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Introducing: Rising Rivals, a new Roc-area org looking to bring hype to Upstate Smash events

Rising Rivals Logo

Tournament organizers Angel “AR1” Felix and Carlos “Gordo” Villamil Fuentes after hosting their first Lakeside Showdown event in Canandaigua early this year, followed by FIGHT NIGHT in partnership with Great Lakes Gaming.

Branded as Rising Rivals, or 2RR for short, the two are starting a new summer biweekly series NIGHT CITY at Rochester’s Great Lakes Gaming Lounge, with the first event set to take place May 11.

Who are we?
“Hey everyone! My name is Carlos, also known as “Gordo.” I’m one of the TOs and owners of Rising Rivals! I handle most of the planning for our events along with TOing the brackets there! I am a Business Administration major at FLCC and am making good use of the degree by starting this business up with my buddy, Angel! I hope to take the eSports community in Upstate NY and turn it into a huge scene with the community growing alongside it!” – Carlos

“Hey, My name is Angel also known as AR1! I’m also one of the TO’s and owners of Rising Rivals! I work on a lot of our graphics, social media, and commentate at our tournaments! I’m also a game developer working on my first project for release! My love of gaming and strong friendship with Carlos (best DK on the block) is what drove me to help start Rising Rivals! Upstate aint ready for us!!!” – Angel

Rising Rivals
Gordo and AR1 at UofR

Why did we start Rising Rivals?
“Well, it started back in 2018 in college when we met this guy named Bryson (tag: Cedar, prev. Patient S) he was starting an esports program at Finger Lakes Community College and needed people to help him get started. He introduced both me and Carlos to the Smash Bros. scene and we were some of the founding members of FLCC esports during the first semester, running tournaments together. The idea of Rising Rivals started when I left college. We had a lot of ideas for the program and
tournaments that we felt were too good to be left on the back burner!” -Angel

“Less than a year ago, I hit up Angel and just pretty much just threw the idea of running tournaments on the table. Just to see if we would go for it, I did not expect much at first but after we decided on a date and venue. It got real, fast. Once that happened and we decided on the name Rising Rivals, Lakeside
Showdown became a thing and now we are on our way to host another tournament in less than a few months after Lakeside. This momentum is something we plan to keep going to grow in this competitive market and stand out amongst other organizations.” – Carlos

What was the lead up to our first tournament like in Upstate?
“We had started going to a lot of tournaments leading up to Lakeside Showdown, starting with Upstate Uproar, one of the biggest tournaments held in Rochester! We didn’t compete but we did get to play a lot of friendlies with the players and meet some of the AGN crew! Everyone was a lot of fun to play with and joke around with. A lot of these guys including (AGN) Chris remembered us afterwards! The AGN crew were the first guys to repost our tournament which we really appreciated as it gave us a warm welcome into the community.

That same day we went straight over to FLCC for Carlos to host the FLCC Smash Ultimate monthly tournament, which was almost like a test run for Lakeside Showdown. We had all of our friends there and a lot of the matches were pretty close skill wise and overall the vibe that tournament had with everyone, players and spectators watching grand finals and hanging on the edge their seats really shaped what we wanted to aim for with our tournaments!” – Carlos

“Our next set of events was Tech Chase Tuesday and UofR! We attended a lot of TCT’s and the event is a great place if you want some of the toughest competition you will see in a local! We’ve met and played a lot of really good players there and somehow managed to pull out a win in the amateurs bracket! UofR is one of the funnest places to play smash. Everyone there, especially the akbros were very
funny and made us feel very welcomed when I attended both their practice and tournament. Heck even just hanging out in their discords! Players there are super helpful and help you improve on your matches to get you ready for more locals!”

Rising Rivals at UofR

AR1 with the UofR TOs

“It was a nice experience to be able to go to all of these different kinds of
tournaments and events to meet and play against different players and start to
recognize people and be able to joke around at one event then see
them at another! We grew our skill a lot during this time competitive wise and it
was nice to have people start recognizing us as the Rising Rivals guys and root
for us leading up to our tourney!” – Angel

How did our Lakeside Showdown tournament go?
“The tournament itself went great. The bracket ran smoothly, the stream was fire,
you can definitely tell from the energy in the room people were having a good
time! I think we got the vibes that we were looking for from this event which was
people being hype and having fun (rage quits included!). The tournament itself
wrapped up in less than six hours and we had a very entertaining/competitive top
8 along with numerous entertaining sets that we got on stream! One of my
favorite things that came from Lakeside Showdown was the fact that many
under-the-radar players were able to shine that day on-stream!” – Carlos

“Not to mention, the spectatorship was so hype! For only having 31 people
registered in the bracket, the venue itself had more than 50 people at one point
just from people coming to watch the matches and hang out. That is our goal for
every tournament, to make it something that you not only want to play in but also
can appreciate as a spectator and can feel fulfillment from.” – Carlos

“I think Lakeside Showdown turned out really well as our first event! We definitely
had a lot of things we learned from this one and have been brainstorming to
improve for the next one! For me, things we have been discussing on improving
for our next event have been stream related issues, table layouts for tourney/
friendly setups, and just polishing what we’ve started! We definitely hit the vibe
we were aiming for with everyone who attended so now we want to be able to
refine that experience and keep improving!” – Angel

“Thinking back a lot of my favorite moments came from getting hype with my
friends on stream and watching matches! A lot of notable matches were
definitely Oats’ – this guy’s Kirby is insane! The amount of sauce that man had
brought to the table was enough to make him our new fan-favorite! Shady’s
match had us popping off too! It was my first time seeing him play and man, he
got us hype just from how resilient he was! Dude was not going down without a
fight. Lastly after watching Sans and Amaryllis’ final intense match, hearing
everyone get hype at the last hit and start clapping and cheering was a good
moment for me — it made everything worth it in that moment!” – Angel

Rising Rivals Lakeside Showdown
AR1 and Gordo with the top 3 finishers of Lakeside Showdown

What’s next?
“We have a lot of plans/projects we are working on right now! Just wrapped up
Fight Night with Great Lakes Gaming and now we’re onto our biweekly Night City
starting May 11th and our second Lakeside Showdown later this year!” – Angel

“Like Angel said, we have a lot of projects that we want to work on! Now that we
finished Fight Night, we want to keep the ball rolling with that venue and get
started on our new biweekly series called Night City! The first one is going to be
May 11th and they are every other Thursday! We are excited to keep working
with GLG as they are awesome folk (shoutout to Ben) and they run the sickest
gaming lounge in Rochester!” – Carlos

“With a lot of events we work on especially within the smash community we want
to have something to get people hype, invite new players in while also helping
current players grow competitively, and start to grow the Upstate Smash
community into one of the best Esports scenes out there!” – Angel

“Now Lakeside Showdown Vol. 2 is something we’ve teased on our Twitter and
have been working on since we finished the first! We want it to be a regional
because we want to end the summer off with a bang! Also, a regional on a lake
during the summer is always gonna be dope!” – Carlos

We have a lot that we are looking forward to this year and we want to have an
impact on not only the smash community but the esports community as a whole.
We want to make Upstate the best place for esports in New York!

Registration for Night City is up so don’t miss out! Also follow our social media to keep up to date with our announcements because we are planning big!

Rising Rivals Night City
2RR’s new summer biweekly series NIGHT CITY is set to start at the Great Lakes Gaming Lounge on May 11

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