Why 'community-focused tournaments' are the heart of Smash Bros Ultimate

Smash bros kirby
(Image credit: Nintendo)

“I travelled to nearly every available tournament across multiple regions in the UK this year to try and gauge other attendee’s experiences”, says Henryk Samrouk, known as RMH and the head organiser behind Den of Dragons. We got the pleasure of picking his brain, along with some other attendees, on what makes a great event and why they are so welcoming. 

For those unfamiliar with local Smash Bros tournaments in the UK, Den of Dragons was a fan-run Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournament attracting players from across the country. Hosted in Cardiff city in Wales, it quickly became the biggest Smash tournament the country had ever seen. With around 200 attendees, managing expectations and, more importantly, the atmosphere was challenging. 

“I have some experience with event hosting/organising from previous weekly and monthly tournaments”, says Henryk. “I checked in with people during the day, asking if there was anything we could do to help. Those were the priorities I set out personally for the event”. 

Thanks to the hard work of the organizers and the welcoming Smash community, Den of Dragons succeeded in being an engaging tournament and an excellent opportunity to support and build the community. 


Smash Bros team

(Image credit: Nintendo)

“This is my first time ever doing a Wales tournament”, says Scottish Smash player MazeBeans. “So many people have shown up - we never get these numbers in Scotland”. 

These numbers are not common in Wales either, but the community really showed up for Den of Dragons. Fans and players alike came from across the country to join this event, from Scotland to London, “it feels like a local done within a day but on a grander scale”, says a player from Hartlepool, Trillbi. “It’s more community-focused rather than focused on the tournament itself”. 

While having such a big turnout isn’t the norm in Wales, this dedication to grassroots events is incredibly typical in the Smash community. When you compare it with the monolithic esports of League of Legends or Valorant, you can see the difference in creating a tournament for the players compared to one made for everyone to enjoy. 

Players who attended Den of Dragons picked up on this atmosphere right away. “They make it more friendly, which attracts more people to tournaments”, says Trillbi, “it works to make the community better and better”.

Friendly fire  

All these fans and players in one place is great for the community, but it’s also a competition, with 200 people all going for the top spot and prize. So once you’ve got the crowd, the next step is ensuring that everyone gets along. 

This isn’t always easy in any esports, especially in fighting games. Beating the life out of your opponent and throwing them off a platform into the abyss doesn’t initially scream ‘welcoming’ to me. 

Couple this with the grassroots nature of Smash tournaments, and it means people can get very invested in games. “Smash is known for having very loud crowds for better or worse, and the atmosphere is always alive”, says Smash player Octave.


(Image credit: Nintendo)

Thankfully, it’s this very passion that makes sure Smash events are fun for everyone. “There’s a strong sense of friendship here: you go first for the friends and then for the games”, says pro Smash player Pik. People tend to be more concerned about ensuring everyone is having a good time, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to completely crush the competition. 

This clarity in tournaments stems from how new the game is. While Smash Bros is an old title, Ultimate is relatively new, “most of the community has been built off only a year's worth of play”, says Trillbi. Unlike games like Streetfighter, where each iteration builds off the last, Smash Bros games tend to be pretty individual when it comes to the nitty gritty fighting mechanics and gameplay. Because of this, “Smash is a lot more accessible”, according to Trillbi. 

Tournaments like Den of Dragons aren’t just necessary due to a severe lack of licenced events. They also ensure that the community that has brought many friends together stays alive. It’s a competition, but it’s also an excuse to have some fun and catch up with old and new friends living on the other side of the country. 

Elie Gould
Features Writer

Elie is a Features Writer for TechRadar Gaming, here to write about anything new or slightly weird. Before writing for TRG, Elie studied for a Masters at Cardiff University JOMEC in International Journalism and Documentaries – spending their free time filming short docs or editing the gaming section for their student publications. 

Elie’s first step into gaming was through Pokémon but they've taken the natural next step in the horror genre. Any and every game that would keep you up at night is on their list to play - despite the fact that one of Elie’s biggest fears is being chased.