Novi Esports is Ready For Round 2


The League of Legends team celebrates their state finals victory in the fall season with some of the Smash Bros Green team. December 10th, 2022, Oakland University. From left to right: Rishi Tappeta, William Diaz, Julia Lin, Kavin Kukunoor, Christopher White, Conner Kirkman, Robert Floros, Nihal Dongari, Pranav Chinniah. Picture provided by Mr. White.

As second semester starts, so does the second season of esports, and more students are participating than ever before. Esports are competitive video game competitions, organized similarly to physical sports. The nature of video games means teams are rarely larger than five to seven members, so the esports program is divided into several small teams and their captains.

If a game has two teams, players are split into Green and White teams. The Green team serves as a sort of “varsity” team on paper, although in practice the difference in skill between the two teams is often minuscule. Many of the White teams have upstaged their counterparts in the past.

The spring season has just left its preseason stage and started the points phase. Most teams will play once a week for eight weeks, for a total of eight matches. These are all against different teams, either from across the state or the country, depending on the game.

At the end of this period, the top teams will enter the playoffs, switching to an elimination tournament. Different games and their respective esports providers each have a different number of teams in the playoffs, usually ranging from the top eight to the top 32.

During the fall season, most of Novi’s esports teams made playoffs, with both Smash Bros Ultimate teams, the Rocket League Team, the CS:GO team, and the League of Legends team reaching the semifinals. The League of Legends took the Michigan High School Esports League (MHSEL) trophy home, and the CS:GO team took the High School Esports League (HSEL) national trophy.

With the new season beginning, not only are the teams larger, but a new Apex Legends team is joining the program. In addition, a new rule stating each of the teams must have at least two more players than the minimum required to compete takes effect. The larger team size allows players to alternate with each other, often at the captain’s discretion, for various reasons, such as if a team member is sick or otherwise unavailable for a match.

The most important reason, however, is something that separates esports from regular sports. Many video games often have multiple different characters that can fulfill each role, with some doing better against certain others.

What this means is that if a team captain knows that, for example, Northville’s team often uses a character that one of Novi’s alternate players does particularly well against, either due to character choice or what is referred to as matchup experience, they can switch that player in with someone else who would’ve struggled with that situation.

“I like doing esports because I get rewarded for playing video games,” Brian Jiang, captain of the Smash Bros White team said. “I mean, think about it like this, you’ve been playing video games casually for years, and somebody tells you you can do it for a team; it’s a no-brainer. Playing with consistent teammates is always fun.”

Jiang was a member of the Smash Bros White team during the fall season, which lost to Smash Bros Green in the semifinals. Only Jiang and Daniel Han remained of last season’s White team, with Rishi Tappeta, who was on Smash Bros Green last season, and George Elengikal, who is brand new to esports, joining the ranks.

“I feel like our roster is strong. Rishi was on Green Team, so he’s obviously really good, and I played George a bit so far, and [he] seems really strong as well, potentially the best player on the team,” Jiang said. “Daniel is solid as always, and even if I think I have a ways to go myself, I think we’re ready for a good season. Green team stayed very similar, a lot more than White Team did. Honestly, Green Team is really, really scary, so I’d like to avoid them until the semifinals, but I think we have a shot at it.”