulEsports).