First Super Smash team prevails in CIF with a 10-1 record

+The+Super+Smash+team%E2%80%99s+members+play+against+each+other+in+Nov.+17+practice+to+warm-up+for+the+upcoming+game+on+the+same+day.+The+team+is+currently+10-1+in+the+CIF+season.+

Kristel Laceste

The Super Smash team’s members play against each other in Nov. 17 practice to warm-up for the upcoming game on the same day. The team is currently 10-1 in the CIF season.

Samuel Kim

Being the second eSports team to compete on campus, the Sunny Hills Super Smash team smashed into its season with its current 10-1 record (3-0 CIF) after its most recent 8-1 win against Alexander Hamilton High School on Dec. 3.

Having competition experience since the release of the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate game in December 2018, head coach Alexander Hua decided to build a team after receiving an offer from eSports adviser Myra Deister. 

“Many of my students were telling me that he’s a great Super Smash player, and I thought, ‘Oh perfect,’” Deister said.

Hua organized a campus-held tournament in Sunny Hills Lyceum on Sept. 20 with player recruitment as the goal in mind. He recruited the top three participants: senior Andres Gonzalez, senior Jacob Kim and sophomore JD Talag. 

Each Super Smash team consists of three players, and Hua does not plan on recruiting more players, besides a possible substitute player, at the moment. 

Presently, the team is working on establishing more game experience to help team members prepare for any match up they might come across. Additionally, Hua hopes to solidify the team’s mental mindset for upcoming games.

“I think learning matchups is really important in this game… learning how to fight against characters that they may have never seen before is probably the best thing they can do,” Hua said. “And just [by] keeping their minds sharp and ready for these matches, they can probably practice online more to get used to the input lag that we experienced sometimes.” 

Apart from this, the Lancers are tackling the problem of technology lags during online matches, which creates delays between controller inputs and the current situation of the game, Hua said. 

Hua attributes the team’s successful results to the players’ dedication and their synergy. 

“I coach, but I seldom give them a lot of advice, just small things that I noticed,” Hua said. “I definitely think my experience I’ve had as a player probably gives them a slight edge over other schools.”

The team practices daily every break and lunch in Hua’s classroom, as well as an hour before its matches, which are held Wednesdays at 4 p.m.

Min Min, Hua’s most played character in Super Smash Bros, is a defensive fighter that makes her opponent stay at a distance through her ‘dragon laser’ ability, which covers most of the stage with the use of lasers.

“We play with Mr. Hua, who has a very good Min Min, and I don’t think there is one teacher in SoCal and even in California that can beat him,” Gonzalez said. “So being able to play with these people helps us improve.”

Deister hopes to expand the Super Smash team into multiple teams like the League of Legends team coached by Gavin Sass. 

“I would really like to see us have a varsity and JV team so that we could build from the JV team,” Deister said. “I know with League of Legends we’ve won, we’ve gone into the finals, we’ve had to pull some players from the JV team to play on the varsity team. So I’d like to see that because that helps us with building teams and keeping the program going.”

With a string of victories behind them, the Lancers will compete at the quarterfinals of the Top 64 CIF Playoffs on Dec. 7 against Sanger Education Complex High School at 3:30 p.m. in Hua’s classroom. The 64 competing schools are the top teams in the statewide CIF regular season.

“I think my main goal is once to succeed and to just show that these kids work hard, and they should be rewarded for their hard work, even if it’s a video game,” Hua said. “Just to show people that you know eSports is something that these kids can be proud of… [that] video games and fighting games aren’t just a waste of time.”