UTD Esports’ Omega Strikers team is currently ranked No. 1 in the Collegiate Corestrike League after seven wins in the fall 2023 tournament which began Sept. 20. With 56 teams competing in the league, UTD Esports is left with one final game to secure their position as national champions.
Omega Strikers is a 3v3 game in which both teams attempt to get a puck into the opposing team’s goal. UTD’s team for the game has been active since 2022, with three players and one substitute. Computer engineering sophomore, Andrew “W1nDoge” Harper-Hill, said that their first-place rank was an accomplishment because they beat two teams that originally held that position.
“We knew we were going to do pretty well, at least put up a fight,” Harper-Hill said. “But I think we showed up and did well against those top two teams. And recently we did have one loss … and that was a little devastating. Obviously, it’s not fun to always be the top team and lose to a team lower than you in the rankings, even though they were beat by the teams we beat. But I was happy that we were ranked one and still are.”
Harper-Hill said that in addition to training individually at home, the team members practice as a group for around four to eight hours a week, watching other team’s games and participating in scrimmages that simulate real games.
“I think what brought us, or what is keeping us at the top, is that we have three good players,” Harper-Hill said. “Everyone plays their role pretty well, and if we keep on working with those roles and trying to improve, at least somewhat think about what everyone else is doing and how everyone else is like, what they have to deal with in the game, then … it helps us work together.”
Daniyal “BluBlazing” Ghayasuddin, team captain and accounting junior, said that he was inspired to play the game competitively after placing in the top 20 during the game’s alpha version.
“I guess that kind of passion stuck with me, especially going back into collegiate, because this is the first season that a collegiate tournament has been in a league for Omega Strikers … I think that was a big moment for us, especially for me, I can play against colleges and showcase, ‘Hey, I’m a good player’,” Ghayasuddin said.
UTD Esports Omega Strikers receives coaching from Matthew “Daftgrass” Caporale, a student at East Carolina University, who said that the team’s synergy is key to their success — something that was developed through team friendships. He said that compared to other schools, UTD’s team uses a variety of in-game characters, setting them apart from competitors.
“They’re able to adapt,” Caporale said. “They’re able to pick a wide variety of character choices compared to the start of the season. And I think that’s just their biggest advantage over some of these other teams that … if they’re not on a specific character, they give themselves a less great chance to win the match.”
Despite their seven wins and single loss throughout the season, Caporale believes developing a stronger mentality and focusing on games individually could help the team secure the No. 1 position. Beyond the current tournament, Ghayasuddin said that he wants the team to win future seasons as well but is mostly hoping for the collegiate scene of Omega Strikers to expand further.
“[We want to try] telling the [developers] to really make this game moreso about collegiate and getting it more into different spaces to promote the game,” Ghayasuddin said. “’Cause that’s one thing we don’t want is the game, to lose a lot of its members as it has been, unfortunately, for the past few months. [We want to] gain some more members, gain a lot of players to compete in collegiate and keep the sport strong, because we love it at UT Dallas.”