It’s been six long years since Eric Hersey has hoisted the DubPoints World Championship, and while it may be a couple more weeks seeing that the belt is en route here as this is being delivered, it wasn’t a moment too soon for fans of his work or the explosiveness that he brings to DubPoints as a whole.
Hersey capped off an unprecedented three-way final that also featured former champions Justine Mentzer and Charles Wilfong with a close but decisive victory. In a contest chock full of memes, podcasts, bribery, trash talking, audio and video content, and even a book, Hersey’s dedication to the tournament for 12 straight days paid off in an event where some people advanced through the ranks by sheer luck.
Commissioner John Wyatt Edgar kicked off DubPoints XIV, the first 64-person single-elimination tournament of it’s kind in nearly two years, on January 14 with only about a week or so of hype. The event was governed by many “rule tweaks” that had never been seen in a DubPoints tournament before, including the controversial option to allow two competitors to settle their fate via a singular spin of “The Wheel.”
Round by Round
While enthusiasm for the event was high upon kickoff, largely in part due to the huge influx of new competitors who had not yet been beaten down by the frivolity of the games, the biggest story in the first round was the non-performance and elimination of several noteworthy competitors, including overall #1 seed and then-current champion Brad Uhrig, who’s score of zero on the first day prompted Edgar to eliminate him (and many others) from the bracket altogether. Uhrig would then go on to announce his retirement from the brand hours later.
With about half of the field already eliminated day one, Edgar opened up a few wildcard spots to notable performers who would go on to officially lose their matches in the first round. Notably, Charles Wilfong and Phil Bliss (who both lost in the first round via a gamble with The Wheel), would be re-entered simply due to the fact they were willing to risk it all, and both had deep runs.
In addition to Uhrig, many former champions were already out by the time the second round kicked off, including Ryan Hunker, Jimmy Howes, Amber Lutz, Spencer Conner, and Jessica Mentzer. However, it was in Round 2 when things really started to officially “pick up”. The #16 seed Brandon Garcia, who ended up tying in a match with #8 Tyler Dickey, ultimately had to settle the match via a wheel spin, and he never looked back from it. Kim Roberts and Jessica Atwood cemented themselves as key players in the tournament, while Eric Hersey formally announced that he was “all in” via a video conference.
The Wheel took over as a key alternative for actually scoring points in the third round, with inclimate weather approaching, a detriment to many’s weekend plans to score in availability and/or value categories. Wilfong was able to defeat a capable but gambling-obsessed Jim Jasinski to move on, while Phil Bliss perhaps unwisely agreed to a losing spin against Michelle Lemons in a match he was favored to win. Competitors like Garcia, Atwood, and Hersey stepped on the gas, earning points to defeat their opponents handily. Roberts was able to take down a dark horse favorite of the tournament (and former champion), Joe Klier, by simply counteracting his spam play with even more spam.
The Elite 8 was one of the most surprising in history, consisting of Charles Wilfong, Michelle Lemons, Brandon Garcia, Eric Hersey, Laura Dominquez, Kim Roberts, Jessica Atwood, and Justine Mentzer. Wilfong and Lemons quickly went for the wheel, allowing Wilfong to advance to the Final Four without much effort. Roberts used the wheel in the same regard to advance. Mentzer turned down Atwood’s pleas for the wheel, winning handly in what was by then considered an upset. Meanwhile, the cinderella story Brandon Garcia took Eric Hersey to the absolute limit, narrowly missing out on a Final Four berth in an already star-creating run he had.
With Mentzer defeating Roberts via a wheel spin and getting an automatic berth in the finals, the semifinals was really only about one match — Wilfong vs. Hersey. Given the nature of the match and the fact that Mentzer was unlikely to do much publicly, Commissioner Edgar made the decision to make the finals a three-way dance, one which Hersey was able to capture despite the best efforts of the other two parties.
Hersey’s gameplan, as it has done in the past, relied heavily on using video and social media — but unlike his past victories, it was actually behind-the-scenes actions that formed the core of his strategy. He spent most of the two week period making various upgrades, adjustments, features, contributions, and fine-tunes to the DubPoints website, a gameplan with culminated in the first-ever commercial offering from the brand, it’s own funcional t-shirt shop, debuted live just before the end of scoring for the tournament. Wilfong, who also had a solid effort, gave us some great media content that included several brand new solo musical works and a music video. He also did several Q&A livestreams that were heavily entertaining.
Perhaps the biggest play of the whole tournament was the writing of a book by Brandon Garcia about DubPoints and its key strategies. The existence of the book stirred a lot of controversy, but was ultimately put up for sale on Amazon following his close elimination to Hersey, and the book is legitimate, if not fully stocked with the content that you’d maybe expect to see.
One other big play was that of Kim Roberts, who had a very cohesive performance in every round she was a part of, but really blew Edgar’s mind when she created the official and completely original DubPoints board game, which is expected to be a candidate for future Board Game Championship events.
Other assorted highlights included the dedicated play of newcomers Phil Bliss and Jessica Atwood, as well as Wayne Stidd’s “Tetris Challenge” — just a handful of all the great content we saw over the last two weeks.
Life after DubPoints XIV
As for what’s next? Hersey will likely celebrate in victory for a while until the next big event pops up. There are plans for a new “Clockblockers” tournament for the World Championship in April, and while it was officially announced, Edgar might be reconsidering that just a little bit. Hersey seems like a “big event” participant that may not want to be involved in a frequent labor of defending the title in smaller formats, but if he did, he would certainly have a couple capable contenders like Luke Bumbico (who could have made a solid run had it not been for the wheel), Brandon Garcia, Charles Wilfong, or the rumored-to-debut Derek Parrott. In all likelihood, they will be waiting until April for an opportunity in Clockblockers.