Cal smashes Stanford in second annual Smash Bros. crew battle

March 10, 2024, 10:42 p.m.

Smash at Berkeley defeated Stanford Smash Bros. at the second annual crew battle Saturday, leaving the Cardinal 0-2. Along with in-person spectators, hundreds of viewers watched the rival battle on Twitch.

President of Stanford Smash Bros. Leo Baek ’25 said that the two teams created the annual tradition to mimic other sports events like Big Game. Just like Big Game, the event has alternated locations, with this year’s battle taking place on The Farm. 

Despite the loss, Baek said he was hopeful for the overall growth and success of Stanford Smash Bros. as an organization: “It’s been a quarter of highs and we’re trying to keep that going. This is the last big event of the quarter so we’re hoping to keep that excitement.”

Unlike a traditional tournament bracket structure involving a single winner, crew battles involve two teams of players who share a common pool of stock. In this year’s iteration, each school had eight players with other members spectating in person and virtually.

Smash at Berkeley Tournament Organizer and Cal senior Casey Stanford began the tournament against Stanford’s Carlo Dino ’25.

“Last year started the exact same way for me. It was [Dino] and I in the first round. I took two stocks on him and he beat me. That was exactly the same series of events,” Stanford said.

Beginning with an initial lead from the Stanford cardinals, many spectators like Cal sophomore Francis Basco expected a Cardinal victory. He mentioned many strong players from the Stanford side leading the game: “I thought it was over when [Baek] came in,” Basco said. 

However, Cal was able to take the final victory in the end. “We had a heavy anchor coming in at the end taking about five stocks, but everyone played pretty well on both teams,” said Cal sophomore and Smash at Berkeley player Ephraim Evans.

Cal smashes Stanford in second annual Smash Bros. crew battle
Smash at Berkeley pose for a photo before heading into their bracket tournament. (Photo: MARK ALLEN CU/The Stanford Daily)

According to Smash at Berkeley, the esports group also competes with other colleges in the greater Bay Area. However, this is the first time they’re coming to Stanford and one of the few instances they’re playing with the crew battle rule set.

The match, which started at 3 p.m., lasted about two and a half hours with a break in between. After the crew battle, the two teams stayed at Taube Tennis Center to play a brackets tournament amongst all Stanford Smash Bros. and Smash at Berkeley players present, ultimately won by Cal senior Brandon Nunes.

“I grew up playing the game,” Dino said, “I’m just glad that other students are willing to drive all the way here to compete with one another.” 

Mark Allen Cu ’26 is the Staff Development & Data Director for The Daily. He is currently studying International Relations and Education. Contact him at mallencu ‘at’

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