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Student Tanner Klein Triumphs in the SUGP’s 3rd Golden Gaming Tournament

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Student Tanner Klein Triumphs in the SUGP’s 3rd Golden Gaming Tournament


On Friday, Feb. 23, 2024, the Golden Pirates (GP), SU’s gaming and e-sports student organization, hosted its third semesterly Golden Gaming Tournament, funded and co-hosted with Student Activities. Along with an offering for prizes and trophies for winners, free food drew in a student crowd of spectators and players alike. The event aimed to show the GP’s campus-wide appeal and student inclusivity while filling the niche for gaming on campus. It continues upon previous social event success alongside preparation for competition later this Spring in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) on April 13 and 14 in San Antonio.

Competitors worked through a bracket-style tournament system in three games––Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (SSBU), Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (MK8DX), and Ultimate Chicken Horse (UCH). However, the primary winner of the night was Tanner Klein, who triumphed in first place in UCH and MK8DX, additionally placing a respectable third in SSBU.

Students playing, Photo by Devin Yu


SSBU, the well-known Nintendo fighting game, served as the first tournament of the three, using standard rules and unbanning the selection of the fighter Minecraft Steve from the competition due to the recent SCAC decision. Some argue Steve has an unfair advantage with some techniques used by advanced players.

This segment began with Jaelyn Matthews against Marios Petropoulos, both SU SSBU e-sports team members. Petropoulos won 2-0 in a best of three, remaining in the winner’s bracket.

Next up, two other e-sports team members played one another, Marlon Mata and Elvis Marin. Mata, with thousands of hours of experience in the game and the winner of the previous tournament, won 2-0, putting Marin into the loser’s bracket.

Then, e-sport team member Soren Laureles played newcomer Carolyn Bray, where Laureles won 2-0. Finally, team member Gerald Jones played Tanner Klein, where Klein won 2-1.

Advancing in the winner’s bracket, Petropoulos beat Coordinator of Student Activities Evan Alexander 2-1, and Mata won against Ben Barnett 2-0.

In the loser’s bracket, Matthews eliminated Jones 2-0, Marin beat Bray 2-0, Barnett won against Matthews 2-1, and Marin beat Alexander 2-0.

Continuing from the winner’s bracket, Petropoulos won against Laureles 2-0 before Laureles had to leave. Mata beat Klein 2-0. From there in the loser’s bracket, Klein claimed a narrow 2-1 win against Marin and a decisive 2-0 win against Barnett, eliminating both.

Following that game, Mata defeated Petropoulos 2-0, Petropoulos eliminated Klein 2-0, and then the winner of the winner’s bracket, Mata, faced off once against Petropoulos, who won the loser’s bracket, dueling for first and second place. Mata defeated Petropoulos again 2-0, making for his second first-place finish in SSBU at the Golden Gaming tournament.

SSBU Results

1st Place – Marlon Mata

2nd Place – Marios Petropoulos

3rd Place – Tanner Klein

Students playing MK8DX, Photo by Devin Yu


MK8DX, the Mario Kart racing game exclusive to the Nintendo Switch, proved more viable competitively to those with varying skill levels due to recent balance patches. For a detailed analysis of its impacts on previous Mario Kart tournaments on SU, visit our past article.

Competitors raced in 150cc with no teams, normal items, normal computers, and all vehicles allowed (with no smart steering and auto acceleration). With up to four players, each player had a choice of one track, including from the now fully released downloadable content courses. Upon tiebreak, a coin was flipped to determine the winner.

With the new balance patches, various characters and vehicles proved competitively viable. However, the top two placements used the teddy buggy kart with roller wheels, which proved to be a much more well-rounded selection in its statistics. However, character class weight varied from the medium Kamek to the heavy King Boo.

For finals, eight races occurred between the top four players, Tanner Klein, Gerald Jones, Kendyl Feuerbacher, and Elvis Marin. In the end, Tanner nearly swept a perfect 120. However, the remaining places remained close until the final eighth race. Total placements brought Jones to second place with 87, Feuerbacher to third place with 86, and Marin to fourth place with 85.

MK8DX Results

1st Place – Tanner Klein

2nd Place – Gerald Jones

3rd Place – Kendyl Feuerbacher


Ultimate Chicken Horse is a comedic party platformer where players build the level as they play, placing deadly traps before trying to reach the end of the level and preventing others from reaching the end. A special point system for playing in this tournament was implemented, which is detailed as follows:

  • goals worth 1 point;
  • solo goals worth 3/5ths of a point;
  • postmortem goals worth 1 point;
  • trap kills worth 2/5ths of a point;
  • coins worth 2/5ths of a point and are always awarded;
  • first to the goal got 2/5ths of a point;
  • and second to the goal got 1/5th of a point.

The first player to two wins would be considered first place and subsequently wins and average placement in the other rounds would determine the remaining placements. Tanner Klein placed first in just two rounds, followed by Gerald Jones in second, Marlon Mata in third, and Kendyl Feuerbacher in fourth.

UCH Results

1st Place – Tanner Klein

2nd Place – Gerald Jones

3rd Place – Marlon Mata

The event was a good social environment for attendees to enjoy one another’s company ahead of Spring break and before the SCAC tournament. Pre-season competitive matches and casual student Mario Kart and Super Smash Bro. tournaments are planned which you can stay updated on with the Golden Pirate’s discord server via announcements.

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