Tech Central 6


Rise of the South

The first Louisiana Tech Smash 4 tournament of the year saw a new generation of Tech players dominate the bracket.

Freshmen Christian “Axis” Thibodeaux, Devin “EJ” Caffarel, and Jacob “FRIEND!!!” Daniel placed 1st, 3rd, and 4th respectively in the 25-man singles competition.

While these freshmen may be new to North Louisiana, they are by no means new to Smash. All three players are known quantities in their home scene of Slidell, and Axis is even ranked #7 on the current Power Ranking for the state of Louisiana.

“Bluntly, the North Louisiana scene is not as developed as the ones in Baton Rouge or Slidell,” Axis said. “But there are a ton of good players, and a ton of high-potential players that I really want to see where they can go.”

Holding it down for the PR

Related: Preliminary Power Ranking

Both of Ruston’s regional PR players, Ramsaur and Absoltastic, were competing at a tournament in Tyler, Texas during Tech Central 6. Holding down the fort for the PR players were ULM brothers Aaron “GroundOwl” Cole and Andrew “SirLegend” Cole.

GroundOwl was able to place a strong second, his second such placing in the young fall season. However, things did not start well for the Olimar main from Monroe.

Because the new players were seeded low for their first tournament in the region, GroundOwl had to face Axis in his first match of the day.

“I came here wanting to win,” GroundOwl said. “I also wanted to see how good the South LA guys were, because I know their scene is better. Then when I played Axis for the first time he 2-0’d me, and I realized how much further I had to go.”

And go he did, burning through a grueling losers bracket run on his way to seven straight victories. But Axis was waiting to meet him once again in Grand Finals.

Grand Finals breakdown

Related: Tech Central 6 bracket link

Wielding his deadly tandem of Greninja and Marth, Axis was able to defeat GroundOwl for the second time that day and claim first place, this time taking five games to do so. The first two times he tried using Greninja, GroundOwl was able to take advantage.

“I lost two games as Greninja; it was really tough getting in on Olimar in that set,” Axis said. “A lot of Greninja’s safety is the fact that a lot of his moves have very low hitlag and landing lag. But having Pikmin on me while trying to get in gave my moves a ton of hit lag, and that made the difference a lot of times.”

In the two games that took place on tri-platform stages, Axis found he had a much easier time using Marth against GroundOwl’s Olimar.

“Marth has trouble getting in on flat stages because he doesn’t have speed,” Axis said. “But he does much better with platforms. And once he’s in, Olimar doesn’t have any landing options. Once I get in, all I have to do is grab, up throw, down throw, and juggle for 60% minimum.”

GroundOwl had a similar outlook on his games against Marth.

“With his Marth… um… I got bodied,” GroundOwl said. “Marth is even better than Greninja with spacing on shield. The tipper has a lot of hitstun on shield. I’m sitting here in shield, I’ve got lag,  if I try to move I can get down-tilted or faired, so it was a very difficult match for Olimar.”

With the set at an even 2-2, the final game went to Final Destination. Despite losing twice with Greninja already, Axis decided to go back to the Pokemon for his final bout.

I decided to go Greninja for the last game because I had another set to work with and I needed the experience, because I can’t go Marth on every stage,” Axis said. “I tried one thing different with Greninja this time: instead of trying to space fair, which wasn’t working, I would do empty hops into shield and block his forward smashes.”

Axis said things turned out fortunately in two major ways during the final game. One was a sour-spot nair into upsmash punish, and the other was quite possibly the sickest combo of the tournament.

I got an up tilt at the perfect percent and perfect rage to go from 38% to 76%,” he said. “So you do up tilt, fall down up air, up tilt, fall down up air, on the last one you do another up tilt, reverse the up air, fall down, they land in front of you, upsmash. Tons of damage.”

In the end, Axis avoided a bracket reset and took Grand Finals 3-2.

On the cusp of greatness

Ron “Sketchy” Holmes, a Tech player who mains Link, placed 5th for the third tournament in a row. He was able to improve on his already positive set record against PR player SirLegend, but he then met Axis and was promptly sent to the losers bracket.

Sketchy was able to claim two more victories in losers before running into a second Slidell player, Friend the Donkey Kong main. He managed to win one game over Friend, but ultimately he could not overcome the power of ding-dong and was once again eliminated just before reaching the top 4.

Perhaps the upcoming USC5 tournament in ULM will be the chance for Sketchy to finally break through his personal barrier? Only time will tell.

And the short straw goes to…

Sometimes the bracket just doesn’t do you any favors. Such was the case for SirLegend, who had to face a nemesis of sorts in Sketchy right off the bat. After falling 2-1 to Sketchy, SirLegend next ran into his own brother GroundOwl in losers.

It was an early exit for SirLegend this time, but hopefully he will have a turnaround on his home turf at USC5 in ULM on September 30.

A new venue

Tech Central 6 was the first of the series to be played in the Lambright classroom at Tech, instead of the usual Mitchell dormitory basement.

The improvement was immediate and drastic, as blessed air conditioning helped keep stuffiness and body odor to such low levels that were never seen in the confines of Mitchell.

Tech Central TO Danny “Limen” Do said he plans to keep the series in the new venue whenever possible, and now that he has the room scoped out there should be even better improvements in the tournament setup on the way.

Thoughts on the new scene


Axis said that while the skill level in North Louisiana may not quite be on par with his home region, he nevertheless enjoys the atmosphere of the scene greatly.

The Tech Smash community is really chill,” he said. “The majority are really helpful, nice, easy to work with, all-around good people. As a whole I love the community, and it reminds me a lot of the community down south. I’m going to miss them, but I’m glad this community is really chill too.”

Axis said one of his biggest goals during his time at Tech is to diversify his matchup knowledge.

I want to get the character experience while I’m here that I couldn’t get in South Louisiana, and I want to use that to get a little bit higher on the state PR,” he said. “Olimar is a big one that I can’t experience in the south. They don’t have many good Links or Toon Links down south either. I also really need help against Yoshi, I struggle against Yoshi with both of my characters.”

GroundOwl said he welcomes the added challenge Axis and his Slidell friends bring to the scene.

I told my TO from ULM that this is going to push us to a higher level,” he said. “Because now it’s not just Ramsaur who is a threat, we’ve got Axis. Now we’ve got even better players coming up. I’d really like to use that to get better. This season I want to place top 5 in North Louisiana and become number 1 at ULM.”

The Tech slayers

Axis, EJ, and Friend combined for a perfect 7-0 record against other Tech players. In fact, the three Slidell boys were only defeated by each other or GroundOwl.

Looking forward

With Battle for the Port unfortunately going under, the next tournament on the docket for the North Louisiana region is ULM Smash Conference 5, and boy does it look to be a doozy.

Past ULM tournaments this year have hit 54 and 56 entrants, and early projections for USC5 suggest attendance could crack the 64-player cap.

Not only will the best Tech and ULM players square off in Monroe home turf, but Shreveport veteran Damien “DB-Stand” Boyd has also been confirmed to make an appearance. DB-Stand was awarded 1st place on the preliminary North Lousisiana PR, and without Battle for the Port, USC5 will most likely be his best chance to defend the title.

If you’ve persevered to the end of this mammoth article, then you’re surely determined enough to make it out to ULM on Friday, September 30 for what will surely be the best tournament of the fall season to date! Don’t miss it!





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