Friday, September 9, 2016

Week of Tournament Reviews Day 3: Ignition!

Unfortunately I was unable to attend the Ignition weekly last night. However, since this is a tournament I usually go to, I'm going to write a review anyways. This review will be based on the many times I have attended Ignition and not one night.

Tournament: Ignition
When: Every Wednesday. Singles at 7:30 p.m., side event afterwards
Cost: $5 venue fee, $5 singles bracket, $1 side event
For more info contact Unrivaled Tournaments
Location: Ignite Gaming Lounge 3341 N Elston Ave, Chicago, IL 60618

Ignite Gaming Lounge
When Ignition started almost a year ago, it quickly took the title of Chicago's largest weekly, a title which it holds to this day. Since it is the only venue in the city proper, it is the most accessible by public transportation which allows many people to easily attend. The tournament is held in Ignite Gaming Lounge, considered by many to be the best tournament venue in the Chicagoland area. Ignite provides lagless monitors at all the stations, so if you are bringing your set up in you won't have to lug a monitor with you. There is a snack bar right next to the tournament area that sells hot dogs, paninis, milkshakes, and more all at reasonable prices. With many tables and chairs for players to sit at and lots of set ups to play at, space is never an issue at Ignite.

Unrivaled Tournaments' production quality is literally unrivaled. Their team puts so much effort into bringing the best experience to both players and spectators at home. The stream is constantly adding new features and animations to the already crisp layouts. Names on the overlays cycle between gamer tags and Twitter handles for both commentators and players. In between matches player profiles, statistics, and interesting facts are displayed thanks to their collaboration with Panda Global's stats team. Matches are uploaded to URT's YouTube channel complete with thumbnails within minutes of the conclusion of the match. Many times at Ignition I have gone back and watched over my previous match on stream before my next round started. Players at the venue can enjoy the same viewing experience as those at home thanks to a dedicated stream viewing area with a projector and plenty of seats. 
View of stream set up and viewing area

Compared to any other tournament in Chicago, Ignition has by far the most "esports" feel to it. Because Ignition gets larger turnouts than any other weekly in Chicago, the top players in the region all want to show up and test their skills against the best of the best. It is not uncommon that more than half of Chicago's top 10 power ranked players are in attendance. At some of the smaller weeklies you often see the top players playing secondary characters or not trying their hardest, but not at Ignition. Almost everyone will agree that bracket matches at Ignition count for much more than a match at a weekly elsewhere. With so much on the line and with so many viewers on the stream, players don't hold back at Ignite.

Besides the competitive main event, Ignition also has more to offer after the conclusion of the tournament. Every week there is a side event that rotates each week between the ever popular doubles bracket and crazy for fun brackets. Some of the goofier side events have included playing with your opponent's main character, giant mode, and 10% stamina random character brackets. As the side event winds down the set ups start to open up for players to play friendlies. Since the venue stays open until 3:00 a.m., there is always time to get a lot of matches in after all the brackets.

Ignition is often called Chicago's premier Smash 4 weekly, and being a regular attendee myself it's no surprise as to why. URT is constantly striving to improve the tournament, and their hard work shows. If you are anywhere close to Ignite, I highly recommend trying to come out for one of the Ignition weeklies. They really are among the best ran tournaments I have ever been to and I cannot praise them enough. I drive over an hour through rush hour traffic to get there every week, and it is always worth the trip.

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