Columbia's home-grown gaming tournament returns

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COLUMBIA – The Midwest Campus Clash is back for a second year with the same elimination-style tournament, but this time it also features a match-up between old rivals and two educators putting their own money on the line.

The Midwest Campus Clash is, according to its website, the biggest gaming event in the Midwest, and it started in Columbia last year.

Several college teams compete in the tournament by playing the popular multiplayer game "League of Legends." League of Legends has some complex rules that take time to properly learn, but one Columbia College e-sports player compares it to a familiar game of strategy.

"I would say it's a very advanced version of chess," Columbia College e-sports player Jonathon Song said. "With many different objectives you can take, many pieces you can move, where to decide where do you put your pieces. Every single piece has an individual, different skill set."

The teams playing in this year's competition are Columbia College, the University of Missouri, the University of Kansas, Kansas State University, Maryville University, Robert Morris University and Miami University in Ohio.

Two teams face off against each other and the one that wins the best of three matches of League of Legends gets to advance to the next round. 

The Campus Clash started on Friday, when Kansas State faced off against Maryville University and Miami University went up against Robert Morris University.

Maryville won the first match-up, and will play the winner of the second match-up, Robert Morris, at 11:45 a.m. on Saturday.

MU will play KU Saturday at 10:15 a.m. The winner of that match-up will face-off against Columbia College. After that, it's the championship at 4:30 p.m. The grand champion receives a $15,000 prize.

The Columbia College team has spent a lot of time and effort preparing for its match, potentially matches, on Saturday.

"Instead of playing three hours a day, we practice six hours a day, versus two different sets of teams," Song said. "That is pretty tiresome for the guys; playing six hours a day is a lot of work, plus their schoolwork and plus at the end of the semester you have all of these projects and exams that are due. It's a lot of work they put in."

The other big face-off of the day is between Columbia College President Scott Dalrymple and Columbia Public Schools Superintendent Peter Stiepleman, who will play each other in the fighting game "Injustice 2."

Both educators are putting $1,000 of their own money on the line for this fight. If Dalrymple wins, Stiepleman will have to donate money for a scholarship to Columbia College. If Stiepleman wins, Dalrymple will donate money to CPS. Both men even created videos to call each other out.

"[Dalrymple] issued the challenge to Dr. Stiepleman from Columbia Public Schools and I think they're friends outside of this and they were looking for any opportunity they could to get involved in this and I think they've had fun with it," Columbia College Director of e-sports Bryan Curtis said.

For those who aren't on a competitive college team, the Campus Clash also offers a "Rocket League" tournament that anyone in the community could sign up for and a variety of arcade machines.

Local high school teams will also play against each other Saturday.

The Campus Clash is free and open to the public and attracted about 1,500 people last year. Curtis hopes Columbia College can double that number this year.

"We have something for everyone and we're always looking to add to that expo area, so to be able to offer multiple opportunities for different groups to compete in and get involved in is something we're always going to look towards," Curtis said.

Tune into KOMU 8 News at six and keep an eye out for an updated story after the champions of the second Campus Clash are crowned.