At Shine 2017, Montgomery County Community College made history by becoming the second ever Smash 4 Collegiate national champions, with UC Davis finishing right behind them and the University of Georgia coming in third for the 2016-17 season.
We were lucky enough to catch up with Logan “Luck” Dodson, the team’s captain and star player, to get his thoughts on the previous season, the newly announced CSL Smash circuit, and collegiate Smash overall!
CSL Max Ketchum: First of all, congratulations on winning the national championship!
You and your team have participated in Smash 4 Collegiate for two consecutive years now, showing improvement each season. What factors have contributed to your team’s increased success?
MCCC Luck: The main factors were us practicing every week to get better, and our counterpick decisions during the tournament, making sure we field our players in a tactical order to give us the best chance to win.
M: What are your favorite parts about being a Smasher, both as a student and as a member of the larger community?
L: Mostly the time you spend with friends at school playing the game and just talking about life outside of the game. It’s cool to meet new people at your school who like the same game as you. My favorite part about being a member of the larger Smash community is the feeling of completing goals I’ve set for myself, like finally beating a bracket demon or winning a tournament for the first time. It’s an unforgettable feeling because it lets you know that you’re making progress in something you care about.
M: Why is a program like Collegiate Starleague/Smash 4 Collegiate/The Melee Games important to the Smash scene overall, in your opinion?
L: I think CSL/S4C/TMG is important because it brings something new to the scene. There are plenty of known top players and hidden bosses that go to school, so these programs can even help discover some new talent that nobody knew about.
M: What advice do you have for aspiring players who are trying to balance dedication to Smash with dedication to academics and other extracurricular activities?
L: Make sure your academics are good first. There’s no collegiate Smash without college. After that, just manage your time effectively. When you’re planning for the day or week or month, gauge how much time you want to invest in Smash and how much you’d like to spend doing other stuff.
M: A lot of the members of your team actively compete in tournaments outside of S4C. How does the level of play compare at the collegiate level?
L: The level of play is definitely higher at open tournaments, but it’s surprisingly close. There are a lot of talented collegiate players who you might recognize from the mainstream community, but they’re usually spread out and not all concentrated on one team.
M: How can collegiate Smash programs help bridge the gap between smaller campus scenes and the broader community?
L: Most college students love Smash, whether they’re new to the game or have been playing since they were young. I think scholastic programs would help introduce the smaller campus scenes into the broader community, introducing them to a bunch of new players and a new level of gameplay.
M: On the way to national championships, you guys defeated the 2016 winners, Rutgers University. What were those matches like for you guys? Was that the moment you realized you could win it all?
L: The first time we played Rutgers this year, it was really close. It came down to each team’s last player with 3 stocks each, and Rutgers ended up taking it 2-0. We had always had close matches with Rutgers, so we always believed we could beat them, and we finally did it at divisionals with only one stock left. It felt really good to finally beat them since they were pretty much our bracket demon and that was the only time we’ve ever pulled it off. After that, we knew we could beat everyone else.
M: Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions, Logan! Good luck to the MCCC team in the upcoming season--expectations for your team will be quite high as the returning champions. Any final shoutouts you’d like to give?
L: Just a shoutout to the Philly scene for giving us good practice. That’s it.
Logan is a man of few words, but his Luigi speaks volumes for him. Hopefully the MCCC team makes another deep run through the 2017-18 CSL season for a shot at defending their title and winning the grand prize of $15,000 in Smash 4!
Logan “Luck” Dodson (Luigi)
Marcus “Redeemer Z” Martin (Mario, ROB)
Cole “Deli” Patchell (Corrin)
Satu “BigDM” Mehta (Mewtwo)
Kyalo “Uno” Alexander (Diddy Kong, Ness)
Reid “Oceanlab” Santiago (Samus--not present at 2017 national finals)