We made it! We survived May.
Dark Sided had an absolutely huge month on the ground with some massive local events and some even bigger international experiences. Before we get to that, I want to personally thank everyone that ordered a Dark Sided Custom Jersey from our Store, we got so many tweets from fans and supporters this month showing us their jerseys and anyone that participated in our first birthday giveaway! Interactions like this are so important to us because without our supporters we couldn't have made it this far.
As I mentioned previously, Dark Sided had a huge month of LAN events starting with the SMITE roster playing at the first ever Intel Extreme Masters in Sydney. Of‘course this was a momentous occasion because it was the first IEM to visit our shores but also the first LAN event for the team under Dark Sided. After taking a loss in the first game on stage the boys managed to regroup and gain a good lead early in the second game, but when push came to shove the boys weren't able to close out the game and lost in straight games versus Legacy Esports. Nevertheless it was great to watch them play up on the Community Stage at such a huge event. Personally, I got to learn a lot about SMITE and interact with some of the community members which is always great.
Just a week later we had probably the biggest week in Dark Sided history. The Counter Strike roster set off to London to compete in the ESEA Mountain Dew League Season 24 LAN Global Finals which saw them face off against teams from both Europe and the United States. The team were set to face Sweedish powerhouse GODSENT in their first game of Pool A and the boys didn't disappoint. Pulling out all the stops after being 8-1 down on Mirage the boys managed to push the game into overtime but ultimately falling to GODSENT 19-17 in a super close finish.
Up next the boys played Enigma6 on Overpass and started the game on a completely different foot than the last, jumping out to an early lead. The US based Enigma6 managed to claw back a few rounds winning 4 straight which made for a competitive end to the first half. The second half started a little rougher than the first for Dark Sided but they managed to close out the game 16-10
The final game of the group stage saw a runback versus GODSENT on Cache. The Dark Sided boys won the first two rounds before the Sweeds showed what they were made of dropping just one round for the rest of the half on the CT side. Second half was a similar story with Dark Sided off to a great start but it was too little too late with GODSENT closing out the game 16-11.
Failing the defeat GODSENT resulted in not making the playoff bracket and eliminating the boys after quite an impressive weekend of Counter Strike. We managed to catch a bunch of the games over the weekend (while at BAM9!) really late at night and for me personally, the first game was one of the most thrilling games of Counter Strike I'd ever watched. Maybe I just wanted to see the boys come out on top so bad!
Meanwhile, back in Melbourne everyone else was attending Battle Arena Melbourne 9 which for me, has been the highlight of the year so far. Naturally, coming from the Fighting Game Community (FGC) I would probably say something like that. It's always great to see people at what Esports people call "LANS" even though, there is very little networking done between consoles for a fighting game tournament.
It was great to watch our Dark Sided Street Fighter V trio of Somniac, Falco and ZG team up for the SFV 3v3 tournament. I particularly enjoyed watching how much Somniac played the "team tournament" metagame utilising blind pick and changing up the team order. Each of the boys did so well on the weekend, both Falco and Somniac placing in the Top 32. Unfortunately ZG wasn't able to join them bowing out in the Losers Final of his pool after being knocked down by INFILTRATION but such are the woes of double elimination brackets in a tournament setting.
Speaking of making it all the way to Losers Final in Street Fighter V, Wazminator having a breakout performance over the weekend showing us all the (now familiar...) force of a pad playing Boxer powering his way up the loser bracket but eventually falling to the legendary Sakonoko. However, this was but a warm up for Waz as his true test was to come to the day after in the Mortal Kombat XL tournament. He powered through his pool just narrowly avoiding a loss to SAGGAT83 with a rather large comeback and defeated long time rival Gilbagz in the opening round of Top 8.
So close, yet so far to the trophy Wazminator had to face off against previous BAM champion GooGie in the Winners Final. Wazminator managed to defeat the reigning champion to make it into the Grand Final and in true fighting game story cliché fashion, the defending champion came back for revenge out of the Losers bracket. Wazminator was not phased though and managed to seal the deal and claim the title of BAM9 MKXL Champion!
Seems like a lot went down that weekend at Battle Arena Melbourne 9 but I'm not finished with this story. Dark Sided still had Spud competing in Super Smash Bros Melee. Now, I'm not a huge Smash fan... I've never really sat down and watched a lot of Melee because usually when I'm around Melee I'm also around Street Fighter and that's where my interests lie but I gave myself a goal for the BAM9 weekend to become more interested in Melee and watching Spud destroy these boys in the Top 8 only dropping just a single game in the Top 8 was nothing short of amazing.
There were some really great storylines that emerged from the Melee tournament at BAM9 like Spud being knocked down into Losers bracket during Top 64 by Zxv who is considered to be Australia's best (and only?) Sheik player. Zxv went on to terrorise the Top 8 eventually copping a loss to BAM9 runner up Sora. His amazing run would see him face off again with Spud in the Losers Final which was one of the best sets of the tournament with Spud looking to an alternate character to adapt to his opponent. Spud went on to face Sora in the Grand Final and win 3-1, 3-0 to become the BAM9 Melee champion.
That was just the first two weeks of May. Lucky for me, not much out of the ordinary happened in the last fortnight of May. We've got a whole lot of stuff on the horizon across the board which I'm excited to share with you guys but now is not the time or the place for that. Just keep your eye on Dark Sided and hopefully I'll see you at the next event!